Dancing Fool

Telling moments in Michael Jackson’s greatest videos.

For those of us who enjoy keeping tabs on each new Michael Jackson flare-up, it’s been a disappointingly barren year. Ever since Jackson got acquitted of child molestation charges last June, he’s kept a low profile—spending much of his time hiding out in Bahrain. There’s been talk of him recording a new album in Ireland, and he’s due to receive an award in London this month (I’m praying for some sort of jaw-dropping oddity to occur onstage). But for the most part, MJ’s freak factor has been falling short of his lofty standards.

Thus I welcomed the chance to preview Michael Jackson Visionary—a new box set of Jackson’s music videos. Visionary provides an excellent opportunity to analyze more than a quarter-century of Jacko on film. Through the course of these 20 clips, we can chart the evolution of Jackson’s public persona. (And skin tone.) We can track the waning of his popularity. (And septum.) Jackson’s growing isolation, his unchecked mania, his alleged pedophilia: all there in the videos, if you look closely enough.

Click here to see a close reading of Michael Jackson’s greatest videos.