Rolling Stone: The King’s Dead, Kill the Messenger

TK:LA

Rolling Stone’s latest issue is the most complete obituary I have seen. In a fitting issue for the time of the King of Pop’s death, the magazine encapsulates the masses — and their media — at the time of the monarch’s passing. Rolling Stone, now more than ever, is a running requiem for what pop has become — that is for another post on another day, though.

What sparked this post was reading Rolling Stone’s last published Michael Jackson article during his life. The article was a more benign version of Perez Hilton’s first article after Michael’s death (how appropriately parallel). In a nutshell, Rolling Stone highlighted the cautionary signs of Michael’s mighty comeback being another flop and failure — due to (as Perez put it) “cold feet.” However, in a  most beautifully apropos closing to this piece — and hopefully their recent shark-jump — Rolling Stone declares:

What most people agree on: This is Jackson’s last shot. As one concert-industry veteran puts it, “You can only burn people so many times before they go away.”

Life is indeed the synchronicity of chance … Rolling Stone: they the self-fulfilling prophets of pop — pop’s own Prometheus if you will. Their fire can burn a King down, and yet simultaneously keep the JoBros “Burning Up” the cover — amazing.

Watch this space: Now that Vibe’s gone, there’s not many more places you can look — but I’ll take Spin and Q before I settle for this, the once-preeminent-print-publication-now-pop-pamphlet-with-an-inverse-page-to-ego-size-correlation.

Music Monday: June 29, 2009

Soundtrek, Uncategorized

Last night was the 2009 BET Awards, and while the formal ceremony fell short of a proper Michael tribute, the subtext paid brilliant homage to the King of Pop and his legacy. If nothing else, the world has been reintroduced to true pop music and culture in the aftermath of Michael’s death. Music television and radio stations have played the best rotations in years by playing only Michael nonstop. The result: full social immersion into true music and artistry in the midst of a tween/teen/young adult generation who has fallen far beyond short — a la ringtone rap and thrice-warmed-over beats and lyrics.  The point: last night’s awards marked what could be the renaissance of pop, hip-hop, music, modern art, and culture

From the finest display of live auto-tuning and actual instrumentation I’ve witnessed in a minute (and points for the Dirty Diana nod)

a near perfect last stand — save for a fat lady singing — before the anti auto-tune assault

Au revoir auto-tune, bonjour artistry — and authenticity. In the midst of chaos, the best solution is simplicity; from the music industry, back to Michael the key is to cut through the hype and get to the core — the only one to do that better than Jay Hov last night was Janet

no words.

The BET Awards marked the apex and assassination of auto-tune — and everything it embodies; kill the counterfeit, “this is Sinatra at the opera,” not Soulja Boy on a Sidekick.

Watch this space: What better catalyst for the next cultural shift than the death of the mechanichal man in light of the man in the mirror — from auto-tune to authentic artistry. Now, from the King’s ashes will hopefully arise a phoenix-like pop renaissance; if not, blame it on the alcohol — literally.

The Michael Post

Soundtrek, Uncategorized

Michael Jackson was an icon and today is a deity. Everyone has their two cents on this, so below are just a few of mine …

mjmtv

Pop: Michael Jackson embodied pop from head to toe, Michael was and is pop — period. VH1 opened their tribute with statements like “on the brink of his biggest comeback to date, Michael died,” and “the King has died.” When one man can singlehandedly make all music video television stations play music videos again, when the 4 hours of radio broadcast directly following his death are more diverse — and universally better — than the 4 years leading to his death, when every media outlet — from ABC to TMZ and everywhere in between — becomes an amplified epitaph, when the internet gets shut down, when one man can singlehandedly take the world from ripping him one day to R.I.P.-ing him the next, when that man’s death sparks an unspoken public guilt for allowing pop to descend to its present state … this is not “the brink of his biggest comeback to date,” it is his biggest comeback, this is not the “death of a King,” it is the ascent of a deity. Michael Jackson as pop, in and of itself, resurrected more than a concept — he resurrected a culture.

I would go on about all of the celebrity vs. artistry themes and nuances interwoven through the icon’s tale, but that’s for a coffee discussion or roundtable forum (open invitation)

Personal: Keith Olbermann said it best when he said this is bigger than the fame and controversy, that this transcends the trials — at its core this is the tragic death of a human gone too soon. The footage of Michael’s body being transported to the coroner brought his death to the human level. Regardless of everything else surrounding the event, Michael Jackson is a human being — a friend, a brother, a father, and another son to be buried by his parents.

Political-esque: BBC World asked what the death of Michael Jackson means for the African-American community; someone replied “What did Elvis’ death mean to the white community?” Michael’s death is bigger than that because Michael’s death, life, and impact transcend race: he was the first black artist on MTV, but he is also the greatest pop artist of all-time — race with and notwithstanding Michael’s death means everything to everyone within pop culture.

Everyone has their favorite Michael songs, videos, etc. Many are classics like Billie Jean, Thriller, Beat It, Black or White, etc. but below are my understated favorites.

First, the first Michael Jackson song I remember buying …

the man made a song about a rat … a ballad that remains heads and shoulders above the bulk of modern pop love songs today

Next, the first Michael song that made me buy a pack of Orbit to clean myself up

so raw … so gritty … so epic

Finally, what remains my first favorite Michael video

words … can’t … just … yeah.