Michael Jackson’s recent death has spawned new interest in the pop star’s music and will likely inspire the production of new cultural products well into the future. Presently, Americans and citizens from across the globe are purchasing his music at a feverish pace. However, those sales are likely to expand dramatically as artists and DJs “remix” Jackson’s work into new tracks targeted to both fresh audiences as well as loyalists of localized music scenes. Currently, you can log onto pop music websites and see that some DJs have already reworked Michael Jackson’s music into new tracks with unique sounds. Such remixes have been a central part of rave culture and continue to stay in rotation during live DJ sets at contemporary nightclubs. To date, many DJs have sped up Jackson’s song, trimmed his vocals, and added heavy basslines, multiple drum sequences or synthesized melodies to turn his R & B classic “Billie Jean” into a contemporary house, techno or break beat track.
This renewed interest in Jackson’s work, following his unfortunate death, will breathe life back into both the pop culture mainstream and underground music scenes. The EDM DJ’s remix work, with artists like Jackson, Madonna, Rhianna, Beyonce, Justin Timberlake, and Kanye West, not only helps expand the artists’ legacies, it also introduces people to other styles of music to which they may become loyal fans. Such reinterpretation and cultural expansion allows all of us to get more closely involved with music and to connect more intimately with others where the music is played.
In investigating a music scene’s transformation over time, Rave Culture discusses the cultural value of the remix, the EDM DJs work in the past and present, and the subsequent gratifying experiences people get when consuming a DJs’ work. The book may help us foresee an expanding legacy for Michael Jackson; as one of the few people who has the ability to breathe new life into a music scene by inspiring music production and the development of new tastes and interests as well as connections to others.
Tammy L. Anderson is the author of Rave Culture: The Alteration and Decline of a Philadelphia Music Scene http://www.temple.edu/tempress/titles/2002_reg.html