I have been remarkably resistant to the Michael Jackson coverage that seems to be pretty much constant these days. Oh, sure I couldn't stop reading updates the night he died and the next day as well, but I kind of lost interest after the autopsy and the run-up to the memorial service that was held on Tuesday. I didn't watch the service, nor have I really bothered to watch any You Tube clips of the event. While that may seem to some as proof that I am dead inside, his death, while tragic just did not affect me in the same way that the passing of someone like Madonna or Cher or Stevie Nicks is likely to affect me (none of whom are exactly spring chickens).
Casey Stratton, whose music and career I have been following for over 4 years now, has served up what is perhaps my favorite musical tribute to Michael Jackson. Available for free from his website this morning is his cover of "Man In The Mirror" which was always one of my favorite Michael Jackson songs. It is the only 45rpm single from Bad that I purchased. I have strong memories of the video, mostly because it was not the typical Michael Jackson video. I also remember being at my friend Rick's house one night in 1988 watching Night Tracks or MTV or something and that video came on and, inexplicably, it brought about a lot of very serious conversation and was kind of the beginning of a close friendship. So it's no wonder that I have fond memories of it.
But back to Casey and his version of "Man In The Mirror." I have heard a lot of covers in my day, and while it's pretty much a note-for-note version of the original, what's amazing about it is that everything you hear on the track is Casey. All the vocals, the instruments, everything. So in a way, he's kind of like Prince, only taller and not batshit crazy! According to Casey, there were over 100 vocal parts to record, and it took him the better part of 10 hours to record just under 6 minutes of music. That, to me, is amazing if for no other reason than the patience and perseverence that it must have taken to do all that. But it sure was worth it. It is probably my favorite cover of his since he did Prince's "Purple Rain" (see, it comes back to Prince again).
A few weeks back, Casey alrso did a cover of Lady Gaga's "Poker Face" which I enjoyed on a camp level, but I really don't like the song "Poker Face." It seemed like it was done kind of spur of the moment and while fun, lacked the polish of some of his best work. "Man In The Mirror" is a fully realized cover that showcases everything that I love about his music. It's, quite simply, fantastic.
Download it here. (along with "Poker Face" if you're so inclined.)