I've always been a huge fan of Armond White's (above in the photo by Nigel Perry).  Even when he was writing for the long-defunct City Sun, he brought an expansive knowledge of popular culture to bear in his critiques of music and film.  For him, there continues to be one standard of excellence.  So when he looks at a piece of music or a film, he's compariing it to all the great work that's preceeded it.  He's tough, but fair.  And this brotha is no joke: He's a former chair of the New York Film Critics Circle and a recipient of the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award for music criticism.  Currently, he's doing weekly film criticism for The New York Press.

Here's part of what he had to say about Michael:

Awareness of his art is a natural part of the modern experience. MJ was
such a fact of life for the past 40 years that the newsmedia’s
disrespect—as in journos’ demeaning “Jacko”—deprives the world of
appreciating the wonder and depth of Jackson’s art. Critics readily
grant hero status to particular artists, but if Bob Dylan, Kurt Cobain,
P.J. Harvey and Eminem are pop’s “geniuses” what word can adequately
describe the world-changing creativity, astounding craft and miraculous
precision of Jackson’s output? His personal issues don’t justify
denying it. Mainstream tastemakers find it difficult to accept the
intellectual, spiritual and aesthetic progress of MJ absorbing Fred
Astaire, Gene Kelly, Billy Eckstein, Sam Cooke, James Brown and Bob
Fosse, continuing their work and matching it in his own style.

much originality to reflect on: whether the race-defying polemic “Black
or White” or many innovative music-videos like “Scream,” “Bad”
(Scorsese’s best post-’70s film) and the redoubtable “Thriller,” which
many people admire and first showed MJ’s unique flair for combining
popular extravaganza with personal anxiety. Go back to 1971’s “I’ll Be
There” (its essence appears even in MJ’s late work). This early classic
was more than a love song: The youngster’s earnestness conveyed a
cherubic purity in the uncanny lyric, “You and I must make a pact/ We
must bring salvation back.” The religious evocation isn’t cloying; it
recognizes spiritual need in romantic ardor. The innocence of Jackson’s
voice confirms it as natural, basic. Jackson inherited the pop song
tradition like catechism; as a devout, he grew into his own sincere
articulation—as when echoing Billie Holiday in the “Ain’t Nobody’s
Business” refrain of 1988’s “The Way You Make Me Feel,” yet updating
and owning it.

Read more of Armond White's "In MJ's Shadow" here.

Additional link:

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  • what a great article. thanks for sharing this!


  • Folks,

    Some of you may be interested in knowing that Critic Armond White is making a special presentation on Michael Jackson in New York City.

    It’s entitled Keep Moving: Michael Jackson’s Video Art.

    The presentation focuses on Michael Jackson’s innovations in the music video genre. It takes place at the end of August and will be at the Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center in New York City.

    Here’s a link:

    Armond White made a similar presentation on Michael Jackson in January of 2008. You can google a clip from THAT presenation on Google or YouTube. Simply type ‘Armond White on Michael Jackson’s Legacy’ and it should come up.

    Wow Jones

  • Thanks, Wow, for sharing this info. Will make a more prominent mention of it so folks will know about it.

    I’ve seen other presentations of Armnond’s, one on music video director Marcus Nispel comes to mind, and they’re very good.

  • Rob Fields,

    Yes, Armond White’s music video presentations are very good. I’ve attended most of them, including the one on filmmaker Marcus Nispel. There are clips of many of them all over YouTube.

    Hopefully, his Michael Jackson music video presentation is well attended. He made a similar presentation in January of 2008.

    Here’s a review:

    Here are two clips from that presentation

    (Part 1)

    (Part 2)

    Here’s to trying to get the word out…

    Wow Jones

  • Resistance Works WDC


    Armond White

    KEEP MOVING: The Michael Jackson Chronicles

    PREMIERE: Sunday, August 30, 2009 at 6pm / Lincoln Center / Walter Reade Theater / 165 W. 65th St. (upper level) on the Upper West Side

  • Rob,

    Thought that some of you may be interested in knowing that Armond White is FINALLY making his Michael Jackson Music Video Presentation at The Walter Reade Theater @ Lincoln Center in New York City on Sunday November 22, 2009.

    Here are two links to a radio interview (on he did on Friday, November 20, 2009 on the subject of Michael Jackson AND his upcoming music video presentation, entitled “KEEP MOVING: Michael Jackson’s Music VIdeo Art”.

    Enjoy and if you are in the New York City area and are interested, hope to see you there. Armond White will also be signing copies of his new book “KEEP MOVING: The Michael Jackson Chronicles”

    For information on tickets, check out this link: