Friday, February 10, 2006

Another random thought hit me in the bar last night -- and then again today while reading various Grammy stories. (That's how you know the idea is good: if it leaves you once in a drunken stupor, then comes back sober. Ideas are like women that way, I suppose.)

We've all had those moments where we meet someone and think, "There but for the grace of God goes I."
I began to wonder last night if Madonna ever feels that way about Michael Jackson.
I mean, lets take a trib in the Way-Back Machine, all the way to 1987, when MJ and Madge were the King and Queen of pop.
MJ: I can't think of too many 3-album sets that rival "Off the Wall," "Thriller," and "Bad" for top-to-bottom pure listenability. Even now, you're in a bar and one of the many, many singles from these albums comes on, and you can't help but move.
Madonna: The albums aren't as solid from beginning to end, but there's plenty of great singles and lesser known tracks.
Time goes on, and both make some REALLY, REALLY bad career moves.
Michael retreats further into his "Leave Me Alone" mode while Madonna advance into her "Uber-Slut" mode. Both experiment with their looks, are caught in sex scandals, demonstrate a propensity for crotch-grabbing, pop out a couple of kids, marry celebrities, and make several albums that for the most part, well, suck.
And yet, almost 20 years later, Madonna's pretty much beloved, while Michael's just happy not to be in jail on a kiddie-raper beef.
Now granted, it's a lot easier to make a comeback from "erotic literature" featuring Prince than it is from being arrested and going on trial for child molestation, even if one is found innocent.
But is that the only reason one's career is in the crapper, and the other one's isn't?
Is it that Michael KEEPS churning out the same ol' crap while Madonna constantly reinvents herself with new and generally good albums?
Is is that Michael's new stuff sounds too much like bad Usher songs -- we expect more from MJ -- while Madonna's new stuff sounds like bad techno/rap -- but it's OK, cause she's busy raising her kids, practicing Kabbalah and hanging out in England?
Is it that Madonna, after some maddeningly skanky years finally figured out how to be hot again, while Michael just kept losing more and more of his nose?
I guess there's a lot of reasons why one was performing at the Grammys and the other one was performing at home to old records in front of Bubbles (or so the scene goes in my imagination).
But my point is this: it could have been the other way around.

(My other point is this: If you're a celebrity and you insist on having weird, perverted sex, publish your own book, rather than wait for the tabloids. Not that that would have helped Michael, but, um, you never know.)


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