Criticism and negative media attention was a largen part of Michael Jackson’s life. He was the biggest superstar with millions of fan but often his pain and agony were reflected in albums like Dangerous and HIStory. As a human, we all make mistakes but in most of the cases, MJ was criticized for the wrong reasons. People made up stories, the tabloid magazines printed them, the TV shows promoted them- instead of fact-checking the stories the whole world seemed to have gone against Michael Jackson, the King of Pop. Also, besides this personal distress, he was also worried about the material and psychological problems of the society. Michael believed in some core values of mankind and put effort to make people aware of them.
So, how did he respond? Obviously through his songs. Here is a list of the songs where MJ ranted the paparazzi and ill practices for all the harms they had done.
1. They Don’t Care About Us
They Don’t Care About Us is Michael’s one of the most controversial songs from his HIStory album. The general tone of the song was aggressive and addressed to those promoting racial discrimination and social injustice. The music video especially shoot at a set of prison with multiple other human abusing footages, and on African American attack events. But due to the misinterpretation of the lyrics by the media, the song was accused of antisemitism.
When someone follows every step of your life and criticize every step one takes with an imaginary allegation, it makes even a tough man SCREAM. That’s what happened in this song of MJ. Allegation and accusation were making him sick, that’s why in this duet with sister Janet, Michael unleashed his wrath upon the tabloid media.
3. Leave Me Alone
The time was ‘Bad’ and MJ was even in a worse position. Following the humongous success of Thriller, the paparazzi had taken a special interest in Michael’s private. It started with the incident of the hyperbaric oxygen chamber. Some media houses claimed that he wanted to slow down his aging. Also, there have been controversies about MJ doing plastic surgery. “Leave Me Alone” speaks against this hatred and wished to be alone.
4. This Time Around
While facing monumental piles of criticism from the media, Jackson decided to put out an entire album to counter and bash the media endeavors. “This Time Around” featuring The Notorious B.I.G, was a direct response with a firm message as MJ says “But this time around I’m taking no shit”.
5. Why You Wanna Trip On Me
Following the same paparazzi problem and negative media attention, MJ released this so9ng in the album Dangerous. The message is loud and clear. Jackson says there are far bigger problems than his personal life in the world. There’s hunger, poverty, deadly disease, illiteracy, and many more, yet all they want to cover is what MJ doing wrong.
MJ’s HIStory album was a reflection of the personal life problems and false allegations he had faced in the previous years. The song is about an incident, where MJ was subject to a criminal investigation, the district attorney of Santa Barbara, California, Thomas Sneddon, ordered to strip search MJ. Michael was angry and insulted, he wrote the song to express his emotions against that man.
7. Tabloid Junkie
“Just because you read it in a magazine
Or see it on the TV screen
Don’t make it factual”
These words from MJ’s “Tabloid Junkie” are still very much relevant to the media handling of sensitive issues these days. When MJ was going through the aforementioned investigation, the media published bizarre headlines with false and utterly fabricated stories. The magazines were selling in large numbers but MJ’s fans stood by him in the tough times.
“Shout” isn’t about Micahel’s private life, it’s more of a collective disgrace to the lives of the current society where everybody is running behind something but trapped in the daily 9-5 routine. According to MJ, people are trapped in a seemingly beautiful maze and without having realized it, they try to climb the social ladder. This whole situation makes Michael Shout.
Again from the HIStory Vol. 2, the song “Money” is obviously about money. People “kill for it/ dye for it” and that’s it. Jackson wonders how can someone go to church, read the holy words, and then again run behind money and commit ugly actions. The lyrics are rather long but beautifully written by Janie Bradford and Berry Gordy Jr.
Everybody needs privacy in their life to function properly, so did MJ. The paparazzi never left him alone, shot and printed every action he took with wrong interpretations. That’s why he has written several songs to address and rant those who caused the troubles just for public attention.
In the posthumous album Xscape published by Epic Records, the song “Xscape” was included. The theme of the song is similar to “Privacy” although here MJ seeks Xscape or ‘escape’ as a form of solution to the problem. Jackson reminds these people that he is free and can do whatever he wants. He isn’t answerable to anyone for his actions.
The album was Invincible and the first song was “Unbreakable”. In this song, MJ declared that whatever the media and the people against him were trying to do, it wouldn’t work because he was much bigger than them. They didn’t have the power to conceive him because “cause I won’t let it be, see I’m too much for you baby”.
In all these songs, Michael Jackson expressed his anger and pain to those people who made life very much difficult for him. Despite having good intentions in his heart, he was charged for the actions he never committed, criticized for the words he never meant, and yet he loved people, he tried to bring a change. This article isn’t against anybody, we have just pointed out the incidents and Michael’s response.