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Music History Today the Weekly Edition 38


This is Music History Today the Weekly Edition 38. On this week’s show, we discuss Justin Timberlake performing at the Super Bowl halftime show, we review the new album by Maroon 5, & we try to figure out if the Zombies belong in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

First, the news. Truth is, there really wasn’t any on the music side this week. All of the entertainment news seems to have come from the movie & tv sides with the sexual harassment & assault charges flying around. Shockingly, that wave has barely touched the music industry. So far, the only casualty has been Twiggy Ramirez getting fired from Marilyn Manson’s band over rape allegations. I think it’s only a matter of time before the floodgates open on the music side. 
This past week, it was announced that Justin Timberlake has been chosen to perform at next year’s Super Bowl halftime show. It was met with some pretty swift reaction from women and minorities.

For those of you who are too young to remember what happened the last time Timberlake performed at a Super Bowl, here’s a brief history lesson. Back on February 1, 2004, Janet Jackson and Timberlake were two of the most popular performers on the planet. Janet had hit after hit, while Timberlake had been enjoying success with his first solo album after being in the insanely popular group  ‘N Sync.

They were in the middle of performing his song Rock Your Body. When they sang the line “and I’ll have you naked by the end of this song”, Timberlake went behind Jackson, reached around her, grabbed her costume by the breast, and ripped it, exposing her nipple for about 2 seconds.

The reaction was pretty swift and negative; at least for one person. Initially,  Timberlake gave the excuse that the costume wasn’t supposed to rip and that there had been a wardrobe malfunction. Now kids, you know where that overdone phrase came from. It’s pretty obvious when you look at the footage, though, that the costume was supposed to tear so that excuse was blown out of the water.

There was swift condemnation, not of Timberlake, but of Jackson. At the Grammy awards ceremony, which was only a couple of weeks later, Timberlake was invited to attend but Jackson was barred. Timberlake won an award that night, went on stage to accept it, read a public relations apology, and for him, the incident was over. His career took off, with acting, producing, and awards thrown his way.

Meanwhile,  Jackson’s career spiraled out of control into freefall. Her next few albums crashed and burned. Any time she was mentioned in the press, somewhere in the coverage, the phrase wardrobe malfunction worked its way into coverage. That still happens to this day. I will say that I think a lot of the backlash against Janet had a lot to do with her brother Michael, who the press were having a field day with and transferred their hatred of him onto her.

For Timberlake’s part, he has sort of apologized a few times. In one interview, he said he was probably 10% responsible for what happened. Well, since it was his hand on her clothing, my thought is that the 10% number is a little low.

For many women and minorities,  this incident reminds them of white male privilege in society. The woman gets vilified, while the man goes on with his career. At this particular time, especially in light of the sexual harassment & rape allegations flowing through society right now, this is unneeded attention for the NFL.

Here’s my personal feelings on it. I’ve had a problem with Justin ever since the incident; not because of the incident but because not once did he publicly defend Janet against the vilification. A real man would have stood up and told people to lay off of her. Instead, he decided to let her twist in the wind in order to save his career at that time. Now, if he wants to man up and make amends, what he should do is to publicly apologize to her and then, invite Janet on stage to sing a song or two. At this point, with his career firmly established, it’s the very least he can do.

This week, we’re going to do something a little different. For only the second time in this podcast’s history, I’m going to see if I can make the case for putting an act into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The twist is that unlike the last time, when Ted Nugent said he deserved to be in (spoiler alert: he doesn’t), this next act has actually been nominated this year.
The Zombies were a popular group that rode the British Invasion wave in the late 1960s. They combined jazz music with psychedelic music to make some memorable songs, including Time of the Season & Tell Her No. Their 1968 album Odessey & Oracle is on Rolling Stone’s Greatest Albums of All Time List. Quick trivia: the album’s spelled Odessey because someone misspelled Odyssey & it was too late to change it when the album went to print.
The main thrust of their career was between 1965 – 1968; at which point, they broke up. I’m sure they have artists who were influenced by them, although I’m hard pressed to find any who have said that they were. The thing is that they’re now on the list of nominees for the third time so that means that some people find them Hall worthy.  
Now, if you want to get your feet wet, then check out The Zombies: the Collection. If you want to deep dive, it’s not hard. Just get Odessey & Oracle & Begin Here. I started going into this with the intent of making the case for putting the Zombies into the Hall. Now, I’m kind of on the fence. It’s not that I don’t like them; I do. There have been plenty of times this past week where I’ve caught myself humming Time of the Season. I’m just not sure if they’re worthy of being in the Hall, that’s all.
This week’s album review is Red Pill Blues by Maroon 5. This 15 song album is about as smart a pop album as you can get. It’s got catchy songs, great production value, & great lyrics. There’s just something missing & I can’t quite put my finger on it. Maybe it’s the fact that there isn’t one song on it where three years from now, I’ll look back on it fondly & say remember when. It’s what I like to call a cotton candy album, where it fills you up with sweetness but leaves you feeling sort of empty afterwards. I could be wrong. There have been more than a few Maroon 5 songs that I still love over the years like She Will Be Loved & This Love. Maybe down the road, I’ll love Cold, Wait, What Lovers Do, or Whiskey. In any event, the album’s good going down.
On the Billboard charts, Rockstar by Post Malone & 21 Savage is still number one on the singles chart, while One Direction’s Niall Horan debuts at number one on the album chart.

New releases this week come from Taylor Swift, Billy Ray Cyrus, Evanescence, Quicksand, Smokey Robinson, & Teen Daze.