Thursday, April 25, 2024

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

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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.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.
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