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Man in the Music: The Creative Life and Work of Michael Jackson Hardcover – 1 Oct 2011
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"The many fans of the King of Pop are going to love this book. Huffington Post writer Vogel began it in 2005, long before Michael Jackson's untimely death, and he wisely focuses on the music and groundbreaking recordings of Jackson's solo career. Scandals and eccentricities are relegated to the background in this critical musical analysis, which will delight even the most knowledgeable Jackson fan. Each track on each record, fr om 1979's Off the Wallthrough 2001's Invincible, including posthumously released recordings, gets a thorough analysis, with listings of the involved writers, producers, and musicians. There is plenty of contextual biographical detail, and Vogel describes the cultural and political backdrop that makes Jackson's achievements all the more remarkable. VERDICT A thoroughly enjoyable analysis of the music and life of the most popular musician of an era."--"Library Journal ""Vogel produced a smart...study of Jackson's creativity and legacy. He achieves moments of intimacy and insight: a glimpse of Jackson, an ambitious perfectionist. Vogel occasionally undermines his hard work by giving Jackson a makeover as a romantic hero rather than a celebrity. Readers will enjoy."- "Publishers Weekly ""
About the Author
Joseph Vogel writes about popular culture, music and politics for The Huffington Post. He has been featured in numerous newspaper, radio and TV interviews, including Democracy Now! And the award-winning documentary This Divided State. He currently resides in upstate New York where he teaches and is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Rochester.
Top customer reviews
Vogel skillfully guides the reader through the remarkable chapters of Jackson's professional career, fully capturing the cultural vibe of the `80s and `90s, while analyzing the particularities of Jackson's creative process from inception to aesthetic fulfillment. It seems the author desires to move beyond exclusively "preaching to the choir" of Jackson's loyal fan base, and has an even more expansive and restorative intention in mind.
Vogel's narrative unfolds in a unique album-by-album mode, so Jackson's career is revealed through intricately woven stories that are chronologically linked with the creation of his music. This odyssey reminds one of a mythic "hero's journey," as it evokes the visceral emotion of artistic conquest. Throughout the process, Vogel explicates Jackson's music, performance art, cinematic short films, and aesthetic incarnations, as well as exploring Jackson's myriad eclectic influences.
The book's success is due, in large part, to a trilogy of strengths the author possesses as an academic scholar and also a writer on popular culture. Vogel manages to fuse a penchant for research with an engaging gift of journalistic storytelling. Rare, however, is the sense of spiritual exegesis he also provides. This literary alchemy gives the reader an entirely fresh and valuable comprehension of Jackson as a culturally transformative artist. Vogel's book also illuminates the voluminous breadth, depth and influence of his artistic oeuvre.
The reader experiences firsthand the gentle singer-songwriter's coming of age, his groundbreaking musical prowess, and his emergence as a humanitarian emissary for the disadvantaged and alienated. We are reminded that Jackson (a voracious reader of Emerson) was a transcendental visionary who called for healing the world through compassion, community, and environmental stewardship.
The author offers a Joycean sensibility as he paints his archetypal "portrait of the artist as a young man" with a discerning eye. Vogel irrevocably raises the bar for future critical analysis of Jackson's art and cultural import, as he portrays his subject as an artist of stature amidst a constituency of the most influential and prescient artists of all time. One hopes the sincerity of Vogel's efforts will prompt inchoate scholarship on this subject to burgeon.
Vogel's interviews document the rich and sundry details offered by a plethora of Jackson's musical collaborators, technical producers, and artistic associates. These remembrances add surprise and synchronicity to the more familiar aspects of Jackson's complex life history. Included among the recollections are those of musical giants Quincy Jones, Rod Temperton, Teddy Riley, Bruce Swedien, Rodney Jerkins, Buz Kohan, Brad Buxer and many others.
Vogel, a Huffington Post writer on politics and popular culture, is also a doctoral candidate at the University of Rochester where his scholarship focuses on 18th century poets Blake and Wordsworth. Since he emerges out of an academic perspective on the history of literature and the arts, he is able to credibly position Jackson amidst a much broader contextual background than the many apocryphal works by authors who leapt too eagerly onto the greed-bandwagon following the artist's untimely death.
It is interesting to note that Vogel began research for this book almost six years ago. This was during a time when Jackson was often treated by publishers and much of the public as a social leper. Vogel wanted to correct what he perceived as a terrible injustice and return the conversation to the genius of Jackson's art and his global transformative cultural import.
Vogel later made a conscious choice to refrain from publishing his material immediately following Jackson's death. Hence, his biography includes analysis of Jackson's posthumously released works, as well as reflections on the nature of the artist's ultimate legacy. Vogel's insight and impeccable research do much to relieve the ignominy this artist suffered in life from a rapacious media.
Vogel utilizes a Picasso-like construct in his ability to see his subject from multiple angles simultaneously, thereby rendering a multidimensional portrait. Formulaic tabloid stereotyping and long-standing racial binaries are finally exploded and cast aside.
Vogel's readers will experience Jackson anew as a fine artist, cultural troubadour, and shamanic performer, because he is perceived through a lens that clarifies instead of mystifies.
Perceptive, metaphoric, and humane, Vogel's Man in the Music: The Creative Life and Work of Michael Jackson is certainly the defining biographical work to date regarding this artist. The revelatory nature of Jackson's art, and his under reported international initiatives for social justice, surely deserve this long over due literary retrospective. It is meaningful to note the author has dedicated his book to Jackson's three children. One imagines they will be grateful, for Vogel offers respect and appreciation to the father they loved.
Constance Pierce' ~ New York ~ October 2011
Each track's detailed look not only goes into the lyrical side of it,but the musical side too,pointing out just what was achieved. MICHAEL didn't just make music,he perfected it.
This book really isn't strctly for fans,where as the auther is clearly a great lover of his music,it's written is such a style as to include everyone's interest rather than just that of his millions of fans.
So finally a book that takes a closer look inside the music that came from unquestionably a genius in his own right,someone who earned the title KING OF POP. If you want a book that takes a close look at the man,i recommend JERMAINE's book,if however you want a book that takes a fair insight into what each much loved track actually gives it's listeners,this is it!
This is a book for all music lovers, Michael Jackson fans and those who want to understand the intricate nature of popular music. Michael Jackson's talents are undisputed. This book explains these talents in terms anyone can understand without being the least bit patronising. It takes the reader on a journey through Michael Jacksons albums, track by track discussing their content, developing a clear and logical argument about the quality of his body of work.
It has been all too easy to dismiss Michael Jacksons work as simple pop. No more. This reminds us of Michael's intelligence, dedication and genius.
Thank you Joe for this amazing book.
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