Michael Jackson Cash-in

Michael Jackson Cash-in ‘This Is It’ Mixes Hits, Poetry: Review

Oct. 26 (Bloomberg) — The Michael Jackson bandwagon starts rolling big time today with the far from aptly titled “This Is It,” aimed at milking the King of Pop’s legacy.

The album follows the preview of the title track earlier this month and precedes the “Michael Jackson’s ‘This Is It’” movie, which opens on Oct. 28, with a DVD to follow. That’s not even mentioning the 100 unreleased Jackson tracks in the vaults.

The CD itself offers scant clue of what’s to come. The first disc is a non-chronological greatest hits of his solo studio work, with the supposedly new song tacked on the end.

Here again, we have the masters of much that made Jackson great, such as the thumping beat of “Billie Jean” and the funky “Wanna Be Startin’ Something.” Still, there’s no “Bad” or “Dangerous,” which are replaced by the sub par “Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)” and the sugary “This Is It,” here both in its original version and an orchestral one that was intended for his never-to-be live show at London’s O2 arena.

There are already plenty of Jackson compilations — on a single disc, “Number Ones,” and on a double there’s “The Essential Michael Jackson” and “HIStory.” These are the best starting points, with the new disc only a taster for the movie.

The song “This Is It,” Paul Anka has declared, was originally planned as a 1983 duet called “I Never Heard.” The track, which gets its first official release after streaming on Jackson’s Web site, is neither the best nor worst of his work.

The short second disc is more interesting, with three raw demo versions of “Wanna Be Startin’ Something,” “She’s Out of My Life” and “Beat It.”

Spoken Poem

It finishes with a spoken poem by Jackson, “Planet Earth.” It has wordplay that ranges from sixth-grade doggerel to touching insight. Jackson is likely to have fans weeping as he signs off saying “planet earth gentle and blue, with all my heart I love you.”

If this were Jackson’s only compilation, it would rate ****. Still, there are better collections, so it gets ***.

“This Is It” is on Sony, priced at $9.99. Download fees vary across services.

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