The lifeblood of popular culture often lies within its music, and few songs have managed to ingrain themselves as deeply into the global zeitgeist as Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”
The music video, a short film of sorts, broke all boundaries and turned heads worldwide, standing as a testament to Jackson’s irrefutable genius and influence. This eponymous track from his sixth studio album has stood the test of time, reaching an incredible 4 billion views, and that count is still ticking upward with remarkable speed.
In this article, we will trace the fascinating journey of “Thriller,” exploring how it managed to garner such an astounding number of views, influencing global pop culture long after its release.
Crafting a Masterpiece: The Conception of Thriller
“Thriller” could most definitely hold a masterclass in catchy, innovative song-crafting. It’s a blend of potent creativity, technical skill, and groundbreaking vision which has grown to become an unforgettable phenomenon.
Influences and Writing Process
The inception of “Thriller” can be traced back to Michael Jackson’s collaboration with the legendary producer Quincy Jones. Together, they decided to create a song that was “spooky,” “fun,” and “full of joy.” The duo collaborated with British songwriter Rod Temperton, who suggested the iconic name “Thriller.”
The Birth of the Short Film Music Video
A key factor contributing to the sensation that “Thriller” would become was the creation of its revolutionary music video. The innovative idea was to craft a 14-minute-long video modeled like a short film with a horror theme.
This concept was a radical departure from the simple performance or story-based music videos of the time. Jackson’s decision to collaborate with movie director John Landis (famous for “An American Werewolf in London”) further underscored the song’s cinematic ambitions.
The Phenomenon: Impact and Influence of Thriller
“Thriller” wasn’t just a song; it was a remarkably influential cultural phenomenon that transcended the confines of music and firmly placed itself in collective human consciousness.
Breakthrough in Music Video Production
“Thriller” forever changed the landscape of music video production. Its success bolstered the music video industry, encouraging artists to elevate their music videos into high-quality, narrative-driven pieces of art.
- Cinematic Storytelling: By blending film and music together, “Thriller” set a new standard for music videos as a storytelling medium.
- Special Effects: The famous transformation sequence showcased groundbreaking makeup and special effects for its time, paving the way for future advancements.
- Choreography: The distinctive, yet easy-to-follow choreography inspired countless dance trends.
Global Pop Culture Impact
Jackson’s stunning visual language and creative genius turned “Thriller” into a global phenomenon that continues to impact and inspire various aspects of popular culture even today.
- Fashion: The red leather jacket Jackson sports in the video became an instant fashion statement and remains a pop culture staple.
- Entertainment: “Thriller” has been referenced in countless movies, TV shows and other forms of entertainment, cementing its status as a cultural icon.
- Holiday Tradition: Playing “Thriller” during Halloween has become a worldwide tradition.
Breaking Records: Thriller’s Remarkable Reach
With every passing day, the view count on “Thriller” continues its upward trajectory, currently well past the 4 billion mark.
YouTube and the Digitization of Music
As the Internet transformed global communication, music consumption patterns underwent a profound shift. Fans from all corners of the globe could now access their favorite songs with the click of a button on platforms like YouTube, allowing “Thriller” to reach an unprecedented level of exposure.
Despite decades passing since its release, “Thriller” remains a perpetual favorite. Its enduring popularity has kept the song relevant, with its view count relentlessly ticking upwards.
The Power of Streaming Platforms
The ascent of streaming platforms has played a significant role in spreading “Thriller” to new audiences and keeping the song evergreen.
Wrapping Up With an Encore
Amassing over 4 billion views and counting, the undying popularity of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” testifies to its timeless appeal and extraordinary cultural impact.
No other track of its time had such a widespread influence, stretching beyond the realm of music into fashion, film, and more. Through the brilliance of “Thriller,” Michael Jackson immortalized himself as the King of Pop, pushing boundaries that few could even envision.
As we celebrate this remarkable feat and continue dancing to the infectious beat of “Thriller,” we are reminded of the transformative power of music and its ability to connect with millions of hearts worldwide.
“We wanted something that would touch all bases…that would be so unique and so different.” – Quincy Jones on creating ‘Thriller’
With its ongoing success and ever-increasing view count, it’s safe to say that “Thriller” is living up to Quincy Jones’s vision, remaining “unique,” “different,” and all-encompassing, even after nearly four decades. And in the years to come, we can only expect this iconic song to continue its upward surge, shaping and reshaping pop culture with every beat.