Michael Jackson’s Estate Removed Controversial Songs From Streaming

Michael Jackson in black-and-white

Music

Many of Michael Jackson’s posthumously released songs are available on streaming. Three were removed — and two of those three have a similar theme.

Many of Michael Jackson‘s posthumously released songs are available on streaming. Three were removed. One member of Jackson’s family questioned their authenticity. 

La Toya Jackson said some Michael Jackson songs removed from streaming are fishy

Jackson’s musical legacy is still being felt after his death in major ways. Following his death, the King of Pop’s estate put out two albums of previously unreleased material: 2010’s Michael and 2014’s Xscape. Some of the songs from Michael turned heads due to allegations the vocalist singing them was not Jackson. 

According to NPR, Jackson’s sister, La Toya, once sewed seeds of doubt. “I am shocked that things have gotten this far,” she tweeted. “This is ridiculous. I was at the studio when these questionable files were delivered. I heard these ‘so-called’ Michael Jackson songs raw and without the distraction of the well-produced music by Teddy Riley. How they constructed these songs is very sneaky and sly.”

Michael Jackson’s estate feels the songs distract from his legacy

Entertainment Weekly reported that three tracks from Michael were removed from streaming in 2022. “The Estate of Michael Jackson and Sony Music decided to remove the tracks ‘Breaking News,’ ‘Monster,’ and ‘Keep Your Head Up’ as the simplest and best way to move beyond the conversation associated with these tracks once and for all,” the two parties said. “The focus remains where it belongs — on the exciting new and existing projects celebrating Michael Jackson’s legacy. Nothing should be read into this action concerning the authenticity of the tracks — it is just time to move beyond the distraction surrounding them.”

What the songs removed from streaming sound like

Each of the songs can still be found on YouTube. While they are all joined together by this controversy, they are each distinct. “Breaking News” is a new jack swing song inspired by one of Jackson’s favorite topics: his distaste for the press, particularly the tabloid media. It has a lot of the harder edges of the King of Pop’s 1990s output.

“Monster” is a funk song featuring the legendary rapper 50 Cent. It’s a wonder a song with that pedigree didn’t receive more attention! However, it came out in 2010 and, at that time, it seemed like audiences were more interested in listening to Jackson’s classic tracks than his estate’s posthumous releases. Like “Breaking News,” “Monster” is about the dark side of the media, however, it sounds even more paranoid. The lyrics are about how there are monsters behind every corner in Hollywood. The song is especially striking, considering it supposedly comes from Jackson, the star of Thriller, one of the most famous monster movies ever made. 

“Keep You Head Up” is the outlier of the bunch. It’s an easy-listening ballad with the sort of hand claps that were popular in R&B music during the 2000s and early 2010s. It wouldn’t be out of place on Beyoncé’s B’Day. It’s not as bad as Jackson’s worst ballads (after all, he gave us “Ben,” a slow song about a killer rat) but it doesn’t live up to “Human Nature,” “Man in the Mirror,” or even “Hold My Hand,” his posthumous collaboration with Akon.

“Breaking News,” “Monster,” and “Keep Your Head Up” are not Jackson’s most famous songs but the controversy surrounding them makes them fascinating. 

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