Tuesday, June 17, 2008

We Owned The 80's - Michael Or Prince!??!

If you were alive and/or kickin' during the 80's (sorry Ciara) you'll remember the classic urban debate: Michael or Prince?

Long before he became a walking punchline, Michael Jackson was pop music in The Greatest Decade Evar!!! Hell, you could argue that Michael Jackson was The 80's. The bulk of his career success (the best selling album evar, 13 Grammies, 13 #1's, Motown 25, Captain EO) happened during this decade. Ditto for Prince, whose funk-infused Pop/R&B/Soul music dominated the airwaves as well. In the pre-BET days, these guys were the only two artists of color whose videos consistently ran on MTV. I remember waiting through hours and hours of Quiet Riot and Twisted Sister videos, just to watch "Let's Go Crazy" or "Thriller"[1].

Michael and Prince were the 80's, but most people tended to like one more than the other, thus the long ranging debate.

Michael fans seemed to love the dances, the relative[2] down-to-Earth demeanor, the family-friendly songs. Prince fans were generally a bit darker and moodier in personality, and of course Prince sang about "doin' it" a lot, so he was hardly PG-13. I know that sounds prudish in a day when "Bust It Baby" gets played in Color Me Mine on Father's Day, but hey, times have changed.

I liked Michael more, but I liked girls who liked Prince for obvious reasons.

Two decades later, the career and life arcs of the two couldn't have changed more dramatically.

Michael is considered a reclusive circus freak to most. There's the white babies, and the white baby mamas[3], and the pedophilia allegations, and the vitiligo, and the bad interviews, and the financial ruins, and that bizarre "Jews are the Devil" thing, and the ruined family name, and... I keep going on for days.

Conversely, Prince is now somewhat considered the less screwed-up and better socially adjusted of the two. He's a Jehovah's witness. He won independence from his record label. He still tours and makes lots of money doing so. He was a pioneer in using the internet to sell music. He was actually married for awhile, presumably to a real life woman. He might could drive a minivan and read AB.com for all I know.

He seems, dare I say... normal, or at least normal when compared to the walking train wreck that is Michael Jackson circa 2008.

While I'm a Michael fan, I've never gotten to see him in concert. I remember when the Victory Tour hit the US in the mid 80's at the height of Thriller's popularity. I wanted to go, badly, but being a preteen, I couldn't exactly hit up StubHub and drive myself. Not with the tickets being $125 (yikes!) and whatnot. Plus, cool stuff never came to the Carolinas. Michael and Co. only came as close as Landover, MD. My uncle and aunt did go, and regaled us with tales of the concert for months afterward. And I hated them for months afterward.

We're cool now of course, but I still wanted to see MJ. It's just one of those items on my "things I wanna do before I call it a life" bucket list, right up there with playing in an actual NBA game, and learning how to make my own etouffee. Quirky, sure.

Looks like I just might still get my chance.

Michael Jackson may relaunch his career as a Las Vegas act, thanks to the private equity group that recently bought the loan on his Neverland Ranch in California to help the pop star avert foreclosure.

The investment firm Colony Capital is discussing with Jackson various repayment options for the $23 million debt, including a possible long-term engagement as the resident performer of a Vegas casino or nightclub, a source familiar with the talks said on Friday.

The source emphasized that no deal was in place and that a gig for Jackson in Las Vegas, a city of second chances for many faded superstars, was merely one idea under consideration as Colony Capital explores loan repayment scenarios with him.

Bringing Jackson to Sin City as a performer would mark the biggest step the 49-year-old performer has taken toward a comeback since a child molestation trial left his career, his reputation and financial status in tatters three years ago.
Only time will tell just how much Michael has left in the tank. Will he still have all the electricity of the "I'm Bad"-era MJ, or will his show be lazy and sad like some lousy Tropicana lounge act? We shall see.

I'm sure you guys will roundly criticize me for publicly stating that I'd fly halfway across the country and pay good money to see a desperate man sing for food, when I just bashed Robert Sylvester Kelly for essentially getting away with the same thing Jackson was once accused of recently. And you'd be right.

I'm just hypocritical like that.

I guess I'll have to deal with those issues when the tickets go on sale. Cause I will be headed to Vegas.

Question: Michael or Prince? And assuming you're a Michael fan, would you pay to see him in concert in Vegas? Do you see supporting Michael's get-outta-debt concert series as financially enabling a pedophile or is there no such concern? If you're a Prince fan, have you seen him in concert?

Michael Jackson in talks on possible Las Vegas act [Reuters]

[1] I'll admit, I was prolly 21-22 years old before I could watch this whole video without being scared sh*tless. I can watch it now and just laugh, but Thriller had a young AB shook.

[2] Note the word "relative". Yeah, Mike was weird, but admit it. Prince was "out there" by comparison.

[3] Come on, Mike. You know them ain't your kids. Ain't that much vitiligo in the world.

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