Monday, November 19, 2018

Music Albums Top Picks--Honorable Mention: Rhythm Nation 1814 by Janet Jackson

Continuing the spirit of top ten albums list started by Jon, Rhythm Nation 1814 is one of my fave albums. The original idea was to list the top ten albums I like, with no compilations or Best of... albums. Bummer, since most of my albums are Best of... and compilation albums. Let's be real, not all songs on an album are going to be great. Some are just fillers.

Rhythm Nation 1814 gets an honorable mention, because it is a great album, one that immortalized Janet Jackson as an icon. True, I don't like all the songs on it, but there are some amazing songs there.

Among my faves is Love Will Never Do (Without You). The song is upbeat, happy, and charming. It reminds me of my first crush. Absolutely delightful! I think the video showed Janet most beautifully: Simply enchanting, free, and alluring.

And then there's the sad and haunting Come Back To Me, which showed Janet Jackson's softer side.

But it was definitely the dance songs that shaped my childhood. When I was just a preteen, my two brothers and I, with some of our neighborhood friends, formed a break dancing crew. We were inspired by the break dancing movies of the day. Mind you, we were just rural, remote coastal kids out in the boonies. The tv only had three channels (til a hurricane knocked out one of the channels).

Any music videos we watched, we got from VHS tapes that our relatives in the far away big cities had recorded off their tv using the VCR. We heard the songs on the radio before we saw the music videos.

The dance songs from Rhythm Nation were great. But the music videos we saw later were awesome! We practically wore out the VHS tapes, pausing, rewinding, and fast forwarding til we got the dance moves down. We mostly practiced at our house, because we had the space to hold a large crowd.

My brothers and I had to be sure to do all our chores first before we got to practicing our dance moves with our friends. Otherwise, Mom would yell out, "Did y'all feed the hogs and goats?", or "Have y'all cleaned out the chicken coop?". And nothing breaks up our momentum (or embarrasses us) like having to stop practice to go feed the animals or shovel livestock crap

Once, we had to stop practice because we had to round up the escaped piglets. We left the pen open in our rush to get to practice. Those piglets were fast and feisty! Our friends that it hilarious when some of the piglets we caught peed on us as we carried them back to the pen. Filthy and vengeful little piggies!

Thankfully, we were much more diligent after that. We had more time to focus on our act. The dance moves from the videos served as a base on which we built and invented new dance moves. We were fired up to created new routines.

We were just kids having fun. We had no clue what the real world was like. All we knew was that we were having a great time creating our routines and dancing late at night, after we snuck out of the house, to jam at our spot to the late night FM radio that played the latest dance hits. When we got older, we made mixed tapes of songs to play on a portable stereo we used to practice our routines and listen to good music.

Janet Jackson's Control album had given us great songs and inspired us. That first year, we won local talent shows with her songs. The biggest one was at the end of the summer, with actual prize money, $100. We won by using her hit, The Pleasure Principle. There were 8 of us, so it came down to $12.50 a piece. Not bad for a bunch of amateurs!

We were just happy to win first place. Until then, the only people who supported us were our families and friends. We were the youngest group competing. And there were older kids and older competitors that looked down on us. We were unknown and didn't have any flashy costumes. But we shut them down after our performance! The few acts that came after couldn't excite the crowd like we did. After our performance, the show just became boring!

Even after we won, we got a few snide remarks from some of the other competitors. Especially rude were the junior high schoolers, who won last year. This time, they were a far second place to us on top. They thought they were the better dance team. They weren't. They had too many pauses and were a little disorganized. And they started rumors that the only reason we won was because we were related to the judges. Total lie! We didn't know any of the judges, and we certainly were not related to any of them. Those losers were just vicious bullies on the talent show circuit.

Our moves were more innovative and daring. Plus, we had tumblers and spinners and sliders in our act! We worked hard to develop our talent and it showed. Hell, we used the chair trick from The Pleasure Principle video!

Which, if you recall from the last post, got my older brother and I a spanking, for doing such a dangerous stunt and damaging the dining chairs. Mom was furious! Totally worth it! Those two chairs still have the dents and scratches my brother and I put in them.

When we last gathered at home for Mom's last days, my two brothers and I reminisced about those chairs. The grandkids were sad that their grandmother was passing away soon. So we did what we could to cheer them up, telling them stories of our childhood with Mom.

My youngest brother enjoyed telling the kids the story of how me and my older brother got a serious spanking from Mom, when she caught us practicing dangerous dance moves on the chairs. We learned our lesson. For the talent show, we used some old orange hard plastic school chairs the school had thrown out in favor of new blue ones.

When the kids asked me and my older brother to do the chair move, my baby brother just laughed out loud and told the kids, "They're too heavy now to do the chair trick! They'll break the chairs! The chairs can hardly hold their big butts!"

The kids thought it funny and laughed out loud, too. Mind you, he was exaggerating. We're not fat. But I will concede that we are no longer short nor skinny like the little kids we used to be. We're definitely bigger and taller and, yes, a hundred pounds heavier. But we are, for sure, not fat.

Anyway, back to that first talent show, we ignored the haters. We were just ecstatic we won. And we didn't realize how big we had become until we were asked to perform at the Halloween Dance, sponsored by the town. They paid us $100! The town council had seen our act and thought we were great. We were thrilled to have our first paying gig!

Naturally, we did Michael Jackson's Thriller, because it's the epitome of Halloween classics, and it's awesome! And we paired it with Janet Jackson's Escapade, because we loved the festive vibe. Everyone at the Halloween event, which had a bigger crowd than the talent show, cheered for us and gave us a long applause after we were done. We had given a great show and started the party off with a bang!

That Halloween Dance job led to us being asked to take part in the Harvest Festival, three weeks later, by the county commission. Another paid gig! The county commissioners liked what they saw, and they thought we could be one of the great acts performing at the festival.

We decided to create new routines in three weeks. Daring but also smart. Because the opening act for the Harvest Festival were those mean junior high schoolers, and they had totally ripped off our Halloween act! Seriously! They copied the Thriller dance routine and then imitated our Escapade moves! Terribly, I might add!

They were still disorganized and lacked our passion. When we make a move, we hit hard and really get into it. These mean guys and girls were playing it chill, not going all the way with the dance moves. They thought they looked cool, but instead, they looked sloppy! Lazy!

The audience was not impressed as evidenced by the scattered applause. There were people in the crowd asking why this group was doing a terrible imitation of the routines of another group from the Halloween Dance. We were wondering the same thing, too. It's like they thought we would do the same routines, so they did it first to sabotage us. Except, they sabotaged themselves! They were gawd awful!

It was not a good way to start the Harvest Festival. The commissioners did not look happy. But thankfully, we were the second act, and we started the party right. Three weeks was just enough time to create new routines.

And by coincidence, the first song we danced to was Janet Jackson's Alright. The video was awesome! It had Cab Calloway and Cyd Charisse. And it was loaded with amazing dance moves we adapted. We blatantly stole the handkerchief dance. Our Alright act became our way of convincing the audience that it was going to be all right. They were going to have a good time. And they believed us by cheering along and dancing with us.

And it became our way of telling those rip off losers that we didn't care that they stole our routines. It's all right, we are a lot more talented than them. And we danced harder and livelier, just to make them see that we weren't afraid of them, that we were so much better than them! Come at us and you're going to get knocked out!

And we accentuated that point by throwing down with Black Cat! It is one of my fave rock songs ever! Whenever I need to pump myself up to take on a challenge, I put this song on blast! We rocked the crowd with Black Cat. They were dancing and singing and jamming with us. Black Cat should've been the theme song to Marvel's Black Panther.

After our performance, the commissioners were very happy we got the crowd fired up. We were rewarded with extra tickets to the festival to share with our family and friends. As for those horrible junior high schoolers, that was their last public performance. They imploded after that. And when we saw any of them out in public, we pretended that we didn't know them.

We loved the crowd's reaction. But the best feeling came when real famous regional talent, true singers and comedians and a magician, told us that we were great! We were like, 'Whoa! These people like us!'

That county gig got us a special invite to the regional talent show. We were accepted to perform at the Flag Day Festival, no audition nor screening required! That was unheard of! We couldn't believe it nor could our families, right up until the week before the celebration. We went to see the stage and learn when we would go on. The Flag Day Festival was a week long celebration. And for several nights, there would be different talent contests for singing, comedy, traditional arts, and finally, our category, dancing.

We were awed at the amount of people it took to run the festival. We were a bit nervous about the competition. Right off the bat, we knew the top three acts: Two college groups and a professional ballet troupe! One college team was a modern dance group. The other, a jazz group. And once again, we were the youngest group there, not a teen amongst us!

But we were also more excited to be at this level competing. We spent months working on our routines. And we felt ready. By luck, we drew going last. It was agonizing watching all the other groups put on great performances. The ballet troupe was exquisite, doing a number in swan costumes. And the college jazz dancers were spectacular to watch. But the modern dance college team was stunning! They were incredible, with their choice of music and telling their story with their dances and shiny costumes.

We were amazed. We only pooled our resources to buy black jeans, black t-shirts, black shoes, black socks, and black bandanas with white markings as our uniforms. Janet looked good and powerful in black. We thought we did, too.

We didn't have any shiny costumes nor did we have the maturity of the other acts. But what we did have was passion, precision, and power. We learned from watching Janet Jackson. And we took those lessons and created our own movements.

As the last group, we were nervous. The crowd was still talking about that modern dance group that performed before us. And we definitely lacked the color and pageantry of the other popular groups. But that's okay, because we knew we worked hard to create our act, and our show was a masterpiece.

We started with Janet Jackson's Miss You Much. And we killed it with our big moves and exciting performance. We came out swinging, hitting hard and never let up. And we practiced long and hard to get it right. And the applause was confirmation that we were doing it right.

But it was our Rhythm Nation performance that got the audience on their feet, dancing and cheering. Rhythm Nation is one of my favorite Janet Jackson songs and music videos ever! It is a magnificent and spectacular work of art! Epic and Visionary!

Rhythm Nation inspired us to craft a spellbinding and stunning routine. We worked hard to make our movements fluid, exact, in sync, and explosive. And that's hard to do on a veranda with no large mirrors to gage our movements. We didn't have the large numbers of the other groups. It was just the 8 of us on a big stage, and we had to make our movements uniform, precise, and larger than life to captivate the audience.

And when we were done dancing, we could hardly hear the audience roar! We were gasping for air and the sound of our racing hearts was thundering in our ears. But we could see them on their feet, smiling, laughing, hooting and cheering, and we knew we put on an amazing show.

And in the end, it was astounding enough to win us first place, with the grand prize of $1000! That's $125 a piece! It was the most money we had ever won, let alone held in our hands. What was more incredible was that the crowd agreed with the decision and roared again when we were announced as winners. It was an unbelievably awesome feeling! All our hard work and efforts had paid off.

The other competitors were really nice (or really good at hiding their displeasure) and congratulated us. Either way, we were riding a wave of success that would let us dominate the talent show and entertainment circuit for a few years. And we owed it all to Janet Jackson for inspiring us to do something fun, challenging, and awesome. To this day, when I want to throw a party or just dance, I play my fave songs from Rhythm Nation and have a good time.

Still haven't done the chair trick though. My vinyl floors and carpet are too slippery for the chairs. And I fear I may break not just the chair, but an important body part. I'll wait til I have access to wooden floors (and a soft landing) before doing that chair trick again. I was significantly two feet shorter and a hundred pounds lighter when I last did that move years ago. I'm hoping it's like riding a bike. You never forget. Though, there's probably going to be some scrapes from trying it again after so many years.

Related Links
Thriller by Michael Jackson
Bad by Michael Jackson
Control by Janet Jackson

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Music Albums Top Picks--Honorable Mention: Control by Janet Jackson

As Michael Jackson got weirder (and whiter), my friends and I were suddenly struck by the meteoric rise of Janet Jackson. She is my favorite Jackson. We were influenced by the break dancing movies of the day, starting our own dance group and imitating all the dance moves we saw.

Then the Control album (and accompanying music videos) debuted, and we found our idol, an incredible performer, with spectacular songs and fantastic dance moves: Janet Jackson.

The Control album had several amazing hits: What have you done for me lately, Nasty, Let's wait a while, and Control.

But it was her dance hits that really got us motivated. They were innovative and exciting and fantastic! When I think of you is one great dance song. Fun and with great beats we could do routines, too.

But it was definitely Pleasure Principle solidified Janet Jackson as our muse and idol. Her dance moves were amazing!

We tried to imitate and copy everything she did, right down to that chair trick. My older brother and I practiced that chair move using my Mother's dining chairs. Our baby brother just shook his head. He was right to be wary.

Mom caught us doing that chair trick, scratching up her chairs. We got spanked for doing such stupid and dangerous stunts and damaging the chairs. But it was totally worth it. Three weeks later, my dance crew entered our first ever talent show, and using those chair moves, we won first place!

We were ecstatic! And it was the beginning of our long winning streak and the start of our dance crew career that lasted from grade school, to middle school, and finally high school. When we first started, we just wanted to try out those awesome dance moves. Then we had so much fun that we imagined making a living just dancing and battling other dance crews on the streets and in industrial buildings, just like in the movies and music videos.

We had no clue what real life was like. We just dreamed of somehow making dancing our life when we grew up. In high school, our goal became being a professional dance crew, hopefully becoming background dancers for major stars. We wanted to be background dancers for Janet Jackson.

Forget Madonna. We saw her Truth or Dare movie, and her background dancers were total bitches and drama queens, stabbing each other in the back. Definitely not the kind of environment we wanted to work in.

And as Janet got better and more awesome with her dance music and moves, we got better and more amazing, too, beating out bigger and more experienced dance crews on the talent and entertainment circuit. It was a fun and amazing time, a wonderful experience to share with family and friends.

The Control album made us want to dance. It inspired these farming, backwoods, remote coast kids to form a dance crew and go on to have adventures and grow and thrive as a dancers, having fun for several years and forming bonds of trust and friendship that last a lifetime.

Janet Jackson has said that the Control album was a declaration of independence. For us, it was the inspiration to try something new, to create something amazing, and have a good time. Control liberated us and encouraged us to try new things. It was our inspiration and motivation to be adventurous and do the things that made us happy, with the people we loved and enjoyed spending time with. It was a marvelous and exciting and fun experience.

Related Links
Thriller by Michael Jackson
Bad by Michael Jackson
Rhythm Nation by Janet Jackson

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Divine Eats

Yesterday, I had a craving for some Greek food, so I went to my favorite Greek restaurant. It is a small place, a hidden gem in the old side of town, owned and run by an old Greek man from one of Greek isles. The food is fantastic, and the atmosphere makes me feel like I'm back at Greece, with the Hellenistic art and music playing in the background. The friendly staff and the gregarious owner always made guests feel welcomed. The food is ambrosia!

It is a special place that I treat myself to as a reward for accomplishing a challenging goal. I go there to relax and enjoy a good meal by myself. I've told my friends about this place, yet I've never really encouraged any of them to join me at this wonderful little diner. And I like that it feels like my secret spot. I enjoy sitting at the back tables that look out into the garden, always full of herbs and blossoming plants and a variety of birds at the feeders.

I was really excited and eager for some Greek food. It has been several months since I had last eaten there. So imagine my huge disappointment and horror to find that the place was gone. I circled around three times to verify, and sure enough, my favorite Greek restaurant was gone! And in its place, the building had been repainted and was now a bakery!

I was stunned. What happened? Where did the Greek place go? A couple exited the bakery with a bag of goods. I rolled down my car window and asked them, "Excuse me, but wasn't there a Greek restaurant here?"

The fellow said, "Oh, yes. There used to be. But the owner passed away this summer. His sons moved back to town and turned the place into a bakery."

I was flabbergasted. It made me sad that the nice owner had passed away. And I was troubled that the sons had changed their father's restaurant into a bakery. Why? Did they not like the Greek food? Did the old man die without passing on his recipes? Was it hard to continue running a place with memories of their father everywhere? Or did the sons prefer the bakery to a restaurant?

I sat in my car in the parking lot, unsure of what to do now. I was really upset that my favorite secret spot was gone! Now what? Where else am I going to get a tasty gyro, some scrumptious souvlaki, a delectable spanikopita, or a heavenly baklava? Why didn't I come here more often? How could I have missed the passing of a great man?

I was still hungry, and I decided to give this bakery a chance. Maybe they had baklava and spanikopita. The sign said they made donuts, kolaches, and bagels. I like donuts, kolaches, and bagels. So I decided to get something from the bakery. To take a chance and try some place new.

Except there was now a Closed sign in the door. What the frak? I read the sign on the door: Open from 6 am to 1 pm. I looked the car clock: 1:05 pm.

Dammit!!! I had wasted ten minutes brooding in the car! And now, the bakery was closed. Are the food gods punishing me? Demeter, goddess of the harvest and grain; Dionysus, god of wine; Artemis, goddess of the hunt; and Hestia, goddess of cooking, why have ya'll forsaken me? Why have you abandoned me in my hour of needing some delicious Greek food? And now the bakery is closed! What the f---!?! What kind of bull$h*t is this!?!

Thankfully, the Buddha did not abandon me, as the Chinese restaurant I was curious about, just a street over, was still open. I needed some scrumptious sesame chicken to comfort me. And that comfort was served in huge, delicious portions, enough for two. But I ate it all. It has been a rough morning to discover that one of my favorite places to eat is gone. That sweet and savory, crunchy sesame chicken, with the fried rice and steamed broccoli, was manna from heaven.

On the way home, I took a slight detour to make sure my favorite Mexican place was still there. Thank the Virgin of Guadalupe the Taco Bell was still open. Where else can I get some crunchy and cheesy, savory and spicy Mexican style food that has no origins in Mexico and confuses Mexicans who ask, 'What the hell is that? That's not Mexican!' Maybe not, but it sure is divine and delicious!

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Blame it on the rain

Last evening, we celebrated a friend's birthday. He wanted to go to a local karaoke bar because of the awesome happy hour dollar drinks and five dollar appetizers. The food is tasty and the drinks are great. And anyway, karaoke is a fun scene, especially when it's raining outside.

And it was raining hard. Rain can often make people do strange things to deal with the emotions and thoughts that rain often stirs. It can make you sad, or contemplative, or just ruin your plans for the day. But you can't let a little rain stop you from enjoying your day. You can still do fun things. And for fun, we went to the karaoke bar.

There was a karaoke competition for amateurs. We get some professionals--stage actors and actual professional performing choir members. But this competition was strictly for amateurs. Some people practice. Most just do it for fun, spur of the moment decision. This was some of my friends. But Birthday Boy (BB) and I, we spent two weeks practicing. And it showed.

The evening started with drinks and a few great performances. There were some horrible, gawd awful singing, but it was the braveness and spirit of celebration we cheered on. That's the nice thing about karaoke bars. The audience is so supportive. And they're also drunk. The most entertaining singers were often the most drunk.

And the middle age woman ahead of us was definitely drunk. She kept swaying and pranced unsteadily as she yowled out Sinead O'Connor's Nothing Compares 2 U. She sounded like two cats mating in the middle of the night. But we cheered her on, because she was giving it her all.

Most of the performers were solo acts. BB and I were a duo. While everyone else sang one song, we came up with a medley of songs that shared a rain theme, since it had been raining for a few days. And because of number of songs we planned to sing, we went last.

By the time we got up, the patrons were mostly drunk. A few were actually passed out. And we received scattered applause--mostly from our friends at the table and a few patrons still aware enough that we were the last performers in the competition. A few really good solo acts looked confident they had won the top prize--$200. But we were about to knock them out with our performance.

We started with a classic:

Milli Vanilli's Blame it on the Rain.

Yes, they were lip syncing and they had to return their Grammy. But so what? They had everyone convinced they were actually singing! Forget the Grammy! Give them an Oscar!

These days, lip syncing is an art form and decides winners! Just ask RuPaul's Drag Race!

We deliberately chose this song as our opener, to appeal to the majority of crowd who grew up with this song. Plus, it's a fun song that got everyone's attention. And we elevated our performance by showing off our dance moves. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we had a routine down.

We didn't come to play, we came to win! And the applause and whistles began to get loud and thunderous. The crowd loved it!

And to show them we weren't just singing for fun, we slowed it down and expressed our artistic and passionate side. We belted out the extraordinary and evocative
Purple Rain by Prince

That got the crowd to sing with us. We had people raising and swinging their hands side to side. We knew we had them hooked now as we emoted and played up our gestures and voices on that stage. Tease them, enchant them, entertain them, then leave them wanting more. And Purple Rain was magical!

Now that we had gotten everyone's attention, we launched into our next song, designed to tug at the audiences' emotions and nostalgia, to pull at their heartstrings and get the support of the female audience menbers, an iconic song:

Aretha Franklin's (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman

That got the audience all into our performance. We had them signing with us. Everyone knows this song! And as we launched into the second verse, that drunk skank who butchered Nothing Compares 2 U had the nerve to try to get up on the stage and take lead!

I was like, 'Aw Hell No! Back off bitch! You've had your chance! You ain't gonna Kanye West me today! You better check yourself before you wreck yourself!'

BB and I really had to really gesticulate and go big to outshine that stage crasher. James Brown would've been proud of our moves! And thankfully, our host led that drunk away from the stage, back to her table. BB and I had mesmerized everyone with our harmonies and action. We had them singing along and cheering our performance.

Then it was time to make things fun with Rupert Holmes' Escape, better known as The Piña Colada song:

"If you like Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the rain
If you´re not into yoga, if you have half a brain
If you like making love at midnight, in the dunes of the cape
I´m the love that you´ve looked for, write to me, and escape"

That got everyone excited and singing along loudly. Drunks love Piña Coladas! And singing about getting caught in the rain. Mostly because they pass out and the rain washes away evidence of them throwing up or soiling themselves. Happens a lot on St Patrick's Day, Spring Break, Mardi Gras, and New Year's Eve.

Now we had reached the climax of our performance. It was time to reach out to the queer members of the audience and have fun with the sensational, frivolous, and festive classic: It's Raining Men by The Weather Girls.

We had people clapping and dancing as we sang and danced on the stage. I loved that they sang out loud with us. Everyone was having a good time, and we loved that even the staff joined the crowd in singing and dancing. They were eating it up. All those days of practice were worth it, especially to see the genuine gobsmacked expressions on some people's faces, including a few friends who had no idea what we could do.

Now that we had the entire crowd singing, it was time to end with the finale: Africa by Toto, the best rain song ever!

Everyone in the bar loved it. They sang along with us. And by the time we were done, we knew we had won. The prize was a $200, and we qualified for the year end finale, with the top prize being $2000.

Even better, BB and I got free drinks, four a piece, from our admirers. Two pairs were from women's tables, the other two were from men's tables. Fans. Free drinks are always welcomed! We had a few catty remarks from our female friends at the table, but they were just jealous we didn't have to thrust out our boobs to get our free drinks.

As it was BB's birthday, I let him keep the prize money as a gift. We stayed and enjoyed a few more karaoke performances and drinks til the bar closed. It was raining as we headed over to a friend's place, where I had stashed the birthday cake I made, and we partied the night away with more food, more drinks, and used my friend's karaoke machine.

Thank goodness my friend's house was a good distance from neighbors, because I'm sure we sounded terrible as we drunkenly sang out hits from the Spice Girls, Pussycat Dolls, Backstreet Boys, Tupac, Eminem, Missy Elliot, Ludacris, Mary J Blige, and I'm remembering some Justin Bieber. I blame the tequila and the rain.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Have Mercy

This morning, as I was rushing in the dark to put on my shoes by the door, I felt something crumple underneath my foot. Kind of like a piece of paper. I looked down at the floor, but I could not see anything. Nothing under foot either, so I chalked it up to maybe my imagination.

When I returned home hours later, ready to hit the showers after a long, chaotic day, the setting sun was shining through the living room window. And behold, there on the floor, in the light, was a small black grasshopper. It's legs had been sheared off, I realized in horror, when I stepped on it accidentally this morning. That's what I felt this morning, and the poor thing was still alive!

So I did best (and worst) thing that I could think of. I got the bug spray and killed it. It squirmed for two seconds before it died. It was a tough sight to see, the poor thing. But I considered it a mercy killing.

The poor little maimed creature was probably suffering for hours while I was out. I hope it's in grasshopper heaven now.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Vote! It's your right, your power to effect change.

Tomorrow, November 6, 2018 Tuesday is a very important election day. Get out and vote, because every vote matters!

No excuses! Do the right thing and Vote!

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Music Albums Top Picks--Honorable Mention: Bad by Michael Jackson

Continuing on with my top fave records, here is another honorable mention. It is the second Michael Jackson album with some of my fave songs, Bad. They played this a lot on the radio when I was growing up, and they still use these songs in films and tv and still play them on the radio today.

Everyone knows Bad, the title track. And The Way You Make Me Feel is a great song. But the best dance song on the album is definitely Smooth Criminal. The tune, the beat, and the rhythm are awesome! Exciting, thrilling, and energetic. And those dance moves and the creativity in the music video are spectacular! The popping and locking, the slides, and that lean! It is the best dance music video ever. Ever!!!

Growing up, my brothers, our friends, and I copied and built upon those dance moves, showing off at parties or just having fun on the street corner with the song blasting a portable stereo. The video inspired us to come up with our own moves and create awesome routines that would eventually win us talent competitions and battles with other dance crews.

Smooth criminal has a sensational and amazing tune, but the song lyrics are terrible! Just awful! A criminal breaks into some unsuspecting woman named Annie's place. He strikes her down, leaving her unconscious in a pool of blood. Michael Jackson comes to find her, and keeps asking her that hook, "Annie are you okay? Are you okay Annie?", and keeps repeating it all throughout the song as he shows off his incredible dance moves.

And I'm like, 'Dude! If she hasn't responded by the second time you asked her, she's is not okay! She's lying in a pool of blood, staining the carpet! For gawd's sake, stop singing and dancing and call an ambulance!!! For crying out loud, needs help!!!'

There are quite a few good tunes on the album, but my favorite is definitely Man in the Mirror. It is one of two of my favorite Michael Jackson songs, the other being Human Nature. Man in the Mirror is unlike any other Michael Jackson song. It's inspiring, self aware, and uplifting. My friends and I used to sing out loud and dance everytime this song played on the radio. It's a karaoke favorite!

Man in the Mirror

It's a timeless classic.

Related Links
Thriller by Michael Jackson