It’s been five years without George Michael


When George Michael passed away on December 25, 2016, it was evidence once again that 2016 was a precision-guided missile, aimed at anyone and anything good in life: Prince, Boy, Lemmy (a few days before January 1st), Counts), Juan Gabriel, Anton Yelchin, Carrie Fisher, Alan Rickman and USA Best have been taken too soon. Then add all the great legends who lived a long and legendary life, and died leaving the absolutely inaccurate sense that an era was dying, the entire twentieth century. Among these was Leonard Cohen, followed by Michael less than 50 days later, both of whom are my top 5 all-time favorite singers and songwriters, both of whom I’ve never had the chance to watch live in concert, both of whom I wish I had discovered earlier. much earlier.

Other than the VH1/MTV documentaries “Best of the 80s,” the first George Michael video I ever watched was “Freeek!” , the first single from patienceAnd, in true George Michael way, it shocked my 13-year-old self. In a real way for someone with undiagnosed OCD and still shedding self-imposed Catholic guilt, it kind of knocked me out. It was a sexually explicit song about modern, untethered sexuality promoted by one of the most overtly sexist videos you could create in 2002, and if I remember correctly, it didn’t get much rotation on MTV that I was just allowed to watch. Here is the link for an elaborate version, but be warned it’s NSFW for 2021 standards. “grits!” It’s a great sci-fi masterpiece with director Joseph was shooting all-disc, while also building a better world out of some long-running cyberpunk pieces. I couldn’t understand at the time that both the song and the video were super satire on what would become a hyper-sex decade, encoded overwhelmingly by straight males. Because “freak!” (song and video) They focus almost exclusively on the male gaze and heterosexuality, but the hateful images are cut between scenes of hot bodies writhing together and, most importantly, George Michael’s appearance in every other shot, as a neutral anarchist observer of a world that does not include his promise of sexual freedom people like him. Among several others.

Not surprisingly, the 13-year-old found this video to be disgusting; It was literally trolling for people like me, hormones and moral confusion about sex. I crossed it off, after all; He was very gay, in those days when gay was an adjective that modded something like bad, weak, cheesy, unworthy of men. I knew homosexuality was normal and natural, at least I learned it, but adolescence and social diversity have a way of deconstructing a more enlightened education.

However, a few months later, George Michael released his second single, “Shoot the Dog”, in which he aimed his wits and rocking tone toward the militarization of Bush Jr., and, in particular, Tony Blair became a dutiful dog to Doba, kicking out the window of any of Britannia’s gorgeous capital that He acquired it in the nineties. People forget that this was a bold move at the time: an outspoken protest song against the inevitable war in Iraq. Dixie-Chek’s abolition of “Silence and Sing” was around the corner, Bono said little other than “give peace a chance” nonsense, and it didn’t abate after the spread of post-9/11 chauvinism. Sure, being public against the war against Iraq was more acceptable outside the US, starting with the UK, but when George Michael released this song, he probably knew he was burning any last chance to regain popularity in the US. He was never one to use provocation as a cheap resort; There was always a clear agenda, sometimes direct, sometimes…more clear but tongue in cheek.

At the time, I should have taken the opportunity to explore more about this singer unlike in 2002: danceable and smart. Politically outspoken but still a pop singer. But the face of integrity, all codes of self-restriction take precedence over my actual tastes.

Covering political issues was not a product of musical maturity for him, as is the case with too many pop artists (cough)ManOfTheWoodscough), they were spun into the song Wham! The first is “Wham Rap! (Enjoy What You’re Doing?)”, and its references to unemployment and misery in the Thatcher era…delivered with a great synthesizer base and rapping, though sung to the beat of a new wave, typical when white Europeans reclaimed this type of music in the eighties. Fortunately for everyone, George Michael never tried his hand at hip-hop again, but he showed off one of his greatest skills: his flexibility to absorb and adapt sounds from a myriad of sources, then turn them into something uniquely his own. At the heart of his style are classic Soul and R&B music: Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone and Aretha Franklin. But then he could easily play electronic dance music in “Flawless (Go to the City)” or powerful ballads like “Praying for Time”.

The second time I found out George Michael was in my freshman year of college, 2008. Now free from (barely) keeping up with one of the business in high school, I had to pretend to be an adult. The good part is that this means a different circle of people, and the bad part is that this was still 2008, and even studying in a left-leaning sociology school, the principles that make a man still are. Fortunately we were the generation that started tearing down that stunt. I was in desperate need of a singer who could help me process all of that and start my OCD treatment. However, what prompted me to rediscover George Michael was as random as the fact that there was an entire web of legal and procedural procedures around his music. I’m talking about Eli Stone, that charming and bizarre comedy-drama that I’m still amazed at managed to get a second season.

This curiosity classified. I also had access to a computer that could properly download torrents. I’ve delved into his music business, including Wham! , which deserves its own school of studies.

The first thing you discover when you start actively listening to George Michael is that, yes, he is cursed to be taken lightly. And not just by the American market, which turned against him the second time he started writing more complex things Listen without volume bias. 1. But that does not mean that there was anything simple Faith or whack! era. The genius of pop music is to create something that can be listened eminently without having to listen actively, but George Michael did it while creating multi-layered melodies, lyrics full of mystery and introspection, and I’m still amazed that it became Billboard Hits and, of course, a human voice. His voice has much of the range and elegance of Freddy Mercury but with some blast it has been dismissed and replaced with an undercurrent of solemnity. He had this skill when singing from transitioning seamlessly from a balanced sex symbol to weakness and even fragility, sometimes through a single song track. This was his secret. He can convey a whole bunch of masculine inner life and contrasts through pop music, and make it look easy. There are very few male singers who can make it happen in this day and age. It’s either extreme or the other, except maybe Miguel or Dave Haines or Jose.

His work was exactly what a confused 19-year-old needed before I began to trade my character for being in politics. Unlike Jeff Winger, I would never disavow my “Faith” cover in 1986’s full George Michael uniform. I mean, I don’t even need jeans, a leather jacket, and sunglasses to start singing.

Absolutely masterpiece OlderIronically, he was released when he was just 33 years old. Each of the 11 LP tracks is a case of musical lightning in a bottle, including the title track. Here’s a story that makes fun of me: Beginning in my sophomore year, we found out that one of my classmates was getting married. He was a few months older than me. Her fiancé was a businessman, age-appropriate, but still, why on earth would you want to be a newlywed after graduating high school while studying at university in our Lord’s Year 2009? Since I was dramatic, I felt like it was the time to listen to “Older” as I got home that day because honestly I felt so much older and sad. Did I have a little bit of a crush on that girl? Perhaps, but I was twenty, surrounded by intelligent women my age, who shared at least some of my interests and were all absurdly attractive. I like it Everyone. Did you take advantage of this unique opportunity? of course not!

But the irony is that I am now about to reach the same age that George Michael was when he was released OlderAnd I realized that all of my friends actually have kids, and I just want to have some fun. I haven’t listened to George Michael in a while, but now I’m rediscovering it again. It still makes sense, its tones never wear out and it never loses an inch from the edge. This isn’t one you can choose to fill your cute album covers’ playlist; Do you listen to Michael Buble?

Perhaps that shouldn’t surprise us, considering this is the same guy who led to the 1984 coal miners’ strike with Wham! , whose secret generosity far exceeds what most people do in his class of fame. He went beyond singles charity. Instead, he distributed the proceeds from his huge hits like “Last Christmas” or sales of his more successful collections to charities. Apparently, he was once a member of the Young Communist League. I’m not sure he stayed one, but he embodied values, including living in the UK rather than becoming another tax evader (coughBonoPhilCollinscough).

George Michael’s discography is short and very short, yet exceptional at every turn. To some, it may seem scattered and incomplete: Vol. 1 of Listen without prejudice Who has never had a companion, LP random collection of covers in the format Songs from the last century This is not the stuffing of a contract but a labor of love. And all the while, he keeps trying new things, gaining new characters and sounds in an art project not unlike David Bowie or Prince. During the ’90s, it became very common for many stars of the ’60s through the ’80s to fall into complacency at the sight of Central Park. artists such as Sting, Bono, Phil Collins, and Clapton; They all started making extra fortunes in royalties from their back catalogs, the waves of nostalgia and the age of CDs. So they settled in duplexes in cities like London or New York and started living the lives of the rich instead of the artists, even if the artists were only super-rich. They are becoming complacent, less interesting, and more inherited than important. The exceptions were for people like Prince, such as David Bowie, Paul McCartney, and George Michael. Limited output, but clearly made by a very perfect person. One, considering the ease with which he gave his money to the needy, it was clear that it was for music first. An ironic twist to the fate of any pure musician out there, perhaps one of the ultimate artists for the sake of art was one of the world’s biggest and most poppy stars.

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Title image source: Getty Images.


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