Had it been April 1 I would have thought of one of those april’s fool news, but it came out on March 31, so it had to be true… and unfortunately it was. Sony Music and John Branca announced again a “new” Michael Jackson album, “Xcape”… new? Eight demos that have been available for free download on the web for years revisited by Timbaland and Stargate, which apparently allows Sony to say, “hey, this is a new version of the song, come buy the album”. Well, to say it with Darren Hayes’ words, if you find a drawing of Monet’s and have other painters finishing it, that’s NOT a painting by Monet. Quite easy. And yet, millions of fans are still rejoicing at the perspective of buying a new MJ album, totally forgetting what the man went through and that there might be the chance that these new albums could be the very reason why he was killed.
Why is that? Why do fans hang on to the idea that buying whatever crap has the MJ name on (forgive my being so French) is still worth spending the money? Are they being delusional? Is it because it makes the loss less hurtful?
Don’t get me wrong, it’s easy to understand the “new”, post-mortem fans: they don’t have a history with the “real” Michael Jackson, the one who used to spend years working on an album because all he cared about was perfection and high standards, and this should ring a bell as to why he would never accept these desperate efforts by Sony to cash in with poor-quality demos.
What is more difficult for me to understand is the “old” fans, those who have been to hell and back with him… why are they cheering at the idea of buying a CD full of old demos that they already have? I doubt it’s because Timbaland’s remixes and the packaging make them “official”… So, why?
I’ve been thinking about it for a while now and I think many fans are simply being delusional. The act of still seeing a CD with MJ on the cover makes them feel, in some kind of way, that he is still here with us, that nothing happened on June 25, 2009. Of course, being such a huge pop-star actually does make Michael Jackson immortal, but in a different way. The man is dead and the record company is simply trying to profit on products that he would have never agreed on. Remember, he was fighting with Sony over control issues, and now they got just what they want: put his name on low end products that, unfortunately, will sell no matter what.
Releasing a new album with never-heard-before songs, fully recorded and edited when he was still alive, would be the best way to celebrate his immortality, but this is not the case. This is the case of a record company who has been taking advantage on his fans’ delusional behaviour, counting on their illusions, offending his memory release after release.