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George Michael: Genius?

 
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 7:54 am    Post subject: George Michael: Genius? Reply with quote

“It's time we applauded the genius of George Michael,” says Guardian music blogger Alan McGee. Read about the rhetoric behind that controversial statement at http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/musicblog/2009/jun/02/george-michael-faith.

Says McGee, "Barely a week goes by without an album getting the legacy-edition treatment. Usually I'm against the money-grabbing mentality of major labels, but I've been enjoying these reissues. Featuring rare demos, live footage and extra tracks from huge talents like John Martyn, Dennis Wilson and Johnny Cash, they're great historical documents.

What music fan wouldn't want to have the Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison DVD? Who doesn't want to hear an extra 50 Pavement tracks? Exactly. Which brings me to an important question: why is there no legacy edition of George Michael's Faith? Not only was it commercially successful, it also set a template for a solo artist wishing to progress beyond their boyband past (in Michael's case, Wham!).

In retrospect, were Wham! really that bad? Of course they weren't! Which is why Wham! have been making a comeback on the dancefloor recently courtesy of Idjut Boys and Dmitri from Paris.

Solo success beckoned for Michael after he tested the waters with Careless Whisper and Last Christmas, but his masterpiece Faith was still in the offing. Michael's transformation from Wham! to mature solo star paved the way for other frustrated boyband members. And he did it without being tame – his first single I Want Your Sex was banned. Amazing. George Michael was banned for being sexually dangerous. Who would have thought the singer of Wham! would join the exclusive club of the Jesus and Mary Chain, Madonna, Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Sex Pistols by getting himself banned? Even though he appeared to soften the controversy – 'Hey, it wasn't about promiscuity, but monogamy' – in reality he courted it and I Want Your Sex was a brilliant publicity move to get him out of the boyband ghetto.

The iconic image of George Michael in the Faith video sealed the transformation: he dispensed with dodgy sartorial choices like Choose Life T-shirts and pastel Club Tropicana clothing for three-day-old stubble, sunglasses, acoustic guitar, black leather jacket and Levi's. At the start of Faith's rockabilly riff, it was clear that Michael was now serious business.

Faith (the album) was classic pop. It found Michael moving into Brian Wilson Pet Sounds territory. Seriously – Michael co-produced, wrote all the songs, played most of the instruments and sang backing vocals and harmonies. Faith could have been 'pop star ego gone wild' but it wasn't. Instead it became an instant classic, standing alongside other albums released in 1987, namely: Sonic Youth's Sister, the Cure's Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me and Prince's Sign o' the Times.

The world was now listening to George Michael the solo star and the entire Faith experience (from tour to album) was immensely successful. The sheer power of Michael's genre-breaking takes the listener through rockabilly (Faith), jazz (Kissing a Fool), and hard funk and R&B (I Want Your Sex). Michael shared his wisdom of the dangers of love and drug addiction with Monkey, even evoking poignant Dylan-like protest with tracks like Hand to Mouth and Look At Your Hands (the latter covered by Joan Baez), which saw him narrating the broken ideals of the American dream and domestic abuse. Nothing could stop him.

The stratospheric rise of Michael from Faith even shocked the singer himself. Ironically, the success of his new Faith persona locked him yet again into the pop-image ghetto (the same one he tried to escape from with Wham!). His follow-up, 1990's Listen Without Prejudice, made a point of obscuring his image and subsequently Michael was penalised by his record company with lack of promotion (Sony wanting a forced return to the Faith-era image). The result? Michael was prompted (like Neil Young and Talk Talk frontman Mark Hollis) to sue his record company and win back his freedom. With Faith Michael destroyed his image as a manufactured pop robot and transformed himself into a reputable artist. It was an incredible move and a genius album. Doesn't that justify its inclusion in the legacy-edition series? I think so."
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lovegeorgemichael



Joined: 09 Mar 2009
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 7:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have been thinking the same thing for a long time!

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ballooncrazy



Joined: 13 Mar 2009
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 7:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Edgy choice, Alan.

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technicaltrader



Joined: 20 Mar 2009
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2009 7:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

RIP Michael Jackson


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jasfunk



Joined: 26 May 2009
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Location: Madrid

PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2009 10:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

George Michael a genious?

.....

Absolutely! On his own right.
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trucking



Joined: 20 Mar 2009
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2009 8:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jasfunk wrote:
George Michael a genious?

.....

Absolutely! On his own right.



Does that mean he's a genius only in the land of George Michael or a genius overall? Just wondering.


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Clark_Claude



Joined: 16 Dec 2011
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 3:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Time is a wonderful thing. When we look back through the prism of the past, we often see things completely differently. Take music for example. How many times have you gone back to listen to something you didn’t care for, only to find it was brilliant?

In pleading for a legacy edition of George Michael’s Faith, The Guardian’s Alan McGee calls for a re-examination of the singer/songwriter’s music, even comparing him to – ready for this?
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Flaaver



Joined: 18 Dec 2011
Posts: 49

PostPosted: Sun Dec 18, 2011 2:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is my first time I visit here. I found so many interesting stuffs in your blog especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the enjoyment here! keep up the good work.


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