The biggest pop star in the world - a claim that is now at least arguable, well over a year after his death - is having a difficult week. There's chatter that the recordings on his upcoming December release Michael aren't actually him.
Given the state of the music business and the sheer value of the Michael Jackson brand, is it believable that Sony would fabricate an album to make a few million farthings?
[jump] The accusations that the vocals on Michael are a sham originally sprung from the Jackson camp; his father, mother and children have all said they think the recordings sounded a little fishy. Yahoo! Music reported:
Three to five of the 10-12 tracks on Michael, out December 14 on Sony, were allegedly recorded at the New Jersey home of producer Eddie Cascio in 2007, when Michael and his children stayed there for four months working on remixes for the 25th-anniversary reissue of Thriller. Michael's son, Prince Michael, said this week that none of what he heard recorded then matches what he hears now on Michael, and that he believes the Cascio cuts were recorded posthumously by a Michael soundalike. Prince's sister, Paris, corroborated these claims--as did Michael's mother, Katherine, during an Oprah interview. Joe Jackson, Michael's dad, also protested the songs via a statement by his attorney.
While Sony denied the rumors in a tepid statement issued to BBC News:
"[We have] complete confidence in the results of our extensive research, as well as the accounts of those who were in the studio with Michael, that the vocals on the new album are his own".
The presumed copycat is a guy named Jason Malachi. He certainly has the pipes to impersonate MJ, however squandered his image may be on Photoshop jobs/t-shirts from 1996:
Starting off like a summertime popcorn movie, flitting between static-rife television stations as anchors weightily report about the song they're starting off, "Breaking News" pops in with a Motown violin flourish and proceeds to get creepy. "Just when you thought he was done he comes to give it again...Think you put a run for Bert today [definitely not what he's saying, but the line is completely unintelligible after two dozen listens]...He wanna write my obituary." The vocals are so encumbered by an army overdubs that it's very difficult to fall on one side or the other. Which any world-class producer charged with fabricating a Michael Jackson would accomplish.
Michael Jackson, "Breaking News"
The embarrassment doesn't stop there! The music blog Dr. Funkenberry, which rather fanatically covers the every move of Prince, reported today that after pointing out a very small instance of Prince's logo on the back cover the record, Prince's team had contacted Sony. It was removed. Who the hell is on Prince's internet team?