"Want to see an exhibition, better do it now before you get too old. 'Cause we're the party people night and day, livin' crazy that's the only way..." Michael Jackson - Off The Wall
And that my friends, is exactly how I plan to do it up this Memorial Day weekend, because today (being Friday, since I wrote this late Thursday night) is the day that I give thanks for another year of life. The big man upstairs is good all the time, all the time he is good. A day of reflection on the things I have done to get to where I am today and things I need to do to continue on my path. It is a run down of the good, the bad, the stupid and the ugly. A day to thank my Mom, Dad (I miss you), siblings, family and friends, because they all are a huge part of the person that I have become. A day to say THANK YOU to all of those who I am blessed to have in my life, to those who test me and cause me to get ignorant on the daily and to those who have been like an anvil, hanging around bringing the heavy vibes. I mean after all, we do need balance. What would we do without the haters? So all in all, I would like to say Happy Birthday to all my May people, Happy Birthday to all my Geminis and Happy Birthday to me!
On that note, I had to do it up right today for the album of the week. It would be absolute blasphemy if I did not do a write up on the album that means more to me than life itself. This is my favorite album of all time and I am sure many of you out there feel the same as well...
My friend Chris Rizik, publisher of Soutracks wrote a piece on the anniversary of Thriller and what it means to us. In his article, he stated, "I'd argue that Off The Wall was front to back his greatest release." And let me tell you, I wholeheartedly agree with that statement. Qunicy and Michael set out to make a good album, yet delivered a masterpiece. In their eyes, it may not be Thriller, but in my eyes it may have well been. I remember the day I received this album like it was yesterday. My aunt in Brooklyn went out and purchased the album and mailed it to me in Montreal by express mail, for my birthday gift. Yes I waited all the way 'til May to get it even though it was released in August, I had no perception or concept of time at blah blah years old! So on May 23rd 1980, this album was mailed to me and there I was in my glee, playing the album over and over again all day long. My mom was Michael-Jacksoned-out by the end of the day, but she still sat and sang or hummed every song with me (that's what mommies do). And all I could do was sit and stare at my album jacket full spread on the floor in awe, wishing that I could be next to Michael in the picture with his arm around me. And oh the hypnotizing effect those glowing socks had! I still believe that the lyrics to all of the songs on the album are etched into my psyche and there they will remain. Even though "PYT" from Thriller is my favorite pick me up song, it just doesn't have the same heartwarming effect as "It's The Falling In Love" with Patti Austin. Michael had your ass in a frenzy dancing nonstop starting with "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough", then you chill a bit with "Rock With You" and then had your pulse going again with "Workin' Day And Night" and "Get On The Floor" back to back. It was insane! Then they decide to take it down a notch with "Off The Wall", listening to him blackmail his chick on "Girlfriend" and then having you want to console him on "She's Out Of My Life" (maybe because of the blackmailing?) And just when you started to feel sorry for his ass because his girl left him, he ups the ante with "I Can't Help It" and "It's The Falling In Love" and then you drink your Redbull so that you can ride out to "Burn This Disco Out". Now is that brilliance or what?
Off The Wall went on to become the third best selling album in 1980, the best selling r&b album of that year and believe it or not only garnered Michael one stinking Grammy. Surprising, I know. I know that Grammy's are the awards that are given to you by your peers, but really, I prefer the one's that come from the fans. It's just too bad that they come in the guise of an American Music Award. Anyhow, this album was graced by the likes of amazing writers, producers and singers of our time. Paul McCartney, Rod Temperton and Stevie Wonder's writing skills, Randy Jackson's technique, Patti Austin's vocals, David Foster and Quincy Jones' magic and these are just to name a few–but name it, they were there doing what they all do best. And the end result is nothing short of a piece de resistance. Of course I have a copy of the album on CD, but my album copy, the sentimental copy, has seen the best of times and the worst of times. It is a bit battered since Michael had to dance with me all the time, but the album jacket has taken a lickin' and is still hanging on. Off The Wall is the number one album in my collection and there is no other album that will ever take its place–believe that.
So the flashback of the day is OF COURSE Michael like we love to remember him– a dark skinned, slim, woman loving, dancing fool. We just couldn't get enough of him...but honestly again, we miss you Michael!
Have a safe and wonderful long weekend...I know I will!