The deaths of Michael Jackson and Amy Winehouse were two traumatic events in my life. What’s interesting however, is that I’ve never met them, let alone have even a superficial conversation with them. Yet, there’s something about the artist-fan relationship that makes us feel so connected to practical strangers that we shed a tear when they go on. I suspect that it has something to do with the new personal experience of music (thanks to mp3 players and compact speaker systems) and the ability to correspond music with maturity.
THIS IS YOUR BYP WAKE-UP CALL
Yesterday, Michael Jackson’s former physician Conrad Murray was sentenced to four years in prison for the pop mega-star’s untimely death in 2009.
The entire situation is terribly sad, and no amount of jail time will bring Michael back. But at least we have his incredible music to enjoy.
Check out the classic (John Singleton-directed) MJ video for “Remember The Time” below!
Have a great Wednesday, people!
- Last week, I was listening to NPR on my drive home and heard Michelle (say it with me, now Meeee-shell) Norris’ description of FLOTUS, Michelle Obama’s trip to South Africa. During her introduction, Norris was sure to mention that the FLOTUS danced with some South African kids.
Did Michelle O’s Dougie spark a minor obsession with her dance moves? There’s a partial list of news sources discussing FLOTUS dancing here. I think this is something worth keeping an eye on. Viral videos of the FLOTUS cutting a rug inevitably raise questions about black spectacle, white consumption, and also about the relatability/likeability of our head(s) of state and his family. It’s complicated, a very thin line, but worthy of unpacking.
Now, if FLOTUS does The Percolator and/or engages in a footworking contest with Chicago Bulls star, Derrick Rose, let me know, because I will want to see that.
You can tell a genre of music is dying when a) it gives too much of itself away to a radio-ready pop sound, and b) it becomes artistically stagnant, with too few of its practitioners willing (or able) to innovate and move the genre forward. With Usher’s lowest-common-denominator Pop&B, as well as Chris Brown’s douchbaggery and Trey Songz’s utter mediocrity dominating the charts, R&B music has certainly been sliding in that general direction over the past few years. These guys can dance and sing (or whine) with the best of them, but their music is just formulaic, thematically bland, and entirely missing any kind of edge whatsoever. Too much watered-down Michael Jackson and not nearly enough Prince, in a nutshell.
Maybe these R&B cats thought they were safe from the kind of utter embarrassment and panic OFWGKTA is inflicting on Hip Hop’s many phony, undercover pop stars. No such luck, sorry. Allow me to introduce you to The Weeknd’s House of Balloons.
Say hello to the dark, smoldering future of Rhythm and Blues.
Just over a year after his tragic and untimely death, the King of Pop is back (from the grave) with a brand new album, just in time for Christmas.
A new album from Michael Jackson, entitled Michael (cover art is to your left), will be released on December 14, in the very heart of holiday shopping season. In other words, expect massive sales.
But that’s not all folks; it has been revealed that the album’s first single, “Breaking News,” will have its worldwide premiere this Monday at Jackson’s official website.
Earlier this summer, I’d gone to my local Walgreens to satisfy a craving for peanut M&Ms. As I stood in the candy aisle deciding just how big of a bag I should purchase, a woman and her two small children joined me in the aisle. The mother stood there looking over the sale items as her two kids, a girl and a boy, argued over candy. Then, the young one, the boy, suddenly walked towards the magazine rack, and pointed to a picture of Michael Jackson. He screamed, “Michael Jackson! Michael Jackson,” then pursed his lips, started loudly breathing through his mouth, and began what must have been his version of dancing like Mike.
Now, this little boy couldn’t have been more than three. There’s no way that he could remember Michael the way that you and I remember Michael. Yet he shared such a pure enthusiasm for the MJJ, such a love that I couldn’t do anything but smile at him and think about the ways that Michael continues to live and touch lives. Little boys rocking out at the sight of Michael Jackson on a magazine cover is exactly what legends are made of.
It’s a federal holiday. Which probably means most of you have not just settled into your cubicle to read my Monday morning message. Not that anyone would actually be reading this if they were at work this morning, but at least I have a legitimate reason–and a federally recognized one–to be ignored. Initially, I had planned on using this morning’s blog to declare my independence from a variety of things: the NBA free agency conversation, graduate school, Blizzards. But I realized that recently I’ve been taking this space to list things. And frankly, I’d be back in line at the Dairy Queen before you could say Benedict Arnold. So why bother using holiday blog time to reset some of my New Year’s resolutions?