Burroughs Adding Machine

Social justice, arts and politics, life in New York City

Michael Jackson’s “Breaking News”

I’m an unapologetic fan of The King of Pop. When I was a kid, I remember my role as the president of the Lewis and Clark Elementary School Breakdancing Club. Don’t tell me I wasn’t rocking those parachute pants and red zippered jacket.

When Jackson died last summer, I grieved half-jokingly, half-seriously, with the interns in my office and tried to explain the real significance of Thriller–its newness, its vitality, its boundary-crossing racial implications–when it first exploded in the 80s. The key was to ignore the crazy. Despite dangling his baby over the hotel balcony, and altering his face to extremes, the man was a genius–an artist doomed by his childhood success. With that kind of fame so early in life, who wouldn’t slip into fantasy worlds?

“Breaking News” is Michael Jackson’s first posthumously released single, recorded in 2007. The song sounds like Jackson in his Bad days: lots of sampling, driving rhythms, and Jackson’s trademark howl.

The cover art, designed by painter Kadir Nelson last year, seems an homage to the playful collage art in the Beatles’ legendary albums–though with a serious spin. According to Sony: “In the oil painting, Kadir – who is known for story telling through his art – takes us on a journey through some key moments and important people in Michael Jackson’s life.”

Long live the King of Pop!

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Filed under: music, pop culture, race, , , , , , ,

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About Me

Ricco Villanueva Siasoco is a Manhattan-based writer and non-profit manager. More

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