Jun 28, 2009

Enough With the Michael Jackson Coverage

I must admit at the beginning of this essay that I never much cared for the music of Michael Jackson or - for that matter - the Jackson Five. I grew up in Detroit, the former home of Motown Records, and yet Michael and his brothers were not exactly radio superstars in the 1970s and 1980s in the Motor City.

The Motown stars more likely to be played when I grew up in the 1970s were the grittier and more lyrically substantial artists like Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye, while acts such as Sly and the Family Stone and Parliament-Funkadelic led the non-Motown soul and R&B groups one would be likely to hear.

In the 1980s Detroit was better known as bastion of Prince fans than it was for being a hotbed of Michael Jackson aficionados. True, MJ's 1984 Victory Tour with the rest of the Jackson brothers did well in three shows at the Pontiac Silverdome, but even this mega-hyped tour did not fare as well as the seven sellouts in nine days that Prince racked up at Joe Louis Arena that year. This, of course, came after Prince played nine shows in four months during the 1999 Tour, where Detroit became a sort of second hometown for Prince due to his massive fan base.

I always found the musical catalogue of Michael Jackson to be vapid, even soulless, at times, and I am hard-pressed to think of one MJ song I actually can say that I like. As a kid I found "Ben" to be listenable, and I give him kudos for the crossover "Beat It" with Eddie Van Halen on lead guitar, but beyond these two songs I find most of Michael Jackson's to be forgettable, and much of it sounds antiquated these days.

Anyways, I was saddened to hear that this tormented, strange, and perhaps perverted little man had died, but to afford the death of Michael Jackson this much coverage is beyond overkill. He certainly recognized the growing power of music videos as a marketing tool, and as a choreographer and dancer he proved himself to be an innovator, but in the end he was little more than another washed-up pop star trying desperately to re-ignite a creative flame that had begun to fizzle as early as the 1987 Bad album.

So: rest in peace, oh proclaimed King of Pop, but it is time for the networks to move on.


Anonymous said...

Amen, brother man, Mj is way overrated.


microdot said...

I tend to agree with you on some points, I will admit tht Billie Jean is a embarrassing favorite of mine still.
It was the aura he aquired in the days of the Thriller record and the amazing physical performance, the dancing that guaranteed his stardom.
I haven't heard anything since that time that made me think he could ever regain his briliance of the early 80's.
He certainly changed the perxeption about race in America, sunbconciously, but unfortunately in the process morphed from a handsome young black man into a very strange person with a vaguely orientalesque feminine mask...
In 1965, in a moment of prescient audacity, John Lennon said that the Beatles were more famous than Jesus...that caused outrage across the Bible Belt of America.
Jackson might have sensed it, but he was too timid to ever admit it and of course he he would never make a statement like that, but as one dead rock star to another, he proved it.

Carol said...

Not to engage in blasphemy, but this whole thing is touted like one would think the second coming of Christ would be.

I'm sorry the Jackson's lost a member of their family. But for Pete's sake! This is ridiculous!

All I can say ... "Move along, folks. Nothing to see here."

dr-exmedic said...

"Remember when we used to fight about who was cooler, Prince or Michael Jackson? Prince won."

Paraphrasing Chris Rock.

microdot said...

I'm a sucker for a great bass line.

Hooda Thunkit (Dave Zawodny) said...


"Enough With the Michael Jackson Coverage"

That says it quite succinctly IMNHO.

R.I.P. Michael..., Now, let's get on with our lives. . .

Anonymous said...

The actual media coverage I could live without. (As with most topics, they've been overdoing it.)

However, I must admit that I've enjoyed hearing his songs played again. I had forgotten how many MJ songs I actually like.

Ellie Belen said...

My favorite life and times of M Jackson is when he was a kid. He was the same age as I was and the thought that a kid my age could be that talented had a profound effect on me. I realized that a dream could start that young.

Thanks for reminding me about the music scene in Motown. Wonder and Gaye were among my favorites. Prince popularity was very big. My brother played his album over and over until we wanted to scream.