Review

As the first excavation of Michael Jackson’s vaults, Michael carries the weight of expectation. After Jackson split with Quincy Jones following 1987’s Bad, he had a revolving door of producers in his studio, many of them major producer. Michael rounds up ten of these, relying heavily on cuts he was tinkering with in the years after Invincible (including tracks with cameos by Akon and 50 Cent). Much of this recalls Dangerous, heavier on rhythms than melody. Tellingly, the exceptions to the rule are the oldest tunes here -- “Behind the Mask” and “Much Too Soon,” both dating back to Thriller, and “(I Like) The Way You Love Me,” an outtake first aired on the 2004 box The Ultimate Collection and reworked here. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

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