“HIS MUSICAL JOURNEY IS A METAPHOR FOR SPIRITUAL SEEKING.”
IN OUR DARKEST HOUR
IN MY DEEPEST DESPAIR
WILL YOU STILL CARE, WILL YOU BE THERE
IN MY TRIALS AND MY TRIBULATIONS
THROUGH OUR DOUBTS AND FRUSTRATIONS
IN MY VIOLENCE AND MY TURBULANCE
THROUGH MY FEAR AND MY CONFESSIONS
IN MY ANGUISH AND MY PAIN
THROUGH MY JOYS AND MY SORROWS
IN THE PROMISE OF ANOTHER TOMORROW
I’LL NEVER LET YOU PART
FOR YOU’RE ALWAYS IN MY HEART.
WILL YOU BE THERE
“This prayer, I think we can call it that, reaches into the dark corners of being human. I think Jackson’s acknowledgment of the violence we commit is particularly noteworthy and an unusual but perspicuous inclusion in a pop song that elevates the other emotions and states he describes out of banal sentimentality.” DANGEROUS Susan Fast
The miracle of Michael Jackson’s songwriting unlocks truths in sense-drenched wonderments. Ignited, channeling and creating singularly unique compositions, Michael accepts his gifts from God and then, through a profound work ethic, creatively crafts them for us. “I wrote ‘WILL YOU BE THERE’ at my house, NEVERLAND, in California. I didn’t think about it hard. That’s why it’s hard to take credit for the songs I write because I just always feel that it’s done from above. I feel fortunate to be an instrument through which music flows. I’m just the source through which it comes. I can’t take credit for it because it’s God’s work. He is using me as a messenger.” Michael Jackson “WILL YOU BE THERE” is rooted in black gospel music and is infused with classical and rhythm and blues elements. Michael fused genres to create his own unique style, never feeling the constraints of boundaries. In studying Michael’s artistry, one thing becomes clear…EVERY DETAIL IS CHOSEN FOR A REASON, adeptly defining the adage, “God is in the details.” As John Kays noted, “Will You Be There is a moving spiritual that seems to be carved out of the pages of the Old Testament…an effort to try and make sense out of suffering and transcend it.”
Michael chooses classical music from Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in D minor to open the piece. It is the “Ode to Joy” which concludes the fourth movement of the Ninth Symphony…used to establish mood, beginning the listener’s journey. This piece marked the first major orchestral symphony to use voices, and Michael chooses the Andrae Crouch Choir to give that voice to the collective. The recorded performance of WILL YOU BE THERE is a Michael Jackson marvel. The arrangement and production ebbs and flows, soars and sighs. (Joseph Vogel) Michael is singing a prayer of comfort and strength, confesses weaknesses and doubts, and pleads for guidance and clarity. “While other pop artists of the time were singing standard, formulaic love songs, Michael was drawing deep from the wells of art, history and religion to create something that, in his words, ‘would live forever.'” MAN IN THE MUSIC.
Michael Jackson was a master of INTROS AND OUTROS. Beethoven’s Symphony sampling opens WILL YOU BE THERE, and, a prayer ends it. “He was brilliant with that stuff…and intros and outros were really important to him. The intros were almost as important to Michael as the songs themselves.” Brad Buxer
“Will You Be There is a personal song about a universal condition. Whether the final words are directed at God, a loved one, or humanity as a whole, they communicate the simple human yearning for love and understanding.”
PERFORMANCE ART AND THEATRE: STORYTELLING AT ITS FINEST!
If our definition of a senuist is a person who revels in life’s sensory experiences, ( Sarah Ban Breathnach)… a second definition should be included…that being simply, MICHAEL JACKSON. Michael moves from recorded performance, which has touched glorious auditory sensuality, to visual performance, defined as short film and stage. We passionately welcome moments of exhilaration, transported by sound, touching our bliss with spiritual messages. Michael moves the story along in short film. Elaborate staging isn’t about being grandiose. It is about forwarding a message, stirring the senses into a state of exhilaration. He chose to use his MTV 10th Anniversary performance and his Dangerous World Tour performance in the short film for WILL YOU BE THERE. As with all Michael Jackson work, multiple viewings and listening open a world of wonder and a deeper understanding. Study the colors, textures, wearable art, lighting, car painted with urban designs and the message, “WOMEN’S RIGHTS NOW”, remembering the car in the Black Panther Coda and its messages against racism, prejudice and bigotry. Study the faces of the collective brought together to further the message. See the ages, colors, cultures represented. Acknowledge the honor given to Michael’s roots in Africa. See the “earth” passed from one person to another, representing our shared planet, reclaiming it, and, our love for it. Notice the “book” and think about what it represents. Take in the “topography” of the sets, the artistry of the iconic storyboard. Michael has chosen black and white as his color palette for his personal wearable art. And the Angel…golden and beautiful, white and pink, both embracing Michael in pure love. “Falling in love consists merely of uncorking the imagination and bottling the common sense.” (Helen Rowland) In Michael’s performances, WE FALL IN LOVE…our sensory experience fueling compassion and emotion, reaching out to one another. Remember, this was all done by Michael at the beginning of the 90’s and think about the history at that time. These performances inform our thoughts of what Michael was saying about his vision of African-American Spirituality.
“Jackson became a conduit for release of all kinds, release that can be thought of in spiritual terms. Interestingly, part of what Jackson achieves, in this group of songs, is to bring high and low art traditions together, giving us yet another example of his desire for crossover, this one not about commercial viability, but social unity.”
Michael’s recorded performances, his short film performances and his live performances are all a part of his spiritual significance in the world. To be sure, there are other artists who have contributed to the human condition. No other artist in history, has so consistently and devotedly embraced the partnership of artistry and humanity. He opens our eyes to see and embrace who we are and what we should be, asking…WILL YOU BE THERE, WILL YOU STILL CARE?
With love in our hearts…WE ARE HERE.
I love you, Michael!
Michael loved classical music…in fact, when he wasn’t working (singing, dancing, or composing) he listened to classical music at home… in his car…We listened to some pieces together. I used to play various pieces from him….Bach Preludes and Fugues, for example. He really loved AFTERNOON OF A FAUN…by C. Debussy, and NUTCRACKER…various pieces in the work. He also like CARMINA BURANA…you can hear that in some intros to concerts. (I played that work for rehearsals…as a ballet was made to it…and in the orchestra (there was a piano part in the score!) I played these pieces for Michael…he just sat and listened with his eyes closed….
I wish I could go back in time and play for him all that music and witness his listening with his eyes closed. He was not asleep, mind you, just really into the sensation of the sounds. However, there was a time when I was practicing (which involves much repetition of certain passages) and he was lying down on the sofa. I looked over at him, and he was fast asleep! I laughed and said that I had the perfect cure for his insomnia… I would just practice and he would lie down…..and voila! He would fall asleep! So we did that quite often! I smile to myself when I think about those times. What a darling he was… if only. …if only.