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http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/635151afae46bd9ce670d61a2a1035569ed6aa54.jpg Michael

Michael Jackson

Michael

Sony
Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 3 0
December 14, 2010

This is not a Michael Jackson album. Jackson was one of pop's biggest fussbudgets: Even when his songs were half-baked, the production was pristine. He would not have released anything like this compilation, a grab bag of outtakes and outlines assembled by Jackson's label. And yet, it's a testament to the man's charisma that Michael can be compelling. Jackson gets songwriting credit on eight of 10 tracks, and they are recognizably Michael Jackson songs. "Behind the Mask" is a fiercely funky cousin to "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' "; the Lenny Kravitz-produced "(I Can't Make It) Another Day" is a "Dirty Diana"-esque dance-rock song that also features Kravitz on guitar. There are thrilling glimpses into MJ's creative process — check the snippet of him singing and beatboxing his idea for "(I Like) The Way You Love Me" — but Michael's most amazing moment is the Thriller-era ballad "Much Too Soon." The song is full of guitars and strings, but all you really hear is that voice — hovering between child and adult, between male and female, between mournful and ecstatic.

Photos: The Life and Career of Michael Jackson

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