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December 10, 2010 11:16 pm
Behold, Michael Jackson is among us again. Or is he? The King of Pop’s first posthumous album – yes, first: his estate has signed a $250m, 10-album deal with Sony – arrives amid accusations of inauthenticity and tastelessness. Should his unfinished songs have been completed? Is it really him singing?
The sweet falsetto and swooping growls are certainly genuine Jacko, though the songs – a mishmash of old cast-offs and material from the album he was working on when he died last year – have been ostentatiously tricked out with other singers’ backing vocals and lavish production.
Somewhere in “Hollywood Tonight” a lithe disco-funk number struggles to be heard, but it’s drowned out by a Gregorian choir, whistling, Jackson-style beatboxing and a robotic non-Jacko voice-over. “Keep Your Head” briefly comes alive with a vibrato-laden lead vocal, but then Jackson disappears from the song and a sugary gospel choir takes over. Beneath the glitzy overproduction you detect the coarser sound of barrels being scraped.
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