Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
The version of "I Will Save Young Michael" that David "Moose" Adamson, or the one man who we can pin Jookabox to, recorded here was recorded nearly a year ago, just before the Thanksgiving holiday. Michael Jackson was still very much alive and possibly even rehearsing for the final movie of his life/tour that never existed. He was still a severe case of a man, Jackson was - unable and unwilling to be a normal person for reasons manifested out of thin air, reasons that he fully fostered and engaged and then a more dysfunctional combination of the two that led to the harshest of complications. Adamson, who was here a year ago by himself, with his loop pedal star choir, is a lifelong fan of the King of Pop, and earlier this year attempted to record a full album remake of "Thriller" before recognizing the futility in his actions. The song, a gently layered and loping open letter and public conversation to the people's entertainer, snakes around as if we were listening to a scene from a slowed motion part of a movie where the white sunlight is bleaching out the picture and young kiddos are splashing in a lukewarm wading pool and going slowly wild through the sprinklers on a front lawn in summer. It has instances that bring to mind the mad genius-ing of Dirty Projectors, brings up an angry Joe Jackson ("who badly wants the days he never had") and features an outro monologue as the song is fading to its finish where Adamson says, "Yo, Michael, I know for a fact that you're from Indiana and so am I and that makes us brothers. You oughta come back and dance sometime again okay? Okay. Cause you know it's gonna make so many people happy again. Sincerely Moose Adam-son." Since Jackson's death, one of the common cries toward those making aspersions and assumptions has been that there are relatively few people who know what his mostly secretive personal life was like. No one really knew what he was going through, how he was or was not wrestling with the bedeviling and cruel thoughts, all of the rotten self-image issues in his head, behind the walls of his home. Moose Adamson should in no ways be misconstrued as a fellow suffering in the ways or at the magnitude as Mr. Michael Jackson was before his untimely death/murder. But the kinds of split personalities and insomnia-induced episodes of freakouts and temporary mental catastrophes that find their little ways into his songs are of a similar ilk - though still largely imagined or distorted to be more like such preposterously real and debilitating issues that Jackson faced. There are so many individual breakdowns in Jookabox songs that are just wonderfully odd and there are flashes of craziness all over last year's "Ropechain" (from which "I Will Save Young Michael") and Adamson's latest, "Dead Zone Boys," that make the music feel like this vacation from sanity that they'd never book and they'd never take in a million years. The figments of these crazy as hell vacations and mental experiments are of course fascinating for all of the reasons above and the Jookabox albums are sandboxes for all of the many ways that things get away from us and shift us into bodies having some of the necessary ingredients for spells of insanity. Now, whether those spells take or not, as they did with MJ, that's left up to the fates.
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