Just over a year after his tragic and untimely death, the King of Pop is back (from the grave) with a brand new album, just in time for Christmas.
A new album from Michael Jackson, entitled Michael (cover art is to your left), will be released on December 14, in the very heart of holiday shopping season. In other words, expect massive sales.
But that’s not all folks; it has been revealed that the album’s first single, “Breaking News,” will have its worldwide premiere this Monday at Jackson’s official website.
Sony describes Michael as a collection of “newly completed recordings,” largely recorded around 2007, and finished posthumously by the album’s many producers and collaborator’s. They’re suggesting that rather than a haphazard, hatchet job, the songs featured on Michael had extensive input from Jackson himself before his death last year. And this is just the beginning. Michael is just the first in a reported half-dozen posthumous Jackson albums set for release in the coming years.
Obviously, this is exciting. But it is also very problematic and, as with anything associated with Michael Jackson post-Thriller, very controversial.
Generally speaking, posthumous albums are always problematic and controversial. In the history of popular music, posthumous albums released in the wake of the tragic death of a pop star range from the wholly legitimate (i.e. Janis Joplin’s Pearl or 2pac’s The Don Killuminati: the 7 Day Theory, both largely completed just prior to the artist’s death), to the entirely illegitimate (i.e. every 2pac album released after The Don Killuminati: the 7 Day Theory). 2pac may have been a special case, since he was clearly stockpiling music for release in the event of his own demise. But we’re not talking about 2pac; we are talking about Michael Jackson. The epitome of a perfectionist, Jackson recorded, produced, arranged and sequenced his albums with relentless attention to detail and an unyielding standard of excellence. If he found the finished product to be less than flawless (in his mind, at least), he absolutely would not put it out. In other words, if Michael honestly felt like these unreleased tracks were good enough to stand alongside his best work, he would have released them while he was alive.
Frankly, it is more than likely that this forthcoming Michael Jackson album is nothing more than a cash grab that could (to some small degree, at least) potentially taint the man’s legacy.
Crazier still, Katherine Jackson and Michael Jackson’s children are reportedly calling the upcoming Michael release fraudulent, claiming that the vocalist singing these alleged Michael Jackson songs is not the real Michael Jackson!
According to the Jackson family, not only did Michael express to them with certainty that these were not songs he was planning to release, but that his vocals were unfinished at the time of his death, and therefore these finished recordings must have received vocal contributions from an imposter.
Is it right for Sony to release Michael? Will it be any good? And is the Jackson family telling the truth, or do they just want a bigger piece of the financial pie?
Sound off below!