I have to tell you folks: This whole Michael Jackson death thing is getting to be the stuff of parody. As if the release of bloopers as a “major motion picture” wasn’t bad enough, but this album release from Sony is so much more offensive on so many levels. Now I don’t want to berate Sony too much because there WAS a movie titled “This Is It” released in theaters which meant a soundtrack album was to shortly follow. And from the outside it appears that this was a project of great love and care. The album comes in a digibook that can hold the two CD’s comfortably inside.
When you open it up you are treated to a beautiful 40 plus page glossy booklet with pictures and information on the concert that would have likely been the pinnacle of MJ’s career. This is a lovely package when you look at it, and it looks very nice on any album collectors shelf. Pop in the CD though and the ugly truth rears it’s ugly head: These are nothing but repackaged songs. Ignorantly I assumed they’d use the concert recordings found in the picture, but rather then master those for CD they decided to take songs that have been reissued to death and sell them to loyal fans once again.
Well, except for “They Don’t Care About Us.” To my knowledge that’s only on the “HIStory" album. Now the thing is these songs are classic songs. They are still great. They sound great. But...they sound great on all the other albums too. These are not the best these songs have ever sounded and real MJ fans have multiple copies of these songs. I know that MJ’s death inspired a spike in sales for his albums and the record companies would be fools to not take advantage of that. But this year alone we got at LEAST four new compilation albums from Sony! Plus with “HIStory,” “Number Ones,” “The Essential Michael Jackson,” and many more, did we really need this to be a similar repackaging of old material?
Now to be fair there is SOME new material! An unreleased song titled “This Is It” gets two versions on this release: A studio recording and an orchestra recording. Both versions sound great, but this is far from his best unreleased song. Then we have a second disk with three demo tracks and a poem MJ wrote (and reads for this release) called “Planet Earth.” The poem is certainly interesting and nice to have, but most demos aren’t worth the time to listen to them and neither are these. Why would one bother to listen to the clunky demo recordings when they can listen to the cleaned up and professional studio recordings? Besides, is any of this worth having a second disk anyway?
This release would not have been a problem if the concert recordings were what was on this disk. At least it would be slightly different then what we’ve already bought multiple times, but the last thing I feel I needed was another greatest hits compilation from MJ. Is this going to be the norm from now? Release a new compilation collection with one unreleased song every time? I hope to God this isn’t the case. MJ’s music is great but if have all his music this is a tough recommendation. And if you’ve never bought an MJ CD before then buying “The Essential” collection would make for a better investment then this. Because aside from the gloss packaging there’s almost nothing we haven’t already heard before.
Grade: ** stars (and the only reason it gets an additional star is because this music IS still good)
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About the reviewer
Kevin T. Rodriguez (KevinTRod)
Kevin T. Rodriguez is an aspiring film journalist. He's more comfortable typing a review then doing an on-camera appearance, but he loves doing the occasional rant. Whether it be on movies, eBay, or comics, … more
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This Is It is a two-disc compilation album that features the music of American pop and R&B musician Michael Jackson, released October 26, 2009 on Epic Records. Its release coincided with the release of Michael Jackson's This Is It, a concert film documenting Jackson's rehearsals for a concert series of the same name.
The album has sold over a million copies worldwide in it's first two weeks of release, including 581,000 in the US.
This Is It is Michael Jackson's sixth No.1 album on the American Billboard 200 album charts.