Monday, March 29, 2021

9/100 Video - "Smooth Criminal" - Michael Jackson (1988)


A few years ago I rediscovered "Smooth Criminal" while on vacation in the Mayan Riviera during an impressive 'Michael Jackson' tribute by the evening entertainment staff.

The choreography is outstanding in this theatrical video.

MJ demonstrated several elements that became his business cards: "anti-gravity tilt", finger-stitched fingers and a bandage on his sleeve. 

For the "anti-gravity tilt" technique, Jackson is leaning at a 45 degree angle from the vertical axis without the apparent use of restraining devices. During the shooting, hidden belts were used for this.

I'll even argue this track is Michael Jackson at his creative peak.

"Smooth Criminal" borrows elements from Thriller's blockbuster singles: the groove of "Billie Jean", the attitude of "Beat It" and the production of "Thriller", mashing them into a delicious blend.

Jackson flies through the verses with such speed the lyrics can be challenging to discern in places. 

The energetic chorus, the brilliant bass line and the attention to detail in both song and video all add up to one epic work of pop art.

The only remaining question: is Annie still ok?

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