Review: Michael Jackson's 'Michael'
With Michael Jackson’s untimely passing last year, the international world grieved together as we lost the biggest entertainment star of the last 40 years. His unmatched track record for incredibly innovative albums, iconic videos and sold out world tours set the stage for fans to now take in a new music project by the notoriously known perfectionist. The ten-song set Micheal, MJ’s official posthumous album, teeters on the line of awesome (“Behind The Mask”) and less than average (“Breaking News”). Luckily the scale tips toward awesome more times than not.
“Hold My Hand” featuring Akon is a collaboration rumored to have been recorded back in 2007. The tone and delivery sounds like MJ, but rumors are swirling that throughout the album, MJ’s vocals have been overdubbed, switched and/or recorded by someone else all together. With that in mind, it’s hard to distinguish the real MJ from the so-called fakes. But the way songs like “Keep Your Head Up”, speaks about surviving tough times, “(I Like) The Way You Love Me” instructs the producer and listener to groove to love notes and “Best Of Joy” lifts the veil off MJ’s rugged vocals and let’s his light timbre float, you have to believe that this is the best of his last work.
The Lenny Kravitz featured “(I Can’t Make It) Another Day” takes MJ to that familiar super star lane that mixes Lenny’s smooth vocal textures and guitar stabs and melds Mike’s abrasive declarations into a pop-rock love song hit. On “Monster” the track waits too long before it gets some life and switches too much to catch a groove. 50 Cent (who stays on topic) puts in a solid guest spot but even that can’t save the song. MJ’s attack on the bloated media vamps with “Breaking News” seems recycled and uninspired, especially when his classic hit “Just Leave Me Alone” captures the anger and definitive “fuck you feel” toward the tabloids so perfectly.
Ultimately Michael can stand as a sturdy compliment to MJ’s catalogue, yet we all know that he would have had some stark changes to tweak, especially on the polishing of all the tracks. It’s just plain sad that the last song on this album explains it all, Michael Jackson was taken away from us, “Much Too Soon." —Datwon Thomas