170 of 173 people found the following review helpful
on October 29, 2009
In an attempt to explain what makes this album worth purchasing, I will break it down to 5 simple words: "It's all about the Sound." While it is true that the first CD of this album is a compilation of MJ's greatest hits, it needs to be pointed out that the majority of these songs have been remastered. In order to discern the difference, I took the original and remastered versions of these songs, and played them side-by-side on the same audio equipment with exactly the same settings. The difference is clear and easy to detect. As good as the originals are, once you hear the remastered versions, the originals sound flat and dull. The remastered versions are crisper, deeper, and fuller. It is simply wonderful to be able to hear how much more amazing these classic songs can sound. I have heard these songs hundreds of times over the years, and yet, after listening to these remastered versions, I felt like I was really hearing them for the first time. To all those who love MJ's music, please don't discount this album simply because these songs have been available for years in their earlier versions. These new versions are absolutely fantastic!
As for the demos on the 2nd CD, they are absolute treasures. Hearing the early versions of these songs takes you inside MJ's creative process, which is a rare and special treat. While the song, "This Is It" isn't a towering achievement like "Thriller," it is a lovely song with a catchy tune that will stick in your head.
Regarding the spoken poem, "Planet Earth," MJ released a book back in 1992 called, "Dancing The Dream." This book was a compilation of poetry and short essays that MJ wrote. The poem "Planet Earth" is one of the poems from this book. Despite the fact that I had read the poem many times, hearing MJ himself actually reading the poem was both beautiful and heart-wrenching. MJ was a visionary, and this is readily apparent when you hear the emotion and depth in his voice as he reads his love poem to the Earth. Do yourself a favor--buy this album, and treat yourself to the wonderful, creative genius of the greatest entertainer who ever lived, Michael Jackson--the King of Pop.
83 of 87 people found the following review helpful
on October 26, 2009
As a fan, I bought this 2 disc release with mixed feelings and it is with mixed feelings that I rate this 5 stars after listening to the album. I went straight to Disc 2 because I've already heard (and own many times over) the other tracks. I suspect MJ is turning in his grave knowing that this first posthumous release is really just a re-release of tracks to match the movie, almost taking advantage of his fans. However, as a fan, I'll likely buy anything that is released in his name after his death.
Having said that, I'm giving this 5 stars because of the demos. The $9.99 that I've spent is well worth what I've received listening to the demo of "Shes out of my life". It's the first time (aside from Speechless from the Invincible album) you get to hear MJ's voice in all it's purity. It's touching and it's searingly beautiful.
After listening to the "new" tracks (the demos and the poem), you're left with a sad realization that his life truly ended too soon.
49 of 51 people found the following review helpful
on October 26, 2009
This is a great collection of hits from MJ, and if you take a close listen, you will see that almost all of the songs he selected for his concert have a message. They are not all number ones, but the majority of them tell us something about his philosophy. The exceptions are Thriller and Billie Jean, which were included of course because they are the bestsellers and great dance hits.
Regarding the demos - worth buying the whole album for these. I bought both the CD from Amazon for a keepsake and the iTunes unbundled selection that includes only the demos and poem.
She's out of My Life - "unplugged" version sung to acoustic guitar. Can't wait to get the booklet so I can find out who was playing guitar. It's amazing and so moving.
Wanna Be Startin Something - great to have for the ending, which in this demo has even more energy than the final version because you can hear the individual instruments. What a treat.
Beat It - this shows you the architecture of MJ's song building where he lays down his own vocals to show how the instrumentation should sound.
Planet Earth - gives me goosebumps. It's incredibly intimate, very sensual and unique. MJ had a brilliant mind and this gives you a glimpse. Plus I love hearing his spoken voice.
This is It - I've heard all the critics, but I LOVE this song and even though it was written years ago, the lyrics are like a tribute to MJ's legacy. The vocals are wonderful, especially considering it was an out-take and has minimal production. This is raw MJ.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on October 28, 2009
OK. If you're like me, who own every single album of MJ music, and have all his songs, then you MUST have MJ's "THIS IS IT"! It is worth every penny. The booklet is beautifully designed and composed. It just shows how much MJ respected and loved his fans, he always wanted for us to have the best of HIM. When I listened to the first track on disc 2, I became litterally speechless and tears just automatically filled up my eye sockets. OMG, that's all I can say. You have to get the CD and experience it yourself. Michael Jackson is truely the ultimate entertainer of our time. His music and soul are so beautiful, so genuine, so gigantic that overwhelm you, but at the same time you feel you cannot get enough of HIM. MJ, you're still the THRILLER!
I want to add an extra note on "This Is It". Like most of MJ fans, I hate Sony for the way they treated MJ in the past (but I think that period of time got a lot to do with Tommy Mottola). However, I got to give kudos to Sony for the way they technically handled "This Is It". The quality of the sound and mixing techniques is SUPERB! This time around, (putting MJ's angelic vocal aside) the sound engineering on each track is so great that I feel like listening to those songs for the first time. Kudos to whoever did the sound engineering for "This Is It". MJ would have been very happy and proud!
30 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on October 26, 2009
I was hoping this would have been actual recordings from the staples center and movie but its just re-releases from the past. The second disc has barely anything on it , they could have filled it with out-takes and other stuff from the past ... clearly a rush job , I expect a more definitive cd collection with rarities and remixes that never made the other albums will be available but this cd really has nothing to do with the movie ... not one track is from the actual rehearsals before his death..... they could have made the second cd the rehearsal while the first cd the masters and I would have been ok with that as well... but this is just a get something out there now disc and really brings nothing new other than the Paul Anka stuff.
I was expecting a little more from a two disc set.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on October 27, 2009
Before I get to the review of the actual product, I just want to say one thing about Michael Jackson, the man. I have been a fan and collector of his music all my life, accumulating a number of CD's, t-shirts, and even Barbie dolls in his likeness. So when he passed away this last summer, it was really disheartening for someone like me, who actually appreciated him in his lifetime, to see him suddenly deified and commercialized in so many ways. Even a year ago you'd be hard pressed to find someone admit to liking Michael Jackson, but now that he's gone he's "cool" again. Hypocrisy at its finest.
But anyhow, whether the "This Is It" CD would have been released as a treat to his fans anyway or if it's just another attempt to capitalize on his image after his death, I don't know, but either way it's actually a high-quality collectible that should be appreciated by both hardcore fans and casual/new fans alike. With so many MJ compilation albums available, this may at first seem like a pointless purchase, and in many ways it is redundant. When it was first announced that this album was going to be released, I was under the impression that all the songs would be updated remixes of the versions he was was planning on performing in concert, but unfortunately that isn't the case after all. The main incentive here is the one new song, a ballad called "This Is It," which actually isn't new at all as it is a demo recording from the 1980s, with newly recorded background vocals from the rest of the Jackson brothers. I personally find it underwhelming and dare I say boring, but at this point it's being marketed as his swan song so it's kind of bittersweet. Disc 2 is a short collection of unreleased rarities, with three demos of early songs and a spoken poem. The standout is a nearly acapella version of "Beat It," a very interesting take on a song we all know so well.
The real treat here is the packaging. Bound in a hardcover case, is a 36-page booklet chock full of photos from the This Is It concert rehearsals, many of which are previously unseen. My only concern is that the sleeves which hold the discs are not entirely sealed along the bottom, with only a small dab of glue at either end keeping them together. I'm sure regular wear and tear will eventually take its toll and cause the discs to slip out altogether. Overall I rate this item pretty highly, even though much of it is just a rehash of music we already have, because all taken together it's the closest a lot of us will get to experiencing the stage show we'll never get to see, and it proves once again that his music is amazing and timeless no matter how many times you hear it.
28 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on October 29, 2009
This is a review of the movie, don't have the CDs...yet.
Buried within the previews before the movie started was a plug for some musician babe named Orianthi. The Girl leaned over to me and said, "I've never heard of her." I hadn't either.
Well, we have now. She is a white-hot guitarist featured on the new documentary of Michael Jackson's rehearsals for the ill-scheduled This Is It shows that the world would have been seen in England, starting this past July.
This Is It is a love letter to Michael Jackson's fans, which, of course inhabit most of the planet. And it is fascinating. About fifteen minutes into it, I realized I was watching MJ being a human being, meticulously working on every detail of his last live appearances (yeah right).
Filmed in a documentary format and slightly grainy , you feel as if you're seeing something forbidden, something that wouldn't have remained buried in a box in somebody's archive if it hadn't been for Michael's demise (and financial straits).
During the press conference, part of which if shown at the beginning, Michael says, "I'm going to be doing all the songs my fans know and want." And boy do they. As expected, the set list draws heavily from Bad, Dangerous and especially Thriller. Probably the most interesting part of the set would have been the Jackson Five numbers, the rehearsals for which show a seventies big-round lettered background and airy pop numbers.
As for Michael's performance...well, the song rehearsals are just amazing. Between the songs, as it shows Michael's hard work and perfectionism is plain interesting. We get to see Michael as a human being, the guy just like us that we've known he used to be, and that we've always hoped was still there, behind all the weirdness.
It's a cliche to say that the best musicians torture themselves and everyone around them to replicate the precise sounds they hear inside of their heads. However, were Michael Jackson stands apart from all other musicians is that he can replicate any of the sounds he wants to hear with his mouth. He sings a high falsetto for Orianthi to play as he admonishes, "This is your time to shine!" He keeps at her until she tortures her guitar strings to wring out the exact note.
Another time on the terrifically-rearranged intro to The Way You Make Me Feel, he tells his musical director to slow down the tempo, spelling it out for him, "Do it like you're getting out of bed." Then, when the same guy comes into the melody of the same song, Michael wants him to hold the pause longer, saying, "Let is simmer. Just let it simmer."
The definition of a self-actualized person is a person so secure in themselves that they could walk into a black tie event wearing tennis shoes and not notice they were dressed inappropriately. Some of MJ's attire during these rehearsals pushes that point. Mostly he's wearing tight red pants and different sequined ones. One of his outfit looks like something straight out of the movie Beetlejuice, with wide white lapels and too-pointy shoulders. Other costumes replicate the looks we've come to know from the videos, a red jacket for Thriller, the yellow zoot suit for Smooth Criminal. Michael knows how important dress is to the overall package as the rehearsal of Beat It ends with him throwing down the red jacket he'll be wearing and pretending to stomp it out, telling everyone, "It's too hot, too hot to handle."
Could he have made it through the grueling schedule of fifty shows? I doubt it. Even viewing the footage, which certainly was the most flattering of what was shot, it is apparent that we are watching a sick man. Next to Michael, all of the dancers and even razor-thin backup singers look plump. His health also appears to show up in his voice, which, even enhanced and amplified, a lot of times sounds thin. It's obvious that some of the songs were lip-synched. At one point Michael evidently feels the need to rationalize the state of his voice, repeating, "I've got to conserve my throat."
I think Micheal would have played as many shows as he could handle, maybe half of 'em, then called off the tour due to health reasons, which over the years has always seemed to be his m.o. when things were getting too intense. I'm sure tickets would have been refunded, then perhaps another five date rescheduled, "The Last of the Last," with tickets for double the price of the original. Then another five, until all fifty dates were done. I think Michael would have pulled every dollar out of those shows, and everyone would have known what he was doing...but would have paid the prices anyway, and when the smoke cleared we'd all have realized that, once again, the King of Pop played us again...but we wouldn't have cared.
Toward the end things do get a bit preachy, as a terrific movie plays before, during and after a song dedicated to the environment. Michael even says something about "The world is sick, it's got a fever, and this is our last chance to heal it," then says something about only having four years to save it. Oh well, he seems absolutely and utterly sincere, but once again, we're another witnessing yet celebrity telling us about the earth's fate while oblivious to their own mindlessly wasteful personal consumption.
Toward the end, we see Michael and his entourage in a scene that we somehow knew they had. They are all in a circle and Michael is giving them a pump up talk. He tells them not to be nervous and to have fun. Then he articulates a distilled wisdom that we've always known was the key to why Michael Jackson is so great. He says, "People want escapism. Go out there and show them your talent."
In spite of all all the physical changes MJ's made to himself, there are moments where he's singing and the camera angle is just right, when you can see the little boy that was singing onstage with his brothers, the kid who's surprised and delighted us all for all of these years.
For two hours, This Is It delivers it's message non-stop: Michael Jackson was brilliant. And that the King of Pop was also the King of entertainment, whether it was dance, music video, Broadway-style production numbers, blues, rock and gospel.
And now he's gone.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on October 27, 2009
I just got back from seeing This is It, I bought the CD yesterday, at first I thought the same thing as everyone else, that the cd was just a whole bunch of songs I already own, which it is actually. I guess it is just the powers that be way of making the fans feel as if the were a part of the concert experience? Every song that is on the cd is in the same order in the film.
This is It was AMAZING!...MJ was in rare form he was going to explode on that stage in London!...R.I.P -M.J.J.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on October 28, 2009
I have most of the songs on this CD in mp3s. But the CD has wav quality music in it and I really appreciate the clarity of the songs. This disc has a lot of "new upcoming" MJ fans in mind who never bought his old albums or best of albums. The extras on the disc were marvelous. I generally am happy with this. The booklet is great too.
I miss MJ.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on November 20, 2009
This CD is wonderful. I'm a new Michael Jackson fan. I'm older, so my kids listened to MJ, not me...until he died I can't say I was that familiar with all the songs he wrote and sang...but then he died, June 25th, 2009 and the TV was playing his music, videos, talk shows talked about him. I liked what I heard with his music. I went out and bought his music, DVD's, books and listened to every shows giving MJ a tribute, a memorial, a talk show, whatever was on about Michael Jackson.
I never believe Michael Jackson was a child molester, even when I wasn't a fan. I had always said he was just a man who never had any childhood and was now rich and famous and could afford to buy whatever he wanted, including exotic animals, carnival rides, trains, whatever he wanted....and he did...for himself and he was willing to share his toys with others, especially less fortunate kids, which he did with love.
This Is It, is the final collection of Michael Jackson's work. The work he was preparing for his children, so that they could see what made him famous, why so many people were always trying to just touch him, see him, get as close as they could to him and his children.
Well, Michael Jackson came through with flying colors on this one. The CD collection is primarily songs that he previously sang and his fans loved. Michael Jackson wanted to give back to his fans who he loved very much. His fans loved his music and showed it, they stood behind him always. "This Is It" is done with love and the song is FANTASTIC...
The movie "This Is It" is even more wonderful and I'm waiting for that DVD to come. I saw it at the movie theater and it was wonderful. You got to see Michael Jackson, as himself. Dedicated, talented, brilliant actually, a musical genius, a genius with dancing, choreography, anything and everything that was part of the creative entertainment process, Michael Jackson knew how to do it and did it with style and to perfection.
I definitely recommend this CD! Michael Jackson was a very loving soul and the world is a better place because he lived here for his short 50 years. Rest in peace Michael...Michael is upstairs, singing with the BIG Choir now...doing solo performances for the Divine....He is getting the answers to his Earth Song...."What about sunrise. What about rain. What about all the peace that you pledged your only son....he is getting his answers first hand. As Michael Jackson said in his autobiography, "Moonwalk", "God gave him the talent to sing...I just opened my mouth". Michael Jackson knew God and thanked him for his talents! He even thanked him on stage when he received the awards for "We Are the World"...his first words were "I want to Thank God for letting me write this song with Lionel Richie"...
I feel thankful that I finally got to listen to Michael Jackson's music and appreciate all that he said in his songs. He was also a great humanitarian...if there were only more people like Michael Jackson, this world would be a much better place.
Great music...highly recommend this collection "This Is It".