Michael Jackson, 12 years following your voice #5
The most difficult thing, when I had to go to university with my thesis project on Michael, was to define a subject, a problematic.
How to dissociate the work of someone who wanted and thought it unified, integral? How to cut a limb, an artery of a body without seriously amputating it and altering its integrity? How to be fair, loyal (even if it is not always the spearhead of the research carried out), by hiding angles of approach which, inevitably, would have brought stones to the edifice, nourishing tracks for a global understanding?
Because what I have learned and understood is that Michael Jackson is a whole.
During my childhood, I didn't want to scratch the surface. He had this quasi-mythological status of untouchable hero, of enigma, of magician which suited me. He embodied an "anything is possible", a hope of life, of survival, of success and that was fine. He placed a horizon in front of me, a line of flight and an infinite blue sky to which I could connect by thinking of him, his accomplishments, his victories. Even his music, whose recipes I would have loved to know, was an enigma. All explanations, all myths were therefore possible. I deliberately left it at that, and called myself an "admirer" rather than a fan. I admired the secrets he hid, his gentleness, his enigmatic character, which made him, indeed, a kind of contemporary angel, a positive extrapolation of the human misery to which we belonged.
I still thought, at the threshold of the University, that I could leave it at that. To dissociate the artist from the man. To discover more about the genius Jackson without deflating the mystery of the vaporous and elusive Michael... This was not possible. And so much the better.
Because I quickly understood that the genius was embodied by the man, that his music was nourished by the blood of his veins and the air of his lungs, that his so singular voice was attached to his dancing body.
To dissociate the artist from the man was not more possible than to dissociate the music from the dance, the voice from the instruments, the melody from the harmony, the work from the message.
But it was necessary to find. Then I asked myself what was the center of everything. What element was closest to the heart. And it is the voice that imposed itself. Wasn't it, by the way, the keystone of the building and even of my relationship with him? Wasn't it the one that whispered his songs to me, in the hollow of my headphones, and made me close my eyes to imagine that studio that seemed so close, the expressions on his face when he sang, the pattern his lips formed to pronounce each word?
His voice was so connected to his heart, his soul, his guts, that it seemed to be right next door. At the time of these listenings, in the early 1980s, I was still unaware of the studio strategies implemented to serve this promiscuity, to create this intimacy. I didn't know to what extent nobody was cheating and I was right not to ask myself the question and to simply taste, with my pre-adolescent naivety, these parentheses where, as he would say so well later, time and space were abolished. ... where I was no longer alone... where I was understood by someone who did not speak my language... where he represented an ideal and a hope that would last forever, much stronger and further than I could have imagined