There's someone I forgot to be
I always resented having to think of George Michael as a sex symbol. My older cousins thought he was the hottest thing going and I was convinced he had smelly feet. Seriously. In the Faith video he wasn't wearing any shoes and I was sure his feet were stinkin'. Then in the Father Figure video he was wearing the exact same unwashed outfit and I knew I was right. Also, it wasn't just his feet. I decided he had all over funk barely masked by the kind of cologne local guys wore to go to Webster Hall on friday night. I obsessed over this notion while my cousins swooned, dreaming of putting their little hands (EW!) in his. Not I, I stood alone, wrinkling my nose in disgust.
I did love Freedom '90. He wasn't in the video, I didn't have to see those jeans or that stubble or that scowl. I could picture whoever I wanted singing it and to like the song any way I wanted. Whether the message was "I'm done being frowny leather jacket guy" or "I'm done pretending to be hetero frowny leather jacket guy" was irrelevant. The song sounded like the title and its attendant elation mixed with a little fear comes across beautifully.
Freedom '90/George Michael (mp3)
You can't hate on this song. It may go on a bit. The clothes do not make the man a mite too often. BUT there's the fantastic syncopation - "Gotta have some faith in the sound/It's the one good thing that I...got", the faux gospel choir and the pre-chorus bit where Michael's voice takes on a new edge as he sings "I think there's something you should know..." as if to say but seriously now, let's get to what this is reeeeally about. It's an amazing vocal and if you don't believe me because it sounds so feather-light and easy, try singing this at karaoke sometime.*
Purchase Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1 by George Michael on Amazon Digital.
* Sometimes, when I'm bored and I'm alone at home, I go to Oxygen On Demand and I sing a few of their Karaoke selections. I chose Freedom '90 a few weeks ago. Hoo boy.