Sunday, October 05, 2008

Every now and then I'll hear a song or a part of a song that moves me so much, that I feel compelled to waste a paragraph or two in my blog discussing it. I do believe the last time I felt this way, I wrote a little blurb on Marvin Gaye's "I Want You", and as stupid as I felt writing it, I look back on it with love and appreciation now. So this morning I am sitting here reading my Sunday Washington Post, and the Michael Jackson song, "Stranger in Moscow" comes blaring through my headphones, and I was inspired to write about the greatness of this song.

In all fairness, I have to preface this explanation by saying I am the biggest heterosexual Michael Jackson fan on the planet..within reason. I have all of his music, I am working on getting all of his recordings with the Jacksons/Jackson 5, and if he released a CD today, I would buy it without having heard a single, solitary song. Matter of fact, if he announced he were going on tour right now, I would spend insane amounts of money to be there in the front row. I will NOT however cry when I see him, stutter and faint if I meet him person and shake his hand, or appear at a molestation trial while he dances on a car. A man has limits goddammit.

The song starts very innocent and quiet. First you hear a rain storm, then you hear Michael beatboxing over the beat for about a minute or so, before the main beat comes in. Its actually kind of cool, because all of the other instruments slowly come in during this time, and then Michael Jackson starts to sing.

Now I don't know about you, but MJ is at his best when he sounds like a girl, and I mean that in a respectful way. When he attempts to make his voice more gruff and masculine, it just sounds all wrong(like Palin in a debate). In this particular song, MJ's voice sounds about as girly and young as it ever has, and it sounds absolutely perfect over the beat.

MJ wrote this song when he was on tour in his hotel room while in Moscow, and he just felt absolutely lonely (kids in Moscow have to got bed early I guess). So he was so alone that he took out his pen and wrote this song in less than an hour, and it appeared on his HIStory cd two years later. I mention this because the overall tone and mood of the song is pretty dark. MJ spends the entire song telling the listener how lonely he is and how the press and KGB won't let him be. Halfway thru the song, there is a piano solo, that enhances the sad and dark mood of the song. Then towards the end of the song, the mood changes.

Instead of sounding lonely and lost, MJ switches up the mood of the song to downright anger. He's not yelling, but you can definitely hear the urgency of this situation in his voice, yet he manages not to overdo it the way I mentioned it earlier. This part of the song only lasts about a minute, but it serves as a stark contrast to the rest of the song, and it fits perfectly. After that mini-rant, the piano comes back in and ends the song. Finally, the song ends with a man speaking in Russian, which is a nice touch I guess, but I find it a bit over the top. The song is great in my eyes without it. This is my second favorite MJ song, with the first being a tie between Billie Jean and Dancing Machine.

So, I have wasted all these paragraphs on Michael Jackson and this great song, so perhaps I should link it up on the site.


JazzBrew said...

This MJ tune got past me. I'm digging it. I'll be making part of the iTunes collection tonight when I get home.

£ said...

strangersin moscow is a great song.

how does it feeeel

how DOES it feeeelll

when you're all alone and cold inside...

like stranger in moscow