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Jackson vs. Justin
Who’s got the grooves to be reigning king of pop?
Nick Lewis, Calgary Herald
Published: Tuesday, September 12, 2006
“Michael Jackson is still the king of pop,” says satirist Stephen Colbert. “He has not abdicated the throne, nor has he been usurped.”
Well, that could be true. . . but it’s getting harder to make the case.
Jackson’s last No. 1 single was 2003’s One More Chance, but do you even recall that? In most of our minds, Michael Jackson hasn’t had a hit in a decade.
And so — playing devil’s advocate — if Michael Jackson is no longer the king of pop, who is? OK, not counting Paul McCartney?
Surely the strongest contender for the crown is Jackson’s No. 1 fan, Justin Timberlake, no?
There’s a reason why Timberlake’s first album, Justified, made him sound and move so much like Jackson. It’s because seven of the album’s 13 tracks (including Rock Your Body) were initially written for MJ, who turned them down in favour of making crappier tunes and dangling babies over balconies.
And so Justin moved and grooved like a superstar, selling seven million copies of Justified across the world, while getting that McDonald’s “pa-dah-pup-pa-pa” jingle stuck in our collective heads.
Today, Timberlake’s sophomore album comes out, and we get to see if there’s any longevity in those dancing shoes. Just as Jackson latched onto producer Quincy Jones, Timberlake is aligning himself with today’s hottest hitmakers The Neptunes, Rick Rubin and Timbaland.
But even if we concede that Timberlake is today’s king of pop, he’s got a long, long way to go before we can compare him to Michael (So crazy he’s gotta be a genius) Jackson. For one thing, he’d have to match Jackson’s amazing double-induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (as both a solo artist and as a member of The Jackson 5).
Still, here’s a look at how Timberlake’s career compares to Jackson’s by their second solo albums. Just a reminder, Jackson’s second solo album was Thriller, only the best-selling album of all time.
Michael Joseph Jackson
Began performing: At age five, in The Jackson 5.
Original musical group: The Jackson 5
Original musical group album sales: 100 million units and counting
Debut solo album: Off The Wall (1979)
Singles: Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough, Rock With You, She’s Out Of My Life, Off The Wall
Debut solo album sales: 19 million copies and counting
Debut solo album awards: Grammy Award (Best Male R&B Vocal Performance)
Pre-sophomore album scandal: Amazingly, Michael had close to no scandal at this point.
Sophomore album: Thriller (1982)
Sophomore album sales: 51 million and counting (en realidad son más de 60 millones, el álbum más vendido de toda la historia)
– – –
Justin Randall Timberlake
Began performing: At age 12, in The Mickey Mouse Club.
Original musical group: ‘N Sync
Original musical group album sales: 25 million and counting
Debut solo album: Justified (2002)
Singles: Like I Love You, Cry Me A River, Rock Your Body, Senorita
Debut solo album sales: 7 million copies and counting
Debut solo album awards: 2 Grammy Awards (Best Pop Vocal Album, Best Pop Vocal Performance).
Pre-sophomore album scandal: Nipplegate
(Exposing Janet Jackson’s breast at the 2004 Super Bowl).
Sophomore album: Futuresex/Lovesounds (2006)
Sophomore album sales: To be determined. . .