Album Remarks & Appraisals:
Limited two CD edition in eco-friendly packaging includes a bonus disc containing demos of three of his biggest hits plus an unreleased poem read by MJ. 2009 release from the late great King Of Pop, the musical companion to the major motion picture of the same name. This Is It: The Movie is made up of intimate and spectacular footage filmed during rehearsals for Jackson's proposed July 2009 comeback shows. When he died in June of 2009, he left behind hundreds of hours of footage, which have been edited together to create a glorious tribute to his majestic talents. Disc One features some of his biggest hits sequenced in the same order as they appear in the film. This package includes a lavish 36 page booklet.
"Since no one will ever see the epic show, the next best thing is this compilation of rehearsal footage for Jackson's 50 planned This Is It concerts in London. And while it's not a particularly remarkable film, it's an entertaining backstage glimpse.
Peppered with vox pops from dancers and musicians, the film takes us through the show from Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' to Man in the Mirror. For most of the numbers, Ortega splices together practice performances from multiple rehearsals, which means that sometimes the sound doesn't match the visuals (although it all seems to be recorded live). And what we see is an astoundingly gifted musician who's perhaps not as robust as he used to be, but still has an extraordinary ease with his voice and body.
The doc's straightforward style covers up some of its careful construction.
Despite the fact that there are supposedly 100 hours of rehearsal footage (recorded for Jackson's private archive), a lot of the screen time is given to the effects work, including the large-scale short films that accompany the big set pieces. Some of these are extremely impressive, such as the way they multiply 11 dancers into a massive gyrating army, a 1940s mash-up placing Jackson into a mob movie with Humphrey Bogart and Rita Hayworth, or when the stage is transformed into a 1960s set for a Jackson 5 medly.
Through all of this we see Jackson working with the dancers, musicians and filmmakers, taking an extremely hands-on approach to the concert and effortlessly demonstrating his physical and vocal fitness. He clearly knows how he wants the music to sound ("You've got to let it simmer, just bathe in the moonlight"). Through all of this he comes across as relatively down-to-earth, fiendishly talented and passionate about his work.
He's also zealous about saving the planet, as seen in the Earth Song film, which sees lush nature turned into an apocalyptic vision of hell and redefines the concert's title. Ortega stresses this heavily, including in one of the post-credit clips, and also indulges in a bit of eulogising the dancers practically worship Jackson as he performs Billy Jean alone on stage. Although, frankly, anyone would cheer while watching that." -ContactReview
Michael Jackson's This Is It(or simply This Is It) is a posthumous two-disc soundtrack/compilation album by American recording artist Michael Jackson. Released by Epic Records on October 26, 2009, This Is It features previously released music, as well as six previously unreleased recordings by Michael Jackson. This Is It was released to coincide with the theatrical release of Michael Jackson's This Is It, a concert film documenting Michael Jackson's rehearsals for the This Is It concert series at London's O2 Arena. This Is It is the sixth album to be released by Sony and Motown/Universal since Michael Jackson's death in June 2009.
This Is It debuted at number one in fourteen countries, including the United States, Canada, Japan, Italy and France. Aside from charting at number 11 in Finland, This Is It peaked within the top 10 of the charts in other nations. This Is It has been certified Gold, Platinum, and twice-Platinum in multiple countries. This Is It was the twelfth best selling album of 2009 in the United States and the third best selling album of 2009 based on worldwide sales.
Personnel: Michael Jackson (vocals, background vocals); Siedah Garrett (vocals); L.T.B., Heavy D, Vincent Price (rap vocals); Teddy Riley (guitar, keyboards, synthesizer, drums); Paul Jackson, Jr. , Slash, Tito Jackson, David E. Williams (guitar); Miran Kojian, Brian Benning, Anatoly Rosinsky, Johana Krejci, Philip Vaiman, Shari Zippert, Michael Farril, Sally Berman, Dennis Molchan, Norman Hughes, Agnes Gottschewski, Nicole Garcia, Miwako Watanabe, Mark Cargill, Samuel Fischer (violin); Jorge Moraga, Jerry Epstein, Lynn Grants, Roland Kato, Piotr Jandula, Harry Shirinian, Rodney Wirtz, Robert Berg (viola); Maurice Grants, Giovanna Clayton , Miguel Martinez, Andrew Shulman, Cecilia Tsan, Steve Richards (cello); Greg Huckins, Steve Kujala (alto flute); Don Shelton (bass flute); Gary Foster (alto clarinet); John Yoakum, Lee Callet (bass clarinet); John D. Mitchell (contrabass clarinet); Jon Lewis (piccolo trumpet, bugle); Chuck Koontz (bugle, tuba); Jim Grinta (bugle); Greg Phillinganes (piano, keyboards, synthesizer); Brad Buxer, Michael Boddicker (keyboards, synthesizer); Ed Green , Bruce Swedien (keyboards, drums); René Moore (keyboards); Rhett Lawrence (synthesizer); Louis Johnson (bass guitar); Paulinho Da Costa, Rafael Padilla (percussion); Becky Lopez, Bunny Hill, James Ingram , Julia Waters, Maxine Willard Waters, Oren Waters (background vocals).
Audio Mixers: Don Murray ; Allen Sides ; Peter Granet.
Photographer: Kevin Mazur.
Arrangers: David Paich; Michael Jackson; René Moore; Steve Lukather; Steve Porcaro; Teddy Riley; Bruce Swedien.
This is It was designed as a comeback tour, not a movie, with the rehearsals taped not for exhibition, but rather instruction, possibly some video bonus down the line. Of course, Michael Jackson's tragic passing created considerable demand for those final rehearsals, so they were packaged as the This is It film, released almost five months after his death, with a soundtrack as an accompaniment. Since there were no real live recordings made, at least not any to fill a big-budget blockbuster like this, the soundtrack consists of almost nothing but the hits repackaged one more time, with the title track -- an '80s leftover, co-written by Paul Anka and released under the name "I Never Heard" by Safire -- added as an enticement in two separate versions, the second being orchestral with an opening straight out of Sgt. Pepper's. The song does feel like a demo, right down to how it fades out mid-chorus, but there's no denying the thrill of hearing an unheard vocal track of Michael at his prime. There's a second disc containing demos of "She's Out of My Life" (just Michael and an acoustic, quite nice) "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'"(full demo, with identical rhythm and guitar lines, close to the final but lacking its horns), and "Beat It" (a true writers sketch, all vocals and harmonies, no lyrics or instruments, kind of awesome), plus a "poem" of "Planet Earth." All these bonus tracks are a greater enticement to purchase than anything on the album proper. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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