On the occasion of Michael Jackson's announcement of touring again, Daniel Frankelstein posits that it is impossible to separate his often bizarre eccentricity from an appreciation of his artistic achievements:
It is impossible to appreciate or enjoy Jacko in the same way as it was when - say - he sang so gloriously in the Jackson 5. Hardly anybody who listens to him now does it without his biography influences the way they listen.
Melding what we think we know of the artist's life with what we are hearing in his music is a natural human reaction. It's what we do. Anything else is an incomplete account.
As a practical matter, for me it is impossible to listen to Jackson's P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing) and not think of his trial on charges of pedophilia.