#Growns we’re back with another episode of our series Bringing ’88 Back the subject at hand this week is Michael Jackson’s #1 hit “Man In The Mirror”. Written by Glen Ballard and Siedah Garrett and co-produced by MJ and Q the song rose to the top of the charts by late March ’88. Full disclosure, initially I was not a fan. Nope. Not at all. In fact it was one of those songs as soon as I heard(or saw) the intro I immediately turned the dial. Why? I believe like a few other instances that we will see throughout the course of this series it was simply a matter of age/taste.

Now I must explain that my entire high school period I was coming of age in many ways in regards to my listening habits. Like many teens, I was hyper-aware of what was popular. But also like many teens I was beginning to become confident in forging my own path. Sometimes that can be obnoxious. Some folks actually never grow out of that need to be a contrarian just for contrarian sake or they go down the road even further and take the route of elitism. Now granted there’s a lot of music I just don’t like because it just doesn’t appeal to me, but I think for balance and peace I’ve learned to give a lot more “You like it, I love it!” now as opposed to the old “That music is terrible and you’re…”(insert pejorative of choice). So part of what my issue with “Man In The Mirror” was initially is its ubiquity. You know the whole “They’re playing this again?” so I just wasn’t open. Another big part is that I was heavily under the sway of the youth movement in Hip-Hop, Go-Go and the new burgeoning sound in R&B, so “Man In The Mirror” was a little too pop for me at the time. Then…

At some point, probably a bit of time after ’88 I grew up. Lived a little. So what began to resonate that didn’t in ’88 is the message of the song. What a message! It’s one of those messages that falls into the so simple yet so complex side of the game. You see as we know because we’re #Grown and we’ve lived a little, we know how easy it is to point out the fault in everyone else and somehow forget to begin at the beginning which is self. I wasn’t ready then to listen to that type of message. Youth. That’s not a criticism as much as it is a realization. So I say all of this to say that part of the experience of growth is that your tastes can and will change. Now is “Man In The Mirror” part of my daily, weekly, monthly or even yearly listening? No. But do I reach for the remote or press the skip button anymore? Absolutely not. Growth.

Ivan Orr is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, performer, and writer. A native of Charlottesville, Virginia Ivan was involved with the forming and nascent days of The Music Resource Center as its first Program Director. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Music, Ivan currently resides in Richmond, VA where he maintains an active performance and production schedule while serving as the Music Editor for Grown Folks Music, a position he has held since 2010.