Thriller is the first music video I can remember seeing. I'm sure I saw glimpses of others before then, but Thriller was different. It was a neighborhood party, and the kids had been banished to the upstairs of a neighbor's house. Their son, bless him, was a teenager at least four or five years older than any of the other kids and to his credit did not immediately bar himself in his room to avoid us. Instead, he instructed us to watch the video MTV was playing. This is probably responsible both for my love of Michael Jackson's music, and my ongoing interest in the undead.
Jackson was-- is-- the King of Pop, and there will never be another. There can't be. Not because it would insult his music and video legacy, but because the cultural landscape has undergone such a massive shift that no one can ever again be that iconic, that well-known, and that well-loved. Not for long, anyway. We value marketability over talent and our attention spans are short.
I am sad that he is gone, in a detached sort of way-- as I said, I was very young when the bulk of his hits filled the airwaves, and was primarily aware of him as this strange man with a unique voice who danced like nothing I'd ever seen, and seemed to be in the tabloids an awful lot. I had no time to build a love for him to buffer the shock of the allegations against him, and the struggle to reconcile in my mind music that I loved with the possibility of truly monstrous behavior on the part of the artist was awkward, at best. There may never be a clear answer regarding those allegations. If they were true, I hope his victims can find peace. And if they were not, then lies can no longer trouble him.