I normally don’t review CD‘s, but this is Michael Jackson my favorite singer/entertainer of all-time. If I can’t make an exception for MJ then I can’t for anyone. I might delve into music reviews from time to time depending on how much I love a given CD.
Here’s the skinny….I mean MJ CD 🙂
MJJ Music-Epic-Sony Music Entertainment –
Michael CD –
#1 – Hold My Hand (Duet with Akon) – By now most of you have heard this song. Akon has said that he originally was going to do the song for himself but when he worked with MJ for the Thriller 25th Anniversary he decided the song better suited MJ and he’s right. Too bad MJ didn’t get enough of the spotlight with this song. It’s enjoyable as a sing-along or just listen and groove to it.
#2 – Hollywood Tonight – Probably the most fun MJ track since the Thriller days. It’s just that damn fun. You can dance to it, sing it or just sit back and enjoy it. Ellen recently spotlighted the song on her show dancing to it. I can see this getting lots of play by most people. My personal favorite track of the CD though a few others come close like Behind The Mask, Hold My Hand and Monster as well as the Bee Gees influenced The Best Of Joy.
#3 – Keep Your Head Up – Sounds familiar but I can’t really place where from. More positivity. A nice groove. Michael sings smooth and clear (as he does throughout much of the album). Sounds like MJ circa around the Bad or Dangerous albums (the whoooo sounds he did around that time in his songs especially in concert).
#4 – (I Like) The Way You Love Me – Another familiar track. Nice but probably will be skipped by some who prefer the more upbeat songs. It has a 70’s feel and sound modernized though his singing sounds like it is an outtake from the Invincible album.
#5 – Monster (Featuring 50 Cent) – Another in the Thriller style like Invincible’s Threatened or Blood On The Dance Floor‘s “Is This Scary” and “Ghosts”. Fun and upbeat. Probably the 2nd best dance track on the album. Fits in well with his scary songs like Jackson’s “This Place Hotel” 50 Cent fits in perfectly with this song like previous rap guest stars like Heavy D on “Jam” or Notorious BIG on “This Time Around”. A bit too repetitive in the title track repeating a bit too much, otherwise this is a pretty fun track.
#6 – Best Of Joy – This sounds like a throwback in singing style to the Bee Gees who Michael had professed to love in a video interview with director Brett Ratner. It’s got a nice smooth sound that recalls the good days of Michael Jackson and the Bee Gees. Sounds like it could come from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack and that isn’t so bad since it is one of the biggest soundtracks ever. Would have loved to have heard MJ work with the Bee Gees on some songs. P.S. – Shame on you if you diss SNF you know you jammed to it as a kid. Hypocrite!
#7 – Breaking News – MJ doing his Justin Timberlake impression? Was it MJ at all? Controversy ensues. I’ve wondered but the more I listen to it the more I hear MJ’s voice. Instead of getting closer to the speaker to differentiate, I notice MJ’s sound the further I am away from the speakers as his voice comes across different from most of his songs, but unlike the version released online causing the controversy, the CD version sounds much more like MJ. The song comes across much better. A welcome relief from the lesser tabloid songs he did like “Tabloid Junkie” from HIStory. Not great but a nice jam that will remind you of JT and MJ blended together. Not on the level of Bad’s “Leave Me Alone” which is probably his best song on tabloid fodder.
#8 – (I Can’t Make It) Another Day (Featuring Lenny Kravitz) – MJ’s best rock song in quite awhile. Even though it wasn’t a hit Dangerous’s “Give In To Me” was the last MJ rock song that really hit me like this. I’m not surprised this is good though being an MJ and Lenny Kravitz fan. Their style blends together nicely and I hope there is more material (I think Kravitz said there was other songs) for future release. Not exactly a head banger but this song rocks. Too bad MJ didn’t get to perform it in concert. Not as rocking as Thriller’s “Beat It” or Dangerous’s “Black Or White” or “Give In To Me” or HIStory’s “Come Together” (originally recorded during the Bad era for the Moonwalker movie. Above the level of HIStory’s D.S. & Blood On The Dance Floor’s Morphine (though the latter grew on me over time as a jam with nice beats and guitar work). Probably MJ’s hardest to understand song on the album but he’s rocking it.
#9 – Behind The Mask – You can tell this was done back during his Thriller days by his voice alone. He had the best voice at that time and easily identifiable. A great song that challenges the previously mentioned Hollywood Tonight for most fun and a cool song you can dance to or just sit back and enjoy. The style is so cool in an early 80’s MJ style. This could have easily have been on Thriller as his voice has that cool style he had around that time of smoothness and youth as well as determination. He really had an eye for dance music around this time and it sounds more like a song for break-dancing than any of his other solo work with the robotic synthesized sound at times. The saxophone is a nice throwback to the Quincy Jones sound that helped skyrocket their success together.
#10 – Much Too Soon – Probably the worst track on the album. A downer which feels a bit out of place. Sounds kind of like something he might have put on a Jackson’s album. Not a bad song by any means as I am a huge Jackson’s fan. Also another familiar song like it was sung in the style of another song. Probably will be skipped by a lot of people who buy the album.
Overall, Michael is more uplifting than most of his work post-Thriller. Not his best work but there are songs to enjoy here. I can’t help but think if MJ were alive there would be a few social-aware songs in the vein of We Are The World, Man In The Mirror, Earth Song, Heal The World etc. Also he had been going top heavy with averaging more than 10 songs an album since his Thriller days (when he only had 9 s0ngs on the album). I think Hold My Hand fits as a social anthem for positivity, but not in the light of those songs I mentioned above.
Final Thoughts – I can’t say this is the best album since Thriller. That would be disrespecting this album and albums like Bad, Dangerous and the vastly underrated, hardly-promoted Invincible album. I’d say it’s among those albums in quality. Despite all the critics bashing the album I feel it’s as true to MJ as could be expected being that he isn’t around to finalize the work himself. I don’t believe any songs are anyone other than him and background singers strengthening the vocals. I already have a preferred playlist which is pretty much every song but Much Too Soon. I can see I will eventually tire of some songs. Ironically this album does seem like the next step from Invincible whereas This Is It seemed a little off-track. The booklet has the song lyrics which I always prefer and also has little writings by MJ about success and how he formulates the music from his head to recording it vocally including the instrument sounds he could imitate with his voice. Nice insight into the mind of a musical genius.
To buy or not? – Buy! You might want to try listening to it online but there are some nice jams here and keepers you should like if you are an MJ fan.