Valuable information piece on the musicography of Michael Jackson and on the man
Regarding the pop icon figure Michael Jackson, many books are released. Many of them on his private life, his personal problems, and the various gossips and lies spread in UK and USA rag magazines for malevolent reasons. But never about his music, never about the technical work behind it and the creativity Michael and his colleagues did together. As to why that does not happen, the main reason would be that to some publishers, speaking about an artist’s creativity and skills is unimportant and not sellable. That it is much better to sell sensationalistic books than one presenting a singer’s craft and skills; alongside the testimonials of colleagues who can share their experiences with the man. Which is shameful as it dehumanizes musicians and omits the hard trials behind art works as their members work on them and endure many successes and errors.
But with his books, Brice Najar shatters a darkness surrounding the production of Michael Jackson’s work. And in this one, we discover the heart and soul behind Blood on The Dance Floor, album that MJ released as an unexpected surprise during the European Leg of the HIStory tour. An album consisting of six tunes, some used in his short film Ghosts which Stan Winston, Michael, and other collaborators helmed, but also original ones like Morphine, Blood Is On The Dance Floor, and Superfly Sister. Tunes that expose well the evolution of Michael Jackson’s work, but also the music industry’s reality as the Sony label asked him to put remixes that he disliked and which many fans disliked also. Which reminds to you all that although an artist can be as successful as MJ, he or she still has a boss to answer to and the boss may require elements or decisions that may not always please the artist.
So in this volume, many interviews with musical collaborators (Bryan Loren, Brad Buxer, etc.), and fans like Christophe Boulmé; who was involved in the MJ fan magazine Black And White. All sharing their life experience, how it influenced them in their musical tastes and work, and how they met Michael. Through these encounters, we discover who Michael Jackson was before them. How he was a constant gentleman, a humble man, and a professional artist with a rigour that refused to obtain acceptable or very good work, but always the best of the best.
Within these interviews, we learn the perspectives of people who met the man. Who can attest how he was. Adding, like so many hundreds people whose words I heard (fans, colleagues, friends, and professionals), the same consistent history of kindness and humanity around him. Which is not the case for other artists who have had recurring testimonials of nastiness and toxicity around them. And one of these amazing interviews is with Charlie Chaplin’s grand daughter as she got to interact and play with Michael and saw him for who he was. A man who wanted to be himself and have a chance to have fun around others that would treat him like a human being and not like a pop star like he was treated since his childhood. Something that so many people seem to hear many times, but lack to understand.
As such, we learn more about the man and the artist. And regarding the artist, what we learn goes beyond the usual silly interview in pop magazines. Here, we have studio engineers and musicians talking about their work, the devices they used, the gruelling hours, the work pressure, how they prepared their files, and how they performed under Michael Jackson’s guidance. So we learn at times about technical terms and details that make this book an experience of multiple readings. Which is what I did as I needed to read it in many periods to better digest the technicality some of the mixers spoke, but also to better enjoy the incredible research in this book.
For with this book, Brice Najar has done an attentive research with the people involved. He knows his musical culture, the work these artists have done, and he allows them to speak about what they have to say. Never interrupting them or forcing them to diverge into an unpleasant direction, which is what some journalists or Rita Skeeters tend to do in their business and it shatters the trust between the interviewer and the interviewee; as the latter realizes that the reporter has a vile agenda. Therefore, with this book, Brice allows everyone to speak what they have to say. And it is so refreshing for the reader who learns about facts he/she may not know, whether or not he/she is a fan of Michael Jackson.
As to how we can obtain the book, it would be with Amazon, through on-demand printing copies that are done according to orders done on the online purchase service. As for the volume’s print quality, the images, both in color and black-and-white, are of excellent quality and the text printed at an appropriate size, divided into two columns for each page. So readers can expect in this volume a beautiful final product. As worthy as the interviews given.
In sum, whether or not you are a Michael Jackson fan or a musicologist interested in pop culture and the work of that singer, this volume is a must. A jewel that every library should have on its shelves. And which I recommend a lot.