If we’re talking about true art at its most otherworldly, one only has to look as far as Michael Jackson. He not only understood the intricacies of sound and how to make dynamic harmonics come to life, he also had an eye for the truly spectacular. His first and only duet with younger sister Janet would not only become the most expensive video ever created – costing an unprecedented $7 million – it would be one of the most visually stunning and unique. “Scream” was more than just ahead of its time sonically and visually, it was also (literally) from a different planet, suspended somewhere between Earth and the stars, blasting meteors from its hull and elevating the human experience to a pointed and shrill peak.
With every scream, every rip of vocal majesty, the video accelerated every heartbeat and made the eye dilate. It’s a sensory overload. I have a feeling that Mark Romanek had an innate understanding of his muse, taking Michael’s coldness and anger and transforming its ugly, twisted wire into clean, sterile, simply flawless art. Not to mention an 18-second dance sequence that remains one of the most intense and intricate in any music video before or since, “Scream” is a true testament to the man and who he was.