Michael Jackson - Michael Jackson's This Is It

Michael Jackson - Michael Jackson's This Is It
Styles: Dance-Pop, Soundtracks, Contemporary R&B
Genre: R&B
Album: Michael Jackson's This Is It
Release Date: October 27, 2009
Artist: Michael Jackson
Duration: 01:32:18

An important thing to remember when considering the soundtrack to This Is It: this entire film and CD project was never supposed to happen. This Is It was designed as a comeback tour, not a movie, with the rehearsals taped not for exhibition, but rather instruction, possibly some video bonus down the line. Of course, Michael Jackson's tragic passing created considerable demand for those final rehearsals (no need to get into the financial need, as well), so they were packaged as the This Is It film, released almost five months after his death, with a soundtrack as an accompaniment. Since there were no real live recordings made, at least not any to fill a big-budget blockbuster like this, the soundtrack consists of almost nothing but the hits repackaged one more time, with the title track -- an '80s leftover, co-written by Paul Anka and released under the name "I Never Heard" by Safire -- added as an enticement in two separate versions, the second being orchestral with an opening straight out of Sgt. Pepper's.

The song does feel like a demo, right down to how it fades out mid-chorus, but there's no denying the thrill of hearing an unheard vocal track of Michael at his prime, no matter how mediocre the song may be. Whether this makes this worth purchasing is another question entirely. There's a second disc containing demos of "She's Out of My Life" (just Michael and an acoustic, quite nice) "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" (full demo, with identical rhythm and guitar lines, close to the final version but lacking its horns), and "Beat It" (a true writer's sketch, all vocals and harmonies, no lyrics or instruments, kind of awesome) plus a "poem" of "Planet Earth."

Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' / Michael JacksonMichael Jackson6:03
Jam / Michael Jackson / René Moore / Teddy Riley / Bruce SwedienMichael Jackson5:39
They Don't Care About Us / Michael JacksonMichael Jackson4:45
Human Nature / John Bettis / Steve PorcaroMichael Jackson4:06
Smooth Criminal / Michael JacksonMichael Jackson4:17
The Way You Make Me Feel / Michael JacksonMichael Jackson4:58
Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground) / Michael Jackson / Randy JacksonMichael Jackson feat: The Jacksons3:54
I Just Can't Stop Loving You / Michael JacksonMichael Jackson4:12
Thriller / Rod TempertonMichael Jackson5:57
Beat It / Michael JacksonMichael Jackson4:18
Black or White / Bill Bottrell / Michael JacksonMichael Jackson4:16
Earth Song / Michael JacksonMichael Jackson6:46
Billie Jean / Michael JacksonMichael Jackson4:54
Man in the Mirror / Glen Ballard / Siedah GarrettMichael Jackson5:20
This Is It / Michael JacksonMichael Jackson3:37
This Is It [Orchestra Version] / Michael JacksonMichael Jackson4:55

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