Michael Jackson – The Posthumous Album Release That’s Causing Controversy

‘Michael’, the album that’s causing a stir

Michael Jackson’s unfortunate death on June 25 2009 is still very much an open wound for most of his fans. In March of this year, Sony Music Entertainment signed a deal, reportedly worth $250 million,  to retain distribution rights of his recordings until 2017, with the aims of releasing seven posthumous albums. The first posthumous album was released on December 14th and was simply titled Michael.

Jackson started working on the album before his death in 2007, working with producers such as Akon and RedOne. The first official single Hold My Hand is a collaboration with Akon, which was recorded in Las Vegas in 2007. There are also other songs featured on the album which were recorded earlier, and some which featured on Jackson’s earlier albums, that have been remixed with some added vocals.

A lawyer on behalf of Joe Jackson, Michael’s father, released a statement ahead of the album’s release, claiming Michael would not want the album to be released:

“If Michael had wanted this music released he would have done so before his death, The songs which are being released on the new Michael Jackson album were unfinished and incomplete tracks that Michael said over and over many times he never wanted released. We should honor Michael Jackson’s wishes”

To add to the controversy surrounding whether Jackson would want the album to be released, many members of his family have claimed that they do not think the vocals on one of the songs, Breaking News, are his. Following the release of these claims a spokesperson for Sony Epic Records stating:

“[the label has] complete confidence in the results of our extensive research as well as the accounts of those who were in the studio with Michael that the vocals on the new album are his own.”

Furthermore, Will.i.am, who collaborated with Jackson on the album before his death, has criticised the release and claiming it to be “disrespectful”. Ne-Yo has also suggested that the release is distasteful being shown on camera stating “If Michael was still alive … I don’t think the album would be out yet.”

Do you think the album should have been released without the Jackson family’s consent?

Christmas Number One – 1990-2010

X Factor winner Matt Cardle is the Xmas number 1 favourite

Every year there seems to be more and more controversy surrounding the highest selling record of the week that holds Christmas.  From 2005 to 2008, The X Factor winners single has come top trumps, a fact that seems to aggravate many members of the public and the music industry.

Remarkably, in 2009 a facebook campaign to get Rage Against The Machine‘s ‘Killing In The Name‘ Christmas number one was successful, beating Joe McElderry, that year’s winner of The X Factor, who charted at number two. Rage Against The Machine reached number one through downloads alone, although there was much intrigue around the campaign, with critics noting that the X Factor winner and Rage Against The Machine are signed to labels that are part of Sony BMG.

Yet again, there have been many efforts to stop this years X Factor winner, Matt Cardle, from getting to number one. These include John Cage‘s effort to get a “silent single”, ‘4’33‘, which is simply 4 minutes and thirty-three seconds of silence to number one and another facebook campaign which aims to get facebook users to buy The Trashmen’s ‘Surfin’ Bird‘ so that it reaches number one. Another contender is Ellie Goulding’s version of ‘Your Song‘.

Currently it would seem that Matt Cardle is going to get to number one when tonight’s all important chart is revealed. Here is a list of the previous Christmas number one holders from 1990.

1990 – Sir Cliff Richard – ‘Saviour’s Day’
1991 – Queen – ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’
1992 – Whitney Houston –  ‘I Will Always Love You’
1993 – Mr Blobby – ‘Mr Blobby’
1994 – East 17 – ‘Stay Another Day’
1995 – Michael Jackson – ‘Earth Song’
1996 – Spice Girls – ‘2 Become 1’
1997 – Spice Girls – ‘Too Much’
1998 – Spice Girls – ‘Goodbye’
1999 – Westlife – ‘I Have A Dream/ Seasons In The Sun’
2000 – Bob The Builder – ‘Can We Fix It’
2001 – Robbie Williams & Nicole Kidman – ‘Somethin’ Stupid’
2002 – Girls Aloud – ‘Sound Of The Underground’
2003 – Michael Andrews & Gary Jules – ‘Mad World’
2004 – Band Aid 20 – ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’
2005 – Shayne Ward – ‘That’s My Goal’
2006 – Leona Lewis – ‘A Moment Like This’
2007 – Leon Jackson – ‘When You Believe’
2008 – Alexandra Burke – ‘Hallelujah’
2009 – Rage Against The Machine – ‘Killing In The Name’

Update: Matt Cardle reached number one beating Rihanna‘s ‘What’s My Name’ featuring Drake.

Disney Stars – Too Much Too Young?

Miley Cyrus and Demi Lovato on a night out

Demi Lovato is in rehab and Miley Cyrus is preaching that she “Can’t Be Tamed”, clearly shown in the recent video of her smoking a bong. It’s hard to believe that these girls have only just turned 18 and are seen as role models to young girls. Sure, the girls may be troubled; Lovato has openly spoken about how bullying led her to self-harm before and Cyrus is currently dealing with her parents divorce but is life in the public eye the reasoning for the paths they have taken in their life?

Cyrus has been in the public eye since the age of 12 and has had a career full of controversies. From apparent “racist” photo scandals to provocative photographs being leaked, she has been criticised for many of her decisions throughout her teenage life. Earlier this year, Cyrus released a song “Can’t Be Tamed”, again a very provocative image was shown throughout her promotion of the single and there was yet more uproar with people saying this girl shouldn’t be a role model.

The biggest scandal of Cyrus’ career has to be the recent video that has surfaced online of her smoking a bong of legalised drug Salvia and claiming she’s having a “bad trip” and is hallucinating a vision of her ex-boyfriend, Liam Hemsworth. Whilst a statement has yet to be made from a representative of Miley Cyrus, her father, Billy Ray Cyrus took to his twitter to say:

“Sorry guys. I had no idea. Just saw this stuff for the first time myself. Im so sad. There is much beyond my control right now.”

This new Disney star controversy has also taken the spotlight away from Camp Rock star Demi Lovato, who at the beginning of November checked into a treatment centre due to “emotional and physical” issues. A rep has since said:

“Demi Lovato left her tour early this weekend in order to seek medical treatment for emotional and physical issues she has dealt with for some time. Demi has decided to take personal responsibility for her actions and seek help.  She is doing just that. She regrets not being able to finish her tour, but is looking forward to getting back to work in the near future.”

Amongst other rumours that Lovato was self-harming again, was doing cocaine and got in a fight with Twilight star Ashley Greene, the new girlfriend of her ex Joe Jonas, it has been revealed that Lovato got into an altercation with a backing dancer from her tour. The dancer, Alex Welch, was planning an on-camera interview, but a request was made from Lovato’s publicist to wait until the legal negotiations had been finished.

Whilst I still find it shocking that these girls are only just 18 and that life in the public eye has pushed them to this, you have to wonder, is it all Disney’s fault for putting them in the public eye?

John Lennon – Thirty Years On

Lennon is considered one of the best musicians of his time

Thirty years ago today, deranged fan Mark Chapman shot John Lennon outside the Dakota Building in Manhattan. Today, tributes are planned worldwide in order to pay respects to the former Beatle.

In his hometown of Liverpool, fans are planning to light candles and sing songs in his memory and in Central Park, fans are gathering in the memorial park opposite where he was shot.

Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono is leading the tributes by holding a charity concert in Japan called Dream Power John Lennon Super Live, with the intention of raising money for schools and deprived children. In Liverpool, another concert Lennon Remembered – The Nine Faces of John is being held and will feature friends of Lennon singing his well known songs.

On Ono’s blog she recalled one of her last memories with Lennon, simply of them sharing a cup of tea and exchanging jokes. Of his memory she said:

This year would have been the 70th birthday year for John if only he was here. But people are not questioning if he is here or not. They just love him and are keeping him alive with their love. I’ve received notes from all corners of the world to let me know that they were celebrating this year to thank John for having given us so much in his forty short years on earth.

The most important gift we received from him was not words, but deeds. He believed in Truth, and had dared to speak up. We all knew that he upset certain powerful people with it. But that was John. He couldn’t have been in any other way.

Lennon may not have wanted all this retrospective praise and the tributes, but one thing is clear; thirty years on he is still seen as the iconic figure that shaped the way music is seen today.

Read this interesting article about the way in which the story was reported thirty years ago and the way in which breaking news was reporting before the development of technology.

Sonisphere 2011 Announcement

Slipknot Have Been Announced As Sonisphere's First Headliners

Slipknot have been revealed as the first headliners of next years Sonipshere Festival. It will be the first time they’ve played Knebworth and their Summer tour dates will mark the first without founding member Paul Gray, who passed away earlier this year. The band released the following statement upon the announcement:

We’re looking forward to spending our summer in Europe. This tour is about us and our fans. It’s about celebrating the life of our brother, Paul and his legacy. The door is neither open nor closed. This tour is about burning down that door. See you this summer.”

I had the best weekend at Sonisphere earlier this year and with rumours that bands such as Red Hot Chili Peppers and Foo Fighters will also be appearing, I definitely intend on going again on 8 July 2011.

The Low-down on Lip-syncing

Watching the X Factor results show last weekend made me start to think, how is it fair that some of the artists performing on the show are allowed to lip-sync? It hardly seems fair to the contestants, who are made to sing live, regardless of the type of performance they are putting on or whether they are ill. The artist in question, in this case, is Justin Bieber. The teen star has become a phenomenon in the last year, especially in the US. I have to admit, I’ve stayed away from the hype surrounding  him. Admittedly, I think he put on a good show and perhaps, as he has incorporated lots of dance into his performance, his lip-syncing is warranted in some situations. But I think as he was performing on a talent show, lip-syncing was perhaps inappropriate.

Here is the performance in question:

Artists such as Pink and N-Dubz have made pacts to never lip-sync on stage, as they think it’s wrong for fans to pay to see artists performing over playback. However, whether they will stick to this is unknown. In the past, American artist Ashlee Simpson, had also claimed to always sing live, however, she was caught out on the now infamous Saturday Night Live, hosted by Jude Law in 2004 as seen in the Fox News report below.

The list of artists who have previously lip-synced would be almost endless and in some situations, artists are required to lip-sync in particular venues and on particular shows. I think it will forever be a controversial topic as when singers lip-sync, it gives the impression that they aren’t good at live singing without the help of studio technology and auto-tuning. And anyone can sing along to a backing track, right?

Top 5: Christmas Gifts For Her

Following yesterday’s post of the top five Christmas gifts for him, I thought I would follow up with a similar list of entertainment gifts suited for women.

1. Sex And The City 2 – This years top cinema release shows the four glamorous New Yorkers travel to Abu Dhabi. It’s a must have for any previous fan of the series. It is due for release on 29 November.

2. Twilight: Eclipse – Whether she’s on Team Edward or Team Jacob, there’s no mistaking the fact that most women love the Twilight saga. With the release date of 6 December, the latest installment of the film series is available just in time for Christmas.

3. Cheryl Cole: Through My Eyes Book – A must have for any fan of Cheryl Cole. Labelled as the nation’s sweetheart, this official book includes exclusive new photos and behind the scenes moments of her solo career so far with commentaries by Cheryl herself.

4. Playstation Move: Singstar Dance – The new game that features the best of previous Singstar games and Just Dance allows players to sing and dance at the same time and features video playbacks and special effects. Note – Requires Playstation Move.

5. Cuddly Microwavable Dinosaur – A very cute microwavable toy that can be heated in the microwave in two minutes. With hints of lavender in it, it makes the perfect gift in this very cold winter.

All gifts available on play.com

Sonisphere 2010: Revelry, Reunions and Rock

As a touring festival, Sonisphere is gaining great popularity for the long line-up of bands that any lover of rock music could only dream of seeing at one event. 2011’s event dates have just been released as the 8th – 10th of July. With 2010’s event featuring Rammstein, Iron Maiden and Alice Cooper, it isn’t surprising that the festival is fast becoming competition for the ever popular Download Festival. Here are some of my personal photos from 2010’s event:

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