Okay, the Xscape album is officially released everywhere, and there is a lot of controversy and division amongst Michael Jackson fans over its release. Here are two viewpoints that I’ve observed amongst fans who want the album, and fans who would like to boycott the album completely, and my take on both sides.
1. MJ’s legacy should succeed, it will look bad on Michael if the album doesn’t succeed!
Why do I think this is untrue? Simple: his legacy does not depend on posthumous releases. It was built and set in stone since the 80s and beyond by Michael himself. Anything else that comes out after his passing is not of his creation, only his vocals and the music he was able to create on his original songs. I could see if they chose to leave his art alone and release it, however Michael Jackson does not need remixes for his music to soar above everyone else’s on the charts. These producers did not come in and “save” his music with their ever healing touch. People seem to forget that Michael Jackson has now sold over 1 billion records worldwide, and his thriller album has won yet another recognition for ANOTHER one hundred thousand sold. What does that tell you? That people are still talking about him and buying his music. New fans are made from every background, of every age, unlike many artists of today and some in the past. MJ didn’t influence a generation, but generations to come. You will find many people in Hollywood aspiring to reach the level of fame and status that Michael Jackson had, to have the same impact. He inspired everything from the modern music video to fashion. His legacy isn’t going anywhere, it’s his reputation people should be more concerned about rehabilitating. Furthermore, if the album did ‘flop’, it would only look bad on the producers, not Michael, as he is not here to have any input in what these producers do to his music, it is solely the producer’s input and creation set around Michael’s voice.
Lastly, even if many people boycotted this album, it has the name Michael Jackson attached to it, and music built around his originals and that irresistible voice, so of course it’s not going to flop. It does not hurt, however, to spread facts about the circumstances surrounding this album’s release. Personally I do not have a problem with people who want to buy the album, it’s the spreading of misinformation that bothers me.
2. It doesn’t matter about his past with Sony, all that matters is that there is something positive about Michael for once!
Oh, but the past does matter, because it has become the present. Tommy Matolla may be gone, but that doesn’t mean that his problems with SONY miraculously vanished or have vanished to this day. SONY gave Michael hell because they wanted his share of his music catalog, and they were angry with the fact that Michael was planning to leave SONY owning half of it. To learn more about what happened during that time, please visit this very informative website. After reading that, it’s easy to see that Sony still has a quite literal leash on Michael even in death, in the form of his mass appeal and music. Even selling his high quality demos could possibly generate income. Not to mention, they are using his art to sell their merchandise, as if Michael Jackson ceased to be a man, and turned into a brand! If you do not believe me, here is an article that basically says “buy our new Xperia Z2 phone and get the album for FREE!” An almost 700 dollar phone with a possible 2 yr contract..all for a twenty dollar album?
Not to mention, his estate sold his music rights to Sony in 2010 to do with it what they wish for a large sum of money, something Jackson would most certainly have fought against if he were alive and well today. Sony and his estate are the sole profiteers from the sale of this music, NOT his family or children, which takes us to our next subject:
3. Buying this album will be donated to charity!
As of 2009, no funds have been donated to the charities Michael listed in his will. I am not a tax expert, but I will trust the IRS on this one. The estate are in trouble for grossly undervaluing Michael’s likeness and assets as of 2009. More details are available on these websites:
- Michael Jackson – Tax Officials Demand $700 Million From Michael Jackson Estate
- Estate of Michael Jackson Slapped With New Tax Bill Over $700 Million
- About his estate
- Estate vs. Heal The World Foundation
4. Buying this album will contribute to the children’s (Paris, Prince, and Blanket) trust fund!
FALSE. The children receive a monthly allowance, and there is no documentation that indicates anything has been donated towards charities in Michael’s name because of the estate criminally undervaluing Michael Jackson. This untruth perpetuated by some fans is a form of emotional manipulation in order for people to buy the album. Let’s face it: Michael Jackson’s children are worth millions. They won’t starve or become destitute if the album flops.
- http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/entertainment/2012/09/trust-fund-for-michael-jacksons-kids-remains-empty-report/#.U3JxNtUsJUY.twitter (link credit to B. Marco on FB)
5. It was Michael’s will to have his songs remixed!
Consider these quotes:
- B&W: Michael, what do you think of BOTDF, are you satisfied with that album?
- Michael, immediately- I’m never satisfied with anything, if it was for me, no album would ever come out…(sigh!)
- B&W: What do you think of the remixes they did of your songs?
- Michael: The least I can say is that I don’t like them…I don’t like it that they come in and change my songs completely, But Sony says that the kids love remixes…
- B&W: That is not true! The kids don’t love the remixes that much, especially those on BOTDF!
- Michael: I knew it! I was sure! (Throwing a fist in the air, then he shakes his head sighing)
-Black and White Magazine Interview, 1996
“I want it the way I wrote it…the way fans are going to hear it.”
-This is It Documentary, 2010
6. It was Michael’s will to have his undiscovered songs released!
This is a delicate thing to discuss. Michael was working on things to be released when he was alive. However, I trust the words of the people who talked to him on a regular basis, who knew his mannerisms, etc. Think about it: he was a perfectionist who did not like to present ANYTHING to the public without it being the very best it could be! He sang each take of a demo over and over until it was the highest quality possible. He was planning on presenting songs to the public, but sadly did not get to finish them. Personally, I think that they should release his music ‘as is’ or not at all. The fact that he became furious when his music leaked before he even got a chance to finish it, such as the leak of Hold My Hand in 2008, should be an indicator of how he might view random producers digging around in his archives, looking for something to present to the “younger generation”. So, to say that he would like his music “remixed” or presented to the public “half-baked” is illogical.
7. Michael made amends with Sony!
Michael talked about his hatred for SONY up until his death. The only reason why he did Thriller 25 was because of an obligation to SONY. He thought that he was free from the company finally, but they read him the fine print. They sabotaged his efforts to get away from them by forcing him into debts and refusing to let him participate in projects that would help him promote the Invincible album, which would in turn enable Michael to pay off any debts owed to SONY.
Finally, I find it very confusing that certain fans are choosing to bash anyone who was close to Michael or knew him for 30 plus years, for having a “negative” view towards the album, and any other fan for that matter with a differing opinion. Also confusing; some fans actually trying to tell his closest friends what Michael would have wanted, and how his relationship with Sony went. Don’t you think people who have actually spoken to him and were actually there might know a little more than what you claim to know?
Regardless of what you feel mjfam, I think it’s a good idea to respect others’ opinions. We are all fans of the same person, MJ. Especially since this week right when the album came out, there was another attempt to smear his name by none other than the beast herself: Diane Dimond, or “demon” as some fans like to call her. I’ve seen fans on both sides calling each other fake fans and idiots, and other names I won’t mention here. I don’t think it’s right to determine someone’s feelings towards MJ based on what they buy. If I went out and bought BAD 25 CD, that doesn’t make me an estate supporter, and if I did want to buy the Xscape album (well, the originals anyway), it wouldn’t mean that I am a fake fan or Sony “supporter”. I’ve said this before: this fandom is way too judgmental for a fan base who claims to go by the principle “before you judge me, try hard to love me”.