Monster, He’s a Monster

Willa: So Joie, we’ve been talking recently about a couple of songs from Xscape, and it’s true there are some really great demos on that album. But to be honest, my favorite song that’s come out since Michael Jackson died is “Monster.” I know there’s been a lot of controversy about the so-called “Cascio tracks,” with some fans – including people I really respect – questioning the legitimacy of those tracks. Specifically, they question whether that’s really his voice we hear singing these songs.

Joie:  Yes, we’ve all heard a lot about the controversy, Willa. And you know, I’m really not sure that it’s ever going to end. I mean, there’s no way to truly convince those who doubt that it’s Michael’s voice on those tracks that it actually is him. So, I personally don’t think that issue will ever be resolved.

Willa:  You could be right, Joie, though I have a feeling that, over time, opinion will start to coalesce toward one side or the other. So what do you think? Do you think it’s his voice?

Joie:  Honestly, Willa … I really don’t know. And I have to say that it really troubles me to have to admit that, but it’s the truth. The fact is, on each of the songs in question – “Breaking News,” “Keep Your Head Up,” and “Monster” – there are parts that sound unquestioningly like Michael to me. But by that same token, on each song, there are many parts that just don’t sound quite … right. Do you know what I mean? On certain parts something is just missing from this amazing, unique voice that many of us have been listening to unceasingly for over forty years.

But here’s the thing that makes me doubt these songs:  it’s not just the Cascio tracks on the Michael album, it’s all the Cascio tracks. At least all the ones that I’ve heard. Supposedly, there are 12 in all, and I have 4 in my collection of unreleased music. That’s 4 other Cascio tracks besides the 3 that appeared on the Michael album, and they all have these little hiccups that Teddy Riley and others who worked on that album tried to explain away as “overprocessing” during the final producing stages to “fix” tiny imperfections like the occasional flat note or such. Now, if these little hiccups are in the 4 tracks that didn’t get that final “overprocessing” treatment in order to make it onto the album, why do they still sound like the 3 tracks that did get the “overprocessing” treatment? That’s my question.

Willa: And it’s a really good question.

Joie: But, you know, I’m not an expert. Far from it! So, it could very well be that it is in fact Michael’s voice on each and every Cascio track, and there’s a very simple explanation as to why they all sound not quite right. As I understand it, the studio they were working in was a very rudimentary homemade sort of deal, so perhaps that did play a big part in the resulting sound quality of each track.

The problem is, without Michael here to verify that, we have no way of knowing, and probably never will. If they had video recorded the entire process, I think the Michael album would have been received by the fans in a completely different light, but instead I think many of them just felt sort of alienated somehow. Like the Estate and those working on the album were trying to deceive them in some way, or trying to take advantage of their grief.

Willa: Well, it is a shock when you go to listen to a Michael Jackson song expecting to hear his voice – a voice many of us have been listening to for forty years, as you said – and hear something that just doesn’t sound right. I feel the same way about “Best of Joy,” and the legitimacy of that song is apparently beyond doubt – at least, I’ve never heard anyone question it. And actually, I do think it’s his voice. It’s just been overprocessed to the point where it sounds really off to me.

But I don’t think the Estate was intentionally trying to deceive anyone, and I think they did honestly try to find out whether those tracks were legitimate. Howard Weitzman, a lawyer for the Estate, issued a detailed letter after the controversy broke where he explained the process they used to verify the authenticity of the Cascio tracks. He said they began by asking the opinion of professionals intimately familiar with his voice:

Six of Michael’s former producers and engineers who had worked with Michael over the past 30 years – Bruce Swedien, Matt Forger, Stewart Brawley, Michael Prince, Dr. Freeze and Teddy Riley – were all invited to a listening session to hear the raw vocals of the tracks in question. All of these people listened to the a cappella versions of the vocals on the tracks being considered for inclusion on the album, so they could give an opinion as to whether or not the lead vocals were sung by Michael. They all confirmed that the vocal was definitely Michael.

Michael’s musical director and piano player on many of his records over a 20-year period, Greg Phillinganes, played on a Cascio track being produced for the album, and said the voice was definitely Michael’s. Dorian Holley, who was Michael’s vocal director for his solo tours for 20 plus years (including the O2 Concert Tour) and is seen in the This Is It film, listened to the Cascio tracks and told me the lead vocal was Michael Jackson.

Weitzman’s letter goes on to say that after receiving the panel’s opinion, the Estate gave the tracks to “one of the best-known forensic musicologists in the nation.” He conducted a waveform analysis and concluded that the vocals were Michael Jackson’s. Sony then brought in a second musicologist who conducted another, independent investigation, and he or she came to the same conclusion.

To me, that’s all pretty compelling evidence. I mean, I have a lot of faith in Bruce Swedien’s ears – more than my own, actually! And to me personally, the Cascio tracks sound like Michael Jackson’s voice, though a bit processed – but not nearly as much as on “Best of Joy.” To be honest, I have much more of a problem with it than the Cascio tracks.

Joie: And I still don’t understand your aversion to that song, Willa, because there is no comparison between the vocals on “Best of Joy” and the vocals on the Cascio tracks. They are like night and day. The vocals on “Best of Joy” didn’t get that overprocessed treatment that the Cascio songs were supposedly subjected to, and they have never been in question. In fact, we know that “Best of Joy” was the last song that Michael worked on before he died.

But there is no documentation that proves Michael ever worked on the Cascio tracks, which is why all that analysis was supposedly ordered by the Estate. All we have to go on are the words of the Cascios themselves, and of course, all of the expert voice analysis that you just listed. But my response to that is, have you ever listened to songs by MJ sound-alikes, like Jason Malachi or Marcus J. Williams? Ok, I know a lot was said about Malachi when the album came out, and he vehemently denied having had anything to do with the album, but have you ever heard Williams? Here’s a sample:

All I’m saying is that the Estate and Sony can tell us that they brought in all of these experts to verify that the vocals are genuine, and maybe they did, and maybe they are. But how do we really know? I guess it just all boils down to whether or not you choose to believe it. And let me just point out that I’m not saying that I don’t believe it’s Michael on the Cascio tracks. I’m just saying that I can see both sides of the argument, and those tracks (both the ones on the album, and the ones still unreleased) sound questionable to me.

But I want to back up a little bit and address something else you just said. “Monster” is your favorite posthumously released song? That surprises me for some reason.

Willa:  Well, as we’ve talked about in many posts before, I love the way Michael Jackson encourages us to sympathize with the Other – with those who are considered outsiders and are typically ignored by popular culture or presented in unflattering or oppressive ways. We see that in some of his best songs and films: Thriller, Ghosts, Beat It, Black or White, Stranger in Moscow, “We are the World” and “Heal the World” … on and on. All the way back to “Ben,” his very first number one hit when he was just a kid. He didn’t write “Ben,” but he loved it and sang it in concerts for years, well into adulthood.

Also, frequently in his songwriting we see him adopting multiple subject positions and viewing a situation from multiple perspectives, often in a way that gradually shifts the meaning of the lyrics over the course of the song. We’ve talked about this in a lot of posts also, like when we talked about “Morphine,” “Whatever Happens,” “Money,” “Threatened,” “Dirty Diana,” the Who Is It video – even that song I have so much trouble listening to, “Best of Joy.” While his voice sounds off to me – distressingly off – I love the lyrics.

Joie:  How can that beautiful falsetto on the chorus and the smooth tenor of the verses sound off to you? They are as magical on “Best of Joy” as they are on “Don’t Stop,” “Childhood,” or “Butterflies.” You know, every time you talk about it, I wonder if maybe you bought a bad CD or got a faulty mp3 download or something, because there is nothing off about that song! It’s all in your head! Or should I say your ears.

Willa: Oh heavens, Joie – talk about a controversy that will not end! How long have we been debating this? Pretty much since the Michael album came out, right? I really think we have argued about this more than anything else. You know, when we talked about “Best of Joy” in a post a while back, I was very careful not to say anything about it – about how completely off his voice sounds to me.

Joie: And I wish you had because I wanted to talk about it back then, but you asked me not to mention it, remember?

Willa: Yes, I know. It just embarrassed me that there was a song out there where I love everything about it except his vocals, especially since no one else seemed to have a problem with it. I mean, I have loved his voice since I was 9 years old. It was very confusing to me – how could his voice sound so wrong? So I didn’t say a word about it in the post, but then two people – Juney07 and Eleanor – mentioned it in their comments. As Juney wrote,

My “problem” with Best of Joy is that for some technical reason Michael’s voice sounds higher pitched on the CD I have, perhaps overproduced, or something. I’m no expert on CD production but wonder if any of you guys think the same. I know it’s Michael’s voice; that’s not the issue; if it had been released while he was living I would have wondered the same.

And then Eleanor wrote this:

I have had a similar problem with “Best of Joy,” and have hesitated to join this discussion because of it. It is the only track that bothers me on “Michael.”

I feel the exact same way as Juney and Eleanor. (And thank you both very much, because I was starting to wonder if I was crazy! Seriously. I even went to a hearing specialist to see if there was something wrong. So thank you for reassuring me that I’m not the only person on the planet who hears it this way …) Some parts are better than others, but the opening line, for example, sounds sped up to me, almost like an Alvin and the Chipmunks version of a Michael Jackson song. It makes it very hard to listen to, which is too bad because I love the lyrics and the melody.

Joie:  You’ve said that before, about the opening line of that song sounding like Alvin and the Chipmunks to you. This is why I always wonder if maybe there is a bad batch of CDs out there or something. I don’t know if I’m using the correct musical terminology here or not, but to me, the cadence of that opening line – the modulation and inflection of his voice in those first four notes of the song – sound every bit as strong and clear to me as the first four notes of “Speechless.” He is singing in a slightly higher key in “Best of Joy,” but his voice sounds exactly the same in the opening lines of both songs. And I always wonder how we can hear this song so differently. It doesn’t make any sense. It’s like we truly are not listening to the same piece of music, and I find it both fascinating and frustrating. I mean, we’ve disagreed over songs before, but on things like our interpretations of them or simply what our favorites and least favorites are, but this is different. With “Best of Joy” we literally are not hearing the same piece of music. Don’t you find that odd?

Willa:  I do. I find it incredibly odd. But you gave me an mp3, remember? Just to see if I had a bad CD? And it sounded fine to you and wrong to me. So we’re listening to the same file – we just hear it differently somehow.

I’ve even wondered if there’s like an auditory version of colorblindness – if maybe I’m not hearing the full range of sound somehow, so certain sections sound thin and reedy to me. I mean some sections sound beautiful, like “I was the only one around” at 0:22, but then “When things would hurt you” comes in at 0:27 and that sounds wrong to me, like it’s been sped up or something.

Joie: I had forgotten that I sent you an mp3 because of this debate, but you’re right – I remember that now. And I’m sorry. I don’t mean for “Best of Joy” to hijack this post – I’m not even sure how we got started – but you mentioned an auditory version of colorblindness, which I find both interesting and amusing. But I’m wondering if perhaps it could be whatever device you’re listening on. I also wonder what the ratio is of fans who hear it fine to fans who hear it distorted, because obviously you’re not the only one – Juney and Eleanor prove that. So, there must be others. It’s just an interesting little mystery to me.

Willa: It really is, for me too. And “distorted” is a good way to describe it, because that’s how it sounds to me.

But anyway, we were talking about “Monster” and how, in his songwriting, Michael Jackson structures the lyrics sometimes so there’s a constantly shifting point of view. This is very unusual, maybe because it’s so difficult to do. Yet Michael Jackson seems to achieve it effortlessly – it just seems to be a natural reflection of how his mind worked. We see him using this approach over and over throughout his career, from his earliest songs to his latest. To me, this feature of his songwriting is as distinctive as a fingerprint, and in that sense I see his fingerprints all over the Cascio tracks, especially “Monster.”

So whether that’s his voice singing the lyrics of “Monster” or not (and I think it is) I am absolutely convinced he wrote those lyrics, both by the subject matter – meaning the way he encourages us to sympathize with the Other – and by the complex way the lyrics are structured – meaning the way he constantly shifts point of view over the course of the song.

Joie: I don’t believe the authorship of the songs has ever been in question, only the vocals. But, did you want to talk about the song “Monster,” or only the controversy surrounding it and the other Cascio tracks?

Willa: No, I’d love to focus on “Monster” because I think it’s a great song – and an important one – that hasn’t been explored the way it deserves because of the uncertainty surrounding it. I just thought we should “dance with the elephant” a bit and address the controversy upfront because I know it’s an issue for a lot of people.

So “Monster” begins with these lines:

You can look at them coming out the walls
You can look at them climbing out the bushes
You can find them when the letter’s about to fall
He’ll be waiting with his camera right on focus
Everywhere you seem to turn, there’s a monster
When you look up in the air, there’s a monster
Paparazzi got you scared like a monster, monster, monster

So the first verse is written in second person (“You can look at them …”) which is unusual. Generally songs are written in first person (I can look at them …) or third person (He, she, or they can look at them …). What second-person narration does is put us as listeners into the song. And how we’re positioned is interesting – we are in the role of a celebrity targeted by paparazzi. They’re surrounding us and coming at us from every direction, so we can’t get away from them. They keep suddenly appearing, like the zombies in Thriller – in fact, he calls them “monsters,” so they kind of are like something out of Thriller. It’s like we’re living in a real life horror movie, being confronted by these “monsters” all around us that are impossible to escape.

Then a two-part chorus comes in, and the first part shifts this completely:

Oh oh Hollywood
It’s got you jumping like you should
It’s got you bouncing off the wall
It’s got you drunk enough to fall
Oh oh Hollywood
Just look in the mirror
And tell me you like, don’t you, don’t you like it?

It’s still written in second person (“It’s got you jumping like you should”) but we’re no longer a celebrity – a target of tabloid paparazzi. Instead, we’re a consumer of those exploitative tabloid pictures and screaming headlines. And he says that if we’re honest with ourselves, we have to admit we like those trashy tabloids, as much as we may pretend not to: “Just look in the mirror / And tell me you like, don’t you, don’t you like it?” In fact, we like it so much we’re addicted to it, intoxicated by it. As he says, “It’s got you bouncing off the wall / It’s got you drunk enough to fall.”

And then the second part of the chorus comes in and shifts the perspective once again:

Monster
He’s a monster
He’s an animal

Monster
He’s a monster
He’s an animal

This is sung by multiple voices, not just his voice though his voice is among them, and it seems to represent what the tabloids are saying about him. So this part is from the tabloids’ point of view, and they’re saying, “He’s a monster.” That’s a complete reversal from the first verse, where he was saying the paparazzi were acting like monsters.

So in quick succession we’ve looked at this situation from the perspective of a celebrity who’s hounded by the tabloids, a consumer who buys and reads the tabloids, and the tabloids themselves. And, as if that isn’t complicated enough, he then takes us around that full circuit of perspectives two more times. Wow!

Joie:  Wow, indeed, Willa! That was a really interesting interpretation. And I agreed with most of what you said. I do believe that he has positioned us, the audience, as the celebrity in this song. And I agree that the first part of the two-part chorus shifts this and makes us the tabloid-addicted public. But I disagree completely with the last part of your interpretation. For me, the second half of that two-part chorus puts us back in the celebrity’s point of view, not the tabloids’. Especially when we look at the second voice that comes in between the lines of that part of the chorus:

Monster
(he’s like an animal)
He’s a monster
(just like an animal)
He’s an animal
(and he’s moving in the air)

Monster
He’s a monster
He’s an animal
(everybody wanna be a star)

So here we see that second voice, weaving in and out of the second part of the chorus, “He’s like an animal / just like an animal / and he’s moving in the air.” So, I think that second voice is still referring to the paparazzi as the monster, not the celebrity. And this seems to be supported the further we get into the song when that portion of the two-part chorus begins to repeat:

Monster
(why are you haunting me?)
He’s a monster
(why are you stalking me?)
He’s an animal
(why did you do it? why did you? why are you stalking me?)

Monster
(why are you haunting me?)
He’s a monster
(why are you haunting me?)
He’s an animal
(Why did you? why did you?)

Here that second voice that weaves in and out of the chorus seems to turn on the paparazzi and confront them. “Why are you haunting me? / Why are stalking me? / Why did you do it?”

Willa: Oh, that’s interesting, Joie. I hadn’t thought about it that way. I agree those lines do seem to be a celebrity talking to the paparazzi and asking them why they’re doing what they’re doing – as he says in one round of the chorus, “What did you do to me? Why’d you take it? Why’d you fake it?”  The question “Why’d you take it?” sounds like something a celebrity would say to a photographer.

But to me, this section where the second voice weaves in and out of the chorus – the voice you put in parentheses – is really interesting because I see this section as presenting two conflicting voices. The foreground voices (or what were the foreground before – now they’ve been pushed back and sound more like they’re in the background) anyway, the voices singing, “Monster / He’s a monster / He’s an animal,” that still represents the tabloids, I think, like earlier in the song.

But now we hear that new voice you were talking about, Joie, and it’s pushing back against that narrative and implying they’re the real monsters … and as you said, it seems to be the voice of a celebrity under attack by the tabloids: “Why you stalking me? … Why you haunting me?” At least, that’s how I interpret it. It’s kind of like we talked about in the “Chicago” post a couple weeks ago, where the foreground voice and the background voice are in conflict and expressing different emotions. To me, the foreground voice and background voice are in conflict here too, and not just expressing different emotions but the opposing viewpoints of two very different groups of people: the celebrities, and the tabloids that feed off them.

Then this section is followed by a heartbreaking bridge:

Why are they never satisfied with all you give?
You give them your all
They’re watching you fall
And they eat your soul like a vegetable

The way I interpret this, the “you” in this case is the performer who gives his all on stage – so we’re positioned as a celebrity again – and the “they” are the people who read the tabloids. They’re the audience who loves you when you’re on stage but is “never satisfied” with that, and wants to read hurtful, gossipy stories about your private life as well.

At least, that’s how I see it. How do you see this part?

Joie:  Well, I don’t think the “they” is only the people who read the tabloids. I think it also refers to all of us as well, the fans. I mean, he loved his fans very much, but I believe he probably sometimes felt that we wanted much more of him than he could physically give – not necessarily wanting to read hurtful, gossipy stories about him, but definitely wanting to peek inside his private life and see everything.

Willa: Oh, that’s a good point, Joie. I think you’re probably right about that – “they” probably does include all of us to some degree. After all, it wasn’t just tabloid readers who were curious about his life, but all of us.

Joie: And you might be right about the dueling voices on the last part, but as the song comes to an end I think we’re back in that second-person point of view as he addresses us, the audience, and puts us back in the celebrity’s position and says:

He’s dragging you down like a monster
He’s keeping you down like a monster

Willa: That’s interesting, because I always thought he was putting us in the consumer position in this part – that he was saying that reading tabloids and watching Hard Copy drags us all down, as a culture. But you’re right, the tabloids certainly “drag down” celebrities also, so it makes a lot of sense that way too.

However you interpret it, it’s a fascinating song by a masterful songwriter who always encouraged and sometimes forced us to view the world from a multitude of perspectives, including some we may never have considered before. That’s one reason – one of many – why his work captures my imagination and won’t let me go.

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About Dancing with the Elephant contributors

Joie Collins is a founding member of the Michael Jackson Fan Club (MJFC). She has written extensively for MJFC, helping to create the original website back in 1999 and overseeing both the News and History sections of the website. Over the years she conducted numerous interviews on behalf of MJFC and also directed correspondence for the club. She also had the great fortune to be a guest at Neverland. She has been a Michael Jackson fan since she was three years old. Lisha McDuff is a classically trained professional musician who for 30 years made her living as a flutist, performing in orchestras and for major theatrical touring productions. Her passion for popular musicology led her to temporarily leave the orchestra pit and in June 2013 she received a Master’s degree in Popular Music Studies from the University of Liverpool. She’s continuing her studies at McMaster University, where she is working on a major research project about Michael Jackson, with Susan Fast as her director. Willa Stillwater is the author of M Poetica: Michael Jackson's Art of Connection and Defiance and "Rereading Michael Jackson," an article that summarizes some of the central ideas of M Poetica. She has a Ph.D. in English literature, and her doctoral research focused on the ways in which cultural narratives (such as racism) are made real for us by being "written" on our bodies. She sees this concept as an important element of Michael Jackson's work, part of what he called social conditioning. She has been a Michael Jackson fan since she was nine years old.

Posted on October 16, 2014, in Michael Jackson and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 33 Comments.

  1. I’m assuming you are aware that there is a lawsuit going on over the legitimacy of these songs. That forensic expert George Papcun has analyzed the songs and prepared an extensive report confirming what fans already knew – that it’s not Michael’s voice. That this report has been supported by the second forensic expert whom I cannot name at the moment as this information has not been made public yet.

    It saddens me to see promotion of these songs and frequent references to them as if they were Michael’s songs in the blog I respect. It’s one of the reasons I stopped coming here as much as I used to. I don’t know if you realize it, but being a site that is supposed to elevate the discussion about Jackson’s art, you are doing a great disservice to Michael by representing these tracks as part of his legacy and comparing them to Michael’s gems like “Best of Joy”.

    • Well said. I totally agree with everything you said. These people don’t know about MJ’s work that s\much. Some things they know, and some things they don’t, and part of the part they don’t know is about MJ’s songs on the Michael album and XSCAPE ALBUM.

    • Hi morinen. I’m really glad you wrote in. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and knowledge.

      I know you believe that isn’t Michael Jackson’s voice singing the vocals on the Cascio tracks, but I wonder what you think about whether he wrote the lyrics? As Joie said, “I don’t believe the authorship of the songs has ever been in question, only the vocals.” Is that true?

      As I said in the post, I’m firmly convinced that Michael Jackson wrote the lyrics to “Monster,” and that’s what we’re talking about in the post – the lyrics, and how to interpret them.

      • Willa, he didn’t write the lyrics. The song was written for Michael, trying to mimic his style and themes, but not by Michael. (An early demo by the songwriter, James Porte, exists.)

        • Hi morinen. I’ve been trying to find a “Monster” demo by James Porte and found this, but it won’t play. Do you have a copy of the demo? I’d really like to hear it.

          Also, while we disagree about “Monster,” in particular, I don’t think we’re as far apart as it might seem. While I think “Monster” is one of the best songs to come out since he died, still … I feel a huge sense of loss every time I hear it and the other posthumous work, that he isn’t here to oversee production and make sure everything is “just right,” to borrow his words from an Ebony interview.

          And while I think he did write the lyrics, and probably sang them as well, I still support the lawsuit and I’m glad it’s going forward. I think the provenance of the Cascio tracks needs to be explored and explained to the public more than it has been, but more generally, I think there needs to be an open discussion about what it means for a song to be a Michael Jackson song. If he wrote and produced a song but someone else sang it (like “Muscles,” which he wrote and produced for Diana Ross) is it a Michael Jackson song? If someone else wrote a song and he sang it (like “Thriller” and “Human Nature” and “Man in the Mirror” and most of the songs on Off the Wall) is it a Michael Jackson song? If he wrote and sang a song and produced a fairly polished demo of it, but then another producer changed the tempo and instrumentation so much it sounds radically different than his demo (like many of the “contemporized” songs on Xscape) is that a Michael Jackson song?

          These are complicated questions that deserve a lot of thought and discussion, and I’m really hoping the lawsuit will help push that conversation further.

  2. Willa and Joie, into the fray!
    As always I enjoy hearing your opinions and interpretations.

    Just out of curiosity, if these forensic experts have analyzed the voice on the Cascio songs and determined who it ISN’T, can they take the flip side of that? Can they take vocals by the two impersonators mentioned in the article (presumably the best available MJ-vocal stylists?)and say whose voice it IS on the Cascio songs if not Michael’s?

    In one listen to the sample above, even though the singer is not imitating MJ’s rendition of the song note for note, one can immediately hear that he has a slower or wider rate of vibrato than MJ, who had a very rapid strong vibrato. Some electronic processing might be necessary in order to speed up someone else’s vibrato in order to match MJ’s if the intent was there to portray that voice as his. But I still can’t see the logic behind such a risky bit of smoke and mirrors; IMO the risks far outweigh the gains.

    In the song “Monster” (and Willa I agree that the content, structure and lyrics are consistent with MJ’s creative and stylistic methods), the lyrics you cite:
    “Monster
    (why are you haunting me?)recognized
    He’s a monster
    (why are you stalking me?)
    He’s an animal
    (why did you do it? why did you? why are you stalking me?)
    Monster
    (why are you haunting me?)
    He’s a monster
    (why are you haunting me?)
    He’s an animal
    (Why did you? why did you?)”

    In my mind this is a direct face-to-face finger-pointing exchange between Michael and the tabloid zealots with them calling him a monster and animal based upon the heinous false accusations made against him. It also brings to mind Jermaine’s description of MJ sitting in the car on the long drive to Santa Maria repeatedly asking “Why? Why? Why?” in a torturous rhetorical loop…

    I could have done without the rap in “Monster”, although it too is consistent with many of MJ’s songs having a centerpiece rap, a device certainly recognized by Teddy Riley. Later remarks by 50 Cent make his participation even more unpleasant. But I do enjoy hearing “The King has risen” in the middle of the song, especially now in light of the international success of the Xscape album.

    • “In my mind this is a direct face-to-face finger-pointing exchange between Michael and the tabloid zealots.”

      Yes! That’s exactly how I picture this section too, Chris – though I have to say, you described it much better and more vividly than I did! There’s Hard Copy and The National Enquirer and all those other tabloids on one side saying, “Monster / He’s a monster / He’s an animal,” and then there’s Michael Jackson on the other saying, “Why are you stalking me?” and “Why are you haunting me?”

      I was really struck by the way you link the list of “Why?” questions in “Monster” (“Why are you haunting me? Why are you stalking me? Why did you do it? Why did you? Why are you stalking me?”) to “the long drive to Santa Maria” during the trial, with Michael Jackson “repeatedly asking ‘Why? Why? Why?’ in a torturous rhetorical loop…” Wow, that’s really powerful.

      • That “why did you do it” question I think must have been a torturous one for MJ from 1993 onward, even though he answered his own question at the top level in the song “Money”…

        I hear echoes of “Monster” in the song “We’ve Had Enough”, where he ends with that question too.

        “We’ve Had Enough” is also a terrific example of Michael’s strong, rapid vibrato.

        I have to add, too (as someone with real-life experience working with singers) that there is a special quality or timbre in Michael’s voice that I attribute to many years of speaking and singing in a range higher than his natural one. His total sound is unique to him of course, but that particular quality can be heard in others who train their voices upwards… The reason I mention this is it may be contributing to what you are evidently hearing prominently in “Best of Joy”, which as apparently one of the last songs he worked on, may also be affected by the natural aging process of the human voice.

  3. Willa and Joie: Very interesting post. Once again, you’ve given me another/different avenue to travel as I listen to Monster and it’s unique construction. Also…there is certainly more then one opinion about the tracks in question, law suit or not…so I appreciate your willingness to discuss your personal viewpoints.

    • I agree, Lauren. We are entitled to our opinions about the songs. It took courage to write about this topic as there is a portion of the fan community that thinks their opinion is the only one and consistently shove it in all of our faces. I have never understood what there was to gain in putting out a “fake” track. Michael’s imprint is all over the lyrics of “Monster.”

  4. I don’t want to join the Cascio tracks debate, but just wanted to chip in with the fact that I, like Willa, also think Best Of Joy sounds processed here and there. People who can’t hear it should really listen to the two lines Willa mentions, those that start at 0.22 and 0.27 respectively, and compare. The second line sounds like a very low quality mp3, it has a digital, thin and “spiky” sound to it, compared to the roundness and body of the voice in the first line mentioned. I’m not questioning authenticity here, just saying that I too think the raw material they had to make the track might not have been the best all the way through. I like the song, though! 🙂

  5. Right away going to apologize for the long comment -When Willa states — “I’ve even wondered if there’s like an auditory version of colorblindness” I was blown away as I’ve thought this very same notion, ever since the Cascio conundrum materialized.

    I think people do hear differently and I think people see differently too. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a discussion regarding color with my children where we totally disagree on what we see. They will see grey where I clearly see moss green or they will see a almost leaf green where I see a deep turquoise green–

    So whose eyes are deceiving whose brain and now with this discussion- Whose ears?

    I just completed the bodyguard’s book, “Remembering the Time” and while obviously it’s written from the limited perspective of these men during that particular time frame, they do speak of Michael and his family living with the Cascio’s. They also write that Michael spent extended periods of time, in the makeshift studio downstairs, recording music. Whether or not, it’s the music we hear on the Michael album, is of course, up for debate.

    Seems to me we have to not only base our opinion on what we hear as to what we know about the Cascio’s as a family. It’s been rumored that his time in the Cascio recording studio was indeed filmed but as a family they’ve chosen not to reveal it because they wish to abide by Michael’s wishes that it never see the light of day. They have chosen instead to take the brunt of being called frauds than break a promise to him, as they know how he’s been abused in this way many times in life and since his death.

    This decision, if it’s true, does align with the fact that they were his second family for over 25 yrs, a safe haven where he found solace and the ability to sleep, eat and get healthy- and no one else knew about it. The Cascio’s never told anyone that their adopted family member was the King of Pop and neither did Michael.

    I choose to believe that as a family they would not present music that wasn’t him. I can’t fathom that they would change their stripes so to speak. To be so protective, supportive and loving of Michael through all the years, where he felt truly loved by them as himself, NOT the KOP, then suddenly turn around and behave diametrically different. It just doesn’t seem plausible to m- but that’s just my opinion.

    Now to Monster- seems to me it falls into the “call back” “Earth Song” or “statement/response” category of songs that Michael seemed to enjoy/employ quite often. His songs for example “You’re Not Alone” – – and “Cry” where he is conversing, either with God or some other entity. Unlike, “A Place With No Name” where he’s using .. “I said” and “she said” in others he just expects us to understand he’s having a conversation.

    Yet this Monster conversation seems as if he is attempting to explain to someone else what his life entails as a warning of sorts- the constant hounding, accusations of the paparazzi and how their bias created this image that he’s a monster for society and how the media can pretty much do this to anyone.

    Monster reminds me a lot of “Threatened” – and

    Tabloid Junkie
    Speculate to break the one you hate
    Circulate the lie you confiscate
    Assassinate and mutilate
    As the hounding media in hysteria-

    ‘hate’, ‘mutilate’ and ‘hounding’ conjure monster imagery of tearing apart a body, does it not?

    Ultimately – Michael seemed to constantly push back -asking them not to create this vision of a man he isn’t- knowing all along that they wouldn’t stop.

    Privacy –
    Ain’t the pictures enough, why do you go through so much
    To get the story you need, so you can bury me
    You’ve got the people confused, you tell the stories you choose
    You try to get me to lose the man I really am

    The last line is really says a lot about how Michael KNEW what they were really after- they wanted confirmation.

    “you try to get me to lose the man I really am”

    as if to say.. the constant push, ie lies, misrepresentations and caricatures the tabloids have created are meant to get a reaction out of him, to make him lose his temper, get ugly, –

    To change him in to exactly the monster that they’ve characterized him to be.

    Michael Jackson while living isolated knew exactly what the tabloids were doing- he understood it and he DID push back but not in the violent way they wanted or expected. He did it through his art with epic films like “Ghosts” and these profound songs.

    Like many others, the more I pay attention to the details of his art/music and learn about him the more I admire him and am sure that is exactly the opposite of what the tabloids/media expected.

    • Great comment from MJJJustice Project. Totally agree.

    • A couple of comments here get to the heart of the problem I have with believing the Cascio tracks are fraudulent: 1) the special and close role the Cascios played in Michael’s life over a very long span of time, which they never in any way exploited for their own gain, and 2) taking their evident character completely out of the equation, the utter illogic of trying to manufacture fraudulent songs.

      Until someone can produce irrefutable proof, or the shadow singer some imagine exists comes forth to reveal himself, it simply makes more sense that the tracks are authentic. Not of the greatest auditory or recording quality, but authentic nonetheless.

      Thanks to Joie and Willa for contributing their always-interesting and informed opinions to the conversation, as well. Controversy often provides the richest ground for discussion in the quest for enlightenment. Not everyone has the courage necessary to challenge self-appointed “authorities” attempting to dictate what is or isn’t appropriate material for it.

    • “I think people do hear differently and I think people see differently too.”

      Hi MJJJusticeProject. It sure seems that way, doesn’t it? I’m really intrigued by this also, and there are some recent studies suggesting that we taste things differently as well. For example, these studies suggest that not only do some people like the taste of cilantro while others don’t, but they actually taste it differently: some people think it tastes soapy, while others think it’s more of a smoky flavor. And apparently there are genetic reasons for this. Here’s an NPR article about it.

      So it seems that, not only do we have different opinions about what we perceive, but it’s possible we actually perceive things differently too, and this may apply to all our senses: of sight, of hearing, of taste.

      • Willa, along with hearing and taste, we smell things differently too. I am someone who has no problem with skunk odor. There are many like me who do not find it offensive.

    • love your comment also, especially the last paragraph. I am sick and tired of law suits and all that stuff around Michael. There was more than enough of it while he was alive!!! How I long for the day when we can look at his art for the wonderful body of work that it is, and not anything else, but I suppose that won’t happen in my lifetime!!!

      I just love this blog because Willa and Joie leave all that crap (pardon me!!) behind and just concentrate on Michael’s work as it was released to us, and that is where I personally want to focus my attention. Keep it up Willa and Joie because you have my full support and rapt attention.

  6. Hi there, I still have the same thoughts about Best of Joy as I commented in your earlier post, too high pitched, nasal, etc., however, I just listened to it again in light of Garp’s comment concerning the quality of what there was to work with which makes sense to me, along with the observation that it could be “bad CD’s”. If so, Willa, then I guess you, Eleanor and myself suffered in the luck of the draw.

    In reading Remember the Time, the bodyguards talk fairly extensively about Michael’s time in New Jersey with the Cascios in 2007. While they don’t specifically state they heard Michael recording at that time, as they did not stay in the Cascio home, mention is made of the basement studio the Cascio’s fixed up for Michael and, unless I’m dreaming, I think the family gave a mini-tour of the basement dance floor where Michael slept (with his kids upstairs in the bedrooms) during Oprah’s interview with them in 2010, when she also interviewed Teddy Riley.

    Weitzman’s statement naming Michael’s past collaborators vouching for the songs is compelling and I would pretty much take Swieden’s word over just about anyone else’s. On the other hand, because the plaintiff in the class action case has named her expert, it would have helped to know the identity of the estate’s expert (although this will come out if the case goes to trial). And I still question why the Estate would use three “Cascio” songs as part of a ten track album when Michael left behind so much unreleased work from the late 80’s and early 90’s which surely would not have caused so much controversy.

    As for “Monster”, well, it seems to me that his words were a spot-on reflection of how he must have felt at that time about what they had done to him. Thanks for taking on this topic.

  7. Your personal opinion about the Cascio songs is your prerogative but as a blog that presents itself as a platform for serious discourse about Michaels artistic legacy , the least you can do when discussing them, is to put on a disclaimer about the controversy.

    The normal MO in any other domain where there is such controversy is to exercise restraint. Why not concerning Michaels work. I find it misleading to readers who have no idea about the story behind the controversy to make it seem as if there is proof of the authenticity, while there is not.

    Interpretation of lyrics that happen to be about (or were made to suggest) themes in Michaels work or someones supposed good character are no prove of authenticity. These are fallacies and totally irrelevant. Thematically, none of Michaels authentic songs of his last years have anything to do with monsters or tabloid trash. He was not stuck on these themes.

    None of us know the people who support or worked on these tracks on a personal level to know their character. What we know is that Cascio is capable of selling very personal stuff of Michaels like his used make up box, xrays of his feet and personal documents, so if anything, money could be a motive. Talking about Bruce Swedien, he is one of the people who refused to stand up for Michael when he was called as a character witness, because “he could not vouch for Michaels character”. All this may have to do with their character and what they are capable of concerning their friendship with Michael, but not whether they faked 10 songs. We need logical arguments to establish the probability that these songs are Michaels or not. Aside from the afore mentioned, there are many other reasons why it s very unlikely.

    On the notes with songtitles that were found in Michaels bedroom there was not one Cascio song. Except for backing vocals on Thriller 25 Michael never worked with Cascio , why suddenly have him produce a whole album.

    The origins of every single song Michaels ever wrote or recorded can be tracked down, the Cascio’s songs even Joe Vogel had to admit, are a mystery. While respected producers who only had 2 or 3 songs on the posthumous albums gave detailed information, demo’s, notes and even MJs voicemails that prove authenticity of the songs they produced, Cascio supposedly produced a whole album but as of today refuses to give insight in how these songs came to exist. When fans started questioning the songs, he first said that he had filled in the songs for Michael because he died before finishing them. He never said to which extend the songs were filled in, but later on the narrative became that Michael had completed these songs but that Eddy had messed up the production, hence needing Teddy Riley to fix them. Who in his turn made even more contradicting statements. Then there is the consistent shutting down of attempts to compare the Cascios to Michaels voice while no action whatsoever against leaking of authentic unreleased songs.

    Most compelling is Sony’s decision not to release the remaining Cascio songs which is a major loss for them. If they were so sure of the authenticity they would go out of their way to prove it to capitalize on them.

    If we believe Cascio he should be credited with 1/8 of Michaels completed solo work. That is absurd.

    • Hi Sina. I agree there are still a lot of questions surrounding the Cascio tracks, and I hope these will be answered by the lawsuit if it goes to trial. I hope it does.

  8. Thankyou for the interesting article. I always felt that the “you” in Monster was inclusive to allow us in to be the stalked, to experience how it felt, followed by a cynical look at what his fame had brought him and ending with directly addressing the paps and tabloids.

    You don’t discuss the rap, the words are really really powerful …

    Catch me in a bad mood, flipping, you’ll take a whippin’
    Animal, Hannibal, cannibal addiction
    Tears appear, yeah, blurring your vision
    Fear in the air, screaming, your blood drippin’
    Shiver a second, now, now, now, what is it?
    Funerals, cemeteries, don’t worry, it’s time to visit
    Broke bones, tombstones, how do you think I’m kiddin’?
    It’s home, sweet home, the land of the forbidden……..

    then

    It goes on and on, it goes on and on
    We get to creeping and crawling in the early morn’
    Dream on dreamer, there’s nowhere to run
    You can try but you’re done
    I can feel it in the air, here the monster come

    Does anyone know if he wrote the rap or is that the rappers input? I would love to know.

    Last but not least

    I have no trouble believing that MJ wrote this , but it is after all a typical MJ rant at the press,paps…who knows.

    I have real trouble believing that the vocals are MJ’s.

    I have real trouble with the fact that Sony felt the need to over produce these tracks to the extent that they did, the fake vibrato on Michael, the way too annoying ANNOYING overpowering electric snare drum on Xscape, drives me mad, I find xscape mostly unlistenable to because of this.
    I have always thought that MJ fans would be happiest with just pure MJ singing (and farting) in the bath, that would be the dream.
    At least they gave us the demos this time with Xscape.
    I think if it is MJ on these tracks it serves $ony right that people question it’s authenticity because they have wiped out the essence of him with electronic wizardry. If it isn’t MJ singing they have masked it as best they could with electronic trickery,but either way the end result is contrived and overproduced, no-body is really happy with it and I very much doubt MJ would be either.

    Does anyone know if SETH RIGGS has ever given his opinion on these vocals? I never heard so, maybe he wants to keep out of it, I wouldn’t blame him!!!!

    Really last but not least
    I LOVE it that you guys just keep on Michaeling!

    • Baddest, you mention “the fake vibrato on Michael”. This is why I have trouble thinking it is Michael. I can’t think of any other song he sang where he used almost constant vibrato.

      Thanks for posting the rap lyrics, they are indeed powerful.

  9. Thank you Willa and Joie for not shying away from controversy in this post. Sorry I am late to the party this time. For me, personally, there was always something “off” about the Cascio songs. Something was not right- yes, pieces sounded like Michael, and yet, so much did not. Or sounded like a very distorted version of him. I am not a sound expert, and initially, I thought, hey, a big company like Sony (as much as I do have many feelings about Michael’s dealings with them in the past) sure would not risk “fake” songs. Then there were the experts who seemed to assert it was him. … And yet, so many strange things: the odd vibrato mentioned before, the apparent missing “raw versions” of takes, with Michael’s characteristic add libbing, foot stamping, finger snapping etc. The Cascios were asked over and over to produce such evidence and yet none has ever surfaced. There was talk about video recordings- and again, they never surfaced. It’s almost as if SOME parts of songs existed, and then they were doctored up pretty badly- by either stretching and modifying or adding another singer who tried very hard to be like Michael- but fell way short.
    Best Of Joy- we KNOW Michael worked on. I personally know of people outside his Holmy Hills home who heard him blast the song- there is NO DOUBT this is Michael. So, while we might all hear different things, and we do, because perception happens in the brain and we all have individual processes involved including not only individual brain structural differences, but also the fact that our psychological experiences tint perception, there is no doubt that this is a verified Michael Jackson song.

    As far as Monster, I would be dying to know if Michael wrote it. Stylistically and thematically, it would fit with many of the songs named in other comments. I have always been fascinated by the lyrics: the imposed mask of the monster. The golden king, toppled by the perceived threat to a ruling cultural norm who could not cope with him challenging what it meant to be black or white, or him stretching our schemas of male and female. The man made a monster- who decided to become the “beast you visualized” as he already told us in Is It Scary (which I believe is his most telling and riveting song addressing the same theme). In Monster, Michael seemed to struggle with having the outside monsters descend on him (such as the paps in bushes and flying overhead) , having the monster ascribed, and finally (and maybe after having for some frightening moments questioned if he indeed had somehow become what they said he was), rejecting it fully, but knowing the monster are outside: the paparazzi, the entertainment industry, and even those who “ate his soul” after he had given his all.

    So, as we will probably never know for sure, I chose to believe that Michael did write at least some parts of Monster (it just fits SO well) ..or had discussed the concept with the Cascios. Btw- to those who choose not to question them because of the role they held: Michael himself DID question them …as he came to know they, just like many other people in his life were subject to being seduced by power and money. There are some parts of the lyrics that I think are just as “off” as the vocals, but overall, I do see lots of familiar themes. Could be wishful thinking, could be my interpretation, who knows?. But we might never know beyond the shadow of a doubt. Thank you again for the rich discussion!

  10. From the estate: “Six of Michael’s former producers and engineers who had worked with Michael over the past 30 years – Bruce Swedien, Matt Forger, Stewart Brawley, Michael Prince, Dr. Freeze and Teddy Riley – were all invited to a listening session to hear the raw vocals of the tracks in question. All of these people listened to the a cappella versions of the vocals on the tracks being considered for inclusion on the album, so they could give an opinion as to whether or not the lead vocals were sung by Michael. They all confirmed that the vocal was definitely Michael.”

    I recall that all of these folks confirmed that the vocals SOUND like Michael – which would be the point of using an impersonator – not that it WAS Michael. All of them had economic motivation to fall in line with Sony. Young children have hearing that is far more acute and attuned to nuance than adults. Michael’s children, who were very young when the album came out, are adamant that it is not their father’s voice on the Cascio tracks. I believe them over the so-called experts.

    I don’t recall where I saw it, but I remember reading that Best of Joy is actually a very early recording that was supposed to be on Off the Wall. To my ears, Michael sounds very young on this song. According to Joe Vogel though, it was recorded in 2008. Could it be Michael worked on it in 2008 but recorded it years earlier?

    Hard to believe that the Cascios are so “protective” of Michael’s privacy that they wouldn’t release video evidence that he recorded their tracks, yet had no problem with Frank Cascio supposedly revealing intimate details about Michael’s romantic life and the birth of his children in his book. As to why anyone would do this, if Michael’s dedicated, knowledgeable fans can be fooled, there’s millions to be made from ‘newly discovered’ recordings.

    • Even the most sceptical fans never questioned the authenicity of Best of joy because the voice is unmistakably Michaels. But there is also other evidence, the latest provided by the man himself, his handwritten note found on his bedroomwall at the time of his death. The note( an exhibit in the Jackson vs AEG case) contains songs Michael was working on, some released on the Michael album such as Best of Joy, Hold my hand and Holywood tonight . But there is also Scared of the moon , which this article is about.
      http://www.damienshields.com/scared-of-the-moon-the-little-song-that-could/
      In the article there is a print of Michaels note on which not one of 11 Cascio songs.

      In the Making of Michael documentary Neff-U talks about the songs he produced for the album, how Michael worked and there are demo;s , voicemail messages and recorded conversations from 18.20 on and at 21.45 handwritten lyrics of Best of Joy .

      The documentary is very revealing for many reasons e.g that 50 cent wrote the rap in monster and to summerize Cascios story about his songs : “ It was a dream come true. I had what I had and got the job done”.

  11. So I was reading last night where 50 Cent says Michael Jackson talked to him about “Monster” before he died. It’s on page 215 of Michael Jackson, Inc. by Zack O’Malley Greenburg. Here’s what he says:

    50 Cent remembers the King of Pop calling to tell him he’d been waking up to the rapper’s “In Da Club” every morning – and wanted to work on a new song together. “He just said, ‘I have a song, I think it’s my new ‘Thriller,'” 50 Cent recalls. “[Michael] had something that he thought would be interesting if I wrote with him on it. … I just didn’t even know it was real when he said that.” (The rapper eventually laid a verse on the song, called “Monster,” produced by Teddy Riley and released on the posthumous album Michael.)

    After reading that, I went back and watched the part of the documentary about making the Michael album where 50 Cent talks about “Monster.” (And thanks for sharing a link to that, Sina. I hadn’t watched it in a while and, to be honest, had kind of forgotten about it.) At around 13:55 minutes in, 50 Cent says, “It was exciting. For me, I looked at it and said, it’s an opportunity to do, you know, what we spoke about.”

    So apparently Michael Jackson did acknowledge the existence of these songs, or at least “Monster,” to other people before he died. It wasn’t just the Cascios who knew about them, if what 50 Cent says is true. And I have to say, watching the documentary, he seems sincere to me, and so does Teddy Riley – and so does Eddie Cascio, for that matter. Maybe I’m just being gullible, but they all seem very earnest about how much they loved him and his work, and want to do the best they can to carry out his wishes.

    • 50 Cent never mentioned, I believe, that Michael invited him specifically for “Monster.” But even if he did, MJ had his own song with the same name which was different from the Cascio song. He worked on it with Brad Buxer and Michael Prince:

      http://cocatalog.loc.gov/cgi-bin/Pwebrecon.cgi?v1=5&ti=1,5&Search%5FArg=michael%20jackson%20monster&Search%5FCode=FT%2A&CNT=100&PID=qZi4Wa8h3MM4OwxcgBFL1ZEVlQBA&SEQ=20141028172314&SID=7

      • Michael Jackson may not have specifically said the title “Monster,” but 50 Cent seems to believe that was the song he was referring when he told him, “I have a song, I think it’s my new ‘Thriller.’” Apparently that’s where the phrase “2010 Thriller” comes from in the rap to “Monster” – 50 Cents’ belief that Michael Jackson saw this song as “my new ‘Thriller.'”

        And Chris, like you, I enjoy that line in the rap that “the King has risen…”

        • Willa, 50 cent never said what song Michael had asked him to work on. Not BEFORE Michael died , when he and his G Unit buddy Eminem were among the artists who used to ridicule Michael – re Eminems infamous hairburning video and 50 cent calling him irrelevant. Not in this scripted interview that was obviously edited to give a sincere feel. But “Seeming sincere” and speculations what 50 cent really meant are invalid arguments, what is needed is witness hearing and forensic evidence .

          As for witnesses, you may or may not be aware that Teddy Riley from day one had a hard time to keep up the narrative and It was clear that he would be the first to break the facade. These and more revealing statements were made by Teddy Riley as early as in 2010 when the album was released.

          “The truth of this of it all [is that] no one knows [but] MJ and God knows. I have nothing more to say and I can’t prove anything. I did not original produce his vocals nor these songs. I’ve answered all that I can answer for MJ fans. The Cascios have a [Twitter] page. They have your answers.” – Teddy Riley on November 9, 2010

          And this is what he said last year : “I was [given] a problem that involved my best friend and sign[ed] a contract to remix what I had,” explained Riley by Twitter yesterday – September 2, 2013.

          “It was too late for me to turn back so I finished out the project. Now if you want me to apologize for that, yes, I’m funkin sorry I did it.”
          “Do you feel betrayed by Eddie Cascio and his team for the situation you ended up in with their fake MJ songs? It seem[s] to me like you got all the heat for a fraud they created, which is [not] fair on you…” tweeted a fan to the producer on April 8, 2013.
          “It isn’t (fair), but it’s all good. I’ll be able to talk soon,” responded Riley. “[Now] isn’t the time. I’m muted, but trust me MJ always gets his just due. He is my bestfriend, bigbro and confidant. Please believe! The truth will set us all free.” “I was set up and it will all come out when [my] book comes. That’s all I can say right now.” – September 2, 2013.

          All of this is on record and I hope Teddy Riley will be subpoenad as a first hand witness .
          http://www.damienshields.com/teddy-riley-apologises-for-michael-album/

  12. This copyright on another song called “Monster”, filed in 2009, is very interesting.

    Rather than interpret the existence of this second version (ostensibly written by MJ, Brad Buxer and Michael Prince) as some sort of silent criticism of the version that ultimately was produced by Teddy Riley and released on the Michael album, it seems to have positive components: the theme of “monster” re the media was clearly still rattling around in MJ’s mind and he wanted to explore it further.

    Perhaps the work he did on the Eddie Cascio/James Porte songs was always intended in MJ’s mind as a training exercise for young men interested in music production – according to Frank Cascio’s book, MJ always had the time and patience to instruct the brothers in many things, especially when they traveled with him and he felt responsible for their education. He would have enjoyed the distraction of playing around in the home recording studio too, I reckon…

    Maybe he even took the masters from those sessions with him. An experienced producer like MJ would have done that if there was any doubt about their security, or the possibility of later study.

    If the material stayed with him, as this seems to have done, MJ could always turn to a more serious collaboration in order to produce it professionally later.

    It would be terrific to hear the version that Brad Buxer and Michel Prince worked on which generated this copyright, to see which direction the song was going in 2009. I hope that these collaborators (very long collaboration in Buxer’s case) see fit to talk about their version and shed light upon the two-headed “Monster”.

    Michael’s Estate is listed on the copyright, as would have been appropriate after 6/25/09, which brings up another question: if the Estate knew they had material from this later version of “Monster” available to them, would it be logical to instead use the earlier Cascio version that had generated some controversy in the fan community and didn’t have Prince and Buxer to testify for it from their personal participation? Hmmmm…

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