A leading musicologist has weighed in as rumours swirl around the authenticity of the vocal performances on Michael Jackson’s ‘Michael’ album.
Dr Christopher Wiley, who teaches a module on Michael Jackson at City University London, has issued a statement focussing on the ethics of the posthumous release which he feels are more relevant than accusation of stand-ins on the ‘new’ album (which features Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl on one of its songs).
Says Dr Wiley, “The records Jackson set with the Thriller album are unlikely ever to be broken by anybody; so however well the Michael album sells, it will always be dwarfed by Jackson’s earlier successes. Ironically the question of authenticity of the recording may actually result in more sales and public interest in the album as people turn to it in an effort to decide for themselves.
“On the question of whether some of the vocals are really Jackson’s, there’s no reason why he would necessarily sound the same as in the classic recordings of previous decades: voices mature and singing styles evolve, and the album represents collaborations with artists of a whole new generation. Rather, the question people should be asking is one of the ethics of releasing Jackson’s unfinished material posthumously.
“Thinking about my own research which explores the need to reorient the public focus to the art rather than the serious controversies in Jackson’s life, my hope is that this new album release will help to place the music back at the centre of attention even irrespective of the authenticity of the recording.”
Members of Jackson’s own family had stated that they believed a Michael Jackson impersonator to be singing on parts of the album, ‘Michael’, released today.