With each passing day, I find it strange, even bizarre, that I am able to draw more similarities than differences between these 2 individuals:
Michael Jackson, aptly known as the King of Pop (once upon a time) and not surprisingly, with hit singles like Beat It, Thriller, Black or White that drove fans across continents and around the world wild, literally.
Britney Spears jump started her career with her first single Baby One More Time that shot straight to number one. How can you forget the music video in which she wore a Catholic schoolgirl uniform, waited for the school bell to strike 3pm, before sashaying out of class and dancing along the school corridor. Ah, nostalgic. Her career remained an uphill roller coaster ride, as she continued to release singles after singles that persistently topped music charts, such as (You Drive Me) Crazy, Oops!...I Did It Again and I'm A Slave For You, from her album 'Britney', which probably signalled the end of innocent naive Britney Spears and the birth of her Hollywood-brainwashed alter ego.
They both had such an illustrious career. Every child/teenager wanted to be like them, sing like them, dress like them, and even to the extent of looking like them (the hard-core ones). I was one of those child/teenager, but not hard-core. Yes, I was a fan, of both of them.
Throughout my early primary school years, I sang and danced along to MJ's songs. I even dressed like him, or at least I tried to. My mum would buy me VCRs of his music videos and I could sit in front of the TV and watched him all day long. I loved him. I idolised him. And so it should come to no surprise that I attended his concert in 1996 when he made Malaysia as one of his HIStory world tour stops. It was my first music concert, and perhaps the most unforgettable and most memorable one. Standing in the stadium amidst the crowds as one of the audience, cheering, screaming and singing along, was an amazing feeling. Though I may have only been 8-years-old, the memory remains very much intact and as fresh as a mountain stream.
In my later primary school years, 17-year-old Britney Spears emerged and became a household name among kids my age at that time. I instantly took to her from her very first single, Baby One More Time, and became a fan from then on. As a fan, buying every one of her album was perhaps routine. But it ended after she shed her innocent image and turned into a porn star. As harsh as it sounds, that was what I thought of her with the release of her single, I'm A Slave For You. Her image transformation from Oops! I Did It Again to I'm A Slave For You was too much for me (then 13-years-old) to handle. But as the years passed, I matured with my age, and learnt to embrace Britney Spears once more. With the release of her fourth album in 2003, In The Zone, I was once again hooked onto her songs that were much edgier and provocative, such as Me Against The Music and Toxic. Sad to say, In The Zone was perhaps the last of the best of Britney Spears we'll ever see. In 2004, she made the biggest mistake that she will only regret 3 years later; because in 2004, her relationship with Kevin Federline began. And a short 3 months later, she announced her engagement to him, confirming her plane ticket to Hell and the start of her downhill roller coaster ride (all the way to Hell).
3 years later, 2007, i.e. now, Britney Spears is now nothing but a washed-out star. Her performance at this year's MTV Video Music Awards just a few days ago is solid proof.
The only thin line I can draw to separate the 2 is that, Michael Jackson took his whole life to become what he is, a Wacko Jacko, while Britney Spears took less than a year to turn into him or rather, follow into his footsteps (career wise, that is).
Michael Jackson - The King of Pop turned Wacko Jacko turned child molester (although acquitted but it really isn't that hard to imagine that he could be one with the evidence produced in court following his latest child molestation case, if anyone followed). On the other hand, Britney Spears - The Pop Princess turned 'train wreck'. Fullstop.
Not too long ago, they had the world in the palm of their hands, but now, they are merely 2 social misfits in this cruel and unforgiving world. Laughed at and ridiculed for their every wrong move and have their stories blown out of proportion by ruthless and undiscerning tabloids.
A disheartening true story, indeed. I could not agree more.
I shall now leave you with a video (you may or may not enjoy) of a collaboration between my 2 fallen idols, singing The Way You Make Me Feel.
A commendable performance as Michael Jackson always puts on a brilliant show; and as for Britney Spears, will we ever see her swagger that way again on stage?
I believe your guess is as good as mine.