November 13, 2010

Lyrics blog - Threatened

"Tonight’s story is somewhat unique and calls for a different kind of introduction
A monster had arrived in the village
The major ingredient of any recipe for fear is the unknown
And this person or thing is soon to be met
He knows every thought, he can feel every emotion
Oh yes, I did forget something didn’t I? I forgot to introduce you to the monster."

Threatened was my favorite track out of Invincible from the first time I listened to the album. Well that's a bit of stretch. All Michael Jackson tracks are my favorite, each of them are special and tell a different story and raise a different emotion.
I always looked at this song as kind of a hidden track on the album. Or if you like more of a hidden treasure. Well the whole album was forced into a hidden treasure status by Sony.
Beyond all this going back and forth I'll explain my choice now for this Lyrics blog post.

Threatened is Michael Jackson's smart mouth abilities at their best. He was a shy, polite, respectful person. Get on his nerves and he will put you down in the nicest way possible.
The track is  a power song - the rhythm is infectious, the lyrics bring the best of rap tradition mixed up with a gospel like intensity, it has a dramatic feel to it.

"You’re fearing me, ‘cause you know I’m a beast
Watching you when you sleep, when you’re in bed
I’m underneath
You’re trapped in halls, and my face is the walls
I’m the floor when you fall, and when you scream it’s ‘cause of me
I’m the living dead, the dark thoughts in your head
I heard just what you said
That’s why you’ve got to be threatened by me"

It might as well be a live performance. One can see the stage, the musicians, Michael dancing - it's visual.
I hope one day to find out the story behind recording it. And I would not be surprised to find out the lead vocals were recorded in one take. The sound effects and additional voice recordings might have taken more work though.
Whatever is the case the finished product is nothing less of AMAZING. Considering the names behind it - Michael, Rodney Jerkins, Fred Jerkins III, LaShawn Daniels, Rod Serling and Bruce Swedien - it's not a surprise. It's business as usual.
It's fierce, and he was right people were fearing him. All the attacks against him were driven by it. Fear of what he stood for, fear he had too much influence on culture, music industry and everyday people.
He dared to brake barriers and taken his art and message beyond all kind of borders. He was a threat for STASI (East German Security Service) and I bet few other Secret Services had their eyes on him.

"You should be watching me, you should feel threatened
Why you sleep, why you creep, you should be threatened
Every time your lady speaks she speaks to me, threatened
Half of me you’ll never be, so you should feel threatened by me"

Listening to the songs is an exiting experience. Still after 10 years every time I listen to it is new to me. I discover something else about both lyrics and sound.
And by that I mean it's a pure MJ song. It doesn't get dusty or rusty. You play it - it rocks your world :) 

"You think you’re by yourself, but it’s my touch you felt
I’m not a ghost from Hell, but I’ve got a spell on you
Your worst nightmare, it's me, I'm everywhere
In one blink I’ll disappear, and then I’ll come back to haunt you
I’m telling you, when you lie under a tomb
I’m the one watching you
That’s why you got to be threatened by me."

The lyrics are smart, funny, slick and I think we could all find more adjectives for them. They follow in the same line as few others hidden treasures in Michael's albums (though his albums always generated a long list of hits the songs which where not released as commercial singles are all into this category) such as "She Drives Me Wild","2 Bad", "Superfly Sisters", and list could be much longer but these have the same "smart mouth" lyrics.

It shows Michael in a slightly different light not to be mistaken with me saying it showed him as a different person, rather a view from a  different angle.
And if these songs weren't promoted as commercial singles or in his tours I think it was because he chose to promote songs that would fall into the message he wanted to share with the world.
He loved children and loved working for causes supporting children issues, he promoted them without rest and throughout his life and despite of what the media presented him it wasn't all he did.
But the two main reasons why I love this song are the following.
Though is the last song on the "Invincible" album, it sets the tone for it. It's positive, it is energetic and being that it distance the album from the anger, the sadness and the torment of "HIStory".
Second is that it shows off his wit. 
Well with 10.000 + books in the Neverland library and his passion for knowledge he was much more then met the tabloids eye.

It leaves both the musical phrase and the reasoning open.
That's why it's maybe strange how the song is now the last of all true Michael Jackson releases and by that I mean the last finished and polished by him.

And judging by the continuous shoots at Michael and his legacy people are still threatened by him.
And they have something else to fear - people payed attention and learned from his message of LOVE. And no one can erase that.

"The unknown monster is about to embark
From a far corner, out of the dark
A nightmare, that’s the case
Never Neverland, that’s the place
This particular monster can read minds
Be in two places at the same time
This is judgement night, execution, slaughter
The devil, ghosts, this monster is torture
You can be sure of one thing, that’s fate
A human presence that you feel is strange
A monster that you can see disappear
A monster, the worst thing to fear."

The song comes as a sequel to both "Thriller" and "Ghosts" as an entertainment (fun and games) piece and of all their deeper meaning.
We tend to reject what we don't fully understand. We do not invest time to educate ourselves and see what brings us together rather then what sets us apart.
Then we will be able to appreciate our differences.

"What you have just witnessed could be the end of a particularly terrifying nightmare.
It isn’t. It’s the beginning."

 Thank you @Cassarah


Cassarah said...

Why you sleep, [...] , you should be threatened
Words like a prophecy ...

I am embarassed to find your thanks under a picture of Michael, especially since I do not derserve it.

mike1909 it´s not YOU who has to thank, we all have to thank you. :))
It is always a great pleasure and enrichment to read your reviews, thoughts and comments (honestly), which are always very intelligent and at the same time yet so personally revealing.

I would like to come back later on your thoughts about "Threatened".
Until then, I need some time to think about the lyrics and of course the song.

doublebeee said...

Thank you so much for this mike1909!

I have to admit I always liked this song but I have only fully appreciated and acknowledged the real meaning (to me) after Michael's passing.

One day I heard it in the car and I felt the song more intense than ever...

And suddenly it became sooo clear to me that this one was dedicated to the Haters Michael was surrounded by all his life... I felt like being a blockhead before for so many years celebrating this song but now it felt like this was meant to relate to the Chandlers, Arvizos, Bashirs, Sneddons, Murrays (just to name a few) and I felt that their personal nightmare might have just begun...

I think Michael knew his power and he knew that somehow he would be stronger than hate. And be it in his after life.

Witnessing what happenend in the world after June 25, 2009 I felt like all of this was in this song already. He's around. He's there, everywhere. He can't be denied.

I feel a strong prophecy and see this as the climax of songs that beginn with Thriller, to Ghosts and Is This Scary...

Using Rod Sterling's intro post-humously holds already such a strong message that I only now fully recognized.

This song still amazes me. Musically and even more from it's message.

So I will continue to discover what lies underneath...

It's the beginning!

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