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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough

I haven't seen anything like this since Elvis Presley or John Lennon died. I'm referring, of course, to public reaction in the wake of Michael Jackson's unexpected demise. From the perspective of media coverage, we haven't seen anything like this since 9/11. The two events are clearly very different, but the way new technologies (particularly mobile devices and the internet) are being used is simply phenomenal. I was most impressed by a headline: Jackson dies, almost takes Internet with him.

As far as I'm concerned, Twitter has been the best way to watch the event unfold. TV coverage wasn't even to give me the news in a timely way on Thursday evening, but Twitter certainly kept me updated throughout the next 24-hour news cycle.

The whole story really boils down to a sad death of someone who lived in the public eye, playing the interminable game of feeding the media machine while begging to be left alone. Comparisons are odious, but I'm sure other name can easily come to anyone who reads this without my mentioning any other obvious 'icon' for the past, both recent and not so recent.

As I had the opportunity of saying publicly at least three times on Thursday, I believe that many years from now, when all the controversial stories have inevitably died down, Michael Jackson will still be seen as a major figure of late 20th century popular entertainment. Hopefully he will be remembered as the important pop artist he really is; one who brought some of the white mutations of rock 'n roll back to black music.

To my knowledge, there is no significant Maltese connection to Michael Jackson. Turning my attention to the 168th Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast is probably as far away as I can get from the aftermath of Michael Jackson autopsy. The four tracks I selected for this week's podcast are either new or new to me. I know that regular listeners enjoy hearing new material, and so do I.

Classic rock band Fire are all set to release their second album on the 31st of July at the Farsons Beer Festival. Thrill Me is a welcome follow-up to 2007's Ignite. The title track has been released ahead of the album to promote the CD and it's a great way to open this week's podcast.

Uncharted is also planning a new release in the coming weeks. Their new single Blame Me is out on the 13th of July. Promotion for this new single has been underway for several weeks and it almost feels as if the song has already been released. So much so that I get the feeling that I may be wrong about the official launch date. It wouldn't be the first time that I got a detail like this wrong.

It's not easy keeping up with all the Maltese acts I feature on the MMI podcast. Marilyn Mifsud was first featured on the series a couple of years ago. Last year she was an active member of the girl group Vieve, which I never got around to including on my podcast simply because I was asked not to play some demos I heard and then I lost interest in the whole idea of a girl band. She2s have just appeared to continue where Vieve left off, with a completely different line-up and sound, I hasten to add. In any case, I always thought that Marilyn was one to watch out for. So I was very pleased to discover her new song entitled Where My Head's Been, on her MySpace page. To me, this song seems like the perfect way for a young Maltese singer to move away from unfulfilled teenage dreams with grace and make the best of the experience.

The Maltese hip-hop scene is also beginning to come of age. The upcoming live concert by the international artist Immortal Technique in Pembroke will be an excellent way for local acts to appear on the same stage as a major hip-hop star. Malta's own No Bling Show will be playing before Immortal Technique. Another Maltese hip-hop band that goes by the name of Effetti Kollaterali will also entertain the crowd expected. I picked their 33 RPM as the closing track for this week's podcast, partly as a personal reminder to pick things up right about here this time next week.

The RSS feed for the Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast is available here or you can simply click here to subscribe directly with iTunes. You can also follow each new episode through the MMI Podcast: Facebook Fan Page or on MySpace. If you have no idea what any of this means, just click here or listen to the podcast on the player right below this text.

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