Michael Jackson Cash-in â€˜This Is Itâ€™ Mixes Hits, Poetry: Review
Oct. 26 (Bloomberg) — The Michael Jackson bandwagon starts rolling big time today with the far from aptly titled â€œThis Is It,â€ aimed at milking the King of Popâ€™s legacy.
The album follows the preview of the title track earlier this month and precedes the â€œMichael Jacksonâ€™s â€˜This Is Itâ€™â€ movie, which opens on Oct. 28, with a DVD to follow. Thatâ€™s not even mentioning the 100 unreleased Jackson tracks in the vaults.
The CD itself offers scant clue of whatâ€™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 â€œBillie Jeanâ€ and the funky â€œWanna Be Startinâ€™ Something.â€ Still, thereâ€™s no â€œBadâ€ or â€œDangerous,â€ which are replaced by the sub par â€œShake Your Body (Down to the Ground)â€ and the sugary â€œThis Is It,â€ here both in its original version and an orchestral one that was intended for his never-to-be live show at Londonâ€™s O2 arena.
There are already plenty of Jackson compilations — on a single disc, â€œNumber Ones,â€ and on a double thereâ€™s â€œThe Essential Michael Jacksonâ€ and â€œHIStory.â€ These are the best starting points, with the new disc only a taster for the movie.
The song â€œThis Is It,â€ Paul Anka has declared, was originally planned as a 1983 duet called â€œI Never Heard.â€ The track, which gets its first official release after streaming on Jacksonâ€™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 â€œWanna Be Startinâ€™ Something,â€ â€œSheâ€™s Out of My Lifeâ€ and â€œBeat It.â€
It finishes with a spoken poem by Jackson, â€œPlanet Earth.â€ It has wordplay that ranges from sixth-grade doggerel to touching insight. Jackson is likely to have fans weeping as he signs off saying â€œplanet earth gentle and blue, with all my heart I love you.â€
If this were Jacksonâ€™s only compilation, it would rate ****. Still, there are better collections, so it gets ***.
â€œThis Is Itâ€ is on Sony, priced at $9.99. Download fees vary across services.