Michael Jackson: Michael

Let’s cut to the chase – Off The Wall this ain’t. But at least the messianic heal-the-world shtick which marred much of Jackson’s later work is gone, replaced with a genuine sense of vulnerability as he sings with great emotion about moments of self-loathing and being hunted by the paps.

Michael contains some inspired production moments such as Lenny Kravitz’s roiling guitars on Can’t Make It (Another Day) or Tommy Emmanuel’s shimmering acoustic piece on Much Too Soon, an offcut from Thriller which recalls the tenderness of Jackson’s childhood hit Ben.

Breaking News is another nice wedge of pop but ultimately this is a mixed bag. Monster aims for the drama of Thriller but lacks edge despite input from 50 Cent and MIA-style machine-gun beats, the Akon-assisted R&B track Hold My Hand doesn’t gel and there are too many drippy ballads.

Still, it’s good to hear this pop master’s voice again.


– Alison Grinter