Episode 10 – MJAS Exclusive: 7 Albums, 7 Songs, 7 Years (with Dr. Joe Vogel)

Abstract: This tenth episode stands in the light of Michael Jackson’s anniversary, seven years after his death. In this MJAS Exclusive, Elizabeth and Karin are joined by guest, fellow academic and author, Joseph Vogel, to discuss the seventh song of the seven adult solo albums of Michael Jackson. They explore the symbolism of the number seven and the meaning of this number for Jackson personally, as well as how, after seven years Jackson’s representation has evolved in surprising ways. They also discuss how Jackson is viewed both academically and culturally.


Merx, Karin, Elizabeth Amisu, and Joseph Vogel. “Episode 10 – MJAS Exclusive: 7 Albums, 7 Songs, 7 Years (with Dr. Joe Vogel).” Podcast, Michael Jackson’s Dream Lives On: An Academic Conversation 2, no. 4 (2016). Published electronically 24/06/16. http://michaeljacksonstudies.org/episode-10-mjas-exclusive-7-albums-7-songs-7-years/.

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Episode 10 – MJAS Exclusive: 7 Albums, 7 Songs, 7 Years (with Dr. Joe Vogel)
By Karin Merx, Elizabeth Amisu and Joseph Vogel

‘His political goals were bigger, and not specific to a particular party or politician. That was too small for Michael. He was speaking to peoples souls, trying to influence people on an individual level.’

– Dr. Joseph Vogel

Episode Questions:
1. What was the significance of the number seven for Michael Jackson’s art?
2. Seventh song from Off the Wall – ‘She’s Out of My Life’
3. Seventh song from Thriller – ‘Human Nature’
4. Seventh song from Bad – ‘Man in the Mirror’
5. Seventh song from Dangerous –  ‘Heal the World’
6. Seventh song from HIStory – ‘Money’
7. Last song from Blood on the Dance Floor – Is it Scary?
8. Seventh song from Invincible – ‘Butterflies’
9. It’s been seven years since Michael Jackson’s death. What has changed in terms of how he is represented and viewed, academically and culturally?

Karin Merx BMus, MA, is editor of The Journal of Michael Jackson Academic Studies, and author of  ‘A festive parade of highlights. La Grande Parade as evaluation of the museum policy of Edy De Wilde at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam’. Find out more about Karin here.

Elizabeth Amisu, PGCE, MA, is editor of The Journal of Michael Jackson Academic Studies and author of The Dangerous Philosophies of Michael Jackson: His Music, His Persona, and His Artistic Afterlife. Find out more about Elizabeth here.

Joe Vogel is Assistant Professor at Merrimack College, North Andover, Massachusetts. His research focus is contemporary American literature, Film Studies, popular music, popular culture, and environmental studies. He is the author of several books on Michael Jackson including Man in the Music: The Creative Life and Work of Michael Jackson (2011) and Featuring Michael Jackson: Collected Writings on the King of Pop (2012). Find out more about Joe here.

All Our References and Where to Easily Find Them

1. Articles by Joseph Vogel can be found at Academia.edu
2. Information about the biblical, and cultural meaning of number 7.
3. HIStory Teaser Trailer: https://youtu.be/0T3ziKM4deo
4. Off the Wall (1979), Michael Jackson.
5. Thriller (1982), Michael Jackson.
6. Joseph Vogel, ‘How Michael Jackson Made “Bad”‘, The Atlantic.
http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2012/09/how-michael-jackson-made-bad/262162/, September 10, 2012.
7. Bad (1987), Michael Jackson.
8. Information about Michael Jackson’s Humanitarian efforts: http://www.michaeljacksonslegacy.org/index.php/his-humanitarian-work
9. Dangerous (1991), Michael Jackson.
10. Susan Fast, Dangerous  331/3 (Bloomsbury, 2014); Academic Book Review by Karin Merx
11. Elizabeth Amisu, The Dangerous Philosophies of Michael Jackson: His Music, His Persona, and His Artistic Afterlife (Praeger, 2016) Pre-Order here.
12. Michael Jackson’s Super Bowl Performance: https://youtu.be/idg8TNknvDU
13. Information on Symbolism in Christian Art.
14. Joseph Vogel, Earth Song: Inside Michael Jackson’s Magnum Opus (BlakeVision, 2012).
15. Academic Book Review of Joseph Vogel’s Earth Song: Inside Michael Jackson’s Magnum Opus by Elizabeth Amisu.
16. Short film, Earth Song by Michael Jackson, dir. Nicolas Brandt: https://youtu.be/XAi3VTSdTxU
17. HIStory (1995), Michael Jackson.
18. Blood on the Dance Floor (1997), Michael Jackson.
19. Joseph Vogel, ‘“Am I the Beast You Visualized?” The Cultural Abuse of Michael Jackson’, in The Huffington Post, 11/02/2011. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joe-vogel/michael-jackson-trial-_b_1068750.html
20. Invincible (2001), Michael Jackson.
21. Official website of Charlie Chaplin with information about The Kid.

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