Thursday, June 25, 2009
The morning after Princess Diana died, my husband woke me from a deep sleep and thrust the newspaper in my hands. It didn't seem quite real, and I remember thinking that only the deaths of Madonna or Michael Jackson would have been more shocking.
It's an understatement to say that Michael Jackson was a complicated figure - a crazy talented human being who belongs on pop culture's Mount Rushmore. I can't imagine what popular music would sound like without him. As his story became increasingly bizarre and tawdry, I wanted to believe that the handsome icon of my youth was separate from the facially unrecognizable tabloid fixture of the last 15-plus years. Genius and darkness often go together, but the disconnect between what I hoped and what I suspected was pretty extreme in this case.
As I wrote last year, seeing other artists attempt to pay tribute to M.J. - something we'll be seeing plenty of in the days ahead - has always been a little sad. It will be even moreso now.
I'm going to go listen to "Off The Wall," easily one of the best R&B albums ever made. I never get tired of listening to it.