Great Debate: Michael Jackson Versus Prince

Prince Vs. Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson Is Filet Mignon.

-- Mack Rawden

Prince was a talented musician with a handful of great, memorable songs, but comparing him to Michael Jackson is like claiming microwaved riblets are an acceptable alternative to a well-executed, medium rare Filet Mignon. It’s just not even debatable.

Everything Michael Jackson has ever done has turned to musical gold. He carried MTV out of the dark ages in the early 1980s with highly choreographed masterwork videos, and songs like “Billie Jean”, “Smooth Criminal”, and “Black Or White” sound just as fresh and memorable as they did decades ago.

On the other hand, the two greatest songs Prince ever wrote were taken to a new level by different artists. Sinead O’Conner’s rendition of “Nothing Compares 2 U” and Quindon Tarver’s cover of “When Doves Cry” are more memorable than Prince’s entire catalog put together.

The thing that really sets Michael Jackson apart is the eight year period in which he gave the world three world class albums. Combining to sell over 155 million copies, Off The Wall, Thriller, and Bad are a trio of discs that people will be playing one hundred years from now. Every song is catchy, perfectly crafted, and bordering on brilliant.

Like The Beatles or Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson stands among the short list of musicians that transcend time and place. As Prince is slowly fading from the collective conscious of future generations, Michael Jackson will remain immortal, moonwalking atop people’s fond memories forever.

Prince Is A Modern Frank Sinatra.

-- J.P. Gorman

Quite simply, Prince is the smoothest American music star of the last twenty-five years. He’s on a line that starts back with Frank Sinatra, goes into Marvin Gaye, and continues on through the Purple One. He oozes a wanton sexuality matched in intensity only by his boundless musical talent in the creation of a star we hadn’t seen before and won’t again.

Michael Jackson had a lot of big hits, there’s no denying that. He’s also the creepiest American pop star of the last twenty-five years. He was big and cool back in the day, but then he carved his face into oblivion, turned himself into Peter Pan, built an amusement park in his backyard and has twice been charged a sexual predator.

Prince writes, produces, and plays his own music; Michael Jackson is a song and dance man. Prince is among our most prolific artists, responsible for a ridiculous amount of original music which has constantly kept his devoted fans on their toes; Jackson is a recluse who keeps his delusional army of sycophants waiting with bated breath for increasingly meager output. Prince’s eccentricity revels in art and sex; the sometimes horrifying details of Jackson’s life reveal megalomania and psychosis.

To use doppelgangers from American history, this is essentially a debate between music’s Howard Hughes and Hugh Hefner. Who would you rather planned your party?

An unbiased survey of their careers lays this much plain: Prince ascended to his current position by methodically carving out a unique chunk of the American musical landscape and continues to this day to make every effort to bring his music to the people that love it with a minimal amount of corresponding bullshit; Michael Jackson is almost the complete opposite in every respect.

By now, Prince dominates this argument. Deal with it, people.

Our previous Great Debate:

Does Air Guitar Require Skill?

Mack Rawden
Editor In Chief

Mack Rawden is the Editor-In-Chief of CinemaBlend. He first started working at the publication as a writer back in 2007 and has held various jobs at the site in the time since including Managing Editor, Pop Culture Editor and Staff Writer. He now splits his time between working on CinemaBlend’s user experience, helping to plan the site’s editorial direction and writing passionate articles about niche entertainment topics he’s into. He graduated from Indiana University with a degree in English (go Hoosiers!) and has been interviewed and quoted in a variety of publications including Digiday. Enthusiastic about Clue, case-of-the-week mysteries, a great wrestling promo and cookies at Disney World. Less enthusiastic about the pricing structure of cable, loud noises and Tuesdays.