Past Prime podcast

Michael Jackson "HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I"

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On episode 23 of Past Prime, Steve and Matty revisit The King of Pop's penultimate album, which was really a double album, consisting of one greatest hits record and one lavish, eighty minute, fifteen track selection of new songs. "HIStory" was made while Jackson was being investigated by the Santa Barbara District Attorney for child abuse & endangerment, while he was also in the midst of his brief, mind-exploding marriage to Lisa Marie Presley, and while every aspect of his public and private persona was being obsessed over by paparazzi, headlines and gossip. Suffice it to say, it's a lot.

The credits for "HIStory" name 260 individuals, including R. Kelly, Janet Jackson, Quincy Jones, Notorious BIG, David Foster, Shaquille O'Neil and Elizabeth Taylor. It features defiant New Jack Swing, goopy ballads and thinly veiled defenses and threats. But, most of all, it features the most famous man on the planet assuring us that he could never hurt a child because he is the true victim and the true savior. Though it's perhaps the saddest, angriest and least relatable album Michael ever made, it is also luxurious in its arrangements and quite fierce in its rhythms. There will never be anything else like it and while Matty cowers from its tawdriness, Steve is more than a little fascinated by its psychological thrills. Buckle up -- Wacko Jacko is Backo.

To read more about "HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I," check out the full essay at Past Prime.

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