I love Michael Jackson. I should say: I love his music. I find the man himself problematic. (I watched the Oprah special, y’all; if he only did what his lawyers let him admit to on Oprah, I still wouldn’t leave my children with him overnight.)
I grew up in the eighties. And somewhere in some mouldering bin we still have my dad’s old Jackson 5 albums. When I was an infant I’d scream in the car if the Thriller album wasn’t on. I still fucking love those songs.
And this is my favorite. Unless you’re counting the cinematic extended version of “Thriller” that’s in the music video. Ahem.
I love this song. It’s so fucking queer. COME ON, NOW. The UST sizzles between these two dudes.
There’s a thing in songs that are ostensibly about a love interest, but are actually about threatening a rival. In these songs the “love interest” becomes a non entity; it’s all about the rivals.
In this particular song it’s not just about the rival, we actually meet him. BECAUSE HE SPENDS THE WHOLE SONG SINGING A DUET WITH THE MAIN DUDE.
Yes. I sing duets with all my rivals. Glee owes everything to this song.
I am, of course, predisposed to queer things. My brain is built for it. In a way, I think all brains are built to seek patterns that resemble their own. As a kid I had no idea this song had anything to do with a woman, you know, because it’s two men singing to each other.
At one point they literally sing Go with me to one town at the same fucking time, as in, two dudes, singing to each other about running away together.
(The lines immediately preceding: I love you more than he/(take you anywhere)/But I love you endlessly/(loving we will share). Uh huh. Two dudes singing I love you at each other. G’head. Tell me that ain’t queer.)
I am also particularly delighted by the bit when they’re talking to each other, and Paul McCartney says, “She told me I’m her forever lover, you know, don’t you remember?” DON’T YOU REMEMBER? Like, was MJ there at the time? Did Paul immediately dash off to a phone booth to call him and share that this girl said he’s her forever lover? HOW CLOSE ARE THESE BROS?
Obviously, I’m not trying to claim the intent of this song is queer. I couldn’t care less about the intent of songs. The effect of this song on my young queer brain was…well, queer as fuck. And every time I hear it, it makes me happy to imagine two young men singing to each other, with subtext.
Subtext is sexy as hell.
That’s it for this episode of Ripper Reinterprets!
Awesome featured image is Hitchcock Silhouette Reinterpreted by Thomas Chung on Flickr, used under Creative Commons License 2.0. And of course around here, when I use Hitch for something, I’m thinking of Cameron.