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for July 11, 2002

The King Of Irrelevance
by Stiffy Biceptz

The other glove has now fallen. The Bizarre One has now stated publicly that the music industry is racist, and that his own record label is equally guilty. Whether these accusations are true generally or specifically can and will be debated exhaustively on your favorite cable news channel and not here. I will say that coming from any rap or hip-hop artist the accusation would certainly have carried more weight, but from Jackson, well, I'm not ready to march anytime soon.
Michael Jackson left the American consciousness nearly 20 years ago. Since that time he has produced a string of albums mediocre in comparison not only to the genuinely great Thriller, but to everything else. Sure, he sold plenty of records, made videos and made tons of money. But no one took him or what he did seriously, the way we all took Thriller and Off The Wall seriously. And its that being taken seriously, even in the pop music realm, that makes the difference. There's always going to be a hardcore set of fans who consume whatever their favorite artists produce. Yet if there aren't new music fans (tweens and teens) who say, "that's cool, I want that", then you're as good as dead culturally. (A note of warning to Britney, N'Sync, etc.) There's a clear difference between cool and weird. Michael crossed it a long time ago.
To retain the title King Of Pop, you must continue to have the "pop". But as we all know, one's reign as the King in pop music is severely limited by the inviolable laws of pop culture itself. Once your reign is over, once your bubble pops, you become forgotten. Very few have ever been able to stay relevant for any length of time. A good example would be Madonna.
Michael Jackson became a parody of himself. The moves, the clothes, the little noises he makes at the end of every verse. It was all cool and hip the first time, but has been boring and sterile for the last 18 years. Tack on the disturbing face replacement, Neverland, the oxygen tents, Bubbles, Liz Taylor, Lisa Presley, and accusations of problems with children. Good pop music hasn't been his priority for a long time.
And that's why his albums don't sell that well, compared with his and his record company's expectations. Nobody cares. People (significantly white) are too busy buying CD's from the hundreds of rap and hip-hop artists (primarily non-white) being promoted by every record company.
One more thing. Michael can more than afford to start his own record company, and if he believes the big labels are so racist, than he has a responsibility to do so. I'm sure P-Diddy, Dr. Dre and Suge Knight would be happy to show him how its done.


©2002 Stiffy Biceptz

All material ©2001-2014 Sean Carolan, except as noted.


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