Monday, July 6, 2009

Michael Jackson: I don't understand.

The recent death of pop star Michael Jackson has led to endless accolades. He is apparently widely regarded as a great and influential originator.

This point of view, though widely held, confuses me. Ignoring his messy private life, his actual musical contributions don't impress me. He always seemed to me to be a novelty act. First came the novelty of being a little kid in a family group. Then came his skillful use of video with his cleverly deceptive "moonwalk" dance moves, and his mannerisms like the single glove. All these things seem to me to be shallow attention-getting tricks of no real significance to music. He didn't take music in new directions like Bob Dylan or the Beatles, or even open up a style of music to new audiences like Elvis Presley.

But that's just my opinion.

1 comment:

Rick Patterson said...

He seemed to be surfing some of the trends before they were really trendy.
You have to give him the very savvy use of videos to promote and actually replace the music. Thriller was more or less a setpiece for his video performances, and look how that's affected the biz.
Not that I like that development, but where would all these girl-boys with their choreographed stage acts be without MJ? God, they'd have to learn to play an instrument. These days, everyone's Steven Tyler and nobody's Joe Perry.