Music Feature

Review: Michael Jackon - 'Michael'

by Bill Chenevert
His first posthumous LP is a flop, and a sad trip

Michael is a record you’ll want to root for. It’s only normal to want to see success, and positive turn, in the Jackson Legacy. We want a testament to who Michael was; a saving grace to the degrading and tragic end of his life. It’s been so long since we've had a taste of new material from him, and we hope that the music doesn’t suffer from the same tarnishing he did in the wake of his death. The album is a compilation of unfinished work, and it’s clear that the producers didn't have a great deal to work with. At times MJ’s infamous falsetto is overshadowed. Much of the album is over-processed and excessively enhanced. It misses the studio perfectionism synonymous with his legacy.

“Hold My Hand,” a duet with Akon, is the spark for the album. It was the most complete track at the time of the King of Pop’s death, and has been released as the first official single off Michael. On the track “(I Like) The Way You Love Me,” we’re treated to a phone narration of Jackson pitching the tune before the song comes skipping in. It’s an emotional moment on the album and serves as a reminder of how talented he was. Hearing the late Michael Jackson is really touching. He has that classic charm but a broken worn undertone to his voice is palpable. In the middle of the album are two songs, “Monster,” featuring 50 Cent, and “Breaking News”: both are intense tracks that shout back at his late public perception. “(I Can’t Make It) Another Day,” featuring Lenny Kravitz, is the most reminiscent of Michael Jackson’s sound; it's a funky, guitar-laden dance groove. The closing song, “Much Too Soon,” is a ballad put together from recordings dating back to the Thriller era. That’s cool and all, but this song, among others on the record, would never have seen the light of day if it weren’t for his premature departure.

Listening to Michael, you truly feel for him and begin to grieve his absence. The songs aren’t all there and, quite obviously, neither is Michael Jackson himself. Hopefully, these ten tracks aren’t the best of what is left of his unfinished projects, but a few will suffice. (Epic)

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