Before I was through the front door, my dad stopped me in my tracks. “Wait right there!” he yelled, then disappeared down the stairs, leaving me standing in the living room with my backpack and the smell of my school bus’s exhaust lingering in the air.
“Are you ready?” my dad hollered from out of sight. I wasn’t sure if I was or not. A second later, I heard a whip-crack horn blast, breaking the air and making way for the tough-as-fuck bass line to Michael Jackson’s “Bad.”
I screamed. “That’s Michael Jackson!” I thought as I dropped my bag and ran downstairs. “THAT’S THE NEW MICHAEL JACKSON TAPE!”
My dad was standing in front of a new stereo system, holding up a long, flat, white box with a leather-clad Michael Jackson on the cover and… what the huh!? This wasn’t a tape at all. This was a CD! THIS WAS MY FIRST CD! What the fuck is a CD?
It didn’t matter. All that mattered was that it was loud and it was Michael Jackson, and it was mine. And my dad said I could listen to it over and over again, and it would never start to sound wobbly, unlike my Thriller tape, which was eventually eaten by my boom box.
I was seven years old, and this was the best thing that had ever happened to me. New, “flawless” technology, new Michael Jackson music—I danced around the room, singing, “I’m bad, I’m bad/Really, really bad,” with my 7-year-old white-girl proclamations of badness almost as believable as those of the bleached-and-mascaraed Jackson. It was all too much, yet I couldn’t get enough. That was when an undeniable love of music was embedded into my psyche. And that moment paved way for a lifelong addiction—I’ve bought thousands of CDs since. But Michael Jackson was the first. Michael Jackson started it all.