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Old 08-28-2009, 11:43 AM   #1
Catherine Wheel
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Default new article about Michael Jackson in GQ

It's an interesting read. Here are some exerts

His art will later depend on his ability to stay in touch with that childlike inner instrument, keeping near enough to himself to heed his own melodic promptings. If you've listened to toddlers making up songs, the things they invent are often bafflingly catchy and ingenious. They compose to biorhythms somehow. The vocal from Michael's earlier Off the Wall-era demo of the eventual Thriller hit "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" sounds like nothing so much as playful schoolyard taunting. He will always be at his worst when making what he thinks of as "big" music, which he invariably associates with military imagery.

People want to know, Why, when you became a man, did your voice not change? Rather, it did change, but what did it change into? Listening to clips of his interviews through the '70s, you can hear how he goes about changing it himself. First it deepens slightly, around 1972-73 or so. (Listen to him on The Dating Game in 1972 and you'll hear that voice was lower at 14 than it will ever be at 30.) This potentially catastrophic event has perhaps been vaguely dreaded by the family and label for years. Michael Jackson without his falsetto is not the commodity on which their collective dream depends. But Michael has never known a reality that wasn't susceptible on some level to his creative powers. He works to develop something, not a falsetto, which is a way of singing above your range, but instead a higher range. He isolates totally different configurations of his vocal cords, finding their crevices, cultivating the flexibility there. Vocal teachers will tell you this can be done, though it's considered an extreme practice. Whether the process is conscious in Michael's case unknowable. He probably evolves it in order to keep singing Jackson 5 songs every night through puberty. The startling effect is of his having imaginatively not so much castrated himself as womanized himself. He essentially evolves a drag voice.

Quincy Jones' nickname for him is Smelly. It comes from Michael's habit of constantly touching and covering his nose with the finger's of his left hand, a tic that becomes pronounced in news clips from this time. He feels embarrassed about his broad nose. Several surgeries later-after one assumes, it had been deemed impolitic inside the Jackson camp to mention the earlier facial self-consciousness-the story is altered. We are told that when Michael liked a track in the studio he would call it "the smelly jelly." Both stories may be true. "Smelly jelly" has the whiff of Jackson's weird, infantile sayings. Later in life, when feeling weak, he'd say to his people "I'm hurting...blanket me," which could mean, among other things, time for my medicine.

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Old 08-28-2009, 02:13 PM   #2
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Location: Houston
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yeah i picked up the new issue yesterday. it was overall an excellent issue - a lot of good articles.

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Old 08-30-2009, 12:41 AM   #3
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i remember reading about him saying "smelly". quincy said it was his way of saying "funky". nothing more. I'd prefer to believe this, as i have a hard time believing every single act, word, or movement of this man had something to do with his nose

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