There are two ways to look at the arrival of This Is It in movie theaters. Michael Jackson’s fans will consider the film a fitting, if fleeting, homage to a star taken too soon. Others will consider it the latest step in the Michael Jackson exploitation bonanza. We’ll let you sort out who’s right. Here’s what we DO know: there’s a two-CD This Is It set out this week with some interesting Jackson music. And no, we’re not talking about the new title track. The second disc has early demos of She’s Out Of My Life, Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’, and Beat It. There’s even a spoken-word poem and a 36-page booklet featuring exclusive photos of Michael from his last rehearsal.
Other interesting releases this week: R.E.M.’s five-night residency during 2007 in Dublin yielded Live at the Olympia, filled with material from what would become their recent album, Accelerate, and lots of older songs their fans would kill to hear in concert. Dolly serves up 99 tracks over four discs of Dolly Parton’s story, which figures to be interesting if not a bit overlong. The Unlimited Barry White set serves up four discs as well from the smooth soul chieftain. Has Rod Stewart covered every musical genre yet? No, but another one bites the dust with the release of Soulbook, which doles out the Motown and soul hits as only Rod can sing ’em.
Two more holiday albums. If On A Winter’s Night from Sting celebrates the season, but no carols for our man. No, as Allmusic.com’s writer notes, “No niceties for him, no comforts of carols; he favors formal over familiar, writing madrigals, not ditties.” And Melissa Etheridge’s New Thought for Christmas has been reissued. Odd, because it first came out LAST YEAR.
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