Rant Of The Day THIS RANT 26/02/98

Rant Of The Day is where I get to mouth off about whatever I feel like for however long I like. Theoretically, I'll update my whinge/opinion piece every weekday; in practice, maybe not so often.

Why Michael Jackson sucks as a poet

At Gusworld, we know all about bad poetry; indeed we have a section of the site devoted to it. This has not been updated for a while, and now we can reveal the reason why; try as we might, there's no way we'll be able to outdo Michael Jackson. Yes, the Michael Jackson, King of Pop, singer of 'Billie Jean', groper of Elvis' daughter, rapidly declining superstar and all-round weirdo.

Michael's poetic output is contained in a single slim volume, 1992's publishing flop Dancing The Dream: Poems And Reflections By Michael Jackson. It seems safe to assume the book was a flop because (a) we got it for $4.95 new, one-fifth of its original price and (b) it's far too awful to have been a success. We won't go on too much about the reflections here, other than to observe that Michael must have been looking in a very small mirror at the time. The surprisingly hardcover book has 150 pages, but only around a third of these have text and I'd be surprised if there was more than 10,000 words in the whole thing.

But anyway, on to the crap poetry. Anyone's who has heard Michael's songs knows his lyrics tend to more syrup than Strawberry Shortcake, and two of the songs from 1991's Dangerous album ('Heal The World' and 'Will You Be There') make it, along with that disc's dedication piece, a mindless piece of prose called 'The Dance'. But a much lower standard of crud is on offer.

If I tell you that one of Michael's poems features the lines "We are like ripples/In the sea of Bliss", you may decide to stop reading right now. If not, consider this verse:

Who am I?
Who are you?
Where did we come from?
Where are we going?
What's it all about?
Do you have the answers?

Must've worked on that one for a long time, Mikey. But it gets worse:

Even tho I traveled far
The door to my soul stayed ajar
In the agony of mortal fear
Your music I did not hear
Thru twisting roads in memory lane
I bore my cross in pain

If this is all that's needed to get a publishing contract for poetry, teenagers the world over would be rejoicing. Incidentally, it would take a much better poet than Michael to use the words 'capricious anomaly' (as he does) in a poem about anything.

Those dedicated to proving Michael is a sicko child molester (a theory which seems to crucially depend on his knowing what his genitals are for) might also find some scant evidence in here. There are pieces entitled 'The Boy And The Pillow' and 'When Babies Smile', and one verse features the lines

Children of the world, we'll do it
With song and dance and innocent bliss
And the soft caress of a loving kiss
We'll do it

Another proclaims "Just find that child, he's hiding in you" and then there's this priceless observation:

[Love is] like a bar of soap in the bathtub -- you have it in your hand until you hold on too tight.

Err, quite. All this is more likely, though, to prove that the man has lost it than that he's found it in a kindergarten.

To add to the overall effect, there are numerous pictures of Michael dancing, a state which invariably produces a facial expression somewhat akin to constipation. These are quite scary, but not as bad as some of the photos featured (like the one you can see here).

In the 1980s, like most music fans, I liked what Michael did. Compared to the contents of the Thriller and Bad albums, everything he's done since is pretty pathetic (even if he did write 'Do The Bartman' under a pseudonym). Nonetheless, he's still a much better performer than he is a poet.

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