Tuesday, June 30, 2009
It was the summer of 1983, I was 15 years old. My days were spent at my mother’s cottage just an hour outside of the city. I remember going to buy the Thriller album with my mom it was vinyl 33 and a third, CD’s were many years away let alone digital music. The album had already spun five top ten single and would go on for a record seven. It was Jackson mania, Billie Jean, Beat it, the moonwalk and those video’s were groundbreaking. I remember dancing on the balcony trying desperately to master the art of spinning around like Michael did. Anybody who knows me, can tell I learned to dance from the Michael Jackson school. This was my era my “time”, growing up in one of the most exciting and innovative times in music.
When his follow up “Bad” came out in 1987 I was already all grown up, and heavily into buying my own music. Bad is still my favourite Jackson album, unlike Thriller he wrote most of the album himself. I found the tunes had so much more energy and drive. Smooth Criminal is still my favourite video and song followed by Man In The Mirror penned by Siedah Garrett and Glen Ballard. How fitting that this week Man in the Mirror is the highest new entry at #11 on the UK charts and could be #1 next week.
Being a Jackson fan over the years was not easy as his life decayed into a circus of rumours, weirdness, and his face constantly morphing. Not much of it bothered me until the scandals and allegations of child abuse appeared. Now no one will ever know the truth. I actually stopped listing for a while. I felt ashamed every time I would hear Billie Jean at a wedding or event not knowing if I should dance or not.
June 25th had mixed emotions for me. It was the death of an era, my years growing up, a time of innocence. No doubt Jackson had a troubled childhood. He became the biggest star in the universe but I wonder was it all worth it to have it decay and fade out at 50. Was he really happy? His comeback was literally just around the corner with 50 concerts planned in the UK, but that was not meant to happen. A truly sad ending. Now I listen once again to those drums and the famous baseline that started it all...
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Review: Pet Shop Boys album “Yes” (Released on 23 March in the UK and April 21 in the USA)
20 years later the boys are still putting out excellent pop music and remain masters at dance and electronica. This time around they hire Brian Higgins and his power machine Xenomania (Sugababes, Girls Aloud) to help co-write and produce some of the tracks. The team up produces a very cohesive, although sometimes homogenized modern pop album. Best tracks are “Did You See Me Coming?” with its beautiful guitar backing, “Beautiful People” and “Pandemonium” which sounds like classic Pet Shop Boys (think “Can You Forgive Her’). The album gets beautifully haunting with “All Over The World” a track that borrows from Tchaikovsky Nutcracker and the poetic war song “Building A Wall” where Neil sings "There's no where to defect to any more, I'm building a wall A fine wall Not so much to keep you out More to keep me in". Many have said this is their best since their 1993 album "Very" 8.5/10
The Boys will be kicking off their North America tour at the end of the summer in Montreal and continue throughout the month of September.
Aug 29—Montreal, Canada (Metropolis)
Sept 1—New York, NY (Hammerstein)
Sept 2—New York, NY (Hammerstein)
Sept 3—Washington, DC (Constitution Hall)
Sept 5—Boston, MA (House of Blues)
Sept 6—Atlantic City, NJ (House of Blues)
Sept 9—Miami, FL (Fillmore)
Sept 10—Tampa, FL (Tampa Bay PAC)
Sept 11—Orlando, FL (House of Blues)
Sept 12—Atlanta, GA (Chastain)
Sept 14—Chicago, IL (Chicago Theater)
Sept 15—Milwaukee, WI (Pabst Ballroom)
Sept 19—Vancouver, BC (Vancouver Centre of Performing Arts)
Sept 20—Seattle, WA (Moore)
Sept 22—San Francisco, CA (Warfield)
Sept 23—San Francisco, CA (Warfield)
Sept 24—Los Angeles, CA (Greek Theatre)
Sept 26—Las Vegas, NV (Joint)