audio review : I’m A Mean Ole Lion ( song ) … Ted Ross

This is a song from The Wiz. “Beware,” Ted Ross, playing the role of The Cowardly Lion, warns, “This is the king of the jungle here.” He stretches that last word out to a roar, of course, and those yellow-brick bridges, laced with the royal blare of trumpets, sound magnificent. The rest of the song is also nice.

my rating : 4 of 5


audio review : I'm A Mean Ole Lion ( song ) ... Ted Ross

audio review : Morphine ( song ) … Michael Jackson

This song is addictive. It rocks and rolls as a manic Michael Jackson rants and raves; the verses mimic the fragmented thoughts of a broken addict fiending for a fix; over its intense industrial-style beat.

Demerol provides some relief; the song is a rhapsody of sorts; but it’s not the opioid of choice. He “heard what the doctor said”, but he doesn’t give a shit. He’s in pain (dammit) and he wants his Morphine.

my rating : 5 of 5


audio review : Blood On The Dance Floor [ History In The Mix ] ( album ) ... Michael Jackson

a dream I had about meeting Stevie Wonder

I don’t know where we were; it seemed like the eatery area of a shopping mall; but I was with Jamel when I saw him. “That’s Stevie Wonder,” I said aloud as I approached him. He looked skinnier and younger than he is in real life, but, at first sight, I was convinced it was him.

He was standing behind a counter like a cashier would if it really were a shopping mall as I greeted him hand to hand; something I almost certainly wouldn’t have done in real life. He had a big smile on his face; I remember his sunglasses and dreadlocks; as I showered him with praise.

I was like a typical zealous fan, telling him how much of a “legend” he was, and he seemed to appreciate it. That is until I told him, rather Jamel and the sparse spread of strangers around us, that he was “one of the big three”, listed the order and pointed out that he was “number two”.

I meant it as a compliment, meaning that, in some hyperbolic blarneying 1980s-throwback way, he was the second best or at least biggest music icon in the world, but he seemed to take it as a bit of a gibe as if I was emphasizing the fact that he wasn’t the best.

I started with number three; Prince; then named himself as number two as he continued to smile. It’s not until I apologized to “Mister Wonder”; something else I probably wouldn’t have done in real life; and said that Michael Jackson was number one that he seemed to take umbrage.

Perhaps it was the way the people around us; I remember unwittingly standing in the way of a freakishly tall guy after all this; reacted when I said it, like the crowd at a rap battle when one rapper lands a devastating insult to his opponent, that made Stevie jump to his own defense.

He wasn’t actually angry or upset, at least he didn’t seem to be, but neither was he smiling as big as he’d been until then. I don’t even remember what he said, but the gist was less how dare I say he’s not the best and more a stern declaration that he is, indeed, the best.

I mentioned what I probably wouldn’t have done in real life and I doubt Stevie Wonder would’ve really argued with me even if he disagreed. He seems humble enough and he and Michael Jackson were Good Friends, so he probably would’ve just laughed or made a joke about it.

2021 ( July 19 )

audio review : Gone Too Soon ( song ) … Michael Jackson

This is a song that uses the imagery of similes to lament a special someone or something that, “like a comet blazing cross the evening sky”, is Gone Too Soon. The vocals; both Michael Jackson’s voice and the melody it carries; are utterly marvelous. I’m not crying. Those “perfect” flowers are messing with my allergies.

my rating : 5 of 5


audio review : Will You Be There ( song ) … Michael Jackson

This song would be better without the intro; an orchestral piece that lasts for over a minute; especially considering a second one; what sounds like angels hymning; immediately follows. By the time Michael Jackson sings, his old Motown records Got To Be There and I’ll Be There would be reaching their ends.

This isn’t a romantic dedication to some girl though. As the angels suggest, it seems to be a religious calling of sorts. “Hold me like the river Jordan and I will then say to thee you are my friend,” Michael Jackson pleads, “Carry me like you are my brother, love me like a mother; Will You Be There?”

The church choir offers a similar melody to the verses, which suggests a lack of musical creativity, though it is a wondrous melody. The song, in fact, sounds like one that was destined to be made; perhaps a future standard generations of people will come to sing-along with and enjoy. It reminds me of Christmas.

The one major sin (flaw) other than the ostentatious prelude is Jackson seeming to not be able to hear what the choir is saying during the peak. “Lay your head lowly,” they sing to which he ad-libs about getting “lonely”. The coda, on which he recites a poignant poem over the music of Heaven, sounds divine.

my rating : 4 of 5


audio review : Heal The World ( song ) … Michael Jackson

This sounds like a cover of an old pop standard perhaps from the catalogue of The Carpenters. According to the credits, it’s composed entirely by Michael Jackson; its philanthropic theme is to the Dangerous album what Man In The Mirror was to Bad; with musical accompaniment from John Bahler and Marty Paich.

It’s a song mostly layered in schmaltz, but they’re beautiful oceans nonetheless. Jackson’s quivering vocal melodies sound superb. The only bruises (flaws) I can see (hear) have to do with certain words that should rhyme not rhyming (“brothers/plowshares”) and an adult starting monologue being spoken by what sounds like a kid.

my rating : 4 of 5