March 29, 2006

Opinion: Is Sonic 3's Music By Michael Jackson?

When you play a video game, the last thing on your mind is the music. But for video gamers, the music is a key part of the experience. That’s why I was all the more stunned that The King Of Pop might have had a hand in scoring Sonic The Hedgehog 3. The connection however is spread across Jackson’s 90’s albums.

YouTube is hosting a documentary on this subject. In it, the narrator merges together music from several scenes of Sonic 3 with songs from the Dangerous album and the History album. Some of the selections have dead-on likeness to songs from those albums, while others have lightly-sprinkled touches of Jackson's style.

Here’s where it gets confusing. Sonic 3 was released in 1994, which was a couple of years before the History album. Also, Dangerous was made right around the time of Sonic 2. How could songs from both of these albums sound so familiar in Sonic 3?

The rumor has it that Sonic 3 was assigned to Jackson. He accepted and possibly brought his team into the fold to help with the style of the music. Around this time, Jackson was being charged with child molestation and the scandal got too hot for Sega (who was producing the series under their own company at the time). Sega was apparently supposed to delete the music completely, but the documentary proves otherwise.

It is possible that Sonic 3’s musical score ended up being the inspiration for the future History album, and was also the groundwork for the Dangerous album? I guess that Jackson’s production team felt that if they couldn’t do the game justice, they’d put their ideas to use elsewhere. It’s also possible to be the other way around: some of Jackson’s musical notes could have slipped into the Sonic 3 score from released or unreleased songs.

I have spoken to the author of the documentary, and he will have part two of this documentary completed sometime this week. This should prove interesting for fans of the pop singer and the blue hedgehog.

Posted by Matthew at 10:09 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 28, 2006

Opinion: Doctor Who is back?

As announced on Outpost Gallifery today, the BBC has confirmed that on April 15th, the legendary BBC Sci-Fi series will return with “New Earth”, the first episode of Series 2 and the first one-hour adventure since “The Christmas Invasion” last December. After the long wait between episodes, the question still needs to be asked: Can David Tennant’s Doctor take center stage?

By my estimation, he can be

In the very first season in 1963, The Doctor (then played by William Hartnell) was more of a background character whose companions were at the forefront of the action while the Doctor figured a way out of the situation given in an episode. Later on, the producers of the series found a way to manage the characters so that both would be allowed ample screen time. Series 1 felt more like a return to those early years, which is fine, but not for every episode.

When Tennant took over the role from Christopher Eccelston (who did the Doctor for Series 1) in “The Parting Of The Ways”, it finally seemed like an actor had stepped in with enthusiasm and interest in the character. As luck would have it, we got our chance a few months before Christmas with the mini-segment “Children-In-Need” special. Now with this excitement and joy with a new Doctor at hand, we had to deal with whether the result was worth it. For the CID special, I didn’t feel it.

Fans who love the series will remember that in 1984, Peter Davidson handed the role over to Colin Baker in a controversial change of tone for the character of the Doctor. Instead of being a character who was interested in people and science, he seemed to turn into a person who saw more perfection in science, and was more irritated with people. This was more a matter of behind-the-scenes meddling than it did with Colin himself, unfortunately by 1986 after the “Trial of a Timelord” season, he was sacked. It seemed the writers decided to run that for Tennant’s first few minutes.

The decision to go this route works in one sense: Rose has witnessed her best friend, The Doctor, turn into a completely different person. Shock and awe are to be expected. Past about 2 minutes into the short time given the special, I would have thought they’d move on, but the thread continues throughout the episode. We were promised a chance at David Tennant’s full potential in “The Christmas Invasion”, which would involve an alien invasion. When the episode finally aired, what I saw once again confirmed the direction they wanted to go in.

When Jon Pertwee stepped into the role of the Doctor, he’s opening was a rather uninteresting affair. “Spearhead in Space” places the Doctor after the end of the 1969 episode “The War Games” stranded on earth with a disabled TARDIS and a new identity. But as a sign of tension and brilliance on their part, they decided to put the Doctor in the background until the next couple of episodes. The idea isn’t bad, but the Doctor character is the main focus and the reason to watch. The other characters are made in reaction to whatever he does, anything else makes it entirely a different show altogether. That unfortunately was the way they went with TCI.

With that out of the way, and April 15th approaching, I can only hope that the show returns to it’s full glory and allows it’s main hero to take center stage.

Posted by Matthew at 10:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Opinion: Action Will Save Your Children From Gangs

When your kid decides to go out on a Friday night, ask him where he’s going. If your kid goes out with a friend or girlfriend of questionable behavior, get to know her parents and her life. If your social circle of adult friends consists mostly of people who have gang relations, separate yourselves from them. If you cut the fat out of the problem, the solution will be much easier to digest.

Kids who get killed by gang violence are allowed to eat the bullet by a lack of interest on the part of the parent to invest in his/her life. Special circumstances are understandable, such as working two jobs and having no husband/wife to look after the child. But if the child gets around enough people street or otherwise, his teaching will be certified by the world, and not by the people who brought him/her into it.

The adults don’t make it any better. Not because they ignore it, or that they don’t care, but that some of them have relations with families who engage in the very activity that puts your child in danger. Association is comfort for most people in that case because ultimately they know you won’t turn their family or family members in regardless of their gang activity. In short, they’ve been told not to snitch and/or don’t believe in snitching.

Community leaders should also take that advice and spread it towards their audience and/or any government agency. Anyone whose been kissing the behind of those who bring the product in should be separated from relation. I know we have to wash our hands in the dirt as part of the job, but that dirt will still be on your hands when you’re done.

But let’s now ask another question: If you take the control and you finally get your kids away from the gangs, what do you do with your child?

Getting a child some after-school work, or even a regular job is a start. Teach him the credit system, that sure as hell going to be important to him now since society deems you unfit without a good rating. Teach him as well that education is in and out of school and that he should never stop learning. Just tell them something other than “Oh, just go do what you want”.

I must admit that I don’t have any children, but I have been the quaint observer to other people taking care of their kids. I can’t tell you what to do with your kids once you’ve established what to steer them away from. I can tell you that it’s a worthy investment to get into your child like you would a dinner plate. The result doesn’t have to be that the kid turns out to be a genius, but that your child survives and becomes something of a human being.

Posted by Matthew at 08:57 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 27, 2006

TV Review: Everybody Hates Chris - "Everybody Hates Funerals"

This episode begins when Rochelle's father (Jimmy Walker) stops by to kick it with the Rock family. No sooner does he gets there than he dies from a heart attack at the dinner table. It seemed a rather cold way to start an episode, but the laughs warm it right up.

Soon Rochelle's mother (Loretta Devine) makes a visit with the rest of her family. Right away, she takes charge of the funeral arrangements and reduces Rochelle to the role of servant. For the first time in his life, Chris (Tyler James Williams) watches as his mother is reduced to a small child.

In her state of shock over her father's death, Rochelle (Tichina Arnold) finds herself unable to take control of her household. Chris steps up to the plate and puts his brothers and sisters to work keeping the house and Rochelle's family in order. Eventually she snaps out of it after her mother eats her favorite snack. She regains control of the house and all is well once again, and Chris ends up back as the servant with his mother as the boss once again.

As the episodes go on, Tichina Arnold's Rochelle becomes more down-to-earth. In the earlier episodes, the humor of her stereotypical personality was played up for good laughs. In these newer episodes, that side has calmed down a bit to allow for more character development.

I love this show so much that I'm impatient to know what its fate will be. They've already gone about their business renewing America's Next Top Model and Veronica Mars; they'd be smart to renew Everybody Hates Chris. If UPN doesn't bother, then I suppose I could settle for the DVD box set.

Posted by Matthew at 05:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 23, 2006

CD Review: Althea Rene - In The Moment

There’s always a girl that somehow just has a spark to her. It’s kind of like going out with the finest woman in the room, but realizing that her best friend is equally fine and much more interesting. A native of Detriot, Althea Rene is that other girl, and In The Moment should make them take notice.

As I imagine it, I see her entering the door of the Jazz club as that other friend in the title track. A very low-key smooth jazz track that while has a bit of the familiar, carries within itself a bit something extra towards the end. When she sits herself down at the table and you meet her face to face, you begin your getting-to-know you conversation. With "I Can", she lets her flute-playing slow down so that she can envelope you in her world while answering your questions as to whether she can be the woman you want.

Hearts begin to flutter with the surprisingly refreshing upbeat "Campari Juice" as you and Miss Rene begin to get more comfortable with each other. You two get to the dance floor and begin to sway to the song for awhile. Then, around the fourth song on the album, she’s ready to sing to you.

"More Than You Know" brings Althea’s sultry voice to the mic as she dedicates this one to someone who could possibly have a future with her. Now you seriously have an interest as you stand there and watch her tickle your soul with this song, but the night is unfortunately over and you have to go back to your girlfriend.

Throughout the days of your regular week, her "Midday Grind" helps you ease to a hip-hop beat through your regular work days. You play it in your bathroom as you ready to leave, and in your car as you battle the traffic. You even keep it on low volume as you slightly jam to it at your desk. You even play it again when you get to your car again and leave for home.

You forget about it until you come inside your house and find a message on your machine: she wants to spend some time alone with you at her place. On her track, "One-Night Love Affair", she lets you in with a smooth reggae touch to her voice and undresses you her own version of Jamaican soul.

After your session of love, you dance yourself down to your kitchen with "Number One" as you make her some breakfast and acquire the morning paper from her front door as she hums over the cool keyboard and flute melody that sets it off. After a short interlude from the story you’ve made with Miss Rene on "Me, Myself and I" (a remake of the Beyonce hit), you settle back into the daily grind of work and of your newfound relationships with "And She Said".

In this song, she shows you that she’s not just a temptress with a nice voice, but that she actually has a move on her life. She wants the house clean, and she wants the toilet seat down with no fuss. After doing your part, she comes home happy to a warm house and an understanding partner in crime with "When You’re Around".

What I’ve described is pretty much the feelings and events that make a relationship and even love itself. If that’s what Althea Rene was attempting to achieve her with this album, then she succeeded. I only ask that you not judge the CD as another smooth jazz staple. Take a listen to the CD as a whole and you’ll find a woman who’s more than a single genre can define.

Posted by Matthew at 10:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Website Review:

There are few places on the web for black models. A few years ago, there were even fewer. Tommy McInnis of Colorado made it happen, and thus the website of was born.

The process to get in is rather simple. You submit a photo to Tommy, who turns around under his own approval and provides a small page with a few choice photos. Any additional information (yahoo groups, email, web pages) will be placed below those photos as sort of a nice business card.

The key to the website’s success is that it’s not over-designed. Its design is simple enough to navigate for the average user and is much easier for industry contacts to browse through. Should the model in question wish to meet industry contacts and/or just introduce his or herself to potential viewers, he or she could take herself to

As part of Jazzymodels, the message board serves as a place for Tommy and industry contacts, as well as regular folks to mix and mingle with models. This interaction breaks down the “don’t talk to me” attitude that most seem to have about models. You can also on the board, acquire a job or two by visiting the posting section.

I’d give the site a look and check it out for yourself. It might look average, but the low-key design and overall friendliness of the message board more than make up for it. Besides, Where else can you conduct business with pretty girls and talk with them about the basketball game at the same time?

Posted by Matthew at 07:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 22, 2006

GameCube Review: Resident Evil 4

The last game I ever played was Bionic Commando for the NES. That was 1987. Later that same year, I beat Mega Man 2. I never had that much luck afterwards. I lost my passion to play as I got older. Until that is, I came across Resident Evil 4 for the GameCube.

The game is set after the events of Resident Evil 2, in which former Raccoon City policeman Leon S. Kennedy is sent on a mission to find Ashley Graham, the President’s daughter. Leon's investigation begins in a small village in Europe, which he has been driven to. But after one of the villagers nearly kills him after inquiring about Ashley, it’s clear this isn’t going to be as simple as it looks.

Unlike previous Resident Evil’s, the baddies here are relatively different. Instead of zombies, they were everyday villagers who had been possessed by an unseen force. Unlike zombies, these enemies are still able to function as normal people until ordered to do otherwise. This means that as Leon shots, they will duck and dodge in order to get at him. This change of villains however was one of many welcome changes given to the series.

Having played the first couple Resident Evil games, the biggest improvement is the ability to seamless move the viewpoint of Leon both behind and in front of him. In previous games, the camera seemed stuck in one angle, which left you to find all items and fight the zombies within the set-up given. Here you were given a single left-to-right viewpoint of wherever the main character is looking. This means a focus on the items as well as a concentration on the enemies you have to shoot.

Because this title carried the name of Resident Evil, other characters sprinkled throughout the series made their return appearance. Not to spoil it for those who have yet to play this, but some of them will be a surprise to fans. Having only been familiar with Leon S. Kennedy from Resident Evil 2, the little bit I saw then has changed.

Technology changes made it possible for the characters to appear a bit more animated in their movements. When Leon attempted to shoot an enemy this time around, his hands and arms would move constantly. When a villager attempted to come up from behind, Leon would turn around slightly. The real time motions of the main character as well as everyone else in the game make it much more interactive.

The scope of the game is larger than in previous RE’s. The castles and mansions are placed more in the middle of the game. Placed around it are a series of villages and caves, along with an interesting lakefront, which has to be seen to be believed. These wider range in landscapes make for a lot of eye-popping surprises when in battle.

Eventually, you will come to meet Ashley and realize she was nothing more than Leon’s Kim Bauer (24). She’ll get kidnapped throughout the game and be a main character for a part of it too. That is one minor gripe in a game that has more to offer than its cliché-ridden plot would allow you to believe.

I do hope that in the future that they stay on this new format. The game play is much more manageable when you know what you are looking at, and have control over your environment. The graphics are also a big improvement, not to mention the variety of locals you get to see. Let us hope GameCube can keep up this level of quality and gain more users of the system.

Sony can’t have all the fun.

Posted by Matthew at 03:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Can Fat People Get Jobs?

When you go into an interview, the key to winning is two things: how you sell yourself, and how others buy into your pitch. Apparently according to my mother, now if you are too fat, you can’t possibly get employed. I can imagine how horrible a future that would look if we based employment on that.

Now before an employer actually hires an individual, they would now be required to look at how much you exercised and how much your exercise will keep you alive to work in the future. Not only that, right next to that report would be a report on the daily foods you eat before and after you go to work. You eat too much in one week and someone comes from HR saying, “Johnson, we have to talk”.

I know employers want a certain kind of individual, and I realize that this is an age of survival of the fittest, but what does that have to do with me getting a job? I have a Bachelor’s Degree and have worked on computers for most of my natural life. I’ve worked in computer labs in colleges helping fellow students do the simple tasks that would otherwise annoy people who have equal knowledge as me. Why can’t that account for something?

The overweight have to pay the bills the same as the muscle bound steriodians we drool over on television and film. That could be an interesting demographic of homeless people to come should this trend catch on as it seemingly has been. If corporations really want their employers to be better fit, then maybe they should help pay those high memberships to Bally’s.

It seems like a petty small issue, but I wonder if this problem is really bothering people that folks need to deny them unemployment?

Posted by Matthew at 02:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 14, 2006

24: Should Jack Be Killed?

My father might not have much long to live, and perhaps neither will my mother with all the pressure she is under. That begs the question to me about Kiefer Sutherland’s Jack Bauer on the Fox series 24: Should Jack be killed?

You’ve lost your wife and some friends to terrorist attacks. You’re estranged from your daughter while never being able to keep a girlfriend. Meanwhile, people die all around you as a means to save the day. In addition, you have a government not of the United States now possibly looking to arrest you (and perhaps kill you as well).

Last season, the Chinese Government was out for the head of Bauer after he shot one of their own. He made himself for dead and disappeared into the sunset. When the producers made the choice not to go on with that story, I felt that it was a silly move. Here you have an enemy greater than a terrorist, but a whole government that ISN’T the U.S. You could even set up a plot like this:

Jack Bauer finds that everyone who knew he was alive has been kidnapped by the Chinese Government. They agree to release him on the condition that he surrenders to them on their territory. Of course he should stop a terrorist attack while hanging about down there, but with none of his friends to help. In such a different environment, Jack will have to do more things by himself.

I’m not sure the producers of 24 will do that; they’ve signed up for a two-season deal with Fox. I would hope at least that they could restructure the show for the adventures of a fireman or a policeman. Terrorism isn’t the only thing scary in America.

Posted by Matthew at 08:42 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 09, 2006

My Friends Lupus (From my father's perspective)

I got a friend of mine inside of my body, and his name is Lupus. He hit me just as I turned 59 during December 2004.

When he calls on me, my body and I talk. We have long heated arguments, sometimes they last for hours and sometimes they last for seconds. At the end we usually make up and agree to disagree, and then go our separate ways. I’m gonna take you through my day as if you were me to understand how this works.

You see when he came he started off by making a merry go round of my head. The doorway to the hall and the stairs looked like it’s on the other side of the bedroom. The doorway to the bathroom looked like it’s in the place of the doorway to the hall and stairs, and the dresser looked like it was rolling towards the hallway. I close my eyes for a few moments, and clear my head just enough to see my stash of pills on it and grab them before he makes the world spin around again.

Now Lupus is pretty good about letting me see what instructions I have on the medicine bottles, but today my vision has gotten blurry. The mixture of white and light blue all seem mixed together forming some kind of gooey liquid that’s almost like Mylanta. The text of my instructions seems harder to read. I squint and squint and squint. Finally putting the pills in my mouth, I grab a small blue cup of water that sits on the dresser. I take a sip, and in shock realize its own my urine. Lupus has a way of surprising the bladder glands and giving few chances for you to relieve yourself in the toilet.

You would think that because I am near my bathroom in this bedroom I have Lupus would let me get there so that I can take these pills to finish the mediate the argument he has with my body. I grab my cane with the pills still in my mouth, and balance myself with sure and slow steps towards the bathroom. Halfway there Lupus decides that he is feeling ignored and suddenly shuts down my right knee. I stand in one place at this point, too far from the bed and dresser and still too far from the bathroom. The pills still sit in my mouth, so I wait.

Minutes and minutes go by; I didn’t even look at the clock anymore. Still standing in the same place I was in awhile ago, I try again to make even smaller steps towards the door. Lupus let up on my right knee at that point, and decided he would simply just take my hearing instead. All I wanted is to get these pills down with the small blue cup that I saw as I got closer to the door. I held on to the doorknob to give myself a boost inside. I saw the cup finally, but it was filled with baking soda.

I sit on the toilet seat trying within limited reach to clean this cup as best I can so that I can take these pills. A few of them slip back into my throat as I finish with the last rinse of the cup. I fill it quickly with water and bring it halfway to my lips when Lupus decides to make my hand spill it all over the floor. I take a towel to wipe it all up while trying to remain calm, Lupus will mess with my stomach next. Sure enough, the burps came up from there to my throat. I take the cup again and fill it with enough just to get the pills down and drink it as fast as I can before throwing the cup into the sink in exhaustion. Lupus still wants to argue with my body, and so again makes my stomach burp and burp some more.

I prop myself up again almost slipping to the floor but able to stand thanks to the cane. I walk towards the door, but I look back into the mirror. I see that my friend Lupus has made a butterfly design all around my eyes. My eyes feel and look like their shrinking in size, and my skin feels like it’s turning to rubber. I turn away not really thinking about it, but not really wanting to know anymore. Now the real test was getting downstairs.

The stairs seem like a long road to nowhere as I descend down them, and again the position changes as I try to stand straight. I feel as if they are moving away from the door to the living room and more towards the other side of the house, then they feel as if they are going back in the other direction until ultimately the stairs remain in their proper place towards the front and living room doors. Now I can hear the inside of my chest beating at a thousand miles per minute for a few seconds, and then suddenly slowing down. I can barely keep my eyes open, but I have to in order to get to the first floor.

I get to the final steps making it slowly towards the couch where I collapse into a deep coma for at least 15-20 seconds. I don’t remember sometimes what happened, but it pretty much ends up the same way; bedridden and vulnerable to the slightest aliment. Who knows? Maybe tomorrow Lupus will let me go out and play, but right now it wants to stay in. That means I have to stay in.

Could you go with my friend Lupus today and play with him? I’m sure he’d like the company, he’ll treat you the same as he would treat me, I don’t know; maybe he’ll like you better.

Posted by Matthew at 07:15 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 07, 2006

AOL Blackvoices Isn't Working

The age of black-owned anything is in danger. The fault lies not within the lack of ownership, but the increase of complacency., one of the largest African-American web portals, is no different.

When America Online purchased the Tribune-owned website, a lot of the freedom of expression (both literally and physically) was taken out of the site’s popular message boards. Threads started disappearing, signatures at the end of messages were deleted, and language control was induced. Since the change, some members have already left, while some managed to weather the storm.

Tensions came to a head when a female member of the board was ousted by her friends as a porn star. Most didn’t believe it, and thought it was rumor until a video clip was posted with her in it. It was later confirmed by her friends.

Now several threads exist on the subject of her career choice, and the fact that she lied to a lot of the people close to her. The moderators of AOL are viewing this as an invasion of her privacy and therefore see fit to cap all the threads about her career, and her in general for that matter. People have been so frustrated by this they’ve begun to make blogs just to voice their opinions.

My beef with the users of is simply one thing: money. If we take our dollars and pool our resources together, we can create a site just like before the AOL days. Considering most of us feel better just to complain, we shouldn’t feel surprised we are getting the short end of the stick.

Yes, there are message boards with the same amount of members and the same amount of topics. Those places however lack the character and the name that defines such a site, a place for a black voice to be heard. Now that voice has been silenced by the takeover. Shouldn’t we just up and leave?

It’s time to leave and make a new home for ourseleves by our own means. No company has the right to censor a people no matter how sensitive the topic. That’s how Freedom works.

Posted by Matthew at 10:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 03, 2006

TV Review: Everybody Hates Chris - "Everybody Hates the Gout" Review

The key to comedy, the best comedy, is the small stuff. This week’s Everybody Hates Chris asks the question: What if Rochelle (Tichina Arnold) found out Chris (Tyler James Williams) got an F in a class at school? The result is one of the funniest episodes of the season.

The episode opens up with the older Chris explaining how his younger self used to get by in his classes. Since black folks apparently all know and love Martin Luther King, Jr, he used that to his advantage to pass his classes. He couldn’t pull that off in his weakest subject; math.

Chris gets an F in that very subject on his report card. Knowing his mother Rochelle would find out about it, he tells her that he never received it. Meanwhile Greg (Vincent Martella) gets him help with Fisher, the local forger. In exchange for a book report, he agrees to take the real report card and put his mother's signature on it while making another copy of the report card with an A as the grade.

Back at home, Julius (Terry Crews) develops the gout and is unable to work. Not able to do much in his condition, he is given a chance to do one of his favorite past-times; watching The Young and The Restless. Checking in on him is Keisha’s mother Shelia (Keesha Sharp), who also loves the Young and the Restless. This creates a bit of Jealousy in Rochelle knowing that Julius is attracted to Shelia, which doesn’t help matters when more of her friends come over to talk soaps.

Chris’s math teacher, Mrs. Morello, calls on Rochelle to come to the school and handle the business with Chris’s grade. At first she uses kindness to get him (fixing him his favorite food at breakfast) to admit to changing the grade; that doesn’t work. This means only one thing; going to Corlone and sitting in on Mrs. Morello’s math class.

Mrs. Morello (Jacqueline Mazarella) asks a question with Rochelle present. Chris gives the wrong answer and heads outside with his mother to tell her the truth. This time around her threats are minimal and she doesn’t whoop him, she does however make him aware that he can come to her with the truth. At episode’s end, Julius recovers from the gout and develops a new ability; he can now converse with Rochelle on something as normal as soap operas.

This episode marks a turning point; it’s one of the first times Rochelle has to go to Chris’s school. For awhile, he's has been able to deal with problems at school by himself. With her getting involved in this episode, it breaks the wall between his house life and his school life. This should provide interesting conflict later on in the season.

Tichina Arnold’s Rochelle has improved a lot from the earlier episodes. Lately, she’s become a bit more decisive in how she handles the kids and her husband. Rather than blow up in their face with threats and become over-dramatic, she figures out psychological ways; this is a different twist on the stereotypical image of black women, while still being funny.

This episode marks another change for Terry Crews’ Julius character; he begins to click better with Rochelle. While the soap opera interest between them may seem rather silly to some folks, it does make life easier when you have more then bills and kids to talk about. In earlier episodes it seemed they either were battling each other, or trying to one up each other. With this episode, they actually might love each other.

During the first few episodes before the Christmas break, I thought that EHC was going to be toned down. To an extent it has in the way they use foul language; now it’s just lesser and lesser than it used to be last year. I suppose the network (UPN) felt that since the main characters are mostly kids, the respective audience would be as such.

Let us hope that Drew (Tequan Richamond) and Tanya (Imani Hakim) get an episode that makes them more than mischievous kids

Posted by Matthew at 07:18 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 01, 2006

Michael Jackson's Human Nature: A Review

Written by John Bettis (with background music by Toto) Michael Jackson’s Human Nature is the cornerstone of his career. It speaks clearly to the heart of celebrity and it also speaks on the general theme of desire; it’s also a damn good song. Now I’m gonna tell you why it is.

The song itself is a cool combination of snyth with a nice quiet funky baseline underneath. The snyth part lasts for about ten seconds, but I’m not even thinking about the instrument. Somehow I get the image of a city covered in the just arrived night sky, with all the lights on and the cars racing through the streets.

Living under the glass bubble of his family, with an extra layer developed by his fame, Michael Jackson was mostly an isolated individual from the rest of the world. When he decided to visit New York by himself, the very desire to leave his protective world started to come out. This surfaces in the first few lyrics of the song:

Looking out
Across the night-time
The city winks a sleepless eye
Hear her voice

Shake my window
Sweet seducing sighs

Get me out
Into the night-time
Four walls won’t hold me tonight
If this town
Is just an apple
Then let me take a bite

When asked in the chorus “Why?, Why?” he answers with “Human Nature”. “Why does he do me that way?” the lyric that follows, has been the cause of some speculation about his sexuality. I believe the line is more in reference to people surrounding him all the time voicing their frustrations with Michael’s growing independence.

In the middle of the song, Michael goes outside into the world. As he walks the streets with cameras flashing their lights to take photos of him, he eyes a girl eyeing him. He asks for her because he wants to know someone other than the people in his own circle; preferably a girl, of whom Jackson has never had much chance to be with due to his situation.

At this point after the chorus returns for a second time, the song interrupts itself with the following:

Why, why, does he do me that way
I like livin’ this way
I like lovin’ this way

What happens next in the song is an unusual interpretation, but I believe its right. Michael, finally in reach of something real, makes love to it and becomes his own person; that’s what I gathered at least when I listen to the instrumental after the second chorus. When the morning returns to New York, Michael speaks in a new confidence:

Looking out
Across the morning
The city’s heart begins to beat
Reaching out

I touch her shoulder
I’m dreaming of the street

The rest of the song, as with The Beatles’s Hey Jude has a sing-along like feel to it. As opposed to speaking to one person as Jude was intended for, Michael is speaking to everyone who ever asks why people do certain things. I’ve been asking that of late with my family as well as my own life.

I’ve never been as this clear about a song as I have been with this one. Call it long nights of staying up late or a lack of a social life, but this song is very deep without being overly cryptic. If my review doesn’t answer your questions, go listen to it anyway; it’s Track 7 on the Thriller album.

Posted by Matthew at 11:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack