After being found guilty of manslaughter in the death of Michael Jackson, Dr. Conrad Murray was sentenced yesterday. The disgraced doctor will receive four years in prison, which will likely be reduced to a few months in county jail due to prison overcrowding in California. I’ve resisted discussing this in any sort of detail so far just because I’m torn about whether his conviction or sentencing was appropriate. At the end of the day, whether Michael Jackson was a drug addict or not, the fact of the matter is that Dr. Murray injected Michael with the drug that killed him, and thusly deserves to take some responsibility in Michael’s death. What makes the situation even more egregious is that Murray was a doctor and should have been acting in his patient’s best interest. No, it’s not as clear cut as someone shooting someone dead on the street, but it can’t be said that Michael’s addiction would have killed him had Dr. Murray not injected him with Propofol. So Dr. Murray deserves a sentence, and quite frankly, it seems as though he got a sweetheart of a deal. Ultimately, though, no amount of “justice” in the world is ever enough to satisfy the families or friends of anyone who gets killed, at least not from my experience. So hopefully The Jacksons can achieve at least some peace knowing that the crime will not go unpaid for.

Meanwhile, pop superstar George Michael is currently recuperating from a serious bout with pneumonia. It has forced him to postpone the remaining dates of his Symphonica tour until 2012. Of course, given George’s history (and not referring to his homosexuality-however, he has lost a partner to AIDS-related complications), it seemed a fairly logical deduction that the pneumonia George is suffering from was related to HIV infection, but that seems to not be the case. George’s doctors have indicated that there are no additional factors contributing to his illness, without saying expressly that he does not have HIV or AIDS. Not that it matters–after all, this isn’t 1988. Having HIV or AIDS (or even AIDS-related pneumonia) is no longer a death sentence or a cause for ostracism. Regardless of what George’s medical situation is, we wish him a very speedy recovery and hope to see him performing on U.S. shores sometime soon (and maybe he can finally finish that book he’s been working on for years now.)

On a happier note, next week brings one of the most interesting release schedules of 2011, with releases from the late Amy Winehouse, R&B singer Robin Thicke, blues-rock breakthrough band The Black Keys and the legendary Roots crew. God bless the internet, because the good folks at NPR have granted The Roots’ latest album, Undun, a feature in their First Listen column. I don’t need an advance listen to know that this album is gonna be dope, but I might head on over and give the album a spin before Tuesday, anyway. With all the press The Roots have received lately, rightly or wrongly, might we be looking at a commercial renaissance for the band?

Not to be outdone, Cleveland’s finest have revealed a portion of their new album, El Camino. Click on over here to have a listen to 5 songs from the album, sure to saturate your day with bluesy-rock goodness.

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