"Man in the Music: The Creative Life and Work of Michael Jackson" (Sterling Publishing), by Joseph Vogel: We get it already: Michael Jackson was kind of a weird dude.
In the weeks, months and now years since the music icon's death, news consumers across the globe have been inundated with examinations of Jackson's life. And frankly, too much of it has focused on the sensational aspects of his 50 years on Earth.
Luckily, for those of us who prefer to remember Jackson as a once-in-a-generation entertainer and the undisputed King of Pop and not so much for his sometimes peculiar personal choices, we have Joseph Vogel in our corner.
Vogel, who writes about popular culture, music and politics for The Huffington Post and teaches at the University of Rochester, has written a book that focuses solely on Jackson's creative output.
"Man in the Music" is thankfully all about just that — the music.
And it's really good.
Vogel takes the reader album-by-album, song-by-song and examines in exhaustive detail how Jackson produced a lifetime's worth of music that became a soundtrack to the lives of millions.
Jackson's Motown years, including his work with The Jackson 5, isn't covered in "Man in the Music," which focuses on the singer's solo work, beginning with 1979's mega-selling "Off the Wall" all the way through "Invincible" in 2001.
Vogel, relying on news archives, Jackson's words and interviews with those who collaborated on the albums, opens the door to the studio and provides an in-depth picture of the artist's creative process. Each song Jackson recorded during his solo career is examined with a critical eye.
It's a fascinating read and really a must-have for any Jackson fan.
"I wanted to write something historically and critically rigorous, but approach the subject with less cynicism and curiosity," Vogel writes in the preface.
Mission accomplished, sir.
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