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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Michael Jackson - Scream [HQ]

"Scream" is primarily a song directed at the tabloid press. As far back as the late 1980s, Jackson and the press had a difficult relationship. In 1986, the tabloids ran a story claiming that Jackson slept in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber to slow the aging process; he was pictured lying down in a glass box. Although the claim was untrue, Jackson disseminated the fabricated story himself. Jackson bought and befriended a pet chimpanzee called Bubbles which extended his eccentric persona. It was reported that Jackson had bought the bones of The Elephant Man, and although untrue, Jackson did not deny the story. These stories inspired the pejorative nickname "Wacko Jacko", which Jackson acquired the following year, and would come to despise. He stopped leaking untruths to the press, so the media began making up their own stories.

In 1989, Jackson released the song and music video "Leave Me Alone", a song about his perceived victimization at the hands of the press. The video shows Jackson poking fun not only at the press but also the situation he was in. In the video, there are images of shrines to his friend Elizabeth Taylor, newspapers with bizarre headlines, and Jackson dancing with the bones of The Elephant Man.

In 1993, the relationship between Jackson and the press soured entirely when he was accused of child sexual abuse. Although never charged with a crime, Jackson was subject to intense media scrutiny while the criminal investigation took place. Complaints about the coverage and media included using sensational headlines to draw in readers and viewers when the content itself did not support the headline, accepting stories of Jackson's alleged criminal activity in return for money, accepting confidential, leaked material from the police investigation in return for money paid, deliberately using pictures of Jackson's appearance at its worst, a lack of objectivity and using headlines that strongly implied Jackson's guilt. At the time, Jackson said of the media reaction, "I will say I am particularly upset by the handling of the matter by the incredible, terrible mass media. At every opportunity, the media has dissected and manipulated these allegations to reach their own conclusions."

The entertainer began taking painkillers, Valium, Xanax and Ativan to deal with the stress of the allegations made against him. A few months after the allegations became news, Jackson had lost approximately 10 lb (4.5 kg) in weight and had stopped eating. Jackson's health had deteriorated to the extent that he canceled the remainder of his tour and went into rehabilitation. Jackson booked the whole fourth floor of a clinic and was put on Valium IV to wean him from painkillers. The singer's spokesperson told reporters that Jackson was "barely able to function adequately on an intellectual level". While in the clinic, Jackson took part in group and one-on-one therapy sessions.
When Jackson left the U.S. to go into rehabilitation, the media showed the singer little sympathy. The Daily Mirror held a "Spot the Jacko" contest, offering readers a trip to Disney World if they could correctly predict where the entertainer would appear next. A Daily Express headline read, "Drug Treatment Star Faces Life on the Run", while a News of the World headline accused Jackson of being a fugitive. These tabloids also falsely alleged that Jackson had traveled to Europe to have cosmetic surgery that would make him unrecognizable on his return. Geraldo Rivera set up a mock trial, with a jury made up of audience members, even though Jackson had not been charged with a crime.

"Scream"/"Childhood" and HIStory were Jackson's first releases since the allegations, and the press was waiting to see if the album would sell well. One analyst for SoundScan expressed the opinion that the press were out of touch with the public when it came to Jackson; the public liked him, while the press did not. He believed that "naysayers" in the media would be left surprised with the commercial reception to the HIStory campaign

Music Video
The 4:46 minute music video for "Scream" was choreographed by Jackson, directed by Mark Romanek, with the production being designed by Tom Foden. Jackson did not create the "concept" for the video, which he had often done in the past, but left it to Romanek. Jackson later described the making of "Scream" as a collaborative effort. The song and its accompanying video are a response to the backlash Jackson received from the media in 1993.

Foden commented, "Mark had written the treatment and the general idea was that Michael and Janet were on this large spacecraft. And they, were alone...They were getting away from Earth, and the different sets were the different environments on the spacecraft where they could have a little bit of fun and where they could relax". Production of the music video's 13-piece set were restricted to a one-month period and is produced by Foden art directors Richard Berg, Jeff Hall, and Martin Mervel. Foden describes the assignment as a "military operation" explaining, "The idea was to give each of the art directors three sets: a complicated one, a not-so-complicated one, and one of the smaller, easier vignettes." Typography in the video was designed by P. Scott Makela. Jackson was happy to work with his sister again, explaining that as they still had a passion for dancing it reminded him of "old times."

In the video, Janet Jackson takes on a darker persona, previously unseen in her own music videos. Jim Farber of the New York Daily News described her as "Sporting a thick thatch of wig hair, and eyes darkened by coal-black makeup...sullen and arty...Janet, however, never looked tougher, or more in control."


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