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Saturday, April 14, 2012


Michael & Janet Jackson - "Scream" (1995)

They spent 7 Million dollars on that?

I haven't listened to this song again in the more than 15 years since its release. The video that accompanied it was reportedly the most expensive in the world at that time and so I watched it. I don't really remember thinking anything about it. Listening to the song now, after one of the artist's deaths, and years removed from the scandal and media pressure that fueled the song in the first place, it is terribly commonplace. The lyrics are strong, and the support from his sister is sincere, but the music does nothing for me.

Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis were brought in to produce the track, and they had worked with Janet Jackson before. The choices they made were a mix of good ones and odd ones. The fact that the song contains great harmony between the siblings and other backing vocalists is a great tie back to the singers early roots as R&B performers and sounds great. The really processed sounds that are pounding out the dance beat include sounds that could have been made by a skipping hard drive, or a bad timing belt. The guitar solo about three quarters of the way through the song, as well as the break right before that with Janet singing, Michael repeating some of her words and a police siren are arresting soundscapes. But mixing them into the end of a dance/R&B hit just feels forced.

1 comment:

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