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Archive for July, 2009

It seems that a musician from Nova Scotia is getting back at United Airlines after his Taylor acoustic guitar was seriously damaged when he checked it in on a flight. His payback? A song detailing how United screwed up.

While I enjoyed the song and video, I think that if my guitar was damaged on a flight I’d cry for a week straight.

(Thanks, Chron.com)


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MJ

Will there ever be as huge a superstar as Michael Jackson?

I almost forgot MJ’s magnitude until I watched his memorial service yesterday. There are few left who haven’t been impacted by his music; fewer still those who know nothing at all about him.

The events following Michael’s death reminded me and the rest of the world that there was no one else like him. Who else could elicit this kind of fervor? I’ve been throwing this idea out there the past several days: a list of the biggest names in music today would surely include Bono and Chris Martin if for no other reason than massive international appeal. However, can there be any comparison to MJ, even now, even when his career was only in the preparation stages of a potential comeback?

During the memorial broadcast, Martin Bashir of ABC news commented something along the lines that he could imagine only three people in the world who could evoke such a response: The Queen, the Pope and Michael Jackson. Quite a collection, no?

As widely known as the Queen is around the world, her influence is less than noticeable in most of it. While there is a great deal of respect held for the papacy, Pope Benedict himself has a limited reach outside the Catholic Church.

Then there’s MJ. For decades, people around the world have been singing his songs. Folks who don’t know a lick of English have memorized and sang his hits. We’ve been mesmerized by his dancing, inspired by his singing, moved by his brand of entertainment. He reached around the world, often with just a single sequined glove.

———-

I feel his death raises a question: will there ever be anyone like him? Can anyone have as much lasting, worldwide appeal as Michael Jackson? I’ve been wondering and, while there are immensely talented artists out there, I don’t see anyone that can garner the attention like MJ.

With the passing of MJ, it’s more than just the death of a great artist. I believe it’s the end of the stuff of legend. Michael hasn’t released new chart-topping music in some time. But I think the fact that the potential for greatness was in him led us to hope. The announcement of the comeback shows and tour was the first taste of hope that maybe his genius would rise again and defiantly crown him the King of Pop once more, a title that hadn’t left but him but had collected a bit of dust over the years. With his death, that potential is gone. That hope is gone. His brilliance will live on through the music he had already created but there will be nothing new from him.

When John Lennon was killed, the dream of one day seeing The Beatles reunited making magic again began to fade. Maybe his son could fill in for John’s absence. It wouldn’t be the same but it’d be memorable, for sure. However, with George Harrison’s death, the hope for a reunion surely died with him.

The Beatles were huge. Legendary. They still are. But there’s no hope for new magic. Yes, of course, Sir Paul and Ringo are still alive but their solo work has always been overshadowed by their days of being Fab (and in my opinion, rightly so). It may be slightly unfair but I think anyone attending a Paul McCartney show wouldn’t mind one bit if he didn’t play a single song from the last 40 years and stuck with songs only from the Beatles catalog. Can you imagine the crowd if the show was the other way around?

The hope has died.

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Who’s leading the way today? Who is inspiring and innovating? Who’s reaching farther than anyone else?

Beyoncé is huge. She’s a superstar. She can sing, she can dance, she can act. Justin Timberlake also has a huge reach. He does it all, as well, and he does it so well. He has that great cross-genre appeal going for him, too. What about John Mayer? Rob Thomas? Those guys write songs that people can instantly connect with.

But I have a hard time imaging the songs from any of these artists or anyone topping the charts to have much staying power. As quickly as those songs appear they are forgotten.

Of course, this diagnosis is a little extreme but maybe it’s not entirely off. The Paul Simons, the Bob Dylans, the folks who have written soundtracks for decades are fading off. Maybe it’s the change in climate that won’t allow similar artists to rise. Maybe it’s just the culture shift of this generation that gives us the attention span of an eight-year-old boy.

Michael Jackson had such massive shoes and I don’t think they will ever be filled.

I think Berry Gordy said it best at MJ’s memorial that Michael was “simply the greatest entertainer that ever lived.”

RIP, MJ.

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Happy 4th

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