I FEEL IT COMING: CAN ICONIC ARTISTS BE REPLICATED

To be honest I was never much of a Weeknd fan, but I am a fan of the song “Starboy.” I cannot tell you with any sort of detail or useful information about what the other songs on his latest album Starboy, but in the last month I heard a snippet of one of his newer songs and I liked it immediately, just not enough to investigate further. I don’t know what I was watching, but there happened to be a commercial that played the newer Weeknd song and for the first time I was able to hear more of this sonically pleasing tune! The song in question was none other than “I Feel It Coming.” This time instead of letting the tune escape me I decided to look it up on YouTube to hear it thoroughly in order to judge whether or not I really enjoyed what I was hearing or was it just an earworm… it was not!

I ended up playing the song back to back like Drake! The song was so good to me that I decided to read comments under the video to see if others felt as good about it as I did. With over a billion plays on YouTube alone, I think I suffice it to say that a lot of people like the song. That play count is equivalent to 1/7th of the earth’s human population playing the song just once. With the smooth vocals and laidback production from Daft Punk, it is a clear no-brainer why it is so beloved. When I was scrolling through the comments one reply to the video really stuck out to me and it sparked this blog post. The commenter said, “The Weeknd has been possessed by Michael Jackson himself.” This could be considered an inflammatory and incendiary statement, almost blasphemous, but is the commenter that far off? I believe he hit the Mike stride so well that it begs the question “is the Weeknd the Michael Jackson of this generation?”

When it comes to Michael Jackson and his indelible impression on the hearts and minds of not only purely fans, but the multiple generations of new artists that he’s inspired, there are some who come close and then there are some who seem to embody the spirit of Michael. I believe with I Feel It Coming The Weeknd has done the impossible: channel Michael Jackson without losing himself in the process. What The Weeknd has accomplished with Daft Punk is what Justin Timberlake tried to do with the Neptunes and again with Timbaland, both times it was Michael-esque, but not quite. With the opening “huh” that gently escapes the from the Weekends vocal cords we hear that we are about to hear something purposefully sonically in the vein of MJ himself. I believe there will NEVER be another Michael Jackson because his impact was too gargantuan to be replicated 1:1, but his spirit and influence has and clearly will reincarnate itself within the vocal an musical styling’s of later generations as evidenced with The Weeknd.

There seems to always be talks of such and such being the next (fill in the blank) artist. When we get too iconic of an artist can they really be replaced or at the very least be replicated? Does it do the iconic artist or the new artist who is being compared a disservice in that we forget to appreciate the uniqueness of each individual artist and their contributions? What does it say about the iconic artist if the newer artist who is supposed to be the second coming (no pun intended) flops or doesn’t live up to the hype? Are we to blame the newer artist for flopping or the influence that inspired them? All these questions came flooding to me when I read that YouTuber’s comments. I guess only time will tell.

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