Hold My HandThe album opens up on an Akon-sque note-and a fairly good one I might add. Towards the end, Michael does his signature hum and whisper we've all grown fond off through the years. All throughout the track, you can sense MJ's hand guiding the melody-especially upon the Demo. The choral work was a definite step in the right direction.
Though I felt Akon's Konvict signature intro wasn't needed. Plus I wished he didn't change the lyrics from "Sweet music" to "They called him MJ"(too referential). Personal, I wasn't too fond of the added Hip-Hop synths as I thought more of it as an R&B Ballad/Love song with an anthmic twist.
However despite my little quibbles, I find "Hold My Hand opens "Michael" on a catchy note!
Hollywood TonightNow this track rocks! The Gregorian Chant just gives it an ethereal start! Yet I have a feeling this one was left unfinished. So they had to work with what they had. The storyline is interesting and Tyryll's bridge adds some insight to the mix.
However, I felt it a bit over-produced with a few of unnecessary fillers and unnatural tones(perhaps auto-toned to fit the tracks pitch). Plus I wish the back-ups had more room to breath. But unlike those three infamous Casio tracks, I can live with a little Melodyne now and then. Click Here to have a listen for yourself.
Keep Your Head UpThe song has a nice concept accompanied by a vigorous choir towards the end. However, the track has been compressed and layered to the point that there's no magic nor melody to the lyrics. Click Here and judge for yourselves.
I Like The Way You Love MeNow this is what I like to call a work of art! First you hear Jackson spontaneously composing the tune over the phone. Followed by an alternate mix to the Original version found on the Ultimate Collection Box Set.
Unlike the other selection upon this album, Melodyne was rightly chosen for the backups! It gives an automatronic feel to the chorus. A classical tough has now replaced the heavy keyboard so prominent on the last version. Neff-U has certainly contributed a nice flavor to an already sensational track! Go check out the new version Over Here!
MonsterThis track had so much potential and they blew it! First off, the lead vocals don't sound authentic. Second of all, the track is so over processed and and manipulated beyond recovery(something no doubt Jackson is rolling over in his grave about). Plus I thought 50 Cent's Rap segment was a bit too long and interwoven with unnecessary ab-libs.
However, I do have a few compliments left. You can tell from the chorus of where Jackson would've taken this track amidst the over-production. But do to his untimely death we may never know. You can check it out Over Here.
Best of JoyAlthough obviously unfinished, "Best of Joy" will grow on you like a tender shoot. The song is reminiscent of Michael's past sentimentalism's like "Speechless" and "For All Time". One can only imagine the affect had he completed it between gigs over at the O2 Arena. Click Here and enjoy the last taste of Michael Jackson!
Breaking NewsAnother example of an over-synthesized caricature! You could almost swear an impersonator is singing over the rough draft! Be it Michael or not, I know he would never resort to repetitive self-referential lines.
But even so, the background chorus is livable and catchy. The track was obviously a work in progress. I could only dream of how this potential gem would've been. But for now, we'll just have to settle for This(I know).
I Can't Wait Another DayNow I call this the Magnum Otis of this compilation! The raw passion, energetic riffs, and Hard Rock energy exposes a new dimension to Michael Jackson's taste for music!
Some say the demo that leaked earlier this year was better(minus that rubber ducky). I haven't heard the full version of that. However, you can Click Here to listen to the snippet. Now check out the newer version Here!
Behind The Mask"Behind The Mask" is more retrospective of Mr. Jackson in his mid-twenties-the epitome of his career! I could see a lot of potential with this track had it not been for copyright. Maybe not for Thriller but more Victory. Click Here and feel him as he infuses new life into a quasi-instrumental.
Much Too SoonWe slow things down upon another retro gem archived from 1985. The great thing about this track-The instruments are real throughout! The soothing accordion and harmonica will sooth your composure as it has depth and a story to tell.
All in all, I give this a 9/10.
Go Here to have a listen.
I am not at all flattered by the way they manipulated Michael's voice to the extent of drowning the melody out! However amidst the turmoil, there are a few diamonds within the rough(Lenny, Akon, and Neff-U come to mind). Even though John McClain dusted a few tracks from the vault, his insistence upon antiquity has actually rescued the compilation from total failure(quite the contrary to what we once thought)! Click below to purchase your copy of "Michael" now!