Thursday, September 13, 2007


Michael Jackson's 'Off the wall' puts him back in a pizza and stromboli restaurant with his mother and sister. At that point he didn't have a clear sense of who Michael Jackson was; the Jackson 5's (and Jacksons') hits had slipped by unnoticed, so he didn't know the context for Michael as a solo artist. (The Wiz had come out the previous year, but he wouldn't see that until later.) They were eating, and the radio in the restaurant played the oohs and high-pitched cackling at the beginning of the song - a rather surreal pop moment. He thought of witches, not realizing that voice was also Michael. When the song kicked in, it felt like the first time he had really connected with R&B, and had any sense of its aesthetic. In a very white suburb of a modestly sized city in 1979, it felt exotic.