Man in the Music: The Creative Life and Work of Michael Jackson

Man in the Music: The Creative Life and Work of Michael Jackson

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by Joseph Vogel
     
 

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This is the book that serious Michael Jackson fans crave--one that forgoes sensationalism in favor of an insightful look at Jackson's work and creative process.

Man in the Music meticulously tracks Jackson's solo career--from 1979's groundbreaking Off the Wall to 2001's Invincible to his yet-to-be-released material. Vogel analyzes every song

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Overview

This is the book that serious Michael Jackson fans crave--one that forgoes sensationalism in favor of an insightful look at Jackson's work and creative process.

Man in the Music meticulously tracks Jackson's solo career--from 1979's groundbreaking Off the Wall to 2001's Invincible to his yet-to-be-released material. Vogel analyzes every song and album, placing the music in its social, historical, cultural, and even personal context. The result is an in-depth assessment of one of the most compelling, influential artists in popular music history.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Vogel, a Huffington Post writer, immerses readers in a chronological exploration of Michael Jackson's remarkable solo career. Chapter by chapter and literally song by song, he discusses Jackson's albums, videos, dances, cinematic influences, musical heroes, idiosyncrasies, and artistic transformations from the inception of Off the Wall, Jackson's 1979 solo debut, through 2001's Invincible, his last studio album. In a final chapter set after Jackson's notorious child abuse trial, Vogel reconstructs the performer's plans for a series of comeback concerts and the worldwide shock following news of his death. Vogel has produced a smart—if at times academic—study of Jackson's creativity and musical legacy. Based on interviews (none with Jackson himself), articles, and reviews, he achieves moments of intimacy and insight: a glimpse of Jackson, an ambitious perfectionist, in the studio relaxing his vocal cords with a hot drink poured over cough drops. By astutely contextualizing Jackson's cultural impact and relevance, Vogel bolsters his premise that media sensationalism continues to denigrate Jackson's artistic integrity without sounding vindictive. Strangely, Vogel occasionally undermines his hard work by giving Jackson a makeover as a romantic hero rather than a unique, complex multimedia celebrity. Jackson may have agreed; readers will enjoy. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
"The many fans of the King of Pop are going to love this book. Huffington Post writer Vogel began it in 2005, long before Michael Jackson's untimely death, and he wisely focuses on the music and groundbreaking recordings of Jackson's solo career. Scandals and eccentricities are relegated to the background in this critical musical analysis, which will delight even the most knowledgeable Jackson fan. Each track on each record, fr om 1979's Off the Wallthrough 2001's Invincible, including posthumously released recordings, gets a thorough analysis, with listings of the involved writers, producers, and musicians. There is plenty of contextual biographical detail, and Vogel describes the cultural and political backdrop that makes Jackson's achievements all the more remarkable. VERDICT A thoroughly enjoyable analysis of the music and life of the most popular musician of an era."--Library Journal 


"Vogel produced a smart...study of Jackson's creativity and legacy. He achieves moments of intimacy and insight: a glimpse of Jackson, an ambitious perfectionist. Vogel occasionally undermines his hard work by giving Jackson a makeover as a romantic hero rather than a celebrity. Readers will enjoy."- Publishers Weekly  
  

Library Journal
Still lots of noise about Michael Jackson (note Frank Cascio's November title, My Friend Michael). But this book focuses not on the life but on the music, giving an often blow-by-blow analysis of Jackson's solo albums, individual songs, and videos.
Kirkus Reviews

An attempt to offer critical perspective on music that the author loves uncritically.

Vogel's goal is worthy: to rescue Jackson's artistic legacy from the distortions of the tabloid press, a celebrity-obsessed culture and the aftershocks of his shocking death. Terming his subject "the archetypical misunderstood artist," the author provides comprehensive context, detail and analysis of every Jackson solo album and every individual track (sometimes pages worth on a single song), as well as cuts that have remained unreleased. Vogel admits that he "frequently felt out of my depth" and "quickly realized that my role would necessarily be as much editor as author." The research is impressive, but the book would have benefited from better editing and more critical nuance. As he quotes a half-dozen or more reviews of an album (or track), he embraces those that are positive and discredits anything negative as an inability to listen "objectively," whatever that might mean in the field of criticism. His own escalation of superlatives and comparisons approaches delirium: "Off the Walldid for R&B what the Beach Boys'Pet Soundsdid for rock"; " 'Man in the Mirror' stands with classics such as John Lennon's 'Imagine,' Marvin Gaye's 'What's Goin' On," and the Beatles' 'Let It Be' as one of the great social anthems of the modern age." By the time readers reach this statement—"HIStorymakes a strong case for being Jackson's magnum opus—and one of the best albums by any artist in the 1990s"—the author's perspective has become increasingly difficult to trust; it's as if Vogel feels that overstatement is a necessary corrective to the critical slights the artist has suffered.

Some fans will appreciate the author's seriousness of purpose (which others will find tedious), but the book has more value as a reference work than a critical study.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781402779381
Publisher:
Sterling
Publication date:
11/01/2011
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
577,193
Product dimensions:
7.60(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

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