"Breaking News," the first single from Michael Jackson's forthcoming posthumous album Michael, is pretty awful. But that might not be Michael's fault! While Sony insists the track's legit, Jackson's nephews say that it actually isn't MJ singing at all. Controversy!
As has been the case with many famous dead musicians before him, there's still plenty of money to be made off Michael Jackson. Sony intends to make that money with Michael, an album that Jackson left half-completed when he died in 2009 which Sony has finished up for release on December 12. The first song from the album to leak onto the net is "Breaking News," which Jackson supposedly recorded in 2007.
But TJ Jackson, the son of Michael's brother, Tito, says that the song is a complete fake, a cut-up job combining various MJ samples with an impersonator's vocal track. After hearing it, TJ took to Twitter:
There's many MJ vocal impersonators. Some better than others. But there is only ONE Michael Jackson. Deceptively merging shady vocals with MJ samples (from prior MJ records) will never fool me. Why they would ignore the obvious, look the other way and rush a suspicious track that was NEVER on my Uncle's radar is beyond me. I'm disgusted, disappointed and saddened. And before the media starts to smear our name, just remember we are COMMITTED (as our Uncle Michael always knew) to protect his name and his amazing legacy he worked his whole life for. We have nothing to gain and we know they will try to drag our name through the mud. But we know how much he valued his legacy and his fans. And cheating either is unacceptable. "Lies run sprints, but the truth runs marathons"
He went on to even take a guess at identifying the MJ impersonator responsible for the track's main vocal:
Sounds like Jason Malachi to me too. The vibrato is a dead give away that it's not my uncle. Fans, I am so sorry you were put through this.
Taryll Jackson, TJ's brother, had a similar reaction. He said that there are "songs that are my uncle singing on the upcoming album and I will support those 100%...But I will not support Breaking News and a few others because it simply is not him." He explained on Twitter that he requested to see the files from the song's sessions but was told they had been deleted:
If you question the validity of a professional photo you can ask the photographer for more pictures from that photo shoot. If it is authentic the photographer will turn over different shots. Some with different poses, some even with eyes closed. I questioned the validity of the vocal's on "breaking news" and several other songs of theirs that I've heard and they told me no other takes or tracks exist. They claim my uncle was so happy with the performance he instructed them to delete all the other files. I had the honor to learn and watch my uncle record my entire life and that is NOT how he worked. No outtakes, no other tracks, no backups, no proof. roughly 10 songs they turned in… same story for all of them. I asked for the computer it was created on... they said it broke. I asked for the original hard drive... they said it was destroyed. One dubious excuse after another.
For their part, Sony says that they have "complete confidence in the results of our extensive research, as well as the accounts of those who were in the studio with Michael, that the vocals on the new album are his own." But they've yet to divulge just how much postproduction was required to finish the album, and who really knows how extensive their research was to begin with. Record companies are shady.
This is nothing new, really—there have been scores of posthumous albums that have been overdubbed, cut and pasted, rearranged and reworked in various ways over the years. But if "Breaking News" is really as fraudulent as Jackon's nephews claim it is, well, then that's bad news for Sony. So what do you think? Is "Breaking News" a really crappy Michael Jackson song? Or a really crappy fake Michael Jackson song? [BBC via The Hairpin]