Michael fan, Kate Allen, has sent us a great review she would like us to share with you that’s on the ‘Michael Jackson – Opus.’
The Official Michael Jackson Opus written by Kate Allen
This is it: the only publication to have received officially-endorsed status by Michael Jackson since his brief 1988 autobiography ‘Moonwalk’. This volume, however, is anything but brief. Weighing in at an eye-watering 12kg and comparative in size to the breadth of a rugby player’s torso, this 400 page archive of discussion and appreciation of all aspects of Michael Jackson’s art form, is destined to become the new Holy Grail to all lifelong fans.
Prior to his untimely death, Michael had commissioned the production of this ultimate retrospective of his career, and had already begun contributing photographs and artwork from his own private collection. The quality of each carefully selected image is the printing equivalent of HD TV; candids and outtakes radiate an endearing warmth and ease, whilst, in stark contrast, live shots exude a raw power and energy. Both of these versions of Michael are difficult to tear one’s eyes away from. Photographer Matthew Rolston (his most famous MJ portrait being that image of Michael in the yellow sweater vest) talks of his “beautylight” concept, whereby he aimed to capture a golden glow from within – but it seems Michael’s ability to convey this was not exclusively limited to his work, or even to moments when he was aware his image was being taken.
Amongst these wholly rare and unseen images are essays which discuss all aspects of Michael’s unparalleled impact on pop, entertainment and culture that made him an untouchable artist. Every facet of Michael’s talent is placed under the microscope; from his early ascent to the position of Motown’s premier wunderkind, to his compelling vocal quality, the captivating dance, his capacity as a composer, extensive humanitarian efforts and visionary take on what it meant to be a showman. Particular attention is paid to Michael’s foremost celebrated gifts; his voice and dance. The genre defying quality of Michael’s vocals are dissected into numerous categories but the ultimate label granted to his voice as “Stradivarius” is both apt and succinct. Whilst the difficult task of analysing Michael’s moves is tackled well by identifying the two juxtaposing elements that elevated his trademark routines from a passing popular moment, to everlasting legend; a delicate balance between tirelessly crafted perfection and spontaneous outbursts of exaltation.
Of course the danger of dissecting all that Michael did to mystify and inspire generations, is that by revealing the magic, it may be lost. But here this is certainly not the case. Quite the contrary; there is nothing present within these pages to distort, destroy or degrade Michael’s work; instead it is embellished with further wonder and awe.
Despite numerous contributions from those who knew Michael personally, Quincy Jones, Berry Gordy and ‘Thriller’ director, John Landis, amongst numerous others, they all rightfully focus on Michael’s creativity (a few passing comments about his playful yet fiercely determined nature aside). Particularly touching involvement comes from the foreword by Reverend Jesse Jackson and the poem which ‘Gone Too Soon’ lyricist, Buz Kohan, sent to Michael in his time of need in 2004 entitled ‘Restoration’. There are no tasteless attempts to confirm or deny rumours that plagued much of Michael’s personal life, but rather testaments to his passion and hard work that made the magic happen.
However, the most revealing details of this book come in form of viewing Michael Jackson as an art lover. It is not noted often enough that Michael was just as learned in the works of Leonardo Da Vinci and Michael Angelo as he was with the works of James Brown and Fred Astaire. Michael’s desire to create and captivate is contextualised beyond the realms of fame and celebrity, and instead his belief in art as a tie between the spiritual and material worlds makes his own work all the more evocative. The work of artists to whom Michael became a patron, Nate Giorgio and David Nordahl, give a fascinating insight into the beauty and decadence that once decorated the walls of Neverland. Portraits of Michael as a king, conqueror, storyteller and bringer of peace and unity are all running themes in the compelling works of the aforementioned artists.
It goes without saying that the scrupulous detail, sheer size and price of this tome makes this a must-read for MJ aficionados only. ‘The Opus’ is taking the first step to the next, rational phase of Michael Jackson fandom which is sure to be a more academic, theoretical evaluation of all that he achieved and the seismic impact he made. It is only logical that Michael will now find himself and his art being analysed in the same manner as his Renaissance heroes.
‘The Opus’ is sure to become a collector’s item and primary go-to source for any fan looking for reflection on why it is that Michael Jackson means what he means to you. Doubtlessly, book upon book will be written in the future, all claiming to expose ‘the real Michael Jackson’ but that is an impossible feat – for Michael worked tirelessly to create the unbreakable myth which surrounded him, and ‘The Opus’ fully sustains it.