Forumul asociat fanclubului Michael Jackson


Mesajde DirtyDiana » Dum Iun 27, 2010 9:38 pm

While Michael Jackson thrilled fans with his videos, revolutionized pop dancing, and tantalized us with his darkly bizarre behaviour, his most important legacy is as the ultimate crossover artist: He married rock, pop, R & B, and dance music in order to smash radio formats and racial barriers in the media. Here are 10 of his closest acolytes, some of whom have followed his star to mass popularity, and some of whom may have flown too close to his supernova.

1. Janet Jackson

This one’s obvious — the only other of Jackson’s eight siblings to become a pop superstar (sorry, LaToya), Janet, eight years Michael’s junior, signed a major-label deal in the year Thriller came out. Her twee first recordings flopped, but she became a star by emulating her brother on Control (1986), combining R & B with slinky pop and incorporating funkily jerky dance moves in her videos. On the follow-up, Rhythm Nation, she also followed her brother’s penchant for military chic. But as she got steamily sexual in later years, M.J.’s occasional efforts to do the same came across as, well … creepy. Thankfully, he never had a wardrobe malfunction.

2. El DeBarge

Eldra DeBarge was essentially a Michael Jackson mini-me: He was the lead singer of a group of five siblings (imaginatively dubbed “DeBarge”) who struck out on his own (he had a hit with his 1986 debut, uh, El Debarge) and worked with M.J. producer Quincy Jones (on 1990’s The Secret Garden) and then Stevie Wonder (on 1994’s Where You Are); where M.J. sang in E.T., he crooned in Short Circuit. Alas, like M.J., he also developed a fondness for illicit substances — he’s currently doing time in California for possession of crack.

3. Terence Trent D’Arby

False modesty wasn’t one of Jackson’s character traits — he once floated a 30-foot statue of himself down the Thames. D’Arby, walking in M.J.’s oversized footsteps, said that his genre-mashing 1987 pop-soul debut, Introducing the Hardline According to Terence Trent D’Arby, was better than Sgt. Pepper. Unfortunately, although he talked the talk, he couldn’t quite walk the moonwalk. Where Jackson’s production team kept supplying him with hit singles, D’Arby was given free rein to express his increasing eccentricities in his music, which found him narrowing his audience. He now releases music as “Maitreya” — a name he shares with the prophesied future Buddha.

4. Whitney Houston

In the pre-Thriller era, Houston was a model and actress who sang on Material’s experimental NYC downtown funk album One Down. When Jackson opened doors for black pop stars, she was snapped up by Arista’s Clive Davis; despite her viscously sweet ballads, she was, like M.J., a dab hand with acrobatically soulful dance tracks — consider How Will I Know and I Wanna Dance with Somebody Who Loves Me. And like M.J., she has suffered a debilitating decade and looks to make a comeback — a new album is scheduled for September.

5. Weird Al Yankovic

Imitation remains the sincerest form of flattery, and while Yankovic is technically a parodist, his versions of Beat It and Bad (Eat It and Fat) were affectionate send-ups authorized by M.J. himself; they made Yankovic’s career, and the latter garnered him a Grammy Award. Indeed, M.J.’s sense of humour remains underrated — who else but an inveterate prankster would call his child Blanket? Alas, there were limits: The third in Yankovic’s proposed Al-grows-obese-while-M.J.-wastes-away trilogy, Snack All Night, was nixed when Jackson felt that his original, Black and White, expressed sentiments that were too important to trifle with.

6. Justin Timberlake

The first of two Mouseketeers on this list, we can imagine J.T. may have spent time at M.J.’s Captain EO attraction at Disney World before following his idol’s career path: He joined a successful boy band (N’Sync), branched into acting (he debuted on the Disney Channel, natch), and started a solo career in which he sang soulful dance tunes in a multi-tracked, multi-orgasmic falsetto. At the apex of J.T.’s M.J. fixation, the two were employing the same choreographer and Timberlake was sporting a fedora. Should Jessica Biel be revealed as M.J.’s love child, the circle will be complete.

7. Britney Spears

If M.J. was the model for the child star whose life turned sour due to abuse and overwork, Spears was groomed to be the opposite — a God-fearing Mouseketeer and virgin doted on by her caring mother … and we all know how that turned out. The all-singing, all-dancing prematurely sexualized pop tart has certainly given Jackson a run for his money in the celebrity eccentricity sweepstakes, although by hitting the bottom harder than he ever did, she’s been able to bounce back up. Now, her elaborately choreographed shows and massive stage sets are the apotheosis of Jackson’s grandiose stage dreams, from M.J.’s beloved fairgrounds to her own big top.

8. Black-Eyed Peas

The Peas had a modicum of success in the late ’90s and early ’00s as an alternative hip-hop trio, but they truly broke through only when they invited Fergie into the fold and embraced pop hooks. Their music, as with Jackson’s, exhibits a curious mix of overt abandon and tight sonic control, along with an awkwardly expressed sexuality (Fergie squeakily bigs up her “lovely lady lumps” just as M.J. squeals when he grabs his crotch). In 2006, M.J. was said to be recording with Peas producer for a comeback album that, like most of the late King’s late projects, has yet to materialize.

9. R. Kelly

When the smooove-soul singer wrote the song You Are Not Alone for Jackson’s 1995 HIStory compilation, he sent M.J. a demo imitating his vocal style, saying that in the studio, “I think I am him. I become him. I want him to feel that, too.” In later years, he may have regretted this statement — as with Jackson, he had multiple court appearances for alleged sex with minors (for which he was subsequently exonerated). He then released the popular “hip-hopera” song cycle Trapped in the Closet, whose lyrics have nothing to do with Jackson whatsoever.

10. Chris Brown

At only 20, the dance-soul singer is too young to remember Jackson’s heyday, but he cites him as one of his biggest influences, especially in his ability to cross over. Like M.J., he has blurred boundaries between art and commerce: where the King of Pop altered the lyrics to Billie Jean to sing “You’re the Pepsi Generation,” Brown crafted a full-length single out of a Doublemint jingle with Forever. Also like M.J., he has so far managed to avoid doing jail time, thus avoiding a barrier he’d be unlikely to break down.

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