On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenging of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post everyday (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be…
Michael & Janet Jackson – Scream (1995)
” Scream” is the lead single from Michael Jackson’s ninth studio album, HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I . It is a duet with his younger sister Janet, and was released as a double A-side with ” Childhood”, a solo song by Michael. The single was released on May 31, 1995.
We’re leaving the UK, dear reader, and making our way to the US and to Indiana. We have yet another appearance on our list from Michael Jackson but this time the King of Pop is joined by his sister, Janet. It’s 1995 and Jackson has released his ninth album, HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I. From there 1001 Songs have gone with the first single released – Scream.
For this collaboration, Michael and Janet Jackson take turns in launching a scathing attack against the tabloid press. For Michael, the press were not something he had the best of times with. Stories about the singer in the 1980s led to him being dubbed “Wacko Jacko” but it was in 1993 when things turned very serious. Allegations of child sex abuse were investigated against Jackson and the press were quick to leap all over the story. In Scream both Michael and Janet sing of the claustrophobic feeling of the media being in their faces, in their lives and making them want to “scream” at every turn.
I can recall seeing the music video for Scream on MTV back in my secondary school days. I never knew that the song concerned Jackson’s uneasy relationship with the media and the stories they printed about his private life. Those accusations of child sex abuse have never gone away and in his later years, the singer would turn to heavy prescription drug use. The reality was that the media seemed to be against Jackson but his fans remained loyal. In 2009 Jackson was due to start a new tour for sell out crowds when he died from cardiac arrest having taken an overdose of propofol, provided by his physician Conrad Murray, who was later charged with involuntary manslaughter. While Michael Jackson’s star shines bright in terms of his music career, the secrets of his private life continue to be discussed and the debate continues about his innocence.
Favourite songs so far: