(Header image inspired by original author, modified by BTM)
The disrespect has to stop.
One critic said, “The most interesting thing is how he pronounced ‘part’ (‘poo-what!’) in the title phrase.”
Acclaimed Music left it off their Top Songs of All Time list of 10,000 songs.
When most fans debate Michael’s best songs, they rarely mention it, including yours truly. (Ouch!)
I’m sorry, “Another Part of Me.” You’re underrated.
IN SEARCH OF POP’S OUTER ORBITS
The first sounds you hear are the roaring THX Deep Note and sparkling chimes, making you feel like you’re floating in a galaxy far, far away. Without warning, those stars stretch into white-hot streaks as the song zips into lightspeed. You’re on a glistening vortex of synth-funk, jazz brass, and neon colors. It moves, it flows, it bops, it explodes!
The mid-to-late 1980s saw the rise of a trailblazing dance sound called New Jack Swing. It had the punch of hip-hop, the swing of jazz, and soulful chords from the black church. Michael Jackson loved how the beats snapped, crackled, and popped on his sister Janet’s 1986 album, Control. At the same time, he wanted to find new sounds that the human ear had never heard.
To achieve this, Jackson and his mentor, Quincy Jones, asked many of the unsung heroes from Off the Wall and Thriller to return for Bad. Expectations were high for newcomers like Brad Sundberg, John Barnes, Rhett Lawrence, and Christopher Currell. But their collective talent and utmost respect for their craft made them fit right in with the veterans.
As a result, “Another Part of Me” is a monster groove that sounds like a Saturday night block party taking place inside of the Milky Way.
MJ TAKES US ALL TO CHURCH
Hand in hand with that hi-tech, polished sound is a voice so pure we should add the nickname “Vocal Bible” to the Michael Jackson lexicon. A spiritual sequel to The Jacksons’ 1981 single, “Can You Feel It?” his sheer joy, confidence, and energy have the power to shake an atheist to their core with holy thunder.
“We’re sendin’ out
A major love
And this is our
Message to you (Message to you)
The planets are linin’ up
We’re bringin’ brighter days
They’re all in line
Waitin’ for you
Can’t you see?
You’re just another part of me!”
Although he left the Jehovah’s Witness faith, he always knew who the driving force was behind his artistic gifts. “No one can quite say what the creative process is,” Jackson explained to Ebony in 1987. “Because I have nothing to do with it almost. ‘Cause it’s created in space. It’s God’s work, not mine.”
If you’re worried about getting a little Jesus on your shirt, perhaps we can agree on this: When he performs “Another Part of Me” onstage, he’s connecting to something out of this world. When the groove stirs him, he whoops and hollers. He claps. He unleashes a flurry of taps on the floor as if his feet are on fire.
THE LOVABLE REBEL
One more reason to revisit “Another Part of Me” is that we see ourselves in him because he struggled. We also see who we could be because he didn’t let the world run him down.
He came from a blue-collar family in the slums of Gary, Indiana. He aimed to “be a new incredible actor, singer, dancer that will shock the world.”
He was told there was no lane for him on MTV. He changed the way we hear and see music, anyways.
We felt his wounds when he got one GRAMMY nomination in 1980. We basked in his glory when he clutched eight awards against his chest in 1984.
He did more than go toe-to-toe with the Supreme Leader in Disney’s Captain EO. He was also acting out a real-life superhero script at a time when a select few black superstars graced the big screen.
As fans keep worshipping at Thriller and Off the Wall’s feet, songs like “Another Part of Me” risk becoming even more underrated than they are now.
Pop historians might remember “Another Part of Me” for ending Bad’s winning streak of five back-to-back #1 pop hits. But Michael’s ultimate goal was leaving the world a little better than how he found it. That’s an accomplishment that will stand the test of time.
Full Source - Chris Lacy @ Medium