How To Make Michael Jackson’s Next Album Good

To be sure, the most effective (tolerable) tracks from Michael Jackson's Invincible were the ones that relied on a more smooth, stripped-down sound. If the album had been filled with more tracks like "Butterflies," "Break of Dawn" and "Heaven Can Wait" instead of those loud, busy Darkchild productions, the album certainly might've gotten more burn in these parts even if it did suffer the same fate critically. I get that he's the King of "Pop," not R&B. But Akon and Will.I.Am are not the way to go this time around. After the bounce, I offer some audio examples of what would've been a good look for MJ, but were recorded by other artists.

Donell_Jones_gemini.jpgDonell Jones: "I'm Gonna Be" (Tim & Bob)
Without question, Donell Jones employed quite a few MJ-inspired vocal stylings for this single from Journey of A Gemini, intentional or not. But more than that, the lyrics are modern and comfortable enough for MJ without feeling contrived, that is, if you can suspend disbelief long enough to imagine Mike as the doting romancer, drawing bath water for his lady (instead of the other way around, egomaniac that he is) and making love "through the night."

Ne-yobecauseofyou.jpgNe-Yo: "Crazy (ft. Jay-Z)"
Ne-Yo is known for campaigning heavily to be the next mastermind behind MJ's next offering, and right now I can't think of someone more suitable for the job. Sure' he's part of an overcrowded class of R&B youngins that appropriate the moves and swag to a maddening degree, but when it comes to actual composition he's of a trifle few. The gently obsessive "Crazy" displays the kind of yearning and earnestness that fortifies, for example, "Liberian Girl." Assuming MJ doesn't take himself too seriously, a song titled "Crazy" wouldn't have been one bit contrived.

Cantbgood.jpgJanet Jackson: "Can't B Good" (Ne-Yo)
This one can probably be considered a no-brainer. If Ne-Yo gets edged out of the running to work on Michael's next project, then the closest he'll ever come is the fourth official single from sister Janet's Discipline. Of any song she's ever done, this one puts us most in the mind of Thriller-era Michael. Coming dangerously close to "Can't Help It." One could almost imagine this was originally written for MJ, but as the Janet project got down to the wire, Ne-Yo pulled out his Trump card and delivered one of the most substantial tracks for what is sure to be yet another overlooked album from the second most-famous Jackson. But, Michael doesn't need Ne-Yo to deliver a song like this, since it's something that's always been in him. The only question is, will he take us there or defer to current likely suspects?

Michael Jackson needs to do a straight-up R&B album, with the kind of tracks that encourage him to take it down a notch and keep his histrionics in check. Given that he's in a bit of a financial pickle, we probably won't get that album. But he can't make music for the "kids" anymore because we're all 30 now.

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6 Responses

  1. I am deathly afraid that Mike is gonna drop something craptastic, but I'm praying that he sees the light and walks away from T-Pain and Akon.
    I posted something last week, after seeing Ne-Yo's "Closer" video, which definitely seemed like a track he should have just given to mike for free (lol), and I asked folks who they thought Mike should work with. Many folks said the Neptunes and Timbaland. Somebody said Teddy Riley, and DJ Primier, Raphael Saadiq (That kinda shocked me, but it might work), Maroon 5, rick Rubin, and Maxwell all got one mention.

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    I agree..but I still think him and Akon will come up with something amazing. Have a listen to a track on Marios Go ! album called "Do Right" thats got MJ modern anthem all over it. I also agree that this can;t be good was probably written for Mike.. I'm scared too.. this is his last chance, he's gonna be looking yo scary in a few more years to have a meaningfull impact. But the voice is still there, and If he delivers an album full of "Human Nature" like harmonys and lays off on the 808's and synth pop that I'm 200 % sure every producer is pushing on him..He'll be alright, regain his fan base and have more latitude on the next album..once pop get off of this Soft Synth, arpegiator faze that I'm absolutly tired of

  3. Great choices!


  5. I swear I don't wanna hear Michael Jackson sounding like another Roger Troutman ripoff. Akon needs to back away from this one.

  6. I'm really seeing Michael in the Ne-Yo track.