No matter how successful or popular you are, your status as a King of Pop will not be taken seriously if your music is a joke.
Michael Jackson’s claim to the throne is not just a matter of fame, but also a matter of talent and industry impact. He didn’t invent pop music, but he did perfect the craft—some of his songs will go down the history as all-time best. And let’s not forget his countless now-iconic dance moves and the whole music video revolution he fronted. He sure elevated the potential of pop music as an entertainment vehicle.
What I like about the next two metrics is that they are not tampered by rabid fans. It brings out that fine line which separates true artists from mere celebrities. It also gives a chance for underdogs to show their potential as a worthy successor to the crown.
Note: This analysis refers ONLY to the period spanning 2000-2013, from the new millennium to the time of writing. No, pre-2000 achievements are not counted here. That’s why it’s called King of Pop of the “new millennium”.
Industry Accolades: Justin Timberlake
Justin Timberlake reigns this time. Some day in the far future, scientists will be studying whether a superhuman chip is implanted in JT’s brain and we’ll finally understand why every single music he put out received tonnes of awards and nominations. Bruno Mars is a runner-up, which is pretty good considering just how young Bruno’s career is at this stage.
Usher crumbles to third place. Based on raw scores alone, he could’ve led the competition. Confessions is a huge era for him, but he hasn’t been reaping lots of accolades since then (though he managed a few to keep him near the top of the list).
Adam Levine comes fourth, followed by Ne-Yo who finally gets his first Top 5. Ne-Yo is a true underdog in this competition, he could’ve reached Top 3 if we’re looking at raw scores alone. Chris Brown is no big winner, but his constant appearance as nominees is good enough to earn him sixth place. David Guetta comes at seventh. He is no biggie either, but he’s certainly a favorite to win in those niche dance categories.
Justin Bieber falls to bottom 2 for the first time, while Robin Thicke continues to be the bottom cushion for the umpteenth time.
Critical Reception: Ne-Yo
Bravo, Ne-Yo is #1! If only the general public has better taste in music, Ne-Yo could’ve ruled the other categories as well. But for now, let’s just applaud Ne-Yo for finally getting the recognition he deserves.
Justin Timberlake comes at a close second, proving that he’s both a commercial and critical juggernaut. Third place goes to… Robin Thicke??! Well, truth be told he’s actually a competent artist. For as long as he stays away from the cheap tricks, that is (Blurred Lines pulled his score down by quite a bit).
Bruno Mars is fourth, just ahead by a few decimal points from Usher’s fifth. Justin Bieber seems to be a secret guilty pleasure to some critics, so he sneaked in to sixth place. Adam Levine (seventh) and David Guetta (eight) don’t seem to be popular with critics, but Chris Brown is a unanimous last place by a huge gap.
Overall Quality: Justin Timberlake
Justin Timberlake rules when it comes to quality. Bruno’s a runner-up as he proves to be critically-acclaimed. Usher’s high points are indeed very strong that, despite his fading acclaim, he’s still comfortably at third place.
Ne-Yo gets a respectable fourth for his underrated works, while Adam Levine comes fifth. Dance music has rarely done well among the critics, so David Guetta’s sixth isn’t too shabby. Chris Brown comes seventh, Justin Bieber hits Bottom 2 once again and Robin Thicke is forever dead last.
When it comes to quality, who do you think makes the best music to qualify as the new King of Pop?
On my next post, we’ll collate all the data together to finally crown the new King of Pop. Who do you think will emerge as the winner?
All Posts on the King of Pop and Queen of Pop series:
- Introducing the New King of Pop – Part 1: Background
- Introducing the New King of Pop – Part 2: Success
- Introducing the New King of Pop – Part 3: Popularity
- Introducing the New King of Pop – Part 4: Quality
- Introducing the New King of Pop – Part 5: The Also-Rans
- Introducing the New King of Pop – Part 6: The Top Seeds
- Who is the Queen of Pop of This Millennium? Part 1: Background
- Who is the Queen of Pop of This Millennium? Part 2: Success
- Who is the Queen of Pop of This Millennium? Part 3: Popularity
- Who is the Queen of Pop of This Millennium? Part 4: Quality
- Who is the Queen of Pop of This Millennium? Part 5: Also-Rans
- Who is the Queen of Pop of This Millennium? Part 6: Top Seeds