Michael Jackson

26 06 2009

Yugoslavia had a lot of problems: the economy, human rights, communism, the job market, to name a few. The most direct one I experienced was the lack of television programming. Most of the TV shows there, apart from news, were stolen from neighboring countries’ broadcasts. That statement is literal. The japanese game show Takeshi’s castle, or MXC on Spike TV, was dubbed in German for their broadcasts. The Serbian broadcast had three distinct audio tracks: Japanese followed by German a split second later followed by Serbian. The country didn’t have the money, for a long time, to afford silly things like broadcast rights.
This was apparent in their showing of a group of about 5 music videos almost daily. Only two of those stuck with me: the muppets performing wipeout and michael jackson’s black and white. This was years before I came to America, so my English was not very good. I couldn’t understand any of the racial themes going on. I couldn’t do much beside be amazed at how incredible the video looked. The few shows produced in Yugoslavia looked as good as public access, and that’s without your fancy shmancy cable. I ended up retaining a few of the words that I would sing to myself from time to time. That was my favorite song at the time, and when I came to America later on, Michael wasn’t really on my radar. I went through musical phases through adolescence, and it wasn’t until I returned to visit after 7 years in America that I would listen to any of his stuff again.
I got hooked after I visited an old family friend at a Serbian radio station. I dug through their backlog and got a whole mess of MJs old stuff. I loved it, partly from the nostalgia but mainly because it was pretty damn good. The stigma of the court cases, mysterious children and plastic surgeries was there before I fired up winamp. It felt weird, but when I hit the play, it was still really good.
I listened to random songs since then, keeping the music and the personality distant.
I could still always remember how his music really got me started. Serbian music was lame and black and white showed me how good it can be, how much fun it can be. This will always stick with me.

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