Michael Jackson’s HIStory (Book 1) is described as one of the artists’ most personal album, after allegations were made against him relating to child sex abuse, and further mistreatment issued by the media and tabloids. HIStory contains lyrics that reflect upon Jackson’s paranoia at the time of release. The presented liner notes clutched my attention as I read through the album comments made by influential figures such as Spielberg, Jacqueline Kennedy and Elizabeth Taylor. These particular comments expressed complete awe towards the artist relating to not just his personality, but the context in which HIStory was made. Steven Spielberg mentions that “Michael has a heightened sensitivity to the crying needs of the world” when referring to the intent of the album. This album conveys deep sentimental value towards Jackson and expresses his goal to eventually heal the world and create peace. In regards to facts beyond the recording, the liner notes include information which states the many numerous accolades, awards and thank you’s’.
Through the comments made by such influential figures allowed me to grasp who Michael Jackson was outside of his media portrayal. Before reading the liner notes, I questioned Jackson’s influences of this album and what made him so protective and attached to the beauties of the world we live in. What made him such an advocate for the environment?
“Michael is highly intelligent, shrewd, intuitive, understanding, sympathetic, and generous to almost a fault of himself. He is honesty personified – painfully honest – and vulnerable to the point of pain. He is also very curious and wants to draw from people who have survived. People who have lasted. He is not really of this planet. If he is eccentric it’s because he is larger than life.” Elizabeth Taylor
The music of Jackson’s HIStory was dedicated to all the children in the world. The artists, through his own words, expresses the album as follows:
“Let Us Dream of Tomorrow, where our
Children are Nurtured,
and Protected and Nourished.
Let us Dream of Peace and Harmony
Let us Dream of Joy and Ecstasy.
Let us Dream of Dancing the
Let us Renew Again,
Those Dreams of Promise we Once
Where We can Hold our Heads High
And Stretch Our Arms Toward Perfection.
Let Us Dream of a Tomorrow,
Where we can truly Love from the Soul,
and know Love as the Ultimate Truth At
the Heart of All Creation.”
The album liner notes did not generate direct conversation, but rather, got me exploring a little more into the music. For example, in the second CD, I researched the background of ‘Earth Song’ and listened to it a few times over. Through my experience, it was emotionally enriching. It just seemed as if the lyrics were pure, authentic and truthful. Jackson comments that Earth Song is his response to man’s mismanagement of the Earth, in which nature is trying so hard to compensate for .
 Song Facts, Earth Song by Michael Jackson, 2017.
“What about sunrise?
What about rain?
What about all the things that you said
We were to gain?
What about killing fields?
Is there a time?
What about all the things
That you said were yours and mine?
Did you ever stop to notice
All the blood we’ve shed before?
Did you ever stop to notice
This crying Earth, these weeping shores?”
The opening two verses suggest that Jackson is standing up for the ecosystems as they are unable to do so themselves, and is further stating the important aspects of life. Poetic devices such as symbolism (What about sunrise?) and personification (This crying Earth, these weeping shores) drove the deep and meaningful aspects of this environmental song that portrays the harsh realities and mankind’s mistreatment of planet earth, despite the fact we have the capabilities to save it. The liner notes and analysis sparked my thinking to further investigate other existing songs in the album in an attempt to translate Michael Jackson’s creative forces of passion.
Link to Review: http://aln2.albumlinernotes.com/HIStory_-_Book_One.html
- Music and Environment. Earth Song by Michael Jackson (1998). n.d. Accessed April 26, 2017. http://musicandenvironment.weebly.com/earth-song.html
- Song Facts. Earth Song by Michael Jackson. 2017. Accessed April 26, 2017. http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=5203