So the Michael Jackson & Justin Timberlake duet has been gaining a lot of attention. SO much that it’s hard to keep up with it on this blog…but never the less…you know I can’t help but try….
For your viewing pleasure…
The video directed by Rich Lee and Timberlake himself, is very well done. I am a very proud fan girl to learn that Justin had a hand in directing something like this. If this doesn’t get him more directing jobs I don’t know what will, haha. Excuse me while I dust off my film critique skills…(thanks professor Jackson). The concept was well handled; a collective tribute to and of Jackson’s most memorable moments, accompanied by the newest single to make it current. I mean how do you shoot a video for a posthumous album, and still keep true to the artist? There’s a certain weird factor to the idea of releasing a video like this…because the artist himself isn’t here with us. But I honestly think the fans wanted to see it, and I think it was done respectfully. The footage was nicely edited and infused old footage of Michael Jackson’s greatest moments into the shots of the dancers and Justin Timberlake’s performance.
The idea to include dancers is always a good idea. After all Michael was well known for his signature dance moves. It’s only natural to include the newer generation and show how Michael’s music is timeless. I love how they are all dancing on pool tables and in train turn-styles. Much like the King himself did in videos like “Beat It,” and “Bad.” And we see dance sequences from “Smooth Criminal,” “Billie Jean,” and a movie theater scene much like the one we see in Jackson’s epic hit “Thriller.” Throughout the video itself is a homage to Jackson’s hit “Black or White,” as people of different backgrounds and looks are pictured lip-syncing and dancing, as they do interchangeable closeups of each person’s face. It was beautiful to see Justin amongst the kids singing and laughing as the kids of all ages wore Xscape t-shirts. (um hey can I get one of those!) This too is a very Michael tactic, in performances like “We are the World” and “Heal the World,” Jackson often included choirs of children to sing along with him.
There are beautiful aspects to the cinematography featured in this video. The idea of mirroring Michael and Justin is beautiful. As they try their best to accommodate the duet aspect, whilst not having Michael there to sing and dance himself. The visual they created however, is beautiful. With Jackson pictured on screen behind an off centered Timberlake. The two interchangeably in and out of focus.
I loved how simple Justin kept his performance. He didn’t try to over do it, and respectfully didn’t try and out shine the true star of the video, Michael himself. He just swayed and grooved to the beat in his typical Justin fashion, nailing his falsetto and proving why he deserves to be on the track. The video is kept happy and light hearted. Justin threw a couple of slight Michael gestures in here and there; the pop of a collar, the flick of his jacket, the shoulder bop from side to side, the head roll and flick of the wrist finger snaps, most of which were portrayed in a Timberlake silhouette (which I adore, I have a soft spot for the cinematic view of silhouettes) with Jackson’s original portrayal on a screen behind him. But Timberlake didn’t try to imitate any of the major dance numbers, (much to my disappointment, I would have loved to see him as part of the smooth criminal number). Because news flash contrary to what the haters are saying, Justin Timberlake CAN dance. But he left it all up to the new generation of Michael Jackson fans. But I get it, I get why Justin did what he did. He was being respectful. Never the less people are gonna say what they’re gonna say. They are gonna claim he is trying to act like Michael, but that’s just ignorance. If anything the only thing he did to, is help to create a work of art that honors Michael and shows how much of an impact he’s had on Justin’s career as well as the world.
I have to say I teared up while watching this. It was a mixture of missing Michael Jackson and seeing Justin Timberlake in the same light as the greatest of all time. It was amazing, and beautiful and I had a moment there.
I grew up listening to old Michael Jackson music, a lot of Motown was heard in my house. My mom is a Michael fan, so naturally I gravitated toward his music. I got it from my momma. Although MJ holds a specific spot in my musical heart, Justin Timberlake consumes the rest. I literally grew up with him, listening to him, and becoming the mega fan I am today. I grew up with *NSYNC as they owned the 90’s. I’ve been to many concerts and have really witnessed first hand the rise of his success, which is something I was never able to experience with Michael Jackson. I guess in a funny way you can say Justin Timberlake is my Michael Jackson. But take that with a grain of salt, please.
I don’t neglect that Michael can never be replaced. But I do think Justin Timberlake holds the highest rank for Prince of Pop. I guess you can say that I’m a good example of how Michael’s music bridges the gaps of generations. As I mentioned before I grew up listening to old Michael tracks, because my mom loved his music. And continued to follow his newer albums as I got older. So sure being a 90’s kid, I may not have been on the planet, when albums like “Off the wall” or “Thriller” dropped. But it doesn’t matter if you were physically around…because you know all the words and can dance along, imitating a move or two, for sure. Because no matter the decade, kids know Michael. People know Michael. And they know he is the great King of Pop.
With that being said I’m seeing some hate comments about this video, although the true fans have many positive things to say, there’s always going to be haters. So I had to defend…
Ok I have to say this…to anyone thinking Justin is trying to be Michael Jackson, you are completely wrong. If you watched closely you’d notice Justin barely does any signature Michael Jackson moves, out of respect for Michael. Anything else is just small insinuations to pay honor to the greatest of all time. (To be honest I would have loved if Justin would have busted out a moonwalk! Michael is his idol, we all try to mirror our idols.) In fact Justin didn’t even originally want to record this track because he respects Michael so much. Michael loved JT and they have a lot of similarities musically. It’s inevitable that artists today would be influenced by Michael’s talent, there isn’t an artist out there who isn’t. Never the less Justin is his own artist, paying homage to the king doesn’t mean he’s trying to become him. Justin will have a legacy of his own…that’s why he is the prince/president of pop. Hell Michael was invested enough to want to work with him himself [see: wait for my upcoming review of Justin’s candid Michael encounters during Oprah’s “Masterclass”]. So I’m sorry haters, I just don’t agree with you. Sorry but it needed to be said. But to each their own. Just enjoy good music for good music. 🙂
And Justin, Hats off sir.
The ending gave me chills.
*I do not take any credit for the images/edits used…although most are just video stills*