Man in the Music: The Creative Life and Work of Michael Jackson

Vintage. rev. ed. ed. Aug. 2019. 544p. notes. index. ISBN 9780525566571. pap. $17.95; ebk. ISBN 9780525566588. MUSIC
In this revised edition of his 2011 work, Vogel (Merrimack Coll., MA; This Thing Called Life: Prince, Race, Sex, Religion, and Music) offers an intelligent, song-by-song exploration of Michael Jackson’s (1958–2009) albums, from the concepts, musical content, lyrics, arrangements, and influences to behind-the-scenes stories of the many people and events integral to each project. The author closely analyzes the music itself from in-depth artistic and recording perspectives while examining its critical and public responses within a sociohistorical context. Jackson’s essence permeates the narrative—he was a keenly perceptive producer, a groundbreaking creator who drew inspiration from numerous cultural sources, and a dedicated performer well prepared and gracious at appearances and recording sessions. Extensive new material consists of thoughtful commentary based on substantial additional research and interviews. Biographical details, including those pertaining to sexual abuse allegations, are honestly presented but primarily as relevant to the profound scope and impact of Jackson’s music and its enduring legacy. Beautiful reproductions of album covers, extensive notes, and an appendix nicely enhance the volume.
VERDICT This comprehensive and engaging reference is a significant addition to popular music research. A must for Jackson fans and students of musical and social culture.

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