Thursday, June 25, 2009

Et tu, Triple-J?

Yeah, I know. Michael Jackson has croaked. Shuffled off. Yipped his last yipped, hooted his last 'woo!', moonwalked into the great darkness without a curtain call. Fine. Yes. I get it.

I even accept his place in the pantheon of modern music.

But I never actually liked his stuff. Not when he was the only thing on the airwaves. Not even later, when it became trendy to retroactively appreciate his ouevre. I'm sorry if you're a big Jacko fan, but his greatest ventures were in the pop realm, and they always seemed like over-produced crap without real substance behind them to me. Jacko's spiritual and musical successors are people like Britney Spears.

So... I guess I'd better stop listening to the radio for a few days. Because even goddam Triple J was full of nothing but the Wackster this morning. And for fuck's sake: they wouldn't play his stuff while he was alive, so how come now that he's dead it's all they wanna put to air?

...normally I'd just switch to the classical station when the Jays start spewing crap. Today I'm too frightened. Last thing I wanna hear is an orchestral Jackson marathon.


  1. At least it's not your birthday!

  2. He was a Class A weirdo.

    But he was OUR Class A weirdo, damnit.

    It should also be noted that Jackson was from Gary, Indiana. I don't know how many of you have ever seen or been to Gary, Indiana, but it is an awful place. Completely devoid of color and hope. The fact that he and his family escaped Gary is a triumph in and of itself.

    I have happy memories attached to Michael Jackson. Thriller was the very first vinyl album I ever owned. I danced to it all the time. I always wanted to know the guy on that album cover, with the gheri curl, the white Miami Vice suit and the baby tiger he was holding.

    Like I said. He was a weirdo. But he was our weirdo.

  3. his personal life Michael was pretty messed up. No doubt.

    But his "Thriller" video changed the direction of music. No doubt.

    The visuals--he turned pop music into theatrics in a way no one has been able to do before or since with the exception of Madonna.

  4. I'm getting one of those NOFX anti-Bush T-shirts and changing it to 'Not MY Weirdo' then.

    Weirdo. Alleged kiddy fiddler. Musically irrelevant for 20 years. And not, repeat NOT, deserving of being played on Triple J.

  5. Yes, I agree. He's achieved success far greater than I could ever imagine, thus I must mock him and say he's irrelevant.

    Suddenly I feel better about myself. My shortcomings don't seem as short. My penis has grown several more inches (making it three now).

    The great thing about the dead: they can't respond. Or call the police when you touch them.

  6. I'll leave one more thing: Dirk, Yobbo, I respect you guys. But this stuff here is crap.

  7. Take a deep breath Flinthart - no one was trying to fool you - the man is dead. It's not a riddle. It's not a conspiracy theory. Kudos for figuring that one out.

    I did not care his for music either. Nor do I listen to the many great artists that come from Australia, especially their lesser known writers. I do appreciate them though. Every last diggerydo one of them.

    Seriously though, chill out and let the man's body do the same.

  8. well, I like some of his songs, I guess thats OK, to be honest, if its not, then bad fucking luck for those people. Like yourself, I heard the first song this morning and went, " Just fucking great, all these fuck-wads of DJ's/radio stations or whatever the hell they have now called themselves will try and beat us to death with MJ music, talk about a useless lot of C*&TS, fucking shits me. this, Lets play the arse off it, now the bloke is dead.

  9. I too was never a fan of his music - although I agree he did a lot to advance the video music clip.

    Frankly, I say good riddance to the kiddy fiddling weirdo. I look forward to the 'tell all' revelations from his former staff.

  10. Cartguy... mate, do you even know what the hell Triple J is or stands for? It stands for everything that Jackson wasn't. It stands for The Alternative. It is The Alternative to processed, generic, clonal pop, flashy video in place of musical advancement, style over substance. Playing MJ on Triple J is blasphemy. One track, sure. He's passed on, we're sad, thanks and goodnight. But any more than that - get off my damn radio station.

    I stand by my sentiments, each of which are factual beyond dispute. Weirdo, alleged kiddy fiddler, and musically irrelevant for 20 years - or eighteen if you consider the 'Black and White' video's services to digital rendering as a contribution to music.

  11. It's an era I remember the most.Hm--like, the very first music video I ever saw-Michael's at the roller rink.

    And what about Farah? Seems the Jackson's death is over shadowing the very chick almost every man had a poster of pinned up in their garage!

  12. I remember not understand why everyone was so cut up about Kurt Cobain back when that happened.

    I guess it was because I was 13 and had no music credibility. ;) I knew about "grunge" but I didn't have the obsessive madness about Kurt Cobain that many of my fellows did.

    Triple J like the music tributes - I remember hearing HEAPS of INXS after Hutchence did himself in with that belt.

  13. I'm with GC on that one...I was not at all affected by Cobain's death, beyond just the sadness that a life was lost and there was a child involved. I always preferred Dave Grohl to Cobain.

  14. Cartguy - another backlash you may be missing is that JJJ is a nearly unique radio station.

    However, it is often seen as being 'purer' than the usual complete garbage that is Australian commercial radio. Having JJJ play Michael Jackson is like watching the pope hope out of the popemobile and have a cigarette and a beer at a pub.

    There's nothing that says he can't, it's just unsettling to watch.

    JJJ have also been confronting about being 'too early' - My most moving ever piece of radio was Helen Razor's comments spoken less than a few hours after Kurt Cobain's suicide.

    (Which I just spent ten minutes failing to find on the internet.)

  15. Triple J playing MJ just gives them all the morning off.

  16. Ysambart, I reckon having JJJ play a morning of MJ would be like the Pope hanging his drunken arse out the Popemobile window then performing a burnout on the forecourt of St Peter's Basilica.

  17. Yeah, what Silentwhisper said, Farah Faucet (is it still Majors I never kept up) died too.

    Does this mean our ABC will be filled with repeat marathon episodes of 'Charlie's Angels'

  18. Jeez, some of you buggers are tad oversensitive, aren't you?

    Cartguy: you can smoke a turd for all of me. You will note that my first paragraphs acknowledge the Wackster's importance to modern music. You will also note that later paragraphs speak directly to my personal opinion of his music.

    Last time I checked, response to music was a Permitted Personal Expression. Since I'm a big fan of Permitted Personal Expressions, I'm going to stick right by my statements: I loathed the guy's music. I find it to be overproduced, and without a lot of the kind of content that moves me. And yes: his videos did change the face of pop music, leading -- as I mentioned -- directly to modern Britney Spears stuff.

    I never said a goddam word about his lifestyle and choices. That's not my style, and if anybody 'round here is dumb enough to respond negatively without reading what I wrote, that's your tough, chewy, sticky shit. On the other hand, if you wanna come butting into my space to tell me how my personal opinions on somebody's music are "crap" you're going to have to expect a solid broadside in passing.

    And as for Triple-J: yes, I listen because it's got some interesting, fresh, not-mainstream overproduced music from time to time, and I'm grateful for that. I understand musical tributes, but I still remain puzzled by a tribute from a station that never played the guy while he was alive...

  19. ... unless you've somehow deduced a Massive Conspiracy of Hate from nicknames like "Jacko" and "The Wackster". In which case, you're as paranoid as a rightwing radio commentator, and you should look for a job with Fox. Because I routinely nickname pretty much every public figure to whom I refer in this space.

  20. Calm down, calm down. Flint I disagree with your opinion of MJs music (that produced before 1990 anyway) but like you said thats not the issue. I have heard JJJ playing Michael Jackson heaps, its not always on their playlist but it gets wheeled out every now and then as a novelty and there are certain songs like Smooth Criminal that get popular again every decade or so by new artists.

    Taking that into consideration I think its reasonable for JJJ to spend a day marking his passing. They'd do the same thing for Kylie and shes even more of the same of what you appear to disdain. If its not back to normal by monday you may have a case but for now I think you should just let the music play.

    Disclosure/ have not turned on Radio yet today

  21. Flinthart:

    You speak of your right to dislike his music, and you have every right to (though comparing him to Britney Spears may reasonably bring your taste into question – one revolutionized the industry while the other has been successful at merely staying in the spotlight) but that wasn’t the point of my comment. I’m not a Michael Jackson fan, to be honest. I have fond childhood memories of dancing to his records with my sister around the age of five, but that’s the extent of it. And I never made a comment about his lifestyle or choices either, if you noticed. You assumed I left that comment because I either disagreed with your musical tastes or because you assumed that I assumed you had a problem with his life and the controversies surrounding it. Well, that’s a whole lot of ass to go around. And you’d be wrong on every count.

    I had a problem with your post because you spent more time bashing a man that had just died than lamenting your radio station (which was in the title of your post, Jackson or the station?). I left you a nasty comment because you’re a good guy, and trashing a guy that has just passed away is classless, the lowest of the low. Regardless of what you think of his music or his life, he has family members that care about him. Having a large family myself, I’ve seen more death than I should at my age, and I know what it’s like to lose someone you care about. And bashing (and comparing him to Spears and what that implies, along with devoting a paragraph to how many different puns you can muster to drive home the point he is in fact dead, is “bashing) someone hours after their death is just an a-hole thing to do. You have every right to do it, just like I have every right to tell you how out of line it is. You also have the right to delete my comments should you choose, but that would reflect you more than it would me.

    I’m also flattered you feel I have enough talent to work for Fox News. However, I feel I’m not well qualified. Someone who would take shots at the recently departed is more their style.

  22. Grow up.

    I said nothing at all about Mr Jackson. I commented on his music. Lobes has very reasonably and maturely offered his opinion on the man's music, and you'll note I've got nothing to say about that: it's his opinion, and he's welcome to it, and the free expression thereof.

    There are a large number of dead artists. If we are no longer allowed to pass comment on their music or art in the wake of their death, we're living in some kind of PC lala land. Farrah Fawcett just died. It hasn't turned her movies into works of seminal genius.

    The death of the man is a completely different matter to his music, and to his music being -- in my opinion -- overplayed on a radio station which normally doesn't play his stuff. I passed no comment whatsoever on the meaning of his death, nor its impact on family, friends, pets, foreign powers, Iranian protestors or anyone else.

    You're back in paranoia-land. I have nothing at all to say about Michael Jackson personally, nor his death. I reserve the right to dislike his music, and to say as much in public because that's the nature of art and music: it's in the public eye, and it's up for public assessment. Jackson himself understood as much, I suspect.

    I didn't compare him to Spears. I said that the changes he made to music led directly to her, and her ilk. If you're really interested in a shitload of pointless debate, I can walk back through the progression of pop videos and discuss thematic linkages, visual techniques and the rest -- but frankly, I don't think I need to bother. Michael Jackson made a particular kind of pop, and supported it with a particular kind of video. Britney Spears attempts to work in the same kind of genre. If you don't like that, I'm really not sure what can be done about it. Maybe tell Britney to STFU, I suppose -- but though I don't think much of her music either, I figure she's got as much right to create it as the Wackster did.

    Dying doesn't make somebody a saint, inviolate. If I'd made some of the comments that turned up from other people, you might have reason to criticize. But I didn't make them. I spoke about the man's music, and my response to it, and my response to the radio station.

    One thing I like about you, Cartguy: you've never seen a handle you couldn't fly off of. Now, if you're through chewing me out for a lot of shit that I manifestly didn't say, do or imply, maybe you can take a bit of time and use that logic and rhetoric to convince me that there's a good reason to appreciate MJ's music.

    I've been waiting for somebody to try, but so far Lobes is the only one to speak up in direct defense of the music, and he hasn't said a thing about what, in particular, makes it worthy.

  23. Flinthart:

    As I thought I had made quite clear in my last comment, I am not a Jackson fan and you have every right to not like his music. That wasn’t the point of my original comment to you.

    If you think saying Michael Jackson paved the way for Britney Spears isn’t comparing the two, well, I can’t help you much there. It’s pretty plain and clear.

    I never said criticizing or commenting about a dead person was off limits. But there’s quite a difference between criticizing or commenting about someone who has recently died – and by “recently” I mean less than a few hours – and someone who has been dead for some time. That should be apparent.

    I fly off handles, eh? I like to think I have passion, sure. It helps give me motivation to go against what I feel is unjust. I called my old JS blog “Nemesis” for a reason. However, if I’m flying off the handle currently it’s only to protect your reputation from yourself.

  24. MJ curled off the tail end of a great period of music, so I wouldn't call Hume groundbreaking, musically. But then I like wolfmother, a very unoriginal band, so being original doesn't really matter.

  25. Wow, ya know I've only been on here for a little over a month and Ya'll have been nice enough to tolerate my infiltration(Cartguy is my mentor).

    I've read enough to see that the majority of you have been reading each others stuff for many years in some instances. I think that's awesome. I certainly hope that the death of someone that none of us have ever met would not cause a rift between such a tight community of great writers.

    What I'll say is that I WAS a fan but yesterday when one of the gals at work said "Well that's Ed Mcmahon and Farah Fawcett....these things always come in threes."

    I thought for sure it would be Patrick Swayze and when I found out it was M.J. I was relieved for some reason. I don't know either of them but Swayze will make me sadder for some reason. I'm not sure if everyone deserves respect when they die just like I don't think you should always feel sorry for old people. Some of them have been assholes their entire life and just because they are old now doesn't mean shit.

  26. Heidi Germanaus:

    Flinthart and I have been in debates before. The great thing about him is he doesn't take any of it personally, and neither do I. When it's done, it's done. I think highly of Dirk and that won't change. He's a good man. This post, to me, is just in poor taste shortly after a man's death. I believe everyone deserves a time of respect after they die, even if they were a pain in the ass while living.

    Admit it - you chose Swayze for his looks.

  27. I admit it. And when he does go I will drop to my knees and cry out "Dalton!!!!!". "Roadhouse" is the best/worst movie ever.

  28. Gents, for what it's worth, I've had an attempt to try and explain as best I can why it is that Triple J - at least to my generation of Australian kids - is possibly the single most important thing IN THE WORLD. Or at least it was to me growing up. Like the kids who were teenagers when the Stones and the Beatles first started up - that sort of fundamental earth-shake - Triple J reinvented music for me when I first got to hear it. And it's why I personally get very defensive about any sign of the place selling out or having its values compromised. Anyway it's over at my joint - here if you don't know it - apols for the lame threadjack Flinty, not sure if it's appropriate but thought I should have an attempt at explainifying (or at least contextualising) my reasonably robust comments above.

  29. And Cartguy- even Dahmer, Bundy or Gacy deserved respect?

  30. Triple J is -- yeah, even for me -- a bit of an institution. And if you're of the opinion I'm being tasteless regards Mr Jackson, Cartguy, we're gonna disagree. The man is the man. The music is the music.

    Beethoven led to Stravinsky. That's not a comparison. That's a matter of musical history. You can argue it, but it will take evidence and considerable rational discussion.

    Beethoven was more concerned with melodic development and formal structure in his music, whereas Stravinsky deliberately eschewed the established forms precisely to achieve the effect of alienating the audience, and forcing them to react in new ways. That's a comparison. Again, it's open to argument, but

    Michael Jackson's approach to pop music led to Britney Spears. That's not a comparison. That's a matter of pop music history. It's open to argument, naturally, but I don't really think it's worth the effort because we've both seen the video history in between. I personally think it's a given.

    Michael Jackson's work was relatively original and his videography was certainly different to what was happening in his time. Britney Spears shows no sign of originality that I can see, and her videography is reminiscent of every other teeny-bop queen with a belly-button.

    That's a comparison.

    Now, here's a statement: I don't like Jackson's music. (No, I don't like Kylie Minogue's either. Well spotted, Lobes.) Dead or not, it makes no difference. Five minutes dead, five years dead, five centuries dead. (There are composers from the sixteenth century whose work I find quite dull. That's no reflection on them as people.)

    You're not protecting my rep from anybody. I can either do that for myself, or fail for myself. And other than yourself, I've seen nobody who has decided that I'm somehow trespassing on the Wackster's death. In fact, I've been extremely careful to make no comment on his life, his death, or his history in any way, beyond the use of irreverent nicknames.

    An artist's body of work exists independently of them. It remains open to criticism regardless of the artist's state of mind, body, or immortal soul. Yesterday, I could have said "I don't like Michael Jackson's music" and nobody would have blinked.

    Today he's dead. I have no experience of the man personally, and to my mind, no right to comment about what his death may or may not mean to his family, etc. Further: I have no emotional investment in the man. Regrettably, I don't actually have the capacity to be particularly interested in his death, any more than I was in his life.

    But I still don't like his music. And my favourite radio station tried to feed me rather an unexpected lot of it this morning, which was disappointing.

    And... Lobes? Frank Sinatra died in 1998. I was listening to a lot of Triple J back then. I can remember news items. I can remember a bio. I can remember 'em leading into the bio with Sinatra music, and punctuating the bio with Sinatra music.

    But I don't remember hearing Sinatra stuff back and forth every time I turned on the radio. And I'd argue that Sinatra played a pretty damned big part in modern music too...

    (Nope. Don't really like Sinatra's music either.)

  31. Well Flint I know and I think you know too that your're stretching it to compare Michael jackson to Frank Sinatra. Jacko was a funk singer who progressed to a pop star. Frank was, well Frank. He predated the boomers that loved Jackos music and you wouldnt say that Frank represented much to the generation born after the late 1960's.

    Agreed Frank was a historical figure in music but he was a generation apart from the Beatles and Elvis let alone Jacko and Kylie. 2 of those three were pop. One was an old style singer. I dont have to expolain whos who. and whats the diff

    Im not going to try and convine you that you should like Jackos music because that would be silly and pointless but i will point out that as a solo artist and as part of the Jackson 5 he was a termendous funk singer. I have a deep and abiding love of funk and soul music and have a serious collection of artists like Parliament, Bil Withers, Diana Ross and Jimmy Smith to name a few. Michael Jackson was possibly more influential than any of those and his use of Quincy Jones as a producer for Off The Wall rewrote muscial production from a new angle.

    I have not bneen interested in Jacko music since oh about 1990 but for a decade or two before then he was the shit. If JJJ wants to spend a day or two introducing his music to a bunch of teenagers who may or may not like it than I think thats no bad thing.We all know the bad Jacko songs but today I have busted out some absolute funk classics from hima and the jackson 5. reaklly great.

    Hes history anbd he died today. You can disdain him but you cant and you shouldnt ignore his music. Its much too good to have bneen written by an eccentric paedo addicted to cosmetic surgery but who the fuck are we to judge an artist?? he was good at what he did (unttil about 1989) and for a long time he cruised on his reputation when the post 1990 songs were really not that good. But I dont care, I judge all his songs indiviudually never on his lifetime acheivement. From about 1970 to 1989 he was a fucking genius and no matter what his songs still speak to me.

    Sorry so pissed just got home from a club but as you imagine im very tired and emotional and hed to respond. excuse the typos and please ask for any furtehr extrapolation of ideas.


  32. Wowee. So much ranting over one man. He must have some impact in life and death then.

    His music is GREAT to dance to. He lived a traumatized life. Those who think money makes folks happy should take a glance at the lives of the rich and famous, especially in Hollyweird.

    I don't believe he was a pedophile. I think he could relate well to children and that the media blew that up as well as parents looking to get rich in a litigious society.

    MJ had to become a recluse and was a tormented soul. But he loved kids, not in a sick way either. That shite is media driven, imnsho.
    They have nothing better to talk about or do. America's three main values are fame, greed and violence. Sad but true.

    I feel blessed to have been born here and as a result have had a life of freedom to do and live in ways I would not have otherwise..I am privileged and then not...there's always a tradeoff. But I will say that Americans are friendly folks and generous and while imperialistic which I disagree with, it has many beautiful things about it.

    But I digress. MJ was a different kind of person. He sold more copies of Thriller than any artist in history. I'd like to accomplish something that huge in my little life. It has to suggest a modicon of talent.

    And I wish my body could move like his. Damn. I love watching him dance.

    And when he was little and on the Ed Sullivan Show, well, I'm sorry but he was simply adorable and yes, talented from innate beginnings.

    So, there you go. Like the man or not, he did his thing and now he's dead and someday we all will be too. I hope people will have the decency to remember and say good things about me instead of bad, of which I'm sure there are many. But I guess it won't matter as dead is dead. Still...

    Some degree of respect should be offered to those who are no longer fortunate enough to be alive and joyful to be so.

    Let him be.

    His life was short and unhappy. Sad. I wouldn't wish it on anyone no matter who they are. Gay, weird, good, bad, indifferent.

  33. Heidi Germanaus said...

    "And Cartguy- even Dahmer, Bundy or Gacy deserved respect?"

    ROFLMAO. Yeah, rightio.

  34. Lobes -- I've already acknowledged his place in music history, and I've absolutely stayed away from any of the allegations surrounding him. I reserve judgement completely, because I don't have any evidence or knowledge of my own. Obviously, I do think he was a tad on the flaky side (there's rather a lot of evidence for that) but flaky doesn't equal harmful, or dangerous, or even dislikeable. And hell: he had plenty of reason to flake around the edges.

    I have to admit that Funk never really did much for me. It's not a movement I dislike, and there have been a few examples (none that spring to mind) which were cool enough, but none on my MP3 player, if you see what I mean.

    I think I'd have to learn a lot more about the technicalities of Funk to be able to understand what made MJ an outstanding performer/artist, (No question about his dance and choreography abilities, though.) and I expect that ultimately my response is personal. I do know that in general, I prefer a more immediately human, less engineered and orchestrated sound in the music I like.

    In fact, some of the stuff I like is so stripped back it's probably unapproachable to most people. I'm really fond of an album by Norse jazz sax player Jan Garbarek riffing over the top of the Hilliard Ensemble, a Gregorian group. Engineering? Well... it's possible they've put some reverb on the sound. Or just as possibly, they recorded in one of the traditional environments for Gregorian chant, which tend to reverb like hell.

    The thing is that when music actually speaks to me, I can quite articulately explain why -- could do so with the album I just mentioned, but don't see the point in the space here. But when the music doesn't reach me, I find I have to investigate carefully and learn technicalities before I can understand what makes one artist better than another. Which is why I was asking.

    That's all without denying the Wackster's place in music, as I've said several times. I'd have to be an idiot not to recognize that there must be something there. It's just not something that reaches me at all.

    Difficult life for the man; maybe death will let him be easy.

  35. David Garrett has combined a Mozart and MJ piece on the violin on his new album that's really well done. Think you'd like that one.

  36. Likely Mozart would have liked it too!

  37. "counting the minutes -- no, the seconds! -- until we get our lives back, and wondering what the fuck we did this for...."

    though that could describe most the time spent once you embark on the 'adventure' of being a parent.

    We saw a performace of 'The Mikado' done by children in year 2, 3 & 4. 'nuff said.

  38. Ahh...heated online discussions....It is so nice to see that some things never change.