Monday, September 13, 2010

Differences in song sequencing between the audio and video versions of "Thriller"

I've already abused Steven Hodson for this, even though it wasn't his fault.

Hodson recently wrote a post about Microsoft employees celebrating the release of Windows Phone 7. Perhaps you saw my response in my Empoprise-BI business blog entitled "Play at work." You see, the Microsoft employees were in a celebratory mood, and some of them even re-enacted the dance from the video of Michael Jackson's "Thriller."

Ever since then, I haven't been able to get the song out of my head.

However, my preferred version of the song is the one that appeared on the record, not the re-sequenced one that appeared on the video. Let me explain the differences.

The version that hit the charts followed a traditional verse-chorus-verse-structure, and then closed with the rap by Vincent Price. The song builds toward this ending rap, with an interjected vocal interlude by Jackson, then the close of Price's rap, which concludes with a horrible (as in horror) laugh.

The video, of course, is arranged a little differently.

In this case, the song had to be re-arranged to fit the story and the dance routine. Because of this, the verses are placed toward the beginning of the performance of the song, with the chorus excluded. Price's rap, which was the ending highlight of the audio song, was instead moved (with Jackson's interlude) to an earlier portion of the video. For the video, the highlight is reserved for the chorus, which is withheld toward the end of the song and serves as the musical background for the famous dance sequence. The VERY last part of the song - Price's laugh - is reserved for the very ending of the video.

One other note about the video version - because of the length of the video, and because of some of the story material (especially the movie-like horror scenes), Jackson's song isn't the only music in the video. Elmer Bernstein "scary music" sequences are also incorporated.

All in all, two different versions of the song, serving two different purposes. But I still like the non-video version better.
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