Adele’s second album recently dethroned THRILLER, by outselling the album in the UK. Adele is selling an estimated 20,000 copies a week and the achievement has industry pundits contemplating new titles for the new “Queen of Pop”. Martin Talbot, of The Official Charts Company, which tracks record sales, recently said that “Adele’s achievement in overtaking Thriller..is truly remarkable. Thriller has long been recognized as one of the most iconic albums of all time. There is no doubt that 21 (Adele’s album) can be spoken of in the same breath.”
While I certainly celebrate Adele’s achievement, she reaches MJ’s record, in a very different world. She achieves his monumental achievement with an unparalleled ease. Her sales are as much a triumph of technology as it is, artistry.
MJ’s legacy is, in what his sales told us about his music. Our government used his music to broadcast into the soviet union, to thaw the frosty hearts of our communist foes. Ronald Reagan invited the pop icon to the White-House, because his music was changing the world. His music was transcending culture and uniting humanity. Desert Nomads loved his music. Chinese dissidents loved his music. Soviet youths defied their government, to dawn his t-shirts. Adele is very talented and her art is commendable, but her new album, cannot “be spoken of in the same breath” as THRILLER.
After his demise, the blogosphere instantly began debating the question; Who is today’s Michael Jackson? And the pre-packaged, inauthentic music industry is moving at breakneck pace to manufacture his replacement. The reality is that not every generation gets a Michael or Whitney. There is no band that compares to the Beatles, today. We can certainly ask, who the greatest artist is, in the current music environment but we shouldn’t try to confer the status of legend, on artists of the moment. While Adele is an incredible talent, she is not Michael Jackson. Her music has not meant as much to the world, as his music did. That is not an insult. Its simply a fact. She has not changed the nature of music videos, presentation or performance, as MJ did. She is a brilliant singer and songwriter and she should be proud of her status which stands far above most performers today, but let us judge her in the light of day. We should allow her to grow in the fullness of her own persona. We should give her time to carve out her own place in history as opposed to fraudulently catapulting her, into the place of historic legends. To do so, is an injustice to artists of old and artists of today.