Home Music Michael Jackson’s New Album: So Close And Yet, So Far Away

An album of Michael Jackson‘s unreleased music is still for a November release from Sony.

But really, among the insiders, no one knows what’s going to be on it. Or if it will be ready in time. The word is that Sony/Columbia Records chief Rob Stringer recently made a trip west to see what the heck is going on. It’s unclear what he found.

In the Jackson world, things are vaguer than ever on this subject.

My sources say there are different camps working on different tracks, and that at some point someone is going to have to make some decisions. One thing is for certain: no one is talking to Jackson’s long time engineer, Bruce Swedien, the man who actually knows what music is available from all his different sessions.

So producer Rodney Jerkins is working on a few tracks, I am told. Some of them may be from that group of songs Michael recorded with Eddie Cascio in his New Jersey home studio three summers ago.

On the other side, John McClain — Jackson’s co-executor and long time family friend– is said to be working on some songs with Michael’s brother Jackie Jackson. Jackie was recently put on the estate’s payroll as a family liaison. He’s said to be the “most reasonable” of the Jackson brothers, and the one with whom everyone gets along. Akon is also said to be working on one or two tracks.

But McClain is another issue. It was under his aegis that the unearthed song, “This Is It,” was produced and released as part of the movie and soundtrack of the same name. But the song wasn’t a hit. One listen to Paul Anka‘s version of it, live, and you see what could have been. Anka has another unreleased track in the Jackson archives.

But the clock is ticking: two months from a release date, and there’s no concept, title, artwork or marketing plan.

54 replies to this post
  1. From the time Michael was aprox 5 years old (the marking point of him being sculpted into a perfect little music box) all that could be seen by others were big $$$$$$$ signs.
    He wanted to ‘fit-in’ and be ‘cool’ with his brothers (what little guy doesn’t) desiring acceptance from his father. To get that he had to perform… What five year old doesn’t yearn for his father’s approval?
    This real life ‘Truman Show’ (*The movie The Truman Show) has been emotionally draining on all those whom watched. We were amazed, we hurt, we laughed, we cried, and all the more-begging for more from this man who simply wanted acceptance.
    I find myself taken to the scene of the movie where Truman is in the boat trying to escape and the director turns up the storms nearly killing Truman. Watching him nearly die. Yet even though Truman couldn’t breathe, he pulls himself up with the last bit of strength he has, raises the sail and makes it to the edge of the set. Finding the door-He takes one look back and steps right out….
    All our hearts ache with the agony of loosing ‘our Truman’ (Our *Michael*) wanting so much for him to return. Each of us trying to find our own way to cope. Some in the desperate attempt to attach their name to his, others trying to simply grasp at anything they can to hold onto his memory. Ones as ‘vultures’ will continue to fly overhead until they themselves finally fall from the sky.
    Those of us whom are not in the position of power in this real life drama feel helpless as we sit in the wings hungering for the simple sound of Michael’s voice again.
    I find myself in the place where I DO NOT want to hear it with fireworks, flashing lights, and morphed sounds. I don’t want to hear it mixed in with anyone else or their voice. I think “Just a little drop of sh*t ruins the entire batch of brownies”
    I want to hear it all raw…Just as he lived his life, exposed to all the world…
    I truly wished that every penny of profit made would go into trust funds for his children-and that no one but them could gain.

  2. hola soy de el tio provincia de cordoba argentina me encantaria poder saber mucho mas a cerca de michael jackson siempre lo quise lo amo desde que era una niña y hoy tengo 22 años y lo sigo amando como siempre espero tener alguna respuesta de ustedes los amo familia jackson

  3. I love and miss Michael sooo much..that I wish that his music never stops. But then again for it to be in the hands of these assholes..better MJ name just stays quiet and out of the mouth of these jackss. TE AMOOOO MUCHO MJ.

  4. Tinkerbelle, you are clueless.

    He did not file a creditor’s claims because MJ owed him NOTHING.
    He disrespected MJ over money….you think he would pass an opportunity to get paid if he had the chance? All these so-called friends were there for one thing: MONEY. Money MJ could bring them…that is why MJ isolated himself…he was sick of being seen as a cash cow by his family, fake friends & idiotic employees. But thank Goodness, he had his kids.

  5. Love the whole discussion.
    Q already said publicly he won’t be a part of the new album. Personally I don’t like him. He comes across like a womanizer who patronized MJ and treated him in a condescending way, an educated Joe if you will.
    I think Swedien is an EXCELLENT engineer and has honest and true love and respect for MJ. However if they had some money problems of such an amount… his decision is pretty understandable. It is sad to see how MJ was hiding or avoiding friends and colleges, people who could have helped him get his head on his shoulders again. He isolated himself way out there. It’s a shame. That said, all the cash flow problems must have been a strong strain in his psychis, especially to someone used to not have such a problem. Add the most likely quiet and silent self conclusion that Invincible was not succesful (remember the target was Thriller, always…)
    Then again if out of his psychological state of depression he was unable to take care of his business, like paying Swedien, writting the forword for a book (that will talk exactly about what he told Oprah (“If I get to meet Michael Angelo I’ll ask him about his craftmanship” (rephrased) people should be asking him)…….
    then…. he was in a very dark state of mind, alone and helpless, dwelling on his perceived failure. A total heartbreak..something that breaks MY heart. I empathize.
    In the Studio talks excactly what Mike thought people should ask him about: making music, his craftmanship not who the f*ck he was dating. That is what that book is about: In the Studio. What’s wrong with that? I wish everything written about him was talent oriented and not tabloid trash.
    So I understand if Swedien doesn’t want to be there and if he’s not called then I doubt that album will be nothing fantastic, sound speaking. The guy knows his craft. It’s a shame he was not asked.
    (The fact that he didn’t file a creditor’s claim to the estate speaks highly of him as a person in my opinion. He loved MJ. Period.)

  6. E no que diz respeito a matéria acima …

    Eu só queria que ele Michael Jackson estivesse aqui para que tudo fosse feito conforme o seu desejo.
    Ele é um perfeccionista impecável e brilhante!!!
    Onde Michael toca, vira ouro!!!
    Sem contar que só a sua presença onde quer que seja já é uma garantia de sucesso absoluto!!!

    Eu te amo Michael Jackson. Amo sim.

  7. Michael Jackson: O ÚNICO Mega, Máster, Hiper, Super Artista existente em todo o mundo, com um Talento Inigualável e Inimitável, um Verdadeiro Sábio, um Gênio, um Homem Fino, Elegante, Sensual, Charmoso, Sexy, rico em Simpatia e Doçura, dono de uma voz Maravilhosa, deliciosa de se ouvir, ele é Especial até no seu andar. Muitos desejaram assemelhar-se a ele, mas ninguém até hoje alcançou e alcançará, o mesmo Talento, a mesma Fama, o mesmo Sucesso, o mesmo Prestígio e o mesmo Amor Incondicional de fãs do mundo todo.
    Somente ele conhecia a fórmula para tanto Sucesso. Este mesmo Homem que eu tenho uma enorme admiração e respeito, ainda que tenha vivido perseguido por inúmeros invejosos simplesmente por ser ele o Melhor e sendo vítima de “n” acusações, sendo ele inocente, sem nada dever e que foi motivos de sátiras, de gozações, pois usavam a sua imagem para fazer brincadeiras de péssimo gosto e que também serviu de anedotas, que foi censurado, criticado por suas condutas sem antes conhecer o porque e posteriormente foi rotulado como uma pessoa bizarra e abandonado. Ele diante de todos esses problemas permaneceu brilhante em tudo o que fez. Imaginem se ele não tivesse nada em sua vida o incomodando? A Perfeição seria pouco para esse Grande Homem e Grande Artista.
    Michael conquistou tudo sozinho, ele não usou ninguém como degrau para ser quem é, (ele recebeu esse Dom de Deus, ainda no ventre de sua mãe), portanto, o mérito foi todo seu, pois a garra, a coragem, a determinação, a sabedoria, a dedicação que faltam em muitas pessoas, sobravam em Michael.
    O mundo sofreu uma grande perca e por essa razão não haverá, não verá e não terá um outro Grande Homem e Grande Artista como Michael Jackson.
    O seu único defeito foi ter procurado sempre fazer o bem e sem olhar a quem, graças ao seu nobre e precioso coração. Pois ele era pobre em maldades e malícias!!! E o seu retorno foi o abandono e a ingratidão além de ter sido mal interpretado.
    Ele pode ter errado sim. Afinal é um Ser Humano e todos nós erramos!!! E quem não tem pecado neste mundo?
    Mas as suas qualidades que não são poucas superam todo e qualquer erro, todo e qualquer deslize por ele cometido.
    E no que diz respeito as suas características físicas ele é Maravilhoso de todas as formas: negro, mulato, moreno, branco, com vitiligo, sem vitiligo, com plástica, sem plástica, com maquiagem, sem maquiagem, com cabelo liso, com cabelo cacheado, com cabelo curto, com cabelo comprido, com peruca, sem peruca, em fim, para resumir, para definir e para finalizar:
    Este Lindo Ser Humano e Lindo Homem foi, é e continuará sendo digno de muito Amor, de muito Carinho, de muita Admiração e de muito Respeito, porque assim ele fez por merecer.
    Eu na condição de fã incondicional, não poupo palavras para declarar e registrar sempre que possível todo o meu amor que sempre senti, sinto e continuarei sentindo por ele: Michael Jackson, enquanto eu viver.

    Pimenta Jackson

  8. I never advocated that Swedien should work on this album. I don’t even think there should be a “this album” because I dislike Sony a whole lot more than any of these other characters. All that said, I agree with you that Swedien should be a man of his word and NOT expect a call from the estate. At the same time his original proclomation was not at all offensive to me.

  9. I think Michael had not friends but just people who wanted to make money with him and to be famous with his name.How can a man who have worked with him so long not understanding he was in big troubles after the trial???Maybe he didn’t even remember he had to pay someone.Can you try to understand how a man can feel after a trial like that????
    Poor MIke i hope he will come back as soon as possible and i hope he will understand how many not friends he had.

  10. Constant contradictions by everyone it seems who knew Michael Jackson. If Swedian was so assed off by Michael why did he write a book about working with him-oh I know now(after reading it) it was not about Michael but how clever Swedian was!!! (cons fans). Quincy – enough said about him. As for Michael not wanting underlings to look at him or talk to him. I will find the link but there is a website dedicated to studio engineers ( a lot of them very young assistants) who worked with Michael and they all say he did not like anyone (not even Quincy who also repeats this) as he was shy. But they all say that Michael talked to all of them and was interested in them as people and tell wonderful stories of things he did for them, even though they did not expect him to (as even lesser stars ignore them). Sour grapes!!

  11. Shannon Says:
    September 10th, 2010 at 9:56 am

    When someone says I will NEVER work with Michael Jackson again….I take it to the bank…why is he having his buddy friedman plead in his column for him to be added to the project.

    I can assume MJ read his rant…because MJ never invited him back on any of his more recent sessions. Now..he can beat it. Screw him…Screw Quincy Jones and all other MJ haters out there.

  12. A new album with new songs of Michael Jackson, would be wonderful …. would like to know what worked, what new directions explored and how he felt or sensed the King of Pop, with this music easy and not very complex at this time…… love your voice today, I would like to hear how tracing her feelings of “now” successful Michael, adult and parent.

    Prevents ist musica,complete or not, for several reasons none of us know , was handled by those who had no respect and regard for him in life, who have not had scruples in expressing thing he can not contradict in his death … who would like to be loved and respected his life, music and legacy , that could work in this new album.
    All my love, Michael Jackson.

  13. MJFAN I not only look at words but patterns of behavior over the totality of the relationship. This aids me in my decision making when evidence is not readily available. I spoke nothing of gospel dear but I do have the ability to do my own thinking which leads me to reasonable beliefs. Bruce sounds reasonably disappointed, not gunning for MJ like a Bob Jones and it does not sound out of character. You can believe what you want, but you already knew that.

  14. Quincy can go to hell. He’s still pissed over MJ dropping him after Bad. He’s been so disrespectful to MJ after his death. And Bruce Swedien is not the end all be all. He threw MJ under the bus! Don’t get mad over not being contacted now Bruce. You said you never wanted to work with MJ again so you won’t. :)

  15. Shannon Says:
    September 8th, 2010 at 1:40 pm
    I don’t think Bruce said anything disrespectful. I would no longer work for someone who beat me for half million either. He does, in spite of not getting paid, still love him.

    so you are taking Swedien’s words as the gospel? Last time I checked he did not file a creditor’s claim last year. And MJ DID NOT involve Swedien in his most recent recording sessions.

    That tells me he did not want to have anything to do with him.

    Now Swedien wants to get his name on the album…? Too late…friends don’t backstab friends in the tabloids.

    The estate should keep these fair-weather friends AWAY.

  16. I don’t think Bruce said anything disrespectful. I would no longer work for someone who beat me for half million either. He does, in spite of not getting paid, still love him. And We all know MJ had many creditors after that trial, including his own lawyer. Not a bad person, just a bad situation. I just think it’s very hypocritical of Quincy to say the crap he said in his Details article after MJs death, not go to his funeral, and then pull off that We Are the World fiasco like it wasn’t for completely selfish reasons.

  17. Michael,

    You know I love you so so soo much but I’m not holding my breath with this new album. I will buy it and I will love it but I’m not expecting something on par with BAD or Thriller. I dont like these new music producers, they don’t do your songs full justice in my opinion and I don’t trust SONY. I reckon it will be yet another cheap cash in for them but the album will still sell well despite this. Only a dreadful pity for you who’s legacy and talent being insulted and for your fans who are yet again being cheated and conned

    Love you always my darling xxx

  18. OK, so Michael Jackson burnt bridges to Jones and Swedien. That was not wise. As for the missing payment, it goes to show how he lost his spirit, interest and ability to keep things up after the trial and went into hiding instead. It seems he was still very creative, but didn’t manage to finish anything and get it out there, and he didn’t have the best people around him either.

    Now it’s about the music. Would Swedien step in if he was finally paid – with interest? (Or was he paid between 2007 and 2009?) Would Jones, now that he knews MJ actually had vitiligo and didn’t try to “make himself white”, which Jones believed up till the autopsy report?

  19. remember this:

    Bruce Swedien said he WILL NEVER WORK WITH MICHAEL JACKSON AGAIN. WTF IS HE COMPLAINING ABOUT NOW??????

    Michael Jackson Burns Final Bridge in Music Business

    Thursday , May 10, 2007

    By Roger Friedman

    ADVERTISEMENT

    Michael Jackson | Chris Albrecht | Odds ‘n’ Ends

    Jacko Burns Final Bridge in Music Biz

    Bruce Swedien, the man who recorded all of Michael Jackson’s adult hits including “Thriller,” “Bad,” “Dangerous” and “Off the Wall,” is out.

    Swedien, a lovely, soft-spoken man, said Jackson has cheated him out of about $500,000 in royalties from the 2001 “Invincible” album. Swedien said he’s tried over and over again to reach Jackson and get his money, but there’s been no answer.

    Ironically, Swedien said intermediaries for the former pop star recently reached out to him to see if he’d come work with Jackson on a new album.

    “I will never [work] with Michael Jackson again,” Swedien told me the other day. “I still love him and we made beautiful music. But never again.”

    Swedien also tried contacting Jackson to ask if he’d write a forward to a book the producer has just completed about their collaborations.

    “There’s nothing about Michael’s personal life in it,” he said. “It’s all about how we made the records. But I never heard back from him.”

    Instead, Rod Temperton, who wrote many of Jackson’s hits, has written the introduction. “It’s beautiful,” Swedien said.

    Swedien also tells me that Jackson has recently had contact with his other former producer, Quincy Jones. “But Quincy has no interest in working with Michael, and he and I work together. It’s not going to happen.”

    For the record, Swedien — who recently moved to Florida from Connecticut and set up a new state-of-the-art studio — said he never saw anything untoward concerning Jackson and young boys.

    “If it was there, we didn’t know about it,” he said.

    Swedien did confirm, however, that Jackson routinely had strange rules in the studio, including prohibiting underlings from looking at him or speaking to him.

  20. The demo tracks should be released the way they are. After years of Michael Jackson avoiding working with his brothers, now after his death his music is being put through the scrutiny of Jackie? It’s like the last thirty years of development never happened, and I’m afraid everything will sound like the Jackson’s or The Jackson 5. Tragic.

  21. i find it fascinating that out of the intense desperation to feel like he’s still alive the world is willing to fund the ppl everyone knows is most responsible for his death.
    this is indeed a disturbing universe.

  22. and the name is Cascio. and perhaps this isn’t music Michael rejected, but music he tragically didn’t have the opportunity to finish. not everything in this world is tainted.

  23. We MJ fanatics absolutely want an album of unreleased tracks. What we don’t want are producers adding new beats to the vocals. I want to hear Michael Jackson’s music in it’s purest form – re-mastering for sound at most. He always over recorded for demos so we won’t need their new trendy beats with Michael’s vocals… If thats the plan then I understand Will.I.A.M.’s frustration, although he’s not the mouth peice for the late great King of Pop, Rock, and Soul! Long live the King!

  24. Dogging any and everything Michael Jackson related…there’s the Roger I know! Hey Roger, hopefully the album gets pushed back that way you’ll have some material to write about. But if they do release the album on time, let’s hope it flops so you can REALLY go in on them. It’ll be just like the old days! Now if it is released on time and is a hit let’s just ignore it like it never happened because afterall, we wouldn’t want to say ANYTHING positive about Michael Jackson now would we?

  25. Dont worry, I dont think that its so “difficult” to get 10-12 songs together on one album, the problem could be – to have hit songs!

    As for This Is It single, it wasnt released as a single, so it couldnt be successful on charts.
    And, what was really weird and ridiculous… was the album version, pretty unprofessional. Anka´s live version has the energy for that kind of song…, I am really surprised that people from Estate and Sony totally failed in this – to check the background of the MJs music and songs. Why not a soft remixed version? Why they didnt release the songs from the movie TII in their movie version? It would be live and perfect…, the first official live album of MJ.

    If they failed in this “project”, what we could expect next?

  26. Lenny Kravitz is remixing Another Day as well.

    I think Bruce should definitely be involved. It’d be good if Quincy was as well too. I’m sure MJ has lots of great unreleased music it just needs to be put together as a good album. This Is It featured the great vocals of Michael but the song itself was only half there and the result wasn’t classic MJ. Hopefully the new album is full of great cuts.

  27. Glad to hear no one is talking to Bruce Swedien. That man is an ass who has right being anywhere near this project or any other planned MJ project.

  28. This is just so wrong. Its like redecorating a perfectionists’ home after they have passed on. Money driven, no doubt, but just plain wrong. I’m not gonna buy it in November or anytime thereafter just out of respect to MJ.

  29. Friedman,

    You smuck. I bet your life is really “normal” and rosy. Which version of This Is It are you talking about? The one Jackson wrote the words and music for, and in registered it under MiJac Music with the American Copyright Association in 1980 or the one suppose to be collaboration with Anka in 1983?

    If you want to report something really important how about telling us if the Sony/ATV Catalog has been refinanced yet. If that’s too hard how about, is it true the MiJac Catalog has a loan against it? Why? Jackson just paid it off in Nov 2008. Don’t think he did that or else you would have told the world.

  30. i know this is what’s going to happen! since that 25year old rough demo This is it was promoted as a ‘NEW’, ‘EXCITING’ song! they should go get Bruce swedien for this project and works AS A TEAM and Jackie and old man mcclain should stay away from it!

  31. […] MICHAEL JACKSON'S NEW ALBUM: SO CLOSE AND YET, SO FAR AWAY "An album of Michael Jackson‘s unreleased music is still for a November release from Sony. But really, among the insiders, no one knows what’s going to be on it. Or if it will be ready in time. The word is that Sony/Columbia Records chief Rob Stringer recently made a trip west to see what the heck is going on. It’s unclear what he found. In the Jackson world, things are vaguer than ever on this subject. My sources say there are different camps working on different tracks, and that at some point someone is going to have to make some decisions. One thing is for certain: no one is talking to Jackson’s long time engineer, Bruce Swedien, the man who actually knows what music is available from all his different sessions. So producer Rodney Jerkins is working on a few tracks, I am told. Some of them may be from that group of songs Michael recorded with Eddie Cascio in his New Jersey home studio three summers ago. On the other side, John McClain – Jackson’s co-executor and long time family friend– is said to be working on some songs with Michael’s brother Jackie Jackson. Jackie was recently put on the estate’s payroll as a family liaison. He’s said to be the “most reasonable” of the Jackson brothers, and the one with whom everyone gets along. Akon is also said to be working on one or two tracks. But McClain is another issue. It was under his aegis that the unearthed song, “This Is It,” was produced and released as part of the movie and soundtrack of the same name. But the song wasn’t a hit. One listen to Paul Anka‘s version of it, live, and you see what could have been. Anka has another unreleased track in the Jackson archives. But the clock is ticking: two months from a release date, and there’s no concept, title, artwork or marketing plan." source: Michael Jackson’s New Album: So Close And Yet, So Far Away | Showbiz411 […]

  32. Considering how he threw MJ under the bus, Bruce Swedien is getting what he deserves.

    “One listen to Paul Anka‘s version of it, live, and you see what could have been.”

    Yeah, a tired-ass Paul Anka song.

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