Radio 55, side A, track 2: “Man In The Mirror” by Michael Jackson, #28 on The Top 90 of the ’80s

Michael Jackson - Man in the MirrorOh, Michael Jackson, last time we heard this song, it was #5 on the Top 88 of ’88.  And here it is again, on an even bigger countdown, and sure, it’s not in the top 10, but your music has taken up a lot of real estate on this thing, so I think we’re good, and I’m sure this isn’t the last of your songs to show up on this thing, either.

I really love this song, Michael Jackson.  Way more than I did as a kid.  Just now, as I was figuring out what to write this time out, I listened to it a couple of times because it’s just so impactful, and of course your voice is amazing on it.  Last time we talked about this song, I spent the whole post discussing if I should enjoy your music, all things considered.  This time out, I don’t want to go there, because I don’t know that I’ve come any closer to an answer in the two years since I last wrote about this.  If anything, the world’s gotten even more confusing and sad since then.

Like, for instance, the last year’s worth of Bill Cosby news.  I keep telling myself that I’ve heard everything in life, and even if not, I should be prepared for anything, but if you would have told me when I first wrote about this song that the name Bill Cosby would some day make me feel disgusted and sad I would have just laughed at you.  I grew up on the Cos.  I watched him on “Captain Kangaroo” and “Fat Albert and The Cosby Kids”, I listened to his comedy albums over and over and over.  I was one of the few who enjoyed “Leonard, Part 6”.  And “The Cosby Show” was the only education I had on race relations, resulting in a very positive, if naive, view of race in America.

. . .

I have all these thoughts swirling around in my head, Michael Jackson, and it’s the tricky part of this blog sometimes.  I want this blog to be about nostalgia and celebrating the countless great songs like this one that I’ve been fortunate to have enjoyed and recorded over the years.  And I want it to be at least mildly amusing.  But sometimes a song like this one is so much more than a quick flash of pop, or it’s entangled with some unpleasant memory or the artist themself might be untoward, that it becomes less about celebrating the song and more about neurotic navel-gazing and impotent lamentations.

And sometimes it reminds me about the man in the mirror and that I haven’t made that change or that change or THAT change and I’m almost 40 and still have days where it’s nigh impossible to get my head outta bed.  Plus I’ve only got like 30 minutes to write these things.

Phew.  I love this song, Michael Jackson, but it looks like I can only take listening to it every couple years.

“Man In The Mirror”

I’m gonna make a change
For once in my life

It’s gonna feel real good
Gonna make a difference
Gonna make it riiiight

As I
Turned up the collar on
My favorite winter coat
This wind is blowin’ my mind

I see the kids
In the street
With not enough to eat
Who am I to be blind pretending not to see their need

A summer’s disregard
A broken bottle top

And’a one man’s soooul

They follow each other on the wind, ya know

‘Cause they got nowhere ta go
That’s why I wantcha ta know

I’m starting with the man in the mirror

I’m asking him to change his ways

And no message could have been
Any clearer

If you wanna make the world
A better place
Take a look at yourself and then make a chaaange

Na na na, na na na, na naaa na na
Oh huh

I’ve been a victim of
A selfish kinda love
It’s time that I realize

There are some with no home
Not a nickel to loan
Could it be really me pretending that they’re not alone

A willow deeply scarred
Somebody’s broken heart
And a washed-out dreeeam

They follow the pattern of the wind, ya see

‘Cause they got no place ta be
That’s why I’m starting with me

I’m starting with the man in the mirror

I’m asking him to change his ways

And no message could have been
Any clearer

If you wanna make the world
A better place
Take a look at yourself and then make a change

I’m starting with the
Man in the mirror

I’m asking him to change his ways

And no message could have been
Any clearer

If you wanna make the world
A better place
Take a look at yourself
And then make that
Change

I’m starting with the man in the mirror
(Oh yeah)
I’m asking him to change his ways, yeah
(A change)
No message could have been any clearer

(If you wanna make the world)
(A better place)
(Take a look at yourself and then make the change, ya gotta get it right)
(While ya got the time)
(‘Cause when you close your heart)
You can’t
Close your
Your mind

That man
That man
That man
(With the man in the mirror, oh yeah)
That man
That man
That man
(I’m asking him to change his ways)
Ya know
(A change)
No message could have been any clearer

If you wanna make the world
A better place
Take a look at yourself
Then make that

Change
Woo!
Woo!
Woo!
Na na na, na na na, na naaa na na
Woo!
Woo!
Woo!

(Oh yeah)
Yeah yeah
Yeah yeah
Yeah yeah
Na na na, na na na, na naaa na na
Oh no
Oh no

I’m gonna make a change

It’s gonna feel real good
Shamone
(Change)

Just lift yourself
Ya know

You got ta stop it
Yourself
(Yeah)
Woo!
(Make that change)
I gotta make that change
T’day
Hoo!
(Man in the mirror)
You got ta
You got ta not
Let yourself
Brother, ah
Hoo!
(Yeah)
Ya know it
(Make that change)
Gotta make that man
That man
(Man in the mirror) You got to
Ya got to move
Shamone
Shamone

You got ta
Stand up (yeah!)
Stand up
Stand up (Make that change)
Stand up and lift
Yourself
(Man in the mirror)
Hoo!
Hoo!
Woo!

Ow!
(Yeah!)

(Make that change)
Gotta make that change
Shamone
(Man in the mirror)

Ya know it
Ya know it
Ya know it
Ya know

(Chaaange)

Make that change

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One thought on “Radio 55, side A, track 2: “Man In The Mirror” by Michael Jackson, #28 on The Top 90 of the ’80s

  1. […]  “Oh, you know, people like Madonna, Michael Jackson, Tina Turner. . […]

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