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Where Are They Now? And Where Will They Be Tomorrow?

October 22, 1995|Robert Hilburn

Michael Jackson, Prince, Madonna, Guns N' Roses and Bruce Springsteen are the most surprising absentees from the list of pop's hottest properties.

Here's what various panelists said about those artists--and some others:

Michael Jackson

* "I wouldn't take him in my Top 10, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't want him at all. He'd be a steal in a draft if you could get him as a low pick. If he can cool out a while and get over all this King of Pop [expletive], he could still make wonderful music."

Prince

* "He's not only got an image problem with pop fans these days, but he's got an image problem within the industry. He is seen as such a pain to work with."

Madonna

* "She is on a downward slide of her career . . . a point where everything is a struggle."

* "A survivor. She's like a cat with nine lives and she hasn't used them all up yet."

Guns N' Roses

* "Axl [Rose] is a great talent, but I'd be too concerned about him self-destructing. Besides, it's Guns N' Poses to most people by now."

Bruce Springsteen

* "No one loves Bruce more than I do, but I don't think he will be among the 10 biggest record-sellers of the next seven years in America."

* "He has cooled off, but he's still such an icon. You don't write that many good songs in your life and then go away."

*

Babyface

* "He could be the singer-songwriter of the '90s, if he would spend more time on his own records rather than devote so much time to producing other people's records."

Mary J. Blige

* "To me, she is the most culturally significant black female artist of the '90s. She mirrors the reality of the times . . . the queen of Generation X."

Toni Braxton

* "She's just one crossover single away from being the young sophisticated diva. . . . Amazingly gifted."

Sheryl Crow

* "I wouldn't touch her after the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame concert appearance. She was just so average ."

* "She is far more talented than anyone has given her credit for and I believe she will be able to grow."

Counting Crows

* "Too derivative."

* "I think the success of the debut record was beyond coincidence and timing, though there are elements of that in anyone's success. Adam Duritz is a star, a terrific talent."

D'Angelo

* "He's generating lots of heat, but I get the feeling that he is a poseur."

* "The most soulful singer I've heard since Marvin Gaye."

Dr. Dre

* "Rap changes too swiftly to bet on many rap acts, but Dre is clearly the best rap producer in the business and he's great at developing new artists."

Green Day

* "Big question--I'm just not that smart. One record, who knows?"

* "Billie Joe [Armstrong] isn't a one-note punk wonder. He's smart and can broaden his sound."

Hole

* "There's the stability issue, but I love the music."

* "Can't stand [Courtney Love]."

Hootie & the Blowfish

* "No depth."

Alison Krauss

* "Pure artistry . . . someone who breaks the mold of the cookie-cutter country artist. I don't think she even has her momentum going yet, and she has sold 2 million records."

Live

* "I see them developing in the U2/R.E.M. vein, a band that will continue to grow for years, and I can't say that about most of the acts I see these days."

* "The only time you can put them in the U2/R.E.M. class is in their dreams."

Rage Against the Machine

* "Could be huge. They have already built a following in Europe and now their next album is one of the most eagerly awaited of anybody out there."

* "They may ride a wave of music that I don't truly understand--this meeting of metal and rap. But if it really hits, they vault into the Top 10."

Seal

* "A timeless quality" . . . "very charismatic live."

The Smashing Pumpkins

* "Billy Corgan may be the rock songwriter of the next 10 years. . . . A natural. I'd love to have them."

Soundgarden

* "Quintessential cross between what was punk and what was heavy metal." . . . "Most stable of the Seattle bands."

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