The Score: Michael Jackson, "Michael"

Tuesday, Dec 14, 2010 3:25PM

Written by J. Bachelor

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  • Michael
  • Michael Jackson
  • December 14, 2010
Soul Culture 4/5
Entertainment Weekly 8/10
The Independent 2/5
NY Daily News 3/5
NME Music News 5/10

The King of Pop Michael Jackson has joined the ranks of Tupac Shakur, Elvis Presley and other countless late musicians with the today's release of his first posthumous album, Michael.

This project is expected to be the first of several discs of unreleased music from The King Of Pop.

Quincy Jones used to talk about the ingredient that distinguished Michael Jackson from his peers as a creative force in the recording studio: He was a workaholic who wouldn't let any track go until he was absolutely convinced it was finished.
One wonders what the perfectionist in Jackson would've thought of the music released in his name on "Michael" (Epic), the first of what is projected to be a series of posthumous full-length releases. The last two decades of his career bedeviled by personal turmoil and image-shattering legal proceedings, Jackson was on a mission to put the focus back on his music when he died in the summer of 2009 on the eve of a major concert tour. Demonstrating once again that death is a great career move, Jackson became something of a pop martyr and sold 35 million albums worldwide in the next 12 months. (Chicago Tribune)

G-Unit head honcho 50 Cent collaborated with The King for the "Monster" track, while Akon escorts him on "Hold My Hand".

Even Akon can't completely ruin the single 'Hold My Hand', a tender mid-paced love song in the vein of 'Remember The Time', while 'Best Of Joy' and '(I Like) The Way You Love Me' cover similar classy/boring mid-tempo R&B territory... 'Monster' revisits 'Smooth Criminal' territory only to be ruined by an inappropriate rap from 50 Cent, while the worst thing you can say about 'Hollywood Tonight' is that its catchy signature gets annoying after a while. (NME)

An assortment of hitmakers, including Teddy Riley and Neff-U were called upon to bring the project to life.

The 10 tracks form an impressively cohesive disc that features production from C. "Tricky" Stewart, Teddy Riley and Theron "Neff-U" Feemster. Most importantly, "Michael" maintains the uplifting tone that Jackson intended for this collection of songs: "He wanted to put out music that was positive enough to bring the world together," says Akon, who duets on first single "Hold My Hand." (This is RNB)

Singer/produecer Akon, who appears on the lead single "Hold my Hand," recently spoke about his role on the album after receiving backlash from Black Eye Peas frontman Will.I.Am.

"I think that's probably Will's opinion," Akon told TMZ of the Black Eyed Peas frontman's statement. "Me personally, I think that's keeping his legacy alive, if you ask me. I don't see anything disrespectful about it. He got his people taking care of it. We all did records that we actually worked on together on the album. These records would have come out whether he was alive or dead, so I think this actually helps keep his legacy alive. I honestly disagree with that." (MTV)

Some critics see "Michael" as a decent addition to the Jackson catalog, while others dismiss it as a collection of discarded material from a pop icon who aspired to attain musical perfection.

As musical epitaphs go, "Michael" is a solid album, arguably stronger than "Invincible" and certainly no great affront to his name. But it can be hard to listen and not wonder what he would have done differently -- or if he would have wanted us to hear it at all. (Entertainment Weekly)
Jackson's vocals can sound nasal and pinched throughout, a consequence of his self-obliterating surgeries. When he swings into a falsetto, however, he soars. Moments like those give "Michael" value. At just 40 minutes, it may be a brief coda, but, perhaps a representative one from a life cut short.(New York Daily News)

To purchase Michael, just click here.

Preview music from the album below:

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