By New Times
By Derek Askey
By Mark Deming
By Serene Dominic
By Jason Keil
By Robrt L. Pela and Amy Silverman
By Jeff Moses
By Serene Dominic
The first inkling that something was wrong in Jacksonville was when the Black or White" video debuted amid hoopla usually reserved for the Super Bowl or walls being torn down in Germany. Almost in response to critics who wondered if Jackson was still The King of Pop" (as he demanded to be referred to in exchange for the right to air the video), Michael was on more channels simultaneously than the Gulf War. All that was needed was CNN's Charles Jaco commenting on Jackson's glass-smashing finale to make the comparison complete.
Opening with a tired, generation-gap segment, ripped from an old Twisted Sister teen-angst anthem and featuring Macaulay Culkin and George Wendt, the John Landis-directed video got off to a bad start. With simplistic words set over a sing-song melody, the tune itself was almost as embarrassing as the images. How could this be the first single from a years-in-the-making recording from MJ? While Mikey sang You can be my baby/It don't matter if you're black or white," he contradicted his own Hallmark philosophizing by traipsing around in his new deeper shade of pale. I shrank in my Lazy Boy, especially when he sang Don't tell me you agree with me/When I saw you kicking dirt in my eye." That could be Michael's worst line since he sang Just look over your shoulders, honey" on the early hit I'll Be There." The most atrocious song on this entirely awful record is Give in to Me," which steals both the misogyny and melody line of Dirty Diana" to forge an ode to date rape. Don't try to understand me/Just simply do the things I say," Michael sings, then continues, Love is a feeling/Give it when I want it/'Cause I'm on fire/Quench my desire." Yuck. Who does Michael Jackson think he's fooling with his stud-boy poses? He's about as macho as Truman Capote. When Michael grabs his crotch, it can almost be considered slapstick. Why doesn't someone tell him that when he tries to come off as passionate he just looks silly? Just dance, brother, and leave the humping to Keith Sweat.
Besides its pedestrian grooves and vapid ballads, Dangerous is bad because it's dishonest. Its lyrics are pretentious and its sentiments laughable. It's as excessive as a Rod McKuen book of poetry with a velvet cover and gold-leaf pages. Calling this record Dangerous is like naming a poodle Tiger." I'm still glad I saw the Jackson 5 instead of Led Zeppelin, however.