Friday, December 17, 2010

MICHAEL By Michael Jackson

MICHAEL is the much anticipated album of newly completed recordings from Michael Jackson. The creative process never stopped for the King of Pop who was always planning for his next album; unbeknownst to many fans around the world Michael Jackson was writing and recording songs continuously everywhere from a friend’s home in New Jersey to studios in Las Vegas and Los Angeles with a small group of handpicked collaborators. Now, through the unique stories that will be told about the songs that comprise MICHAEL, fans will get mind-blowing insight into how this artist worked and a chance to hear the songs he most recently created along with tracks that Michael had a desire to bring to fruition.

Songs List:
1. Hold My Hand (Duet With Akon)
2. Hollywood Tonight
3. Keep Your Head Up
4. (I like) The Way You Love Me
5. Monster (Featuring 50 Cent)
6. Best Of Joy
7. Breaking News
8. (I Can't Make It) Another Day (Featuring Lenny Kravitz)
9. Behind The Mask
10. Much Too Soon

Track 1: Hold My Hand

Album Review
In October of last year, Michael Jackson's This Is It was released a few months after the King of Pop's death. It was controversial among some fans because it was speculated that body doubles were used and that Michael himself may have not intend fans to view the results of hours of film recording. It turned out to be an excellent film and many fans were happy to see it. Over a year later Sony releases a posthumous Michael Jackson album featuring previously unreleased material (even if some of these found their way to the internet sooner or were already known by some MJ experts) that has some fans doubting. Fans know just how much of a perfectionist Michael Jackson was and this being a posthumous release it is understandable that fans may hate what Sony is doing. Maybe Michael would not have liked that Sony did this and maybe he never intended for the songs on "Michael" to be released to the buying public. Sony has an agreement that allows them to not only own and distribute Michael's music but also release new albums of previously unreleased content until 2017. You can bet that there will be more albums of unreleased content to come. Whether or not you approve of Sony's decision you have to give it to Sony though, "Michael" has some very good songs on it. There are those fans who say that it's not Michael singing on the album and those way say it is him. I'm in between; I think they're both right. Michael definitely sings on most of the songs here but there are some that while similar in voice that may not be him, I don't think I'm the most qualified person to make such a judgment and I'm not trying to ruin your enjoyment of the album with some proofs or anything.

There are 10 songs on Michael, my guess is that Sony wants to keep material for future releases as well so they aren't putting as much song on "Michael" as they could have (which is fine really as long as the songs are good, sure more songs would've been better I suppose but I'm happy with what I've got). It's interesting that here are three collaborations on "Michael", the lead single Hold My Hand with Akon, Monster with 50 Cents (and Orianthi) and (I can't make it) Another Day with Lenny Kravitz. It's interesting to hear the king accompanied by some of these artists and the overall sound of "Michael" is very pleasing. I'm not the biggest fan of Hold My Hand but the song has it all: it's catchy, easy to listen to and has a secure/positive feeling about it. I like Hollywood Tonight, it was an unfinished song but they did a good song out of it and it has some of the classic Michael .The Way You Love Me was originally released on the 2004 Michael Jackson Ultimate Collection box set and I believe it sounded much better on the box set than it does here on "Michael". Best of Joy is a terrific one; this is one of the most enjoyable songs here. I don't like 50 Cents but Monster remains an excellent song! (I can't make it) Another Day featuring Lenny Kravitz is one of my favorite songs of the whole album, Michael sounds amazing here and the song delivers. According to some internet bloggers and Amazon reviewers, there are three "fake" songs on "Michael" sang by Jason Malachi which would be Break of Dawn, Keep Your Head Up. I don't know how true this is, it might be it might not, buy the album and decide for yourself I guess right? If they're fakes then they just sound really close to Michael's voice. 

I don't think the King of Pop himself would have been totally pleased with this release because he didn't get to give his blessing and some of this was unfinished material but for fans this is a treat. It does have some good songs that fans will definitely want to hear. The album is worth buying, I don't think it tarnishes Michael's legacy and it's a good album but I wouldn't compare it to his past work. As far as I'm concerned his technically "last" album was 2001's Invincible, this would be best viewed as a good collection of unreleased material. There are fans that obviously won't be happy about this release and some who will not like the material here as much as Michael's classic works. For a collection of posthumous songs this is nice and fans who want to hear the songs should hear them but they probably shouldn't expect the material here to be as good as Michael's past albums. Like I said, skeptics can hate and make various speeches but in the end it's still Michael Jackson and my guess is a lot of people will buy it. To me "Michael" serves to make me remember how great he really was and how much he really is missed. For unreleased material, this is very good and satisfying: 4/5 stars.