So, today is the one year anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death. I don’t usually pay much attention to death anniversaries, because I don’t see the point of recognizing, in yearly increments, the day that a person stopped living. But Michael Jackson’s death struck me in a strange way, like finding out an old childhood friend died. You may not have seen that person in years, and you may not have been too emotionally impacted by the news, but you can’t stop the memories from swirling in your head and pulling at little strings that you didn’t even know were still connected to your heart.

Hit the jump to read more of my personal Michael Jackson thoughts, and head over to TMZ for some very extensive coverage, including the current drama over Michael’s estate, legal trouble, and children.

It’s a year later, and I still find myself thinking “I miss him” every single fucking time an MJ song comes on. When I was a little kid (no little boy jokes, please), he was my hero (probably one of the many factors that made me so weird), and I’ll still argue with anyone that Michael was the best performer of all time. Who the fuck else could cause one third of the audience to faint by simply grabbing his crotch and twitching to a beat? I’ve tried it, it doesn’t work. There have been plenty of great pop stars before and since Michael Jackson, but I’m not convinced that anyone felt it as much as he did, and that passion can never be lost in translation.

After maybe Jesus Christ (possibly Hitler, only cause of his silly ‘stache), Michael Jackson is probably the most internationally recognizable person to have lived, and his death is particularly tragic because despite his worldwide popularity as an entertainer, Michael died with some very ugly labels attached to his name. Sure, everyone loves “Thriller”, but in his last years most people were more concerned with what a freak he was, what his nose looked like, what he did or didn’t do with little kids, and what drugs he was on. I’m not even going to touch that – if you want to take it to the comment section, feel free.

Michael could reach millions of people with a song. Race, sex, age, and religion all become insignificant when MJ comes on. But by the time he died, there probably wasn’t a single person on Earth that he could truly relate to. You can analyze Michael down to the crumbs; you can talk about his family, his childhood, the pitfalls of fame, and the absence of stability and normality throughout his life. I’ve tried, but I guess I’m posting this because I still haven’t figured it out. I will always love his music, but I don’t know how to feel about Michael Jackson, the person. I do know that I will always love, love, love his music, and I can tell you a few things:

– Michael Jackson’s Dangerous was the first CD I owned. I know, Dangerous isn’t the most obvious place to start, but I was like 6 years old when it came out. I danced my ass off to that album, and “Jam” was my joint. I didn’t even know what “hip-hop” was at that point, but I probably owe a portion of my love of the genre to that song. I still think that album is one of his best and most underrated.

– I owned every single one of his studio albums, and a few weird foreign releases that I stumbled upon while lurking in dark alleys looking for cheap drugs. One summer my family had an Austrian Special Olympics participant stay at our house (volleyball player) and he loved Michael Jackson as much as I did. I thought that was impossible until I met this guy. A Michael song would bring the biggest, sloppiest smile to his face and trigger immediate involuntary body motions. Before he left, I gave him all my MJ CD’s. I think it was a good call, because I’ll always remember how happy that made him and that action was my first taste of what it felt like to do something good (since before then I mostly just broke stuff, lit fires, etc.) I can’t say I don’t harbor some regret, though – I think I cried that night.

– Even when I was neck deep in my “I’m a cool skateboarder, I have long hair and I only listen to angst-filled rock music” phase, I secretly listened to “Will You Be There” (from the classic Free Willy) and fought tears on some super emo shit alone in my room, immediately switching to Nirvana when I heard footsteps.

That’s it for my MJ post. Miss you, Michael Jackson. I truly appreciate your contribution to the world of music. Thanks.

Love, Confusion.