October 12, 2009

"This Is It."

Posthumous Michael Jackson, streamable at the official site.

My observations — sorry, Michael:

1. The words are like one of those awful finale songs the write for "American Idol."

2. The singing is not up to your standard. Presumably, if you'd lived, you'd have rerecorded it with more of a feeling of style, varying between urgency and effortlessness, instead of continuing throughout at a medium level of strain.

ADDED: "Based on a tape Mr. Jackson left behind containing only his piano and vocals, a full arrangement was built, complete with swelling strings and his brothers’ backup vocals... It is not clear when the song was written or recorded... and Sony originally believed that the tape was made around the time of Mr. Jackson’s 1991 album 'Dangerous.' But it could have been much earlier, perhaps even as early as the album 'Off the Wall,' from 1979. 'We just found the song... It was titled ‘This Is It.’ It was in a box, and we listened to it.'"

So he didn't think it was good enough even to work on, let alone release. There are terrible penalties attached to dying suddenly, without putting your affairs in order. Artists, destroy the things you don't want to see the light of day:
Sony has rights to release any music Mr. Jackson recorded while under contract....
Oh, no....

7 comments:

Jim said...

As a musician, here are my thoughts:
1. vocally, this is a pretty good starting point recording-wise; good quality to start with
2. it is no more worse than then the piffle he has farted out the last 15 years
3. The piano sounds awful. wonder why they couldn't get rid of it
4.The song really doesn't go anywhere...it is kinda stuck in its MOR groove
5. There is little wonder why he never released it...it is not that good!

John Lynch said...

It'll be considered for a Grammy, and might win.

Chris Althouse Cohen said...

And supposedly MJ left behind a whole bunch of unreleased songs, so this could go on and on.

Mark Daniels said...

Ann:
I'm not a big Michael Jackson fan. (I did love 'Thriller.') I am a big Beatles fan.

But personally, I think that the Jacksons seem to have had a lot more to work with in Michael's demo tape than the surviving Beatles and Jeff Lynne had in John Lennon's demos for 'Free as a Bird' and 'Real Love.'

Both of those projects turned out fine. But there are times when Lennon's voice is thinned out, buttressed on the recording by McCartney's. It doesn't seem that any such augmentation was necessary for Michael Jackson's lead vocal on 'This is It.'

When artists of any type die suddenly and tragically, it's possible--maybe even probable--that their heirs will disseminate all sorts of previously unreleased material. Sometimes what's released is crap. But sometimes, to those who were fans, the material has a value beyond the intrinsic worth of the work.

Again, I'm not a fan of Michael Jackson, but I think that his vocals on this song sound fine.

There are probably lots of reasons that artists don't release or work on some material. It isn't always because of the quality of the work. Their moods come into play, along with what else is out there at any given time.

To my ears, the song isn't among Jackson's best. But it's OK and I feel that the released recording is too.

The Jackson family can, I think, be rightly suspected of cashing in on Michael's untimely demise. But he's been a cash cow for them for forty-six years, so I don't think they're going to change their habits now.

The MJ revenue stream had stopped up for several years, owing to well-founded suspicions about Michael's life style. So, it comes as no surprise that as Michael's death has at least temporarily created a renewed market for his work, his family members are tapping into this revenue source once again.

bearbee said...

Origins of the Moonwalk

MJ Moonwalk

Chaplin Moonwalk

elpolacko said...

turns out this was nothing more than a demo tape made of a song offered to jackson by songwriter, paul anka.. he, rightfully, wants to be paid for it.

jacksonianlawyer said...

How ironic that someone mentioned Charlie Chaplin - a man who fathered a baby with a child and then married that child.