This is it? This is the last recording we’re going to get from Michael Jackson? “This is It,” released Monday at midnight, is the first unreleased track to come out after Jackson’s June death—although we’re sure it won’t be the last.
It’s the title track to the forthcoming CD that serves as the companion piece to the “This is It” movie, a documentary about the making of his tour, that was preempted by his passing.
The song starts out strong enough, with Jackson’s voice (and a few trademark vocalizations) instantly recognizable. It’s great to hear his unique vocals again. The mid-tempo tune has all the usual Jackson hallmarks: fingersnaps, choir-like back-up singers, but there’s just not much there. Toward the end, Jackson’s voice sounds strained and frayed. The song sounds unfinished and we wager it was. The producer and engineer, I believe the latter was multiple Grammy winner Al Schmitt, were left to patch together the song like pieces of a quilt.
After its strong beginning, it peters out with no hint of a catchy chorus or any kind of memorable hook. After several listens, we’re not so sure we even know what it’s about, except he never thought he’d be this person’s lover. Another version of the song, with Jackson’s brothers singing background, will be on the CD, which comes out Oct. 27, one day before the movie opens its two-week run. That version will also play over the documentary’s closing credits.
Despite that and the fact that there’s no discernible chorus, we predict the song will go straight to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 because of download sales.
Give it a listen:
Tell us what you think.
UPDATE: Singer/songwriter Paul Anka raised a ruckus, understandably, after hearing the song saying that he was a co-writer with Jackson on "This is It." Jackson's lawyers responded quickly and have added Anka as a co-writer. That will be a nice little payday for Anka, who remains best known for writing "My Way."