The fans are worried that Michael Jackson‘s new songs–recorded in 2007 at the New Jersey home studio of family friends–aren’t his.
The “Cascio tracks” have caused an uproar. On the planned “Michael” album set for December 14th release, there will be three: “Breaking News,” “Monster,” and “Keep Your Head Up.” (I’ve heard the latter song, and it’s quite wonderful.)
I am told that in addition to forensic tests on the songs to make sure the vocals are Michael’s, Sony sources say Eddie Cascio has provided notes written on lyric sheets in Michael’s unmistakable handwriting. (Of course, they can always call in Helena Bonham Carter’s aunt–see yesterday’s column.)
Sources tell me there’s plenty of proof left behind by Michael that he provided the vocals on 12 tracks. Michael wasn’t just sitting around that whole time in the studio. He worked on the songs, and there’s evidence of it in the notations.
Some of the confusion on the currently streaming “Breaking News” may exist because Michael provided “guide” vocals on the tracks. He didn’t record back up vocals or anything else that would embellish a regular recording. Producers have added back up singing and instrumentals to flesh the records out.
Michael also never finished or polished up the tracks. What’s been done to them is similar to what was applied to the song “This Is It.” Jackson had left just a one track vocal with a piano playing in the background. John McClain added background vocals from Michael’s brothers and other musical elements to give the track life.
Also included on the new album: three songs produced by a hot new producer-writer named Nephew. One of them, which I’ve heard, is called “Best of Joy.” It’s a lovely ballad. And ironic–that Michael’s nephews are causing so much dissent over the album because their songs weren’t used, but three by someone actually named Nephew were. Weird.