Well, Friday was Michael Jackson’s 50th birthday, so I thought I’d talked about his “forgotten” music video, “Can You Feel It”. It’s one of the craziest f***ing things I’ve seen, but it’s awesome! Released in August of 1981, the single is actually a Jacksons song, but the video was conceived and written by Michael Jackson. Something that is made clear in the credits of the video. Yes, 2 years before the Thriller video had credits and opening titles. So I guess Michael Jackson would consider it a short film, along with most of his other videos. And the complete video clocks in at over 9 minutes. Looking back now, it could be hard to describe “Can You Feel It” as groundbreaking, but you have to remember that MTV started the same month as this video’s release, and hundreds of thousands of dollars weren’t spent on vids as they are today. The special effects are pretty cool and are ahead of their time for videos. But the whole premise is just crazy. Michael and his brothers are giants spreading their love(?), water floods the earth and if you look quickly enough in one scene you can see people trapped in air bubbles. The sound effects don’t help the video but after a few viewings it seems to fit, even if some of the sounds come from Star Wars. The long version includes the Jacksons descending from the heavens and a whole group of extras of different races and ages holding hands with an ending possibly inspired by a Spielberg alien movie.
So what’s up with this video? One commenter said it remineded him of Jehovah Witnessmaterial, and I would have to agree. Michael at the time was a JW, and the very ending with all the races happy is reminiscent of the JW’s belief that there will be a paradise on earth after the end of the world.
And second, why do you never see it on MTV, VH1 or anyplace else? One possibility is at least in America, the single barely made the Hot 100. Or it could be that it’s from the time when MTV showed music videos only from white artists. Or it’s become forgotten due to the whole phenomenon of the “Thriller” album. Anyhow, you can now watch it for posterity on youtube.