Paris Jackson, daughter of “King of Pop” Michael Jackson, has just released her first album, “Wilted”. (Janell Shirtcliff)
At the age of 22, Paris Jackson released her debut album. At that age, her father had already made five solo records, sold millions of records and had just won his first Grammy. So by the age of 22 he was a superstar for a long time. Sure, it’s not fair to compare Paris and Michael Jackson. He was born with a one-in-a-million voice into a brutal pop machine and was trimmed for absolute success as a toddler, while she grew up as the most sheltered daughter of the “King of Pop”. The conditions could hardly be more different. But maybe there are also common denominators? How much “Jacko” is there in Paris Jackson?
There has been constant speculation about the biological relationship between Michael and Paris Jackson. Insiders claim that there is no biological relationship, and Jackson’s former personal physician Conrad Murray once tellingly stated that he knew the “true” origin of the “Jacko” descendants. The official version reads: Paris (like her brother Michael Joseph, called Prince) is the child of Michael Jackson and his second wife Debbie Rowe. The third child, Prince Michael Jackson II. (“Blanket”), was carried to term by another woman, whose identity is still unknown.
When she was out with her father, she always had to cover her face. Meanwhile, Paris Jackson, who also works as an actress and model, often shows in public. (Getty Images/Pascal Le Segretain)
If you go with the official version, Paris has not inherited anything from her father that you could see or hear immediately. She’s white, and she’s definitely not an exceptional singer. We don’t know whether she can dance. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t any good investments. The attractive young woman has a warm, melodious voice that always has a little melancholy and goes well with the music you hear on “Wilted”. Acoustic guitars, bells, dreamy folk, a bit of alternative pop: this music is appealing, but completely different from anything you know from Michael Jackson.
Personal and authentic
After the death of their father in 2009 they showed themselves to the world for the first time, from left: Michael Joseph alias Prince, Prince Michael Jackson II, called “Blanket”, and Paris Jackson. (Tim Alban / Getty Images)
The songs of the Jackson 5, the music on “Off The Wall”, “Thriller”, “Bad”, “Dangerous” – all of this was always intended for the big stage. The songs were designed and performed in such a way that they touch and inspire as many people as possible. Still bigger, still more spectacular. There is nothing in Paris Jackson’s songs that suggests such an understanding of entertainment. For them, pop is evidently not a large empty space into which the universal desires and longings of the world’s population are projected, but rather a way of credibly expressing yourself as a person. In this case, this also includes shadows and abysses.
Paris Jackson’s most recently released first single “Let Down” is a melancholy breakup song, for which a bloody gothic music video was shot. The album title “Wilted” translates as “wilted”, and in fact Paris Jackson also draws pictures of wilting flowers in her lyrics – and also of bones that crumble into dust. In “Eyelids” she sings: “Cut my eyelids so I can’t see you float out the door”. This music is not very suitable to lift the mood, and it certainly does not encourage dancing. But she feels a thousand times more personal than anything you’ve ever heard from Michael Jackson – and maybe more authentic.
When it comes to success in pop, Michael Jackson is and will remain in a class of his own. Can daughter Paris follow in his footsteps? (2006 Getty Images/Phil Walter)
Growing up in a golden cage, public appearances with a veiled face, the tragic death of her father (she was eleven years old at the time) – and then all the dirt that has been poured over him since then: it leaves traces that Paris Jackson doesn’t either want to hide. In interviews she admitted that she had suffered from depression; The US portal “TMZ” also reported in 2019 on an alleged suicide attempt, which Paris later denied. Either way: It is understandable that a life like the one she has led so far leads to an album like “Wilted”.
An independent artist
The album cover for “Wlited” already suggests: Paris Jackson has taken a different artistic direction than her father. (Universal Music)
One could say: There is no artistic intersection between Paris Jackson and Michael Jackson – except perhaps a common sense for melodies and their contemporary implementation. “Wilted” doesn’t actually allow such a final classification. This record still sounds too much like cleaning up, too much like demarcation – which perhaps also shows that Paris Jackson is serious about his career. How else could she establish herself as an independent artist if not with an antithesis to the work of her oversized father? And: What could have been more boring than a young woman trying to imitate her dad, the greatest pop star of all time?
The way she does it, Paris Jackson does it well, and you don’t get the impression that she has shown everything on “Wilted”. Who knows, maybe at some point she will sing to piano and strings those really great ballads that would never have fit into her father’s discography. Or maybe at some point she will directly follow in the footsteps of Michael Jackson – at least in terms of how Paris Jackson would sound as a “real” pop musician, the wildest fantasies are still possible.