[lbo-talk] MoDo on Dylan

Charles Turner vze26m98 at optonline.net
Mon Apr 11 14:26:48 PDT 2011

On Apr 11, 2011, at 4:09 PM, // ravi wrote:

> Yes, that's quite nice (and I appreciate the MP3 upload; I liked listening to it), but does all music need to have overt political references to be good? A billion people listened/listen to Michael Jackson and found it entertaining. Perhaps he could have used this popularity to inform the public on politics. Or perhaps bringing some listening pleasure (even if it is not obscure enough to be sophisticated) is enough to make someone a non-cipher?

Hi Ravi-

Elvis Costello's quoted judgment about Michael Jackson referred to his spokesmanship for Pepsi, which is certainly outside his immediate talent as an entertainer. From my point of view, and I'd guess from Costello's as well, there's no requirement to be "all-political, all-the-time," but as Elvis said, after gaining the attention and goodwill of so many around the world, don't you think he could have done a little more with it? Stevie Wonder comes to mind as an immediate example, and also a fellow Motown recording artist.

As for being a cipher, I'll admit to being mean, but will stand by some analysis of Jackson as a popularizer or synthesizer, and not so much an innovator. If he didn't have the shoulders of Run DMC, Quincy Jones, Sheila E, John Landis and others to stand on, he wouldn't have been half the figure he became.

Best, Charles

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