Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Whatzupwit Michael?

For those of you with Thriller overload, here’s a little known song of Michael Jackson’s that I’ve always been a fan of. Although most of you will have never heard this gem, Whatzupwitu has all the ingredients of a Jackson classic: Trippy video? Check. Addictive chorus? Check. Children’s choir on backing? Check. Eddie Murphy on lead? What?!

Ok so I lied. This track isn’t 100% pure, not-from-concentrate MJuice. Instead, it appears on Eddie Murphy’s ill-fated album of 1993, Love's Alright, which means you won’t find it anywhere in Jackson’s back catalogue of record breaking, um, records.

The video is one part cringe to nine parts super-cool. While Murphy, in wife-beater and porno 'tache, provides helpful actions to accompany his lyrics, Jackson looks effortlessly brilliant, pelvic thrusting one minute, and releasing flocks of Disney doves from the palms of his hands the next. The cheap bluescreen animation and throwaway drum-machine pop makes me suspect that the pair threw this three and a half minute wonder together in three and a half minutes, maybe one night at Neverland after getting smashed. In fact, if the tabloids are looking for evidence to confirm that Jackson was a prolific drug-user, they might find it in the video's opening frames in which a clown tells us that "The elephant eez dying" before an elephant (presumably the one which is dying) balances the globe on its back whilst pirouetting on the back of a turtle.

There will only ever be one Michael Jackson. Wait, what's that? Several other Miachel Jackson's raining from the sky? Jesus! It's literally pouring mini Jacksons! Meanwhile, an assortment of musical notes and peace symbols flurry around the pair who float through the sky exchanging cheeky bromantic banter, looking like they couldn’t be happier. And just when you think it can't get any sweeter, a classroom full of kids skips into the room - I mean, sky - to sing along. All together now... Whatzurrrp.

It's all so innocent, so care-free. That is until Eddie Murphy (in his wifebeater, remember) suddenly turns on his friend to brace him in a headlock and... that’s it! That’s where the video ends! I can’t help thinking that there is a whole load of grizzly unreleased footage depicting what happened next. Whether it's enough to incriminate Murphy as a murder suspect for Jackson’s death I guess remains to be seen.

How this was such a commercial failure I do not know. Why could the world not get enough of MJ's gag-inducing duet with Paul McCartney ("I'm a lover, not a fighter") but completely overlook this psycadelic, drum-machine ridden morsel? It turned out that not even Midas Jackson could give Eddie Murphy the golden touch he needed to kick start a music career. But what it does show is that all you need to make an ace music video is a bluescreen and a class full of hyperactive school kids buzzing on Maoam. Oh and Michael Jackson. Now there's a project for the summer.

Ok. You can all go back to listening to Billie Jean now.

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