|Song by Michael Jackson
from the album HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I
|Genre||Pop/Rock, Dance pop|
|Length||4:32 (Album Version)|
|Writer||Michael Jackson, James Harris, Terry Lewis|
|Producer||Michael Jackson, Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis|
|HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I track listing|
"Tabloid Junkie" is a pop song performed by American recording artist Michael Jackson. The song appeared on Jackson's ninth studio album, entitled HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I, which was released in 1995 as a two-disc album, as the album's eleventh track. The song was written by Jackson, James Harris and Terry Lewis and was produced by Jackson, Jimmy Jam and Lewis. Along with co-writing and co-producing "Tabloid Junkie", Jackson also composed the song.
The song received generally positive reviews from music critics. "Tabloid Junkie" is a pop-rock song, with lyrics, similar to previous songs recorded by Jackson, that pertain to media biasses and negative coverage about rumors about Jackson and his personal life. "Tabloid Junkie" is the seventh song on HIStory: Past, Present And Future, Book I to be aimed at the media. "Tabloid Junkie" was not released as a single from the album and did not chart on any music charts from radio air-play or from digital download sales.
In the same way as "Leave Me Alone" (1986) and HIStory: Past, Present And Future - Book I album tracks, "They Don't Care About Us", "Scream" and "This Time Around", among others; "Tabloid Junkie", co-written by Jackson, shows Jackson's dissatisfaction with the media, particularly the tabloids, because of the bias and negative media coverage of false rumors and the 1993 child sexual abuse accusations made against him. Since the late 1980s, Jackson and the press did not have a good relationship. In 1986, the tabloids ran a story claiming that Jackson slept in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber to slow the aging process, with a picture of him lying down in a glass box; Jackson stated that the story was untrue. When Jackson bought a pet chimpanzee Bubbles, the media viewed it as evidence of Jackson's increasing detachment from reality.
It was reported that Jackson had offered to buy the bones of Joseph "The Elephant Man" Merrick; Jackson stated that the story was false. These stories inspired the nickname "Wacko Jacko", which Jackson acquired the following year, and would come to despise. Jackson stopped leaking untrue stories to the press, so the media began making up their own stories. In 1989, Jackson released the song and music video "Leave Me Alone", a song about his perceived victimization at the hands of the press. The video shows Jackson poking fun at both the press and himself. In the video, there are newspapers with bizarre headlines, Jackson dancing with the bones of "The Elephant Man", and an animated nose with a scalpel chasing it across the screen.
In August 1993, the relationship between Jackson and the press soured entirely when he was accused of child sexual abuse. Although never charged with a crime, Jackson was subject to intense media scrutiny while the criminal investigation took place. Complaints about the coverage and media included using sensational headlines to draw in readers and viewers when the content itself did not support the headline, accepting leaked material from the police investigation and of Jackson's alleged criminal activity in return for money, a lack of objectivity and using headlines that strongly implied Jackson's guilt. At the time, Jackson said of the media coverage, "I will say I am particularly upset by the handling of the matter by the incredible, terrible mass media. At every opportunity, the media has dissected and manipulated these allegations to reach their own conclusions." Jackson began taking painkillers, Valium, Xanax and Ativan to deal with the stress of the allegations made against him. When Jackson left the United States to go into rehabilitation, the media showed Jackson little sympathy.
|Problems listening to this file? See media help.|
"Tabloid Junkie" is credited as a pop—funk song, that is similar to New-Jack Swing. Throughout the duration of the song, Jackson sings in a quick-voice, which some music critics viewed as Jackson "not singing" but "harrumphing". "Tabloid Junkie" has heavy beats throughout the song. "Tabloid Junkie" is directed to the public to not believe everything in the tabloids, and the songs lyrics are about media biasses and sensational journalism towards Jackson and in general, this can be seen in lyrics like, "Just because you read it in the magazine or see it on the TV screen don't make it factual". In the song Jackson criticizes journalists, commenting "with your pen you torture men", describing how he was affected by the media coverage about him, and "speculate to break the one you hate", describing how journalist used sensational writing to mislead people and put him in a negative view. "Tabloid Junkie" is played in the key of Gb major and in common time signature. In the song, Jackson's voice range is from Cb4 to Bb7. The songs tempo is moderate and it's metronome is 100 beats per minute.
"Tabloid Junkie" received primarily positive reviews from contemporary music critics. James Hunter, a writer for Rolling Stone, described "Tabloid Junkie", along with the albums other track "Scream", as being "two adventurous Jam and Lewis thumpers" that "work completely", commenting that "Jackson's slippery voice is caught in mammoth funk-rock constructions". Hunter noted that the "choruses of 'Tabloid Junkie' in particular sing out with quick-voiced warnings about the failings of media truth." Robert Christgau, a film and music critic, who gave the album ** Honorable Mention (), listed "Tabloid Junkie" as being one out of two of the albums highlights. Jim Farber, of the New York Daily News, commented that "Tabloid Junkie" sounded "like virtual satires" of the "beat-heavy sound devised" by Jam and Lewis in the 1980s.
David Browne, of Entertainment Weekly, noted that "Tabloid Junkie," comes as "close to transcendence as anywhere on the album" and described the chorus, "Just because you read it in the magazine or see it on the TV screen don't make it factual" as Jackson's "grabbiest, most driven refrain in years." Aside form Browne praising the song, he commented, "The rest of the song, however, is mucked up with fake tabloid-TV snippets about his 'life,' and on the verses Jackson's delivery is so terse (he's not singing, he's harrumphing) that his lyrics are all but obliterated. Handed a golden opportunity, he throws it all away — but then, it wouldn't be the first time." Deepika Reedy, of The Daily Colegian, described the "rust in songs" like "Tabloid Junkie" as having a "raw aspect" that Jackson "hasn't approached since a near-miss with 'Billy Jean'." Patrick Macdonald, of The Seattle Times, noting that "Tabloid Junkie" was a "disingenuous attack on sensational news stories" about Jackson, remarked that most of stories were "planted" by Jackson himself.