Week 104: “Never Can Say Goodbye” by The Jackson 5

Having only been alive for about 6 months during the 1970s, I can’t really say that I “miss” that decade, but there are some things the seventies gave us that I think made the world a better place. Those things are, in no particular order:

  • Shirts with big collars
  • The afro (especially in basketball)
  • Star Wars
  • Orange as a good colour choice for anything
  • The Jackson 5

Considering that the album Maybe Tomorrow features three of those things on the cover alone, it’s a must-buy for anyone who has fond memories of the 70s. In fact, anyone who wants to hear the evolution of popular music from 1970 to 1979 can do so by listening to The Jackson 5’s catalogue; they ran the gamut from soul to funk to disco as the years went by and popular tastes changed.

What makes this a beautiful song:

1. The glockenspiel, especially its little chromatic up-and-down at the beginning. It’s the type of sound they use in movies as the screen goes blurry and we dissolve into a dream sequence.

2. The bassline. It reminds me of this one, and it works as the song’s key shifts from minor to major.

3. Michael’s voice. With everything else that happened in his life, it’s easy to forget why he got famous in the first place: he could flat-out sing. Listen to this song and realize that he was 12 when it was recorded. Do you know any 12-year-old who can sing this well? Or do anything this well, for that matter?

Recommended listening activity:

Going out for a relaxing mid-afternoon rollerskate.

Buy it here.