Consider this a Friday Flashback, to January 1992. A few months earlier Michael Jackson had released his 4th solo album as an adult, DANGEROUS, which I loved. Remember The Time was the second single released from the album, and it is pretty much Michael at his best. He wrote and produced the song along with Teddy Riley and Bernard Belle. It’s a nice mid-tempo beat, fast enough that you could dance to it, with simple but wistful lyrics about a lost love.
It’s funny, but when I was younger and first hearing this song I wasn’t quite sure if the song was reminiscing about a former relationship that he was trying to get back, or it was about a current relationship and he was just recalling how it started. Years later, when able to look up the lyrics, he clearly says it ended, in the first verse, so it is the former.
Do you remember, when we fell in love, we were young and innocent then.
Do you remember, how it all began, it just seemed like Heaven so why did it end?
Subsequent verses recall other past activities.
Do you remember, how we used to talk/we’d say on the phone, all night till dawn.
Do you remember, all the things we said, like I love you so I’ll never let you go.
Do you remember, those special times.
That just go on and on, in the back of my mind.
And of course, the catchy chorus. Who can’t relate to this song? Anyone who’s ever had a lost a love can feel these lyrics. You know what’s it like to replay events in your mind over and over, wondering what went wrong. And the melody is almost hypnotic. I will assume that Teddy Riley is mostly responsible for that, as it definitely has his “stamp” on it.
And then there’s the accompanying video (or short film). Over his lifetime (and beyond) Michael had been accused by many of rejecting his Black heritage, of “selling out” and “wanting to be White”. Some others have made the opposite argument. And I’d say that with this video, Michael gave us the “Blackest” version of himself since his days at Motown. Most other singers would have taken this song and made a simple little love story video, a man and woman holding hands with flashbacks to when they were younger, etc. But not Michael. He enlisted movie director John Singleton for a film set in ancient Egypt with an all-Black cast that included Eddie Murphy, Iman, and Magic Johnson.
Pardon my language, but this video is DOPE AS FUCK. We’re in ancient Egypt, showing a Black civilization. This is something that Hollywood doesn’t want to acknowledge today, yet Michael was doing this 23 years ago.
Yes, I admit, it’s a little odd that he’s the “least-Black” looking person in the video but, still, he’s sending a powerful cultural message, without beating you over the head with it. Heck, as I’ve said before, this is the kind of movie I wish Black filmmakers were making today!
So, without further ado, let’s watch…
Great set, great direction, great acting (I love the little side-eye Eddie Murphy gives Iman when he sees her checking out Micheal, he “says” so much with that non-verbal cue), and great choreography. The only part that doesn’t quite work is Michael’s kiss with Iman. But everything else is fantastic.
R.I.P. Michael Jackson.