CAREFULLY BURNISHED CHILDHOOD MEMORY LATTERLY REVEALED AS SO MUCH DOG DIRT
Columbus, Ohio – When Alice Reid received a cassette copy of the album Bad by Michael Jackson for her 11th birthday in 1987, she could barely contain her excitement. “She was grinning from ear to ear,” recalled Ellie Thomas, Alice’s mother, from her Mount Vernon, Ohio home. “It was definitely her favorite present that year and she fair wore that tape out; playing it on the car stereo, in her bedroom [and] the boombox down in the rec room.”
“It was kind of the soundtrack to my Middle School years,” said a misty-eyed Reid. “I mean, Janey Spigot and Denise Servant both had copies and if I wasn’t listening to it at home, I was listening [to Bad] at their place. And, of course, they used to play all the album’s singles at the Middle School dances, too.”
But that was in the late ’80s. More recently, the Columbus housewife’s rosy-hued, carefully burnished memory of Bad as a magic creation, full of great music and fun has been latterly revealed as so much dog dirt.
“I got it off iTunes last week, for nostalgia or whatever,” murmured Reid, her voice descending to a hoarse whisper, “and…and…it was just so bad; and not in the sense of ‘bad’ meaning ‘good’, just plain bad like a French playground full of uncleared puppy crap.”
Reid cited Jackson’s singing and songwriting, especially, as reduced to a series of tremulous tics and obvious mannerisms all of which recalled to Reid the sickening stench of a steaming pile of mess, freshly laid by man’s best friend on a hot sidewalk. Other aspects of Bad which Reid equated to a recently pinched “mutt loaf” include the thorough-going irony of “Man In the Mirror”. “Jeez, where to begin with that one,” she sighed, her eyes rolling upwards.
“And, please, calling the album Bad was tempting fate wasn’t it? Come on, ‘your butt is mine’? God, it’s embarrassing. Michael Jackson ‘bad’? It’s like ‘ooo-oooo’,” she said, bugging her eyes out and waving her fingers up and down.
Reid also couldn’t resist dissing the cover, labelling both Jackson’s “tough guy outfit” and the graffiti-style title logo “unconvincing” and therefore “emblamatic of the whole project.”
Reached for inevitable comment, Columbus music writer Clifford Snoats concurred with Reid’s canine-faeces equating assessment of Bad. “The production is totally flat like a dog turd on which you have just trod and compressed like that very same hound’s bowel movement in the ridge of your shoe’s tread so that you have to use a stick to prise it out and whose warm hum wafts upwards and causes an involuntary retching reflex.”
Others, however, disagreed. Reid’s Middle School friend, Janey Wojciehowicz (né Spigot), speaking for many who were Jackson fans when young, said: “Actually, I think it’s more like cat shit.”