We Are Forever

Joie:  So Willa, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about all of the Michael Jackson songs that are still ‘in the vault,’ so to speak. You know, all those as of yet still unreleased tunes that we may or may not ever hear, or the ones that have leaked over the years and sound pretty much finished but, still have never been released on an actual album (I’m thinking specifically of “Slave to the Rhythm” and “Blue Gangsta” here but, there are others). And I wonder if we’ll ever see these songs released on a future posthumous album.

Willa:  I don’t know. I sure hope so, though I can understand how the Estate might feel a little cautious after the Michael album and all the controversy that generated. It’s a complicated issue, as we talked about last spring, with knowledgeable, well-intentioned people passionately committed to very different points of view. And really, there are valid arguments pulling me different directions on this.

Joie:  I know, me too. Both sides have really wonderful, valid arguments and it’s easy to see the merits of both. And thinking about all of this has made me take a closer look at the material that has been released since Michael’s passing three and a half years ago. Specifically, I’ve been looking at the Michael album and, you know, I can’t blame the Estate for being confused or wary at this point. The fans’ reaction to that album was so split down the middle and so vicious. On one side, you had the fans who really wanted this album and were so looking forward to hearing new, unreleased material in any form. But then on the other side you had the very large faction of fans who vehemently did not want any of Michael’s work to be touched or “finished” by other producers and just wanted the material released ‘as is.’

Willa:  And then there are conflicted fans like me who agree with both sides. I think it’s very important that other artists be allowed to reinterpret his work – very important – but I also want to know what his vision was, and what his “unfinished” work sounded like.

Joie:  It’s sort of like they’re damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

Willa:  But why can’t we have both – new material released “as is,” alongside more polished versions completed by others?

Joie:  I don’t know; why can’t we have both? That sounds like a wonderful compromise to me and it gives the fans – all of the fans, from both sides of this issue – exactly what they want. But we’re getting a little sidetracked here.

What I really wanted to talk about is the Michael album. Or rather, a specific song from  that album – “Best of Joy.” So, as you know, Willa, this is not only my favorite of the new songs we’ve heard since Michael’s passing, it has quickly become one of my most favorite songs ever. I just love it.

Willa:  I know – in fact, I’ve mentally redubbed it “Best of Joie” just because you love it so much….

Joie:  It is so special to me for so many reasons. One of which is the fact that it was the last song Michael ever worked on in a studio before he died. I just find that knowledge so touching and so powerful somehow because to me, the lyrics of this song almost sound as if he’s saying goodbye.

 
I am your joy
Your best of joy
I am the moonlight
You are the spring
Our love’s a sacred thing
You know I always will love you
I am forever
  
I am your friend
Through thick and thin
We need each other
We’ll never part
Our love is from the heart
We never say I don’t need you
We are forever

All through the song, it’s as if he’s reminding us how great his love for us is, and how much we mean to him, and then, with the repeated refrain of “I am forever, we are forever,” it’s like he’s is assuring us that no matter what happens, his love for us will never die. It’s like a line from that old Dylan Thomas poem:

 
Though lovers be lost, love shall not
And death shall have no dominion

Willa:  Oh, I love that connection to Dylan Thomas, Joie!  And we see that idea of “death shall have no dominion” in a number of Michael Jackson’s songs and films – for example, in “Heaven Can Wait” where he sings, “If the angels came for me, I’d tell them no.”

Joie:  Oh, I hadn’t thought of that before, Willa, but you’re right. I guess it is a theme he’s used before. But for some reason, for me at least, “Best of Joy” just really seems to emphasize this theme. Like in “Heaven Can Wait,” he’s telling us a story of two lovers where the man is considering what he would do if death ever tried to part them. But in “Best of Joy,” his tale is more personal somehow. It’s a message that he’s trying urgently to impart before it’s too late.

 
I am your friend
Through thick and thin
We need each other…
Our love is from the heart…
We are forever

It’s like he’s urging us, “Don’t forget! Don’t forget how much I love you, don’t forget how much we’ve meant to each other. Always remember!” Or maybe I’m just reading too much into it because I was grieving the first time the world ever heard this song. Admittedly, I have a very emotional attachment to this song. I have yet to listen to it when I don’t end up in tears.

Willa:  It is very powerful, and it’s interesting to me that you see it not just as a love song, but also as a song to his audience. I hadn’t thought about it that way.

Joie:  Really? See that’s another reason it stands out to me. Because I really have never thought of it as a love song in the traditional sense at all. Not in a “romantic” kind of way, I mean.

Willa:  Oh, I agree.  I mean, I can see this song as a romantic tale from one lover to another, but it has always struck me as much more than a romance as well. As we’ve talked about before, Michael Jackson likes to shift the point-of-view so much in his songs, so I always like to ask, Who is the “you” in this song – who exactly is being addressed?  And who is the “I” in this song? Who is speaking? Sometimes it seems to be Michael Jackson himself, but sometimes it’s a persona, or another character, or someone very different from Michael Jackson himself. We talked about that with “Money” in a post last fall. We see multiple perspectives frequently in his work, where he adopts the point of view of other characters and speaks with their voice.

I see that in “Best of Joy” also, but with a twist. To me, Michael Jackson is in this song, but he isn’t the “I” – he’s the “you.” In other words, this isn’t a song from him but to him – this is a song of reassurance and caring to him. And the voice singing to him is Music itself. Music was his “friend / through thick and thin.” Music was there for him when everyone else abandoned him, and Music revived him when “nothing would cheer” him. Music was his “Best of Joy”:

 
I am the one who said that you are free  
When living seemed so hard to be
And nothing would cheer you
I am forever
Wasn’t it I who carried you around
When all the walls came tumbling down?
When things would hurt you?
I am forever (I am forever)
We are forever (we are forever)
 

Music is forever, music was always there for him, and music is what “carried” him “when all the walls came tumbling down.”

That one line in particular is interesting because it recalls the battle of Jericho. You probably know a lot more about this than I do, Joie, but the story of Jericho is about a “battle” that was won without any fighting. Instead, it was music that made “the walls come tumbling down” – except for one apartment. That part of the wall, that one apartment, was spared. So music won the battle of Jericho without a battle being fought, and music preserved the family in that one apartment “when all the walls came tumbling down.”

I’m not exactly sure why, but I’ve always seen “Best of Joy” as a song from Music to him, a song of reassurance that music will always be there for him. I think maybe it’s because this song reminds me of “Music and Me,” that beautiful song he sang as a 15-year-old boy. It’s another song where he’s singing about a forever friendship, but that friendship isn’t with another person. It’s with Music:

 
We’re as close as two friends can be
There have been others
But never two lovers
Like music, music and me 

Joie:  Oh, my God, Willa … I love that interpretation! And it’s funny to me that you’ve centered in on Michael being the “you” in this song because, I’ve often felt that as well. And since becoming friends with you and reading M Poetica, I have learned that there are always many ways to interpret a song. Any song, as long as that interpretation can be supported by the lyrics, it’s valid. So, this song, to me, has many different interpretations, and while I primarily see it as a song from Michael to his audience, I also see it as a song to him, as you just suggested. Only I’ve never thought about Music being the “I” here, until you just said it, and it makes perfect sense. But for me, the “I” in this song was always God.

As we all know, Michael was always a very spiritual, very religious person and he had a long and close relationship with God. And when I think about the song that way, it also makes a lot of sense to me. Those very same lines that you pointed out earlier, have just as much meaning when viewing the song in this context as well:

 
I am the one who said that you are free
When living seemed so hard to be 
And nothing would cheer you
I am forever
Wasn’t it I who carried you around
When all the walls came tumbling down?
When things would hurt you?
I am forever (I am forever)
We are forever (we are forever)
 

And you know, I really believe that this interpretation is what resonates so deeply with me and is a big part of the reason that I end up in tears whenever I listen to it. Yes, this song feels like a goodbye to me. As if Michael is saying he has to leave now but for me to remember that he will always love me. But it also makes me think about God, and about my relationship with Him and how good He’s always been to me. It’s a very emotional song for me for both of those reasons.

Willa:  Wow, Joie, that’s a really powerful interpretation, and it really opens things up, doesn’t it? Michael Jackson was a very spiritual person, as you say, so that interpretation seems very true to who he was and to his worldview. But putting those two interpretations side by side – that the “I” is God and the “I” is Music – reminds me of something else we’ve talked about a couple of times: that for him, there seemed to be a deep connection between his spiritual life and his creative life. He saw his talents and his creativity as sacred gifts, which he was both thankful for and obligated to. It’s like he felt a sacred trust to use the gifts he had been given to the best of his abilities.

He also frequently talked about how he didn’t really write his songs – that’s not what his creative process felt like to him. Instead, his songs were like gifts from above that fell in his lap, and his role as a songwriter was to be receptive to them. Actually, Gennie sent us an email about this idea just last week:  it was a link to a TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Love, Pray, where she discusses the creative process. Gilbert’s main point is that the way we tend to conceptualize creativity in the modern world as the work of a solitary genius can be psychologically damaging to artists. So she researched how other cultures have viewed creativity, and she thinks the Greeks and Romans had a much healthier model. As she says,

“Ancient Greece and ancient Rome – people did not happen to believe that creativity came from human beings back then. People believed that creativity was this divine attendant spirit that came to human beings from some distant and unknowable source for distant and unknowable reasons.”

This seems very close to Michael Jackson’s idea that his creativity was something that flowed through him, and his role as an artist wasn’t to create works so much as to be receptive to that flow and allow it to express itself through him. Here’s the link Gennie sent us:

Joie:  I just love that talk by Ms. Gilbert; it’s very inspiring I think. Something every artist or writer should hear and think about, in my opinion, and ‘thank you’ to Gennie for sending it to us.

But I also agree with you completely here, Willa. That does seem to be extremely close to what we know of Michael Jackson’s creative process and how he felt about it. How many times did we hear him say that he felt as if he couldn’t really take the credit for his songs because he was simply the vessel through which they came?

Willa:  Exactly, and apparently that’s a feeling shared by other important modern artists, like John Lennon. In Earth Song: Inside Michael Jackson’s Magnum Opus, Joe Vogel says Michael Jackson posted a quotation from John Lennon where he could see it as a reminder to himself while working on “Earth Song”:

“When the real music comes to me,” it read, “the music of the spheres, the music that surpasseth understanding – that has nothing to do with me, ’cause I’m just the channel. The only joy for me is for it to be given to me, and to transcribe it like a medium…. Those moments are what I live for.” 

That sounds very similar to Elizabeth Gilbert’s thoughts about creativity as a “divine attendant spirit that came to human beings from some distant and unknowable source,” and it also reminds me of Dancing the Dream. In fact, I think this idea is one of the central themes of Dancing the Dream. As Michael Jackson writes in the preface:

Consciousness expresses itself through creation. This world we live in is the dance of the creator. Dancers come and go in the twinkling of an eye but the dance lives on. On many an occasion when I’m dancing, I’ve felt touched by something sacred. In those moments, I’ve felt my spirit soar and become one with everything that exists. I become the stars and the moon. I become the lover and the beloved. I become the victor and the vanquished. I become the master and the slave. I become the singer and the song. I become the knower and the known. I keep on dancing and then, it is the eternal dance of creation. The creator and creation merge into one wholeness of joy.

I see this idea expressed throughout “Best of Joy” as well, like in the intro lines you quoted earlier:

 
I am your joy
Your best of joy
I am the moonlight
You are the spring
Our love’s a sacred thing
You know I always will love you
I am forever

When creativity is flowing through him, he becomes “the stars and the moon … the lover and the beloved … the singer and the song,” as he joins “the eternal dance of creation” and “merges into one wholeness of joy” – his “Best of Joy.”

Joie:  Oh, that’s a nice interpretation, Willa. I never would have made that connection between “Best of Joy” and the dance before. Very interesting. And you know, I am really sort of anxious to find out what our readers think about “Best of Joy,” and hearing some of their interpretations of this one. It’s a very special little song, in my opinion.

Willa:  It really is. To me, the lyrics are like poetry.

I also wanted to let everyone know that the second edition of M Poetica is now available, and you can download it for free today through Monday (January 10 – 14). Amazon gave me the option of letting it be free for up to five days, and I wanted to take advantage of that. I know a lot of our readers already have the first edition, and it didn’t seem fair that they should have to buy it again.

Also, I think a lot of fans have become kind of wary of books claiming to look at Michael Jackson in a positive way, simply because so many of those books have turned out not to be very positive. Frankly, after reading the Boteach book and the Halperin book, I can understand that. So I wanted to give those fans a chance to read it and decide for themselves.

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About Dancing with the Elephant contributors

Joie Collins is a founding member of the Michael Jackson Fan Club (MJFC). She has written extensively for MJFC, helping to create the original website back in 1999 and overseeing both the News and History sections of the website. Over the years she conducted numerous interviews on behalf of MJFC and also directed correspondence for the club. She also had the great fortune to be a guest at Neverland. She has been a Michael Jackson fan since she was three years old. Lisha McDuff is a classically trained professional musician who for 30 years made her living as a flutist, performing in orchestras and for major theatrical touring productions. Her passion for popular musicology led her to temporarily leave the orchestra pit and in June 2013 she received a Master’s degree in Popular Music Studies from the University of Liverpool. She’s continuing her studies at McMaster University, where she is working on a major research project about Michael Jackson, with Susan Fast as her director. Willa Stillwater is the author of M Poetica: Michael Jackson's Art of Connection and Defiance and "Rereading Michael Jackson," an article that summarizes some of the central ideas of M Poetica. She has a Ph.D. in English literature, and her doctoral research focused on the ways in which cultural narratives (such as racism) are made real for us by being "written" on our bodies. She sees this concept as an important element of Michael Jackson's work, part of what he called social conditioning. She has been a Michael Jackson fan since she was nine years old.

Posted on January 9, 2013, in Michael Jackson and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 49 Comments.

  1. Willa and Joie: Love your interpretations for Best of Joy here (as I love all your conversations, you blow me away every edition and every topic). Prior to this I had always taken the pedestrian interpretation, that Best of Joy was the last and perhaps greatest love song to his children, but you’ve tweaked my thinking yet again. Please don’t stop!

    TOTALLY agree that the unreleased material needs to keep coming for the fans who cherish anything by Michael AND get reinterpreted by other producers, and that the best way to do that is to give us both the “before” and “after” versions together. I think that approach will best serve the existing fans as well as the new generation of fans just discovering his art, perhaps through someone else’s interpretation in a remix.

    BTW, the full versions of Blue Gangsta and Slave To the Rhythm are simply genius. I hope I live long enough for the Estate to get around to officially releasing the leaked songs I’ve treasured for several years!

  2. Nicely done as always. “Best Of Joy” is a beautiful song. As you say, Michael’s work can have multiple meanings. I know he would approach it with humility, but when I listen to this song it feels like he is saying he will always be here for us no matter what. I think he will always be here through his music and his words. That is just how it makes me feel. I hate the controversy that exists with the “Michael” album. I treasure those songs for several reasons. 1. They represent music that Michael was working on in his later years. 2. The producers that worked on those songs did their work in a spirit of love for Michael. 3. There are some terrific songs on it. My personal favorite is “Hollywood Tonight.” Lots of controversy but Michael’s words and spirit are all over it.

    • aldebaranredstar

      Hi, MJTruthNow, I agree so much woth your comment about the “Michael” album, which I have been listening to lately and re-discovering. I, too, treasure those songs, the work that was done on them by others in a spirit of love, and I too absolutely hate what happened to that album. That controversy hurt Michael’s legacy and Estate and caused the general public to look down on Michael and his fans. The furor generated lots of negative press. I read that sales for “Michael” in USA were 800,000 albums; Bad25 did not do well so far, with sales around 200,000, and yet Bad25 was supposedly what the fans who complained about “MIchael’ wanted–unfinished demos.

      I think the Estate needs to get out of debt– there is still 300 million to be paid off–and they are not going to do that with unfinished demos. The idea of releasing the songs in unfinished and finished forms might work, but again, that adds to the production costs and forces people who do not want to hear the unfinished demos (such as the general public who just want to hear some good music) to buy them. Also, what musician is going to step up to finish an unfinished work after the ‘Michael” furor?

      About the religious “God element’ of “Best of Joy,” the line “wasn’t it I who carried you around” I always took to mean that Michael carried his children around, but it could also refer to that well-known story about the footprints in the sand, when there is only one set of footprints and that’s the time when God carried the person he was walking with. I have the same feelings as Joie about another song– “Hold My Hand” and always think Michael is extending his hand to us from where he is now–on the ‘other side.’ “This life don’t last forever,” and “when it gets dark and when it gets cold, we hold each other til we see the sunlight.” These are very comforting words. I agree too that there is something special in knowing these were the last songs Michael was working on in the studio.

  3. aldebaranredstar

    Thanks so much for that wonderful talk by Elizabeth Gilbert. WOW. She describes the creative process in much the same way as Michael does, and she makes excellent points about not thinking it’s all coming from you as an individual and yet that the artist must “do your job” and “show up.” I loved her book, and incidentally, the ashram she visited in India is one I spent time at too so I really identified with her spiritual journey in “Eat, Pray, Love.”

  4. I when I hear this song I cry,,Y cuz its this song that shows me who Michaels friend has always been his music.. they have always been friends …with no parting …they have always co existed together and together they have this great love affair that has Weatherd many storm…The Music in reality is Love of his Life ..she has always been waiting to take his hand and love him no what’s going on Music is The Lady in Michaels life..it is she who meets him at dawn and careress his soul at nite and comforts him in his deepest sorrow ..it is Music that lifts him and stands him on higher ground it is music that Moon walks with him throughout his journey in this life…It is Lady Music who is with him at the twilight of his L.I.F.E. ♥♬ Me and MUSIC ♬

  5. I’ve always thought that the ”I” in this song was Michael.
    If, on the contrary, the ”you” is Michael and ”I” is Music/God, these lines make no sense to me:

    I am the moonlight
    You are the spring

    A moon has no light of its own. It’s like a mirror, reflecting the light from a spring (like our Moon gets its light from the Sun).
    To me, it’s like those lines are saying:

    I am the product (work of art)
    You are the source (of creativity)

    So, Joie’s initial interpretation gives more meaning to me. This could be MJ’s ode to his audience, about how his fans give him inspiration, and about realizing that he is the joy of his fans. ”I am forever” may sound strange, but I really think it is about MJ’s spirit, as bound to his art, being forever. (Remember MJ’s fondness of the Michelangelo quote about the artist ”binding his soul to his art”, so that it would live forever.)

    • Wow, Bjørn, that is so interesting! I interpret those lines as talking about a reflection also, but I’ve always interpreted them in the exact opposite way.

      Michael Jackson frequently associates the moon with creativity – for example, in Dancing the Dream, or in the Childhood video. As we talked about in December, the children in that video are riding sailboats to the moon, suggesting that the imagination of childhood can take them very naturally to this creative place that Michael Jackson, as an adult, can’t access in quite the same way. So to me, the moon represents creativity, or “the music of the spheres,” as John Lennon put it. And there are some beautiful springs near me, these lovely pools fed from underground sources. And because the water seeps in from underground, it’s very cold and clear and completely still, so it perfectly reflects everything, including moonlight.

      So I’ve always interpreted those lines you cited – “I am the moonlight / You are the spring” – as saying that this light of creativity is shining down from the moon, a “distant and unknowable source,” as Elizabeth Gilbert would say, and Michael Jackson is like a pure, clear pool of water reflecting that heavenly light. (And I have to say, that’s such a beautiful image to me.)

      But you’re right, Bjørn, the moon has no light of its own – it’s merely reflecting the sun’s light. And the word “spring” in a more metaphorical way means “source,” like the source of light or inspiration. So in that sense, the sun would be the source of light, and the moon the reflection. That’s so interesting! I never thought about it that way, and I really like the fact that it can be interpreted either way….

      • aldebaranredstar

        That is indeed a beautiful image, Willa, and I had never interpreted “you are the spring” as a spring of water, or a pool of water. I always heard it as the season spring, a time of renewal and rebirth, and I think Michael experienced that with his children. I recently heard again his speech when he accepted the World Music Award Diamond Award for selling 104 million albums of Thriller, and in his acceptance speech he thanks his children, and the way he says their names is so full of love and happiness–with a big smile on his face!!

        I like that these alternative interpretations all play into our understanding of this song. I am glad you live near those springs–sounds lovely. I am in the snow and am particularly looking forward to spring, which won’t be here for a few more months!!

        • aldebaranredstar

          Here is Michael’s speech at the WMA 2006. Look how happy he is when he speaks of his children and what they mean to him. I do think this love he had for his kids is part of the meanings of Best of Joy (I always will love you, we are forever).

          • Aldebaranredstar….it’s one o’clock in the morning here in an unusually cold northern California. I just finished watching the video you included in your comment. Every time I watch him receiving an award, I am awed at the outpouring of love he receives. He was and will always be the most beloved human being on the planet. Seeing this just brought such joy to my heart. Thanks for sharing it. He is our Best of Joy.

          • aldebaranredstar

            Hi, Ladypurr9–Thanks for your sweet comment. He is indeed our Best of Joy–amen to that-! I too love to see the heartwarming outpouring of love that he receives from his fans, especially here. The love exchanges between Michael and his fans are so beautiful to see. Here’s a look at how he embraced his fans.

          • aldebaranredstar — thanks so much for these videos. MJ had so much love to give — and inspired so much love in others. There was a silly article in the NYT about the myth of universal love last week. The guy who wrote it obviously knew nothing about Michael Jackson.

        • Hi Aldebaranredstar. I really like that interpretation of “I am the Spring” as referring to Springtime, which as you say is “a time of renewal and rebirth.” That certainly fits the meaning of “Best of Joy” as well, and that multiplicity of meaning – which we see so often in his work – adds such depth, I think.

          • In organic farming, particularly Rudolf Steiner’s version, which is widely practiced, the phases of the moon are highly important to seed-planting in spring.

  6. Typically great post, ladies. As for “Best of Joy”, I can see how the “I” could be Music/God and the “you” be Michael, but honestly I would not have reached that conclusion without this eye-opening post. I’ve listened several times to the “Michael” album with a new appreciation for the same reasons expressed by MJTruthNow. The controversy on authenticity was initiated by a particular “fan” group which is anti-estate and will find fault with anything the estate releases, so I have learned to dismiss them. My “problem” with Best of Joy is that for some technical reason Michael’s voice sounds higher pitched on the CD I have, perhaps overproduced, or something, I’m no expert on CD production but wonder if any of you guys think the same. I know it’s Michael’s voice; that’s not the issue; if it had been released while he was living I would have wondered the same. Perhaps my comment here is off topic somewhat, but I thought good opportunity to get another opinion.

    Aldebaranredstar, as for BAD25, what a gift it was. My take is that there wasn’t nearly enough promotion outside the on-line community. Most reviews were very favorable and perhaps will help in drawing more purchasers.

    • “My ‘problem’ with Best of Joy is that for some technical reason Michael’s voice sounds higher pitched on the CD I have, perhaps overproduced, or something”

      Boy, Juney07, you have just stepped right into the middle of a huge debate! Joie and I have batted this back and forth between ourselves A LOT, for nearly a year and a half now. In fact, I would say this has been our biggest argument. Joie loves the Michael version of “Best of Joy” – she thinks his voice is especially beautiful on it – and it just sounds wrong to me.

      When I heard there was a controversy about his voice on the Michael album, I assumed it was about “Best of Joy.” I was stunned to learn it was about the Cascio tracks. I have no problem with them at all – in fact, “Monster” is one of my favorites from Michael. But “Best of Joy” just sounds really “off” to me, in a way no other Michael Jackson song ever has. As you say, “I know it’s Michael’s voice; that’s not the issue.” But it does sound “overproduced” to me, like it’s been sped up or the pitch has been raised or something.

      I started to wonder if maybe I just had a defective CD, so Joie sent me an mp3 of “Best of Joy” from her CD, and it sounded exactly the same as mine. So we’re listening to the same thing, just hearing it very differently, and I don’t really understand that. But it’s reassuring to know at least one other person has the same response, so thank you, Juney07! I was starting to think I just had some sort of aural blip about this song….

      • I have had a similar problem with “Best of Joy,” and have hesitated to join this discussion because of it. It is the only track that bothers me on “Michael.”

        I, too, love “Monster” and “I Can’t Make it Another Day Without You, and especially I love “I Like the Way that you Love Me;” it is such a happy song, and such fun to sing along with. You can hear the smile in his voice as he sings it.

        It is not just the pitch of his voice in “Best of Joy,” but the vibrato, and the “hard r” pronunciation of “forever” that bother me These differences have really interfered with my ability to enjoy an otherwise beautiful and inspiring song. I have read that this song was “over processed” and that it is the processing that is to blame for these seeming discrepancies. I want very much to believe that. Knowing that this was one of the last songs MJ was working on helps.

        I’m glad Juey07 brought it up, and that Willa followed up. Thanks to you both.

  7. I wanted to thank you for providing this insight into “Best of Joy.” For me, it was an easy song to overlook somewhat on the Michael album, surrounded as it was by the much more controversial Cascio tracks and some of those powerhouse killers like Behind The Mask and (I Can’t Make It) Another Day. It was easy to overlook Best of Joy as just a sweet little ballad. Your article has truly given me a fresh prespective on this track.

  8. Thanks for another enlightening post.

    One of the things I really appreciate about this blog is the connections you make with older Michael and younger Michael. Connecting “Best of Joy” and “Music and Me” is genius.

    Also, to expand on Michael believing that the music “comes through him”. If you listen to the Mexican deposition in 1993 when Michael is being sued for “The Girl Is Mine”, you can clearly hear a tape of Michael creating the song and if you listen really good you can actually hear him saying “don’t force it” and “let it come” as he is trying to let the lyrics come to him. It’s actually very powerful. The saying “what he intended for evil, God intended for good” certainly comes to my mind here. Michael is being sued for stealing a song, but what we actually have might be the greatest example of a genius explaining his work. Check out this article for more: http://www.starpulse.com/news/Brad_Washington/2012/11/03/michael_jacksons_1993_mexico_depositio

    • Hi Destiny. I just had a chance to read the article you posted and listen to the Mexico deposition, and oh my gosh! What a great article, and I had forgotten how detailed the deposition is. There’s this wonderful section where a lawyer in the case is playing one of Michael Jackson’s old songwriting tapes back to him. The tape ends with some advice to himself, and then the lawyer asks him to explain it:

      “Don’t write the song. Don’t write anything. Let the song write itself. Let the strings tell you what to do, where they should come. Let the piano tell you what chords to hit. Let the bass tell you what it should be doing. Let everything, let it create itself. Let it form. Let it do what it wants to do. Don’t force up on the song. Let the song force up on you. Let it tell you what it wants.”

      “What did you mean by what you said on the tape?”

      “What I meant was, a song creates itself. I’m just the source through which it comes. It all creates itself. When a song comes to me, I’m hearing the strings, I’m hearing the bass, I’m hearing the drums. Everything comes as a package. It’s like catching a leaf that falls from a tree. It’s the most spiritual, beautiful thing that can happen. And sometimes I just get on my knees and I pray to God out of thankfulness that it happened, that it came to me. And that’s what I’m saying: let it create itself, because it’s trying to create itself.”

      Oh, I love that! His younger self is so earnest, and his older self is listening so intently. And then he tries to explain to the lawyer what his younger self is saying, so he says that writing a song is “like catching a leaf that falls from a tree.” He has the happiest look on his face as he’s saying it – and this was in November 1993, so we know it was a terrible time for him. But listening to the tape of his younger self transports him to this place of creativity and imagination, and he’s happy. I love that.

      Thank you so much for sharing this, Destiny.

  9. Great post, Joie and Willa. I agree with all you interpretations. It was Music, Creativity and God that sustained Michael though the years, so the song does read like that. But for me it has one more meaning – it was a song to his fans. Michael helped so many people in his life – not just directly, but by his mere existing in this world, being there, saying “I love you”. Many fans felt a personal connection to him, they related to him, and for some people who had a difficult childhood or family situation he literally sometimes replaced a parent and a mentor. And Michael was aware of that. So for me his lines
    “Wasn’t it I who carried you around
    When all the walls came tumbling down?
    We are forever…”
    is something he could say to a fan, to show them that he will always love them and they never should feel alone or desperate.

    I love this song, and I think that while being very simple, it is also very profound because it allows all these different interpretations and reflects his life in so many ways. It also sounds like a response to “Will you be there” – a response sang almost 20 years later.

    “Will You Be There” was recorded in the beginning of the 90s, and it sounds like an ominous foreboding of was was to come, and a plea (to God, his fans) to help him though the test that lied ahead of him.
    “Carry Me
    Like You Are My Brother
    Love Me Like A Mother
    Will You Be There?”

    And in the end of his life, as a good bye to the world, he says that it turned out okay after all, He found that supporting power, “Wasn’t it I who carried you around when all the walls came tumbling down?”

    He has found internal harmony, and he is forever. It’s symbolic.

    • What a beautiful interpretation, Morinen. I love the idea of looking at “Best of Joy” as a response to the questions he asked in “Will You Be There.” I agree that when we look back at “Will You Be There” in light of what was to happen just a few years later, it does seem like “an ominous foreboding,” almost as if he had a sense that the storm clouds were forming and he was about to be tested to the limits of his endurance. It really is a testament to his courage and strength, and the nourishing power of his creativity, that he could go through those severe trials and still create something like “Best of Joy.”

  10. Oh, God, I’m sorry, I wrot in Portuguese, LOL. Can you delete it?

    What I said was…

    Wow, girls, you did a very great post. I just loved it.
    I completely agree with what you said about “I” and “you” in “Best of Joy”. For me, this is really a song from Music to Michael, the Music is his best friend, and in Music and Me (by the way, is it the one of my favorite songs ever, not just Mike’s song, but my favorite of all the songs that I have heard). When he says:

    Only know wherever I go
    We’re as close as two friends can be

    It’s a promise of love, endless love.

    And I think that at that time he was singing to the Music, telling her that he will be with her forever, he will always be her lover, and now in the Best of Joy, Music is saying the same thing to him. Several years later, the two lovers keeping swearing their love to each other.

    But I like the idea that God is “I” , too. Because MJ was really very espirital, and saw his talent as a gift from God, and the verses you quoted shows that he knows God was behind him all the time.

    I’m not a very religious person, but I like stories that involve the idea that God is always by our side. I do not know if you know this poem, but it is from the American, and to really love it, it is so beautiful, that I wanted share with you:

    One night I had a dream …
    I dreamed I was walking along the beach
    with the Lord
    and sky flashed scenes from my life.
    For each scene,
    I noticed that two pairs were left
    footprints in the sand:
    one was mine and the other of the Lord.

    When the last scene of my life
    flashed before us, I looked back,
    to the footprints in the sand,
    and noticed that many times,
    in the way of my life,
    there was only one set of footprints in the sand.
    I also noticed that it happened
    in difficult times
    and harrowing of my life.

    That really annoyed me
    and then I asked to my Lord:
    – Lord, you have not told me that,
    If I have decided to follow you,
    You’d walk with me
    all the way?
    However, I noticed that during
    the most troublesome times in my life,
    there was only one set of footprints in the sand.
    I do not understand why in times
    when I needed you most,
    You left me alone.

    The Lord answered me:
    – My dear son.
    I never would leave you in trial hours
    and suffering.
    When you see in the sand
    only one set of footprints,
    they were mine.
    It was right there,
    that I carried you in my arms.

    Mary Steverson, 1936

    http://lindasmensagenseoracoes.blogspot.com.br/2010/08/poema-pegadas-na-areia.html

  11. Love the walls of Jericho consideration!

    • Hi MAJ. The Jericho connection is interesting, isn’t it? There’s an old slave spiritual called “Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho” that I remember singing as a kid, and the chorus ends with the line “And the walls came a-tumbling down” – very close to that line in “Best of Joy.”

      btw, just did a quick search on youtube, and here’s Mahalia Jackson singing “Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho”:

      And here’s an Elvis version:

  12. Michael Jackson’s art allows each of us to experience it in a personal way; another reason he/his art is cherished the world over…for infinity 🙂

  13. “The best of joy” gives you the essence of what Michael´s life and art was about.Now when you see so many of the words to his music it is awsome.He often plays with identities, being the subject, the ofbject and whatever else. He tried to do that already with “Music and Me”,,
    that was early (how old was he then?) in his career.
    Re the unfinished songs- well if they are appriciated by some and sell fine, and as we see with this song there are pearls to be found.I still think the unfinished songs also should be published,for those who want to study Michaels music. Maybe the time for that is not yet.
    And thank you again for novel insightgts.When listening to his music you don´t always get to hear the words well enough.

  14. @Willa and Eleanor, thanks for the replies to my “hot buttton” comment on the “sound” in Best of Joy. And I guess I do agree it has to do with the processing, but then I question with all the controversy about the “Cascio tracks” why there was no initial similar controversy around Best of Joy as well. Perhaps due to third party corrobboration that BofJ was, in fact, Michael’s voice, and the other three were “Cascio’d”! Well, I am really relieved that I have finally found others, Willa and Eleanor, who “hear” BofJ as I do. I thought I should have my hearing checked as my friends hear it differently (with no questioning) as apparently does Joie! Sounds like you two “agree to disagree” on BofJ! How refreshing to be able to come to these educated, thought provoking discussions where civil discourse is still possible.

    I’m about 1/2 through 2nd ed. M Poetica, kindle version; hint, hint, my friends and I are hoping for at least a paperback!

    Willa and Joie, thanks again for all you do!

  15. Hi Destiny, Thanks so much for this link. It was so fascinating to hear/see his song writing process. I got so hooked on the deposition that I found the full length one and spent the entire afternoon watching it (3 hrs.). It is so revealing in so many ways. Just watching his slow, unhurried, patient, but sometimes exasperated and bemused answers to the same questions posed over and over says so much about him. I felt so sorry for him having to endure such a lengthy deposition and realized even more deeply how vulnerable stardom makes someone like MJ to unscrupulous people. He had to be so careful in his answers. And, he was exhausted and hoarse from a performance and in pain from oral surgery. You could see a scar or something at the side of his mouth. But the most interesting thing was at the last when the lawyer starts asking him about songs that he wrote and recorded and never released. There were so many — the list went on and on. Some have now been released, but so many still haven’t. I wonder if we will ever hear them.

    Here is the link to the full video if anyone else is as crazy as I am and wants to see the whole thing.

    • Well Eleanor, I guess I know what I’ll be doing Sunday afternoon…lol.

    • Hi Eleanor. I still haven’t had a chance to listen to the entire video, but have jumped around some listening to bits and pieces, trying to catch parts I haven’t heard before, and it’s so interesting. There’s a wonderful section about 27 minutes in where he talks about building toward the chorus, so when the chorus finally arrives it feels natural – as he says, “when the chorus comes, it should be like a flower blossoming in your face.” I love that.

      Then he talks about the function of a bridge, and the emotional/artistic effect he’s going for. About 31 minutes in, he talks about the bridge of “The Girl is Mine” and starts to say that he’s “creating” the bridge, but then changes it to “discovering.” As he says, “I try not to invent, I try to discover what’s there.” That ties in very closely with what we were talking about in this week’s post – as Joie says, that he wasn’t the creator of his songs so much as “the vessel through which they came.”

      Thanks so much for posting this. I’m looking forward to listening to more.

    • aldebaranredstar

      Thanks for posting this, Eleanor and Destiny. Wow–I can’t believe how an artist would be subjected to such an interrogation, and when he was not well–hoarse from performing the night before and in pain from oral surgery. I read that the next day he went to UK for rehab therapy. Not sure if that is accurate, but if I had been in that situation, I could NOT have coped without a major breakdown. He had to hold it together, though, b/c this deposition was shown to the jury and they had to decide the case. I read that he gave 500 depositions in his life (estimated) and 1,500 lawsuits filed. When a lawsuit is filed you HAVE to respond. This bled his time and money (lawyers fees). The flat voices of the lawyers (I object! I object!) the dead tones of the questions (what is a chorus? What did you mean when you said that? ) so lifeless and cold and Michael is a sensitive living being handled by cyborgs. I hate that he had to go through that.

      Just think what he would have had to go through if the Chandler accusations had not been settled–more of this. Actually, he was in a no-win all along. If he settled, look how it was interprteed. But when he fought and won, look at how it was interpreted–exactly the same –guilty. He could not win either way.

  16. Thank you for bringing Best of joy to the attention. Its a completely forgotten song, like many gems on the Michael album , such as I like the way. I can relate very much to Joies take as for the emotions of the song . Indeed it feels as a comforting,reassuring farewell , and one of gratitude to or from his audience , music or or life itself .But it leaves you with feelings of melancholy and loss, rather than joy, knowing it was his very last song and nothing will ever be the same. To me its unmistakably Michael as its written and sung in a real Michael tradition. he believed in the lasting power of ballads so meaning and form come together here and everything fits as perfectly as only Michael can make it. As if It was meant to be his last song. “To me, ballads are special, because you can have a pop song that’ll be know for three weeks and then you’ll hear nothing else about it. Nobody else will record it and it’ll just be gone. But if you do a good ballad, it’ll be in the world forever.”-

    As for the Cascio controversy , the critic is not so much about releasing unfinished songs or demos, but mostly about authenticity. The Cascio songs were not presented as demo but as completed tracks that only needed a finishing touch(hence T. Riley ‘the finisher’). There are too many legitimate questions still unanswered re the extent to which Michael was involved in writing, singing, recording and co-producing these 10 songs, a whole album!! for the tracks to be attributed to him.And its not only fans who have doubts . No one will lightly accuse Joe Vogel of anti estate sentiments , Yet in an interview on Blog talk radio December 1st he said exactly what many fans have been saying from day 1. This is his response to a question of a caller.“Are you still of the opinion that the Cascio songs are MJ as included in chapter 8 of your book. I hope a second edition excludes them“ (raw transcript at 75 min)

    “As a writer you have to go with your best sources. That doesn’t mean you always get it right. When I heard the Cascio tracks, they sounded strange. There was something off on the way they sounded . The other thing is , whereas most of Michaels music its easy to trace their history, in terms of how they were made, I never got to talk to anybody about these tracks, that worked on them. A lot of the tracks Michael was working on , he was working with Brad Buxter , Neff U and Michael Prince, people like that. I could actually look and see like the various versions that existed, the people who were involved with them. Michaels vocals were very clear and that kind a thing and with the Cascio tracks there is obviously a lot of unanswered questions
    The thing is, I reached out to talk to Eddy Cascio and I never got any kind of response . That’s something that only he can really speak to what those tracks are , how they were made. I know he appeared briefly on Ophrah to talk about them. When they first came out I went with very reliable sources, which was people like Bruce Swedien and Teddy Riley and people that had worked very closely with Michael. Now does that mean I was right about the nature of the songs? No, but that was maybe (?) because of my (?..)commentary on them .
    Will I include them in a second edition of Man in the Music, probably not.
    And the reason for that is that again I don’t have enough information about them .
    They are very strange mysterious tracks you cannot really identify their history, who was involved you don’t have a clear sense of how they came about . ….
    The other part of it I m interested in the music that Michael made when he was alive, that he released on his albums that he was able to see through….. In terms of the Cascio tracks I have no specific inside on the nature of them.…………
    I appreciate people caring about the integrity of Michaels art. Whatever you release of somebody’s art posthumously there is a lot of debate how that should transpire .
    Especially with these Cascio tracks there is questions because first of all they sound different from most of the tracks that Michael was working on. even from the demos. And secondly there is so little information about their origin. Because I don’t really have any answers, I don’t really have the interest to write about them.
    With SIM you have a real masterpiece, that’s more worthy of our attention. than these tracks.
    …………………I dont have a problem with fans that try to get to the bottom of these tracks or investigate them. Im more interested in a song like SIM . …To those fans who are troubled by the Cascio tracks and want to learn more about them I say more power to them.
    As a researcher I found it difficult to learn any kind of inside ..(.?..) from the(?). people that were actually there.
    http://www.blogtalkradio.com/a-place-in-your-heart/2012/12/01/joe-vogel-discusses-an-exclusive-from-man-in-the-mirror

  17. aldebaranredstar

    Thanks for posting this from Joe Vogel. I agree that “I like the way you love me” is a beautiful, beautiful gem of a ballad.I also love Michael’s ballads and appreciate your including the quote where he says they last forever. About the Cascio tracks, there were 3 on “Michael” right ? (I thought you said 10?). It’s is too bad Eddy Cascio did not respond to Vogel’s efforts to talk. However, there were 2 voice experts hired who verified the tracks were of Michael singing. That should count for something. I wish we had more info on how they were created–maybe one day.

    btw, What song is SIM?

  18. @ Destiny you are welcome. Its an interesting interview, not only for the Cascio tracks.
    @ Aldebaranredstar, SIM = stranger in Moskou. 10 songs were sold to sony, 3 released on Michael. There was a statement that there is forensic evidence, however it was never made public, so we don’t know who the experts are, what they found, the methodology and the material that was evaluated. One thing that I find strange is that MJ fansites who were uploading leaked Cascio songs or compared them to Michaels, got a cease and desist, while Michaels own leaked ,unreleased demo’s are all over the place, losing their value for future release and no one cares. There are so many things that do not add up. I hope one day it will come clear what happened.

    • aldebaranredstar

      Here is a statement from the lawyer for the Estate Howard Weitzman re ‘Breaking News” as reported in the NYTimes:

      “As soon as the track was submitted to Epic, Mr. Weitzman wrote, the vocals were called into question, and he was asked by John Branca and John McClain, the executors of the estate, to investigate.
      That investigation, Mr. Weitzman wrote, included playing the recording for a panel of producers and musicians who had worked with Jackson, as well as analysis by “one of the best-known forensic musicologists in the nation.” Here is an excerpt from the letter:
      Six of Michael’s former producers and engineers who had worked with Michael over the past 30 years — Bruce Swedien, Matt Forger, Stewart Brawley, Michael Prince, Dr. Freeze and Teddy Riley — were all invited to a listening session to hear the raw vocals of the tracks in question. All of these people listened to the a cappella versions of the vocals on the tracks being considered for inclusion on the album, so they could give an opinion as to whether or not the lead vocals were sung by Michael. They all confirmed that the vocal was definitely Michael.
      After those musicians gave the thumbs-up, Mr. Weitzman wrote, the forensic musicologist performed a “waveform analysis” on the vocals, and also affirmed that they were by Jackson. Sony, Epic’s parent company, hired its own musicologist, who came to the same conclusion.

      http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/11/11/breaking-news-lawyer-says-its-michael-jacksons-voice/

      Indo agree that it would be good to have more info as to the background of these songs, but I also have to believe that all these people would not be duped if this was not Michael singing.

      Thanks for the ‘SIM’ translation Sina.

      I read that Best of Joy is a song Michael wrote and recorded in 09, the last one he worked on ( that we know of).

  19. Willa and Joie….I am so grateful for your blog! Your interpretation of this truly lovely song is so fascinating. By the way, Willa, a personal “thank you” for allowing us to download M. Poetica (2nd edition) for free at Amazon. I am like a kid on Christmas morning–I can’t wait to read it! You two bring such thought-provoking analyses to Michael’s work. I’m sure he’d be endlessly fascinated reading what you have to say.

    Love to you!

  20. Willa and Joie. and everyone else. I love the “Michael” album and I am saddened that the controversy surrounding it spoiled it’s potential success,, and in a way almost “tainted” Michael’s legacy. Some of the fans’ rants sounded to me as if they were actually blaming Michael himself !! I personally think there was a lot of mischief making going on at the time.

    I don’t think for one minute that it ended up as Michael would have wanted it to be of course..( One could simply argue that if songs were unfinished he never intended them to be.. although there are articles about his time in Ireland where the family he stayed with says he was really looking forward to returning after his O2 shows, to finish the album he had been working on)

    I have read quite detailed articles where Teddy Riley has explained that Michael’s voice
    on the Cascio tracks had to be ” brought into key” using the Melodyne system, which tends to push the voice up.

    The Cascio’s studio may have been significantly more than adequate, but it was not the hi-tech recording studio that would have been used for the final production. He agrees, and apologies for the fact that some tracks do sound overproduced. He also explains that although Prince was in the studio when Michael recorded some of these vocals , they would have sounded different to him in their finished form, which is what Prince indicated.
    ..
    There was even an allegation that the Cascio tracks were sung by an impersonator called Jason Malachi.. also vehemently denied by Jason and by the Estate.

    There are other experienced recording studio colleagues who worked on former albums with Michael , who listened to the vocals in their unfinished state and verify his voice .. along with forensic tests. On balance I tend to believe the explanation of these professionals..

    I strongly believe that some of Michael’s fans are so overprotective of him that they actually do him a dis-service ,albeit not intentionally.

    I would like to think that Michael would have approved of the resulting “Michael”..Maybe it is not the perfection he would have achieved, but it was a huge task and responsibility for those involved.. and I believe they did the best they could. It should have been his Coronation, not something to be squabbled over.

    Thank you for all of the interesting analysis you create here.. and thanks to all those who comment in thoughtful and well considered ways.

    Oh and yes.. after my little rant.. “Best of Joy ” is my favourite track.. but I really do love em’ all !!!

    • aldebaranredstar

      Hi, MagUK, Thanks for your comments and you make an excellent point about the recording studio in the Cascio’s basement not being up to the hi-tech standards that MJ would have been used to. I recall some videos of it, including the bathroom shower stall where Michael sang some lyrics!! So it was considerably more humble, although no doubt as you say more than adequate, compared to his other studios. Fans, like any other group of peoiple, will disagree, but it is sad if these disagreements hurt Michael’s legacy and interfere as well in our enjoyment of his music. Thanks so much for your detailed insights.

    • aldebaranredstar

      I wanted to ‘vent’ a little about some of the topics brought up in MagUK’s post about the fans, and this extends also to some fan blogs. In fact, I am even thinking what does it mean to be a ‘fan’ and whether a better word might be “supporter.” In any case, I have seen fans rip into each other, fan bloggers rip into their readers, and it is so disrespectful of what Michael demonstrated in his life and in his message that it boggles my mind and makes me grateful for this blog and the way Joie and Willa conduct themselves toward the people who comment here. They are always respectful, polite, while at the same time stating their views and they give evidence and not just opinion for their interpretations. I find a lot of ‘fans’ and fan bloggers dispute everything under the sun and without evidence to support their positions. This is just typical for the way people in general think out loud and so that’s nothing new, but the nastiness towards views that diverge from their own is what is appalling. It is welcome for my sanity and enjoyment of being a Michael ‘fan’ or ‘supporter’ to be in a place where I feel there is a respectful and reasoned environment to go deeper into important issues. It is painful the way some discussions just tear into the other person who dissents from a favored viewpoint.

      In my comments, I know sometimes Willa and I have disagreed on an issue, but it has always been done in a respectful way, and I want to say a big thank you and a kudos to Willa and Joie for the way they are handling their terrific discussion and exploration of Michael’s art.

      • Not to get too OT, but I wanted to reply to you aldebaranredstar.

        I’ve wondered myself why there are such arguments and, frankly, nastiness when discussing Michael. I can’t say I spent a TON of time online discussing Michael prior to his death because I usually couldn’t find a place that was discussing the art and music (although I do know that fans really supported him in 2005). I think part of it is a need to defend Michael for all the years he was ripped apart in the media. Another is also what you mentioned about just the nature of communication online in this day. But I also think fans treat Michael like a possession, the same way that many who personally knew him in life treated him, and I don’t think fans even make that connection.

        I’ve been lucky not to have too many ‘disagreements’ online. I also find myself holding back in some discussions for fear that my opinion will get me labeled as a ‘hater’. I’ve also seen the ugly side where people are bashed and bullied and hounded in ways that are very possibly psychopathic and maybe even criminal.

        • Each and everyone who discusses or comments about Michael on public forums or blogs should take a good look in the mirror. Whenever someone says , I know that Michael would want this or that, I like to ask them how they know for sure.
          The things Michael shared and discussed with the world and his fans as he himself called them- I prefer supporter- were his artistry,music, dance, short films,poems, speeches and his humanitarian work. There were only 2 instances when he explicitly asked for fan support, during the trial he asked for prayers and during his rally against sony he asked fans to join him. His private life, such as his money, his children, his family, his marriages, lawsuits and so on, he never discussed publicly , but kept it private from fans and even from people who belonged to his inner circle. A privacy that was not respected while he was alive and still now. .

          However, everyone is free to discuss what they like, to what extent and for what purpose. Music was what Michael shared with us and there is nothing wrong with discussing and interpreting his songs . That is what this blog is about.
          Talking about posthumously released songs includes the controversial aspects. How do you interpret a song that a substantial part of Michaels fans/supporters, music analysts and long time collaborators have questioned and many do not recognize or acknowledge as Michaels. If even Quincy Jones ,one of Michaels producers whose track record is indisputable , cannot recognize his voice( ‘how can you tell, its all too stacked, I don’t know ‘) should that be ignored for fear to upset people who have a different opinion?. Or as Destiny said, to be called a hater, Or a ‘fan’ for that matter.

          Having a mature discussion and enjoying Michaels music are not mutually exclusive. No one will ever agree on everything with everyone and people should learn to accept that, without nastiness , fallacies , name calling and bullying.

          • Very well put Sina.. thankyou

          • aldebaranredstar

            “No one will ever agree on everything with everyone and people should learn to accept that, without nastiness , fallacies , name calling and bullying.”

            Amen to that, Sina! This is exactly what I mean–that a “mature discussion,” as you put it, can take place. I think we need to discuss our interpretations and our feelings and allow each other a safe place to do that, and this is what I so appreciate about Joie and Willa’s blog.

            Maybe one reason people occasionally have trouble with that ‘mature discussion’ is due, as Destiny said, to being possessive and protective about “their” Michael. Another possible reason could be that it’s hard to deal with, understand, even accept that he is gone and people are still grieving. Maybe b/c he WAS so private and there are many unanswered questions, such as concerning his time with the Cascios (but there are many others, of course), so there is a tendency to “fill in the gaps” in our understanding, which is natural. It’s as if Michael is a kind of puzzle and we each take turns trying to figure him out. I guess the main thing is, as you said so well, Sina, to aim for that “mature discussion,” avoiding the pitfalls you noted. Perhaps we have also been affected by the media biases over the years about Michael, if not in substance, in their way of jumping to conclusions based on very little or questionable ‘evidence.’

            Humans seem to be a species that has a hard time cooperating together for a common goal. In “The March of the Penguins,” we saw the penguins take turns being in front where the cold was most intense, while others stay inside the warmer center. I can’t imagine humans doing that without a lot of fighting! (And maybe not at all.)

            P.S. since Sina brought up Quincy Jones, remember he did not like Billie Jean or Smooth Criminal and didn’t want them on the albums, so I consider what he says with that in mind. (Imagine Thriller with no Billie Jean, or Bad with no Smooth Criminal.) Q., like all of us, is fallible.

      • Hi aldebaranredstar .. I agree with your comments and.yes,, I prefer the word supporter.. I feel it suggests admiration rather than adulation ( although there can be a little bit of that too (lol) !!! I

        Destiny is also so right in stating that some ” fans” seem to think they own Michael.. I have expressed in response to other posts, that sometimes I don’t know whether Michael would say to me “leave me alone ” or “thank you for supporting me”.

        It’s a dilemma for me, I feel that if we don’t keep talking about him he will somehow “slip away” from us,, but I sometimes feel he will never get any peace because of the constant chatter.. even though it is positive.

  21. This kind of discussion is very important, because, Best of Joy is this kind of gem must of people do not pay attention. Songs as Hollywood Tonigh “stick” in our minds and we memorize it in a heart beat. But songs like Best of Joy is to be savored. But a lot of fan juts let it pass.
    I personaly love this ones, songs the shows his soul, his heart.

    And I need to say I like the ideia it is a answear to Will You Be There. Is sounds perfetc. In the end, he found his strength was the Music.

  22. When I first heard (I Can’t Make It) Another Day, I was struck much the same way by the words “My life has taken me beyond the planets and the stars, and you’re the only one who could take me this far, I’ll be forever searching for your love.” I think there is a much deeper spiritual meaning to this, about afterlife and Michael isn’t talking about celebrity or travelling the world 8 times. Regarding the release of new albums, the thought makes me really uneasy, especially because of the Bad remix by Afrojack featuring Pitbull where the song contains words inserted that sound like utter nonsense to me, and I’m shocked that it was allowed on the album because Michael would have wasted the space that way. I’m talking about the part about “someone called Armondo and wearing a billet and moontalk” that makes no sense to me. I think valuable space was wasted with that and it should have been omitted from the final version because Michael’s lyrics are all that are needed in Michael’s songs. Remixes are fine and I can listen to 100 versions of any Michael song if they would be made but I say please please don’t tamper with Michael’s original masterpieces and please don’t add silliness that just takes away from Michael’s messages contained in his music. I would much prefer unfinished songs published rather than someone risking ruining them with their interpretation that can result from terribly poor judgement.

  23. I apologize, I ment to say Michael would NOT have wasted space that way.

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