An infrequently updated dumping ground for one culture junkie's thoughts on film and whatever else

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Bloodstains on the carpet

I was never a Michael Jackson fan, and I continue to be weirded out by all the cultural obsessiveness over his death/funeral, but I do have one MJ memory that seems worth recording.

I'm sure I'm not the only member of my generation for whom "Smooth Criminal" was a Michael Jackson song second and a shitty Alien Ant Farm cover first. This cover was briefly ubiquitous for a spell in what Wikipedia says was 2001 (but what I could've sworn was the late '90s), and as with many such hits, I thoroughly absorbed it into my bloodstream without particularly giving a shit about it. Then, some time later, after the cover's glory had faded, I listened—or paid attention—to the original "Smooth Criminal" for the first time, and it was a revelation. Like, wait, that annoying thing from MTV was actually this? Not only was it a gorgeous, electrifying pop song; it exuded a stylish sense of danger, a sense of cool, that the Alient Ant Farm version didn't even come close to capturing. I'm sure this is all no-shit-Sherlock stuff to MJ fans (which apparently is fucking everybody; I seriously had no idea that the man was regarded as anything but an '80s relic turned creepy psycho), but to me it was (and is even more now that I'm revisiting it) a pretty cool piece of news.

(I chanced to walk into a video store the other day while it was playing Michael Jackson videos on the TV, and this song caught my ear in a pleasant manner. Then they showed the one with an interminable intro starring George Wendt and Macauly Culkin. I think George Wendt got launched into outer space for some reason.)

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