Tuesday, August 02, 2016

The Girl Is Whose?

Fun fact: did you know that "The Girl Is Mine" was actually the lead single off of the Thriller album?  That blows my mind.  You have this legendary record with some of the best music ever recorded (you can make a good case that "Billie Jean" is, pound-for-pound, the best song ever) and Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones chose THAT as the first single?  Hoo boy.

I mean, I get it, it's a duet with Paul McCartney, so that's definitely a big deal.  But still, wow, "The Girl Is Mine" is just a straight-up poor song.  Its presence was the sole reason I only ranked Thriller as my second-favourite album of 1982, behind only Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska.  My logic: "That would be like judging a beauty contest between two twin stunners, with the only difference being that one of them had a huge goiter on their neck, and then picking the one with the goiter [to win]." 

It's astounding that two iconic talents like Jackson and McCartney joined forces, only to produce such a poor product.  "The Girl Is Mine" is the musical equivalent of the Al Pacino/Robert De Niro film Righteous Kill, a.k.a. maybe the worst movie of 2008.  Jacko and Macca also teamed up on "Say Say Say" for a McCartney solo album around the same time, and while that song is no great shakes itself, there's no question that McCartney got the better of that deal. 

On the bright side, at least McCartney/Jackson can take solace in the fact that TGIM is one of the funniest-in-hindsight songs ever written.  I mean, the word "doggone" has only been uttered about 16 times since the 19th century, and this song is responsible for over half that total.

"I Am Mine" is not one of Pearl Jam's better songs, and it also stole the perfect title for the ultimate reverse-perspective track --- a tune sung from the perspective of the woman that Jackson and McCartney are singing about/fighting about.  Wouldn't that be fascinating to hear her take on the situation?  Wouldn't you want to meet the woman who had both these VERY different musical legends in her thrall?  That's the definition of not having a type.  Also, the fact that she had both of them on the line at the same time was some Cleopatra-level seduction right there.  

Let's break down the song's ending, a spoken-word bit between McCartney and Jackson…

Paul: Michael, we're not going to fight about this, okay?

Are you sure, Paul?  I mean, nobody is drafting Paul McCartney in their all-time tough guy musicians fantasy draft, but I'm pretty sure you could take Michael in a fistfight if it came right down to it.  If you avoid his hat tosses and keep him from getting to Bubbles, it's an easy victory.

Michael: Paul, I think I told you, I'm a lover not a fighter.

Given what we learned of Michael Jackson's personal life since 1982, there are few creepier phrases MJ could utter than "I'm a lover."

Paul: I've heard it all before, Michael.  She told me that I'm her forever lover, you know.  Don't you remember?

So clearly these two dudes have been beefing over this woman for a while now, though I'm a little unclear about the specifics.  For instance, here, does "don't you remember" refer to the fact that Paul has bragged about the 'forever lover' thing before, or was Jackson actually present when The Girl said that to McCartney?

Michael: Well, after loving me, she said she couldn't love another.

…since if she hooked up with Jacko AFTER giving McCartney the 'forever lover' spiel, that is a stone-cold #Cleopatra move from this lady.  Also, I'm just presuming that 'love' means 'sexed up real good' in this context.  If you replaced all the 'loves' with and 'doggones' with cursing and re-recorded this song with, say, Lil Jon and Andy Samberg, that would be amazing.  Lonely Island, get on this.

Paul: Is that what she said?

I love Macca's delivery here.  He sounds legitimately perplexed and inquisitive, as if he believes Jackson may have a point.  This is like Robert Goulet's "Vera said that?" line on The Simpsons.

Michael: Yes, she said it.  You keep dreaming.

It's worth noting that Michael delivers this line with as much smugness as humanly possible.  "Keep dreaming" is indeed a pretty classic brush-off line.

Paul: I don't belieeeeeeeeve it.

Two interpretations.  Firstly, Paul could legitimately not belieeeeeeeeeve it.  He's just bursting into song to indicate his utter as-if attitude to Jackson's claim.  On the other hand, Paul could actually belieeeeeeeeeve it and it's blown his mind, causing a nervous breakdown that has left McCartney unable to speak in normal tones and now he can only speak via sung dialogue like he's in the Buffy musical.  It's not out of the question that McCartney, a man whose life has been devoted to melodies, would devolve into a primordial songman state upon hearing that his beloved girl with another man. 

It would been amazing if the girl they were fighting over was also the girl from the "Thriller" video, since I think McCartney's final counter-argument of "at least I'm not a werewolf/zombie demon" would be the clincher.

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