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MICHAEL JACKSON - King Of Pop   Print  E-mail 
Written by Mark Reed  
Tuesday, 26 August 2008

... he doesn't make it easy, does he?

et’s face it, being a Michael Jackson fan is an unforgiving, and difficult position to be in. Jacko’s workrate has slowed to a ineffectual crawl, his melodic and musical gifts appear to have deserted him 15 years ago, and his ‘career’ as it is, appears to have become nothing more than a soap opera dance around bankruptcy as he buys Magic Elephant Tusks for $50,000,000 every afternoon and hastily concocts yet another compilation release : hot on the heels of “Number Ones”, “Thriller 25”, “The Essential”, the Box Set, and the DVD/CD reissue set of his every single, comes “King Of Pop”, his fifth retrospective release in a row.

Except, about twenty years ago, Jacko abandoned Pop. His career is made on three brilliant albums from 1979 to 1987, three average and overlong excursions into forgettable (and often dated sounding) R&B-lite semi-Pop, and a bunch of rumours and court cases. Jacko long ago ceased to be anything but a grotesque parody of fame perverted by money and ungrounded desires.

With an asymmetrical, chronology-defying running order, “King of Pop” is not the definitive compilation that he deserves. Some obvious songs of brilliant melodic genius and superlative, near perfect production and song writing are overlooked in favour of latter-day stodge such as the rather pitying “They Don’t Care About Us” and the unexceptional “You Rock My World”. To be blunt, Jacko long ago ceased to make interesting music, and the turbulent life he’s lived since there is proof that even once-great artists, when faced with turmoil in their personal lives, can simply become boring and irrelevant. Some artists, when faced with adversity , turn it into their work into something more interesting than the headlines. Michael Jackson meanwhile, seems to have turned in on himself, away from the world, to endlessly peddle - to ever smaller returns - his history. He could, for all we know, still have that greatness within him, and still have the fire that could produce a phenomenal, definitive, last great artistic statement with which to bow out on a high note.Sadly it seems the grand finale of his career will be the damp squibs of endless ringing cash registers as he cannibalises his integrity. The world needs a great Michael Jackson album, and this simply isn’t it : it’s a cheap and tacky cash-in produced with little thought and even less effort.

Oh yes, and the music? The music is brilliant.

But you should have it already.

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