The album: Michael Jackson: HIStory: Past, Present and Future: Book 1 (1995)
Justin Simien, whose Dear White People is just beginning its second season on Netflix, came through to join us live for another Voyager Institute collaboration. By sheer coincidence, our last VI event took on Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation and here we are again, working our way through another Jackson family LP. (Can LaToya be too far behind?)
HIStory, as our crew points out, is an odd duck in the vaunted Jackson discography. Though it was enormously successful – the best selling double album of all time (especially since disc one was a “Greatest Hits” anthology) – it tends to have been overlooked given all the controversy swirling around MJ in that era. He had already been tried and acquitted on child molestation charges but his marriage to Lisa Marie Presley was still tabloid catnip and all this resulted in him recording, to quote Morgan: his most “pissed” off album, ever. This, and more, was all fodder for our conversation. But before you even listen, you have to watch the trailer for HIStory:
Meanwhile, don’t forget to listen to last week’s episode, about Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall, featuring Martin Perna!
More on HIStory
- “Michael Jackson Is Angry, Understand?” (NY Times, 1995)
- “20 Years Later, 20 Things You May Not Have Known About Michael Jackson’s HIStory” (People)
- “The story behind the album and CD cover for Michael Jackson’s 1995 ‘HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I’” (The Undefeated)
More on Justin Simien
- Why the Creator of ‘Dear White People’ Is Doubling Down on Identity Politics” (NY Times)
- Dear White People on Netflix
- Interviewed on The Ringer
- Website | Twitter | Instagram
Show Tracklisting (all songs from HIStory unless indicated otherwise):
- Janet Jackson: Got Till It’s Gone “Got Till It’s Gone”
- “This Time Around Feat. Biggie Smalls”
- “You Are Not Alone”
- “Stranger In Moscow”
- Michael Jackson: Bad “Leave Me Alone”
- “They Don’t Really Care About Us”
- “Tabloid Junkie”
- Michael Jackson: Thriller “Someone In The Dark”
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About the show
Hosted by Oliver Wang and Morgan Rhodes, every episode of Heat Rocks invites a special guest to talk about a heat rock – a hot album, a scorching record. These are in-depth conversations about the albums that shape our lives.
Our guests include musicians, writers, and scholars and though we don’t exclusively focus on any one genre, expect to hear about albums from the worlds of soul, hip-hop, funk, jazz, Latin, and more.
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