Earth Song: Inside Michael Jackson's Magnum Opus

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9780981650678: Earth Song: Inside Michael Jackson's Magnum Opus


Released in 1995, Michael Jackson s "Earth Song" was in many ways anachronistic. In both theme and sound, it was like nothing else on the radio. It defied the cynicism and apathy of Generation X. It challenged the aesthetic expectations for a pop song or even a protest song, fusing blues, opera, rock and gospel. It demanded conscience in an era of corporate greed, genocide and environmental indifference. A massive hit around the world (reaching #1 in over fifteen countries), it wasn t even offered as a single in the United States. Yet nearly eighteen years later, this six-and-a-half minute lamentation stands as one of Jackson s greatest artistic achievements. In this groundbreaking monograph, author Joseph Vogel -- who filmmaker Spike Lee praised as having "brilliantly cracked the DNA" of Jackson's work -- details the song s evolution from its inception in Vienna in 1988, to never-before-heard stories from the recording studio, to its controversial release and reception, to Jackson s final live performance in Munich in 1999. Based on original research, including interviews with the song s key participants, Earth Song: Inside Michael Jackson s Magnum Opus offers a fascinating reassessment of this timeless work of art.

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About the Author:

Joseph Vogel is an Assistant Professor at Merrimack College, where his research and teaching focus on contemporary American literature, film, popular music, popular culture, and environmental studies. He is the author of the critically acclaimed book, Man in the Music: The Creative Life and Work of Michael Jackson. His work has appeared in The Atlantic, Slate, The Huffington Post, PopMatters, The Journal of Popular Culture, the Journal of Popular Music Studies, the National Recording Registry, and Scribner's Dictionary of American History. He holds a PhD from the University of Rochester.


"Terrific! It was totally engaging to finally hear the complete story of 'Earth Song.' Vogel's perspective is amazing. What true insights he has uncovered." - Matt Forger, Technical Engineer for ThrillerBadDangerous and HIStory

"To my mind, Vogel's analysis of Michael Jackson's "Earth Song" represents the very best of what art criticism can be: it educates and enlightens us, and leads us to a deeper appreciation and understanding of Jackson's art." - Dr. Willa Stillwater, author of M Poetica: Michael Jackson's Art of Connection and Defiance

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