Now That Michael’s Gone, Will The Music Save Itself?

michael-jackson.jpg.jpegAfter my mind was able to wrap itself around the very notion that a piece of my life and soul was gone and wasn't returning, after the gobs of tears stopped momentarily falling from my eyes, and after I visited my local church to pay my respects to Michael Jackson (read: went and turned a disco out), I began to sift through the ashes. What I found were some unmistakable facts. Firstly, Michael's passing resulted in a buying frenzy of all and any material that everyone internationally could get their hands on. Secondly, for an entire long weekend, terrestrial and satellite radio devoted all of their programming to playing any and all of Michael's music. What this meant is that for longer than any of us have experienced in several long years, Urban radio was without its scourge: Auto-Tune. Finally. 

But what exactly does this mean? What's next? What will rise from the ashes of Michael's tireless ingenuity?  

Sure, Michael has always, rightfully so, been the influence on artists from damn near every musical genre during the span of his 40-year-long career. Now this country is in the grips of '80s nostalgia and Michael's passing. Michael was not only the King of Pop, but he was also, for those of us who remember, the King of The '80s as well. Kids who hold Rihanna, T-Pain, Lil Wayne, et al up to a standard of musical excellence--laughable at best--now have discovered a new King. On their own. One whose influence is historic and fact and not up to interpretation, discussion, or argument. Michael's catalogue has sold 750 million records. Thriller sold 109 million copies. These are the facts. 

So here's my theory: The (re)discovery of Michael's music may mean that a new standard is being set among today's youth. Michael may have proverbally sacrificed himself (forgive the Biblical metaphor) to save Music from itself. If The 2009 BET Awards were any indication, Soul music is in a dire need of talent. Now that you've accepted the blow from Michael's passing, what do you say, readers? Will the music get better or will everyone continue to have their heads and ears in the sand and continue to make mediocre musical product?

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6 Responses

  1. I was waiting for this post and I knew SoulBounce would not let me down.. first of all, thank you for it.
    Second, yes, the talent is lacking. While I appreciated some of the performances last night, I was cringing at Keri Hilson's acapella and Ciara's tribute. Quite frankly, with all due respect to them and their hard work, they cannot sing.
    I don't know if it is that the music today is not good.. I rather believe that the music that is POPULAR (or forced on the radio through payola and record labels) is not good. Soul music is still alive through the likes of Jill Scott, Rahsaan Patterson, Maxwell, Chrisette and Anthony Hamilton. But it is a shame that only one of these graced that stage last night
    I will semi-forgive BET because they did not have time but I think they could HAVE DONE BETTER. FOR ONE NIGHT, one night only, we could have done away with the Keri Hilson, Young Money - Drake - Lil Wayne nonsense and put Maxwell up there to sing "Human Nature". FEDEX the awards.. there was no need to hand them out.. for goodness sake, I doubt riots would erupt because someone did not give an acceptance speech.
    Other than his crass and uncouth joke on unsafe sex, the host made a great point last night: Michael sold out stadiums while most of you in here cannot sell out a bathroom. In other words, Michael set a standard and many of you in here who claim to be inspired by him fall WAAAYYY short.
    I will cut my essay to an end and state that most of those artists in that building last night are LAZY! Not lazy in that they don't work hard to advertise their music or tour but are lazy in terms of seeking proper talent to sign to labels and lazy in creating unique music with profound lyrics that will last a lifetime. Michael's death is CALLING EVERYBODY OUT: the artists, the radio and the listeners. STEP UP!

  2. This entire weekend I listened to WDKX (Rochester, NY) as it played MJs music. They dedicated their entire weekend to him so only played his music. I didn't see any TV, just listened to the radio they way they did years ago. I said I am going to just let the music do what it do.
    As I listened to MJ during his early years, the middle years and the later years I felt bittersweet. One emotion that happens to me when I hear music from the last couple of decades is a wave of sadness as well as joy. Because sometimes I feel like that Era, the 70s, 80s and late 60s was so GOOD for black music that it was too good. And I know that it is not fair to compare because that time was different. The world was different, and I shouldn't expect the same thing in a new millenium. Now don't get me wrong, I love alot of the new artists out and recognize their work. I applaud sites like Soul Bounce for keeping me up to date. Its a feeling that you get when you hear the music of yesterday that fills you up. BUt I have to say it what makes me feel so sad is that when you turn on today's radio and here autotune,after autotune and it makes you feel an emptiness.
    That was some good music. Like Quincy Jones said, Thriller had killer song after killer song. It was divine.
    I am rambling but there is something else I must articulate, when you look at the pics of the Jackson family in the early years (before the glitter) and you hear the Motown sound, I can't help feel the simplicity. There was something simple about that era that was brilliant.

  3. Let's hope and pray it does, but I'm not sure if it will......

  4. The reason why the BET awards tribute to Michael Jackson was epic fail is because the lack of artisty. These music artists today lack what was a key component of being a soul musician: the ability to give an impromptu performance. The lack of their ability to give an impromptu performance is directly tied to their lack of talent. When Michael Jackson honored James Brown at the BET awards in 2005 do we think Michael rehearsed? No he inherently knew what to do. If they would had real artists who knew and understood the history of our music they would have pulled off a Michael tribute. What made Michael so great is he understood the history of our music and he was able to incorporate the history, his and Quincy Jones ideas subsequently elevating himself to the greatest.

  5. Great post! I hipped my 5 year old to The Jacksons (Jackson 5) last year. I made him a CD of all of my favorite tracks (he looooves "Blame it on the Boogie"!), and we watched youtube videos of their old performances. Just over the weekend, I had Music Choice playing on my t.v. They kept switching between pics of the "original" Michael and the more recent Micheal. My son was totally confused, so I had to explain to him how it was believed that MJ was so unhappy with his looks, that he changed them. It was really a sad time for me, reflecting on how unhappy a truly beautiful young man was feeling that he would make such drastic physical changes. I can't help but believe that MJ was more unhappy with his appearance in more recent years, than he was before his first procedure. He had to have read and heard all of the negative talk/press about it. RIP Mr. Jackson!

  6. I dont think this means music is dead.I think as we know it music has been quite dead for some time. This means just the end of an era as we know it.An era with wonderful influential genius that go from Marvin Gaye to Prince and Stevie with MJ being the paragima of singer songriwter dancer and he defined the word superstar. I think we all know and agree nobody is going to affect the world in this way.Nobody is going to create anything close to his legazy,it was both his God given talent and being int eh right place at the right moment in history with the right talented songwriter producers directors.So I wish this was a wake up call.I wish people can realize that this guy was making music you'll be able to jam forever cause its GREAT,I wish radios would stop promoting mediocre commercial material but honestly I dont think so.They ahve discovered that instead of invest money and time in working with the right artist and write adn a hit its far easier "produce" a cheap beat adn invest all the money and time in promo,radio and video.Its ironic it was mic who made possible to sell a song based only on a music video.but there was good music behind his videos.So no I dont see the game changing anytime soon.More an dmore people is going to listen to old stuff,its not considered even retro anymore cause thats teh music everybody likes.But I see like a coexistance of both,you see people listening to stevie and at the same time bouncing to those cheap beats that wont last for a month. If u want some real music visit my space.By music I mean inspiration,music composition,deep lirycs songwriting,real insturments rythm arrangement,vocal arranging...when people put together5 beats and call it music I pull my hair. I hate to hear that,"beats" what is a beat.You can have music,you can have drum percussion,but beat is ca mecanical copy and paste with no feeling out of it,not music at all


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