The Standout Tracks of "Bad 25"

Michael Paid “The Price Of Fame”…And Prophesized About It On One Of Bad 25’s Two Truly “Stand Out” tracks

So now I am the proud owner of my shiny, new (and very fat!) Bad 25 box. I splurged on the $35 version-you know, the one with the original Bad disc, the CD of bonus material, the Wembley DVD and Wembley CD. So out of all my new goodies, what was worth the money?

I’ll start with the music CD’s, which seems to me the logical place to begin. After all, without the music, all else is nothing.

And, just to cut to the chase, I think I can safely dispense with the need to go through the tracks of the original Bad album. These are the songs that have already proven their mettle, and have long since passed into the realm of unarguable classics. True, some of the tracks that made it onto Bad were stronger than others, and fans will debate to their dying day which tracks could have been left off in favor of some of the stronger tracks that did not make the cut, but we can’t change history. The original Bad album is what it is, and there is a reason it has stood the test of time. Needless to say, we would not care enough to be participating in this very hyped Bad 25 promotion if the original Bad album hadn’t been the classic that it is.

But I’m sure I can speak for most fans who have bought Bad 25 in saying that it is not those original eleven tracks that have compelled us to empty our wallets once again. If there is an MJ fan who has gone this long without owning a copy of Bad…well, what kind of fan are you, anyway?

No, it is those bonus tracks, and the dangling carrot that is Wembley that has driven those sales.

And without all of the controversy that plagued the Michael album, sell it has! Here is an excerpt from a recent statement released by the estate:

MJ Estate : Michael Jackson’s Wembley Concert is the No. 1 selling DVD in the world

Spike Lee’s Bad 25 documentary is drawing rave reviews from film critics and will air on ABC Thanksgiving night. Entertainment Weekly gave Bad 25 album an “A” calling it “a potent reminder of just how much Bad’s pulsing pop holds up.” Cirque du Soleil’s “Michael Jackson the Immortal World Tour” was Pollstar’s top selling North American concert tour in the first six months of 2012, debuts this month in Europe and recently received Billboard’s Creative Content Award. And “This Is It” is the most successful concert film…EVER. The world loves Michael Jackson.

So now that some of the dust is settling, and I’m over the first rush of excitement, what ultimately will survive from Bad 25 as worthy of setting on our shelves alongside all of our classic MJ CD’s and DVD’s?

For sure, the Wembley concert stands in a class all by itself, and I will give Wembley its own post shortly, as is its due.

For now, let’s look at that CD of bonus tracks. What’s hot; what’s not?

Streetwalker remains in my opinion as the ultimate track that “Should Have Made ‘Bad’ But Didn’t.” Fly Away ranks a close second, as one of Michael’s best and smoothest ballads. But again, these tracks aren’t exactly new to us, since both made the Bad reissue in 2001.

I’m also going to dispense with those thoroughly atrocious remixes, none of which were necessary and are a complete waste of space on the disc. I’m not a huge fan of remixes on the whole, but heck, at least Blood On The Dance Floor had remixes that were interesting. The AfroJack remixes of Bad (yes, including that atrocious mess featuring PitBull) and the Nero remix of Speed Demon just sound like so much white noise. My suggestion if you want the most enjoyable experience from the bonus disc: Spin it up to about Track 10, and then remove-pronto!

As for the Spanish and French versions of I Just Can’t Stop Loving You, Todo Mi Amour Eres Tu and Je Ne Veux Pas La Fin De Nous, respectively) they are mostly novelty tracks; interesting if you’re the sort of fan girl who melts over hearing Michael sing a phrase like “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You”-in any language! Between the two, I think the Spanish words are a better fit for the song, but then again, I was probably one of those rare people who thought it sounded perfectly fine the first time around, in plain old English.

That leaves us with six tracks that can truly be considered as “new” songs-that is, tracks that have not been previously released.

Of those six tracks, we have four “sort of okay” mediocre tracks and two true stand-outs. Don’t Be Messin’ Round is mostly notable for Michael’s piano playing and its sort of feel-good, summery, bossa nova feel. It’s a nice song, but nothing special. I’m So Blue is still growing on me, but so far, I’m still placing it squarely into the category of nice-but-not-jumping-out-of-my-chair.

Free is notable mostly for capturing Michael’s contagious giggle at the end.

Al Capone Is Interesting, But May Have Suffered From Being Too Compositionally And Thematically Close to Smooth Criminal

Al Capone is interesting, but compositionally, too close to Smooth Criminal, which ultimately is the superior track. In fact, this seemed to be the case with many of the tracks that did not make Bad. For example, The Way You Make Me Feel and Streetwalker were both similar tracks-flirty songs about being attracted to a girl on the street, and both based on a similar shuffling beat. I know the story Quincy Jones told was that it came down to a narrowing process between Streetwalker and Another Part Of Me. But the reality may be closer to the fact that, both in content and composition, it was too close to The Way You Make Me Feel, and perhaps in the end it was decided that The Way You Make Me Feel was the stronger track (and, much as I love Streetwalker, I have to say I agree with that decision). Similarly, Al Capone just seems to be very much a skeletal version of what would evolve into Smooth Criminal.

That leaves, however, the two true gems that make this a collection worth having.

Song Groove (aka Abortion Papers) has already received its own post here, though my purpose there was mainly to discuss the controversy generated by the song.

But controversy and all arguments as to whether Michael was preaching a pro-life agenda aside, the song is quite simply one of the strongest tracks I have yet heard from Michael’s vault of unreleased material. Lyrically profound, with a strong melodious hook that equals anything released on Bad (and, imo far surpasses some of Bad’s paler tracks) this is the kind of gem that I fantasize about when I think of everything I would love to hear in an unreleased Michael Jackson track. Let’s be honest, every time talk begins to circulate about an album of previously unheard Michael Jackson tracks, don’t you secretly wish there would be another Billie Jean; another Beat It; another Earth Song; another Rock With You waiting somewhere to be unearthed? Well, Abortion Papers may not be that, but I think as far as unreleased demo tracks go, it may be just about as close as it gets.

Then we have Price Of Fame. Even before I was aware of Joe Vogel’s commentary on the song, I recognized that the song’s intro does sound very reminiscent of The Police’s Spirits In The Material World.



But before the naysayers are too quick to pounce on this, there may be a very good explanation for this similarity. Certainly in this age of music sampling-where we now have entire songs on the charts that are merely recycled versions of past hits (whether intentional or not, and whether credited or not) Michael should at least be allowed the same creative license that we routinely these days grant so many far lesser artists. The similarity between the two songs may or may not have been intentional, but when you examine the themes of both songs, it is apparent that Michael, or at least the persona in the song, does feel very much like a spirit caught and trapped in the material world. Only in this case, he is a spirit trapped in the material world of fame. Lyrically, the song offers enough tantalizing and cryptically autobiographical lyrics to keep the fans guessing and the armchair psychoanalysts happy until…well, at least until we get the next big release to talk about (Dangerous 25, after all, is only four years down the road!).

The song itself treads some familiar ground. We could argue that Tabloid Junkie and Privacy were also bemoaning the “price of fame” (at least, the price of becoming a tabloid/media target). In a sense, Billie Jean was about the “price of fame.” (If you’re famous, you will be chased by lots of women who want to have your baby). Leave Me Alone, which did make it onto the original Bad CD (if not the album) became a scathing rant against the media and the price of fame via its accompanying video, which managed to take what had been a simple, straightforward track about a relationship gone bad and to turn it into what would become Michael’s signature “f you” to the tabloids.

So in a sense we have a case once again where two very similarly themed tracks came head to head on Bad. But while Leave Me Alone may have become an iconic video piece, Price of Fame (the song) is a much more personal and darker song, not one that merely lambasts the media, but also one that deeply explores the effects of fame on his own psyche, and becomes in many ways a chillingly prophetic declaration. And yes, the lyrics regarding “my father” are certainly intriguing if we actually pay close attention to the message the father has conveyed:

 I took my baby on a river boat,

And she was well aware.

I was excited bout the way that thing might’ve been,

You said it, I don’t care,

But I want a face no one can recognize in disguise,

Someone called out my name, They thought of taking pictures, autographs in the car,

My joy has turned to pain

My father always told me,

You won’t live a quiet life, If you’re reaching for fortune and fame,

I feel the pressure setting in, I’m living just to win, I’m done in my pain, don’t you feel it ?

It’s the price of fame, you pay the price of fame, So don’t be feelin’ no pain ! It’s the price of fame, it’s the price of fame,

So don’t you ever complain, I am the cover of the magazines, what a scene,

They know my every move, Just sign your name on the dollar line, you’ll be fine,

That always bothers me, Get in your car, you wanna take a ride, look behind, Someone is following you,

You try to get away, you turn real fast, but too bad, They know your every move,

My father always told me, You won’t live a quiet life, If you’re reaching for fortune and fame, I feel the pressure setting in,

Im living just to win, I’m putting all this pain, don’t you ever complain !

It’s the price of fame, you pay the price of fame, So don’t you ever complain !

It’s the price of fame, you pay the price for fame, So don’t be feelin’ no pain !

It’s the price of fame, you pay the price of fame ! I’d like to take sometime and get away,

then they’ll say, Is that boy still alive? 

Only the strong survive, My father always told me, You won’t live a quiet life,

They startin’ wonderin’ where have you been? I feel their envious looks at me, Their stinkin’ jealousy,

They should be standing in my shoes, and get a taste of my blues!

It’s the price of fame, you pay the price of fame, So don’t you ever complain ! It’s the price of fame,

You pay the price of fame, So don’t be feelin’ this way !

It’s the price of fame, you pay the price of fame, So don’t you ever complain ! It’s the price of fame,

you pay the price of fame, It’s the price of fame, the price of fame, So don’t be feelin’ no pain !

It’s the price of fame, you pay the price of fame!

Father never lies, my father never lies My father never lies So don’t be feelin’ this way boy!

One theme becomes abundantly-and painfully-clear in this lyric. The narrator (whom I think we can safely assume in this case is Michael) has been taught that feeling pain is not an option! And in this case, he makes it very clear who has been responsible for preaching that lesson. Interestingly enough, this song would have been written during a time when Michael was just beginning to open up publicly about the Jackson family dysfunction and his own emotional and physical abuse at Joseph’s hands. In this track, we may very well be seeing him exploring some of these deep-seated personal issues very early on. However, at this time he may have still had ambivalent feelings about coming forward with these issues, which could help explain why this track, like the equally brilliant but potentially polemic and controversial Abortion Papers, ultimately did not see light of day until now.

“Father Never Lies…So Don’t Be Feeling This Way, Boy!”-Lyrics From MJ’s “Price Of Fame”

By the way, you may be interested to know that some sites are confusing Michael Jackson’s “Price Of Fame” with the 2006 Bow Wow track of the same name-and attributing Michael’s lyrics to writers Ronnie Jackson and  Shad Moss (the writers of the BowWow track) but they are obviously two very different songs!

Bow Wow’s “Price of Fame”-don’t be confused, or misled!


As always, listening to Michael’s unreleased demos brings a kind of wistful regret for what might have been, had these tracks ever received the finishing polish of the released tracks. I don’t know so much about the rest, but I believe that Abortion Papers and Price of Fame, for sure, had the raw potential of greatness. Whether they were swept under the rug because they were felt to be inferior, or perhaps due to more personal reasons, will probably remain a mystery, for even Michael’s closest friends and those who worked with him on his projects can still only second guess what his real intentions and motivations might have been.

Listening to these tracks also reminds me of something else, too. No matter how potentially good many of these tracks are, I still come away with a justified sense that there was a good reason why, let’s just say, Smooth Criminal made it onto Bad, and Al Capone did not. I am reminded of a sentiment that my fellow blogger Seven Bowie has expressed many times, and I do agree there is a lot of wisdom in it: Michael gave us all the music he intended for us to have while he was alive. It is also a good reality check to keep in mind when we get so hyped up over these new releases and “previously unreleased” material. The sad reality is that nothing new is ever going to match the magic of what he has already given us.

But sometimes, tracks like Abortion Papers and Price of Fame can serve as brilliant reminders that there was many more facets to that magic than we ever knew.

65 thoughts on “The Standout Tracks of "Bad 25"”

  1. I agree with you on the best songs, but I do think Free is very smooth and catchy. In fact, the more I listen to it the more I like it. It’s interesting that his laughter seems to be on beat and makes a perfect ending for the tune.
    It’s wonderful to hear that the Wembley concert is the number one DVD in the world. Way to go, Michael!

    1. It sort of reminds me of how Janet laughed at the end of When I Think Of You (how the laugh was perfectly synchronized with the music).

  2. I am unsure why Streetwalker and FlyAway were listed as bonus tracks on BAD25, as they were included on BAD Special Edition released in 2001; the commentary by Quincy Jones on BAD SE was that Michael wanted Streetwalker and Quincy wanted Another Part of me, and after some consideration, APOM was selected. Point being, these two were released in 2001. As for BAD25, I did mostly enjoy Free and Price of Fame, and believe everything else was filler, including Abortion Papers. As for the remixes, I have no words other than hatchet jobs….

    1. I’m sure the purpose for their inclusion was to make this as complete a package, and as complete a representation of the Bad album, as possible.

  3. Also, unfortunate, but very telling, that none of the Jacksons supported BAD25 publicly. Paris J. would do well to really listen to her father’s words in Price of Fame …..He knew so well.

    1. Bang on @June! No word from Jacksons about Bad25 or even Paris even though she keeps tweeting. But I have observed an interesting trend in her tweeting…one she made her instagram Private (thankfully she felt the need of some “Privacy”) and two, she does not seem to be so much into it as compared to before. She recently mentioned a gr8 guy friend…may be he is having the positive effect on her!

    1. I can only access the homepage. It looks like you have to be a member and sign in to be able to read it. I don’t mind registering, but I won’t be able to do it this morning (in a bit of a rush, as per usual these days). I will try to do that later and see what it says if I can get in.

      1. I checked out that site and it pissed me off. I immediately felt like a voyeur. And then I got to the forum where one registered person asked the question, “Is Paris a Lesbian?” I don’t care how sweetly he/she excused her reason for asking, I don’t want to be part of it. Now I’m trying to unregister, but so far I haven’t managed it.

  4. Hi, Raven, I have been listening to the new songs for a while. I did not get the Bad Special Edition in 01, so I love to hear Fly Away–just great. I do love Free–it grows on you, very lyrical and Michael is showing his longing to be able to be free and ‘Take my time where ever I go.” Abortion papers is catchy, for sure, and powerful. Price of Fame–awesome as far as being a great song and giving great insight into his pain connected with fame (they’re always following me). It’s interesting he says ‘father never lies,’ when we know Joseph did not allow them to call him ‘father’ or ‘dad’–just Joseph. But I can hear Joseph saying “Don’t you ever complain, boy!” About the remixes–sorry, I have to disagree with you. Speed Demon remix is terrific!! I love the way Michael growls–‘Headed for the border, It’s on my mind, and nothing really matters, I’ve got to be on time.” The sounds of the engines mixed with the music is great–you really feel you’re on the highway cruising in Michael’s Harley.

    1. Sometimes my initial reactions to tracks will grow and change over time. That may well be the case with some of these, so my opinions are not necessarily set in stone (yet). I do like some of the lyrics to Free; I think it’s just that overall, the track’s style isn’t my cup of tea. I prefer my MJ a little harder-edged and this, to me, is more reminiscent of some of those 70’s era ballads he did (which he did not write) that were so syrupy sweet. Michael’s best lyrics and melodies always have an edge to them; a very palpable tension (even in his ballads) whereas this just feels very bubblegum to me

      I do believe that I’m So Blue deserves a few more close listenings because I keep getting the sense that I’ve sold that song a bit short here. The track does have a lot of interesting qualities. Joe Vogel referred to it as having a Stevie Wonder kind of feel to it. I still don’t think it’s a “great” track but a very solidly good one.

  5. Raven, I agree with everything you write.
    Price of Fame stood out to me from the beginning and cut into my heart. I think in this case it’s really about himself. The sentences “Don’t you feel no pain” and “Don’t you ever complain” tell it: It was not allowed to complain. He was trained to not allow those feelings. He said it in many interviews (I especially remember the Jet interview from the 80ies) when he talked about the disadvantages of fame: “… but I don’t want to complain”. I think it was exactly around the time he wrote this song when he started to feel a lot of pain.

    1. I’m sure he was probably taught all throughout his early fame that if one receives such a blessing as fame and fortune, then there is nothing to complain about. Everything else that happens is just part of the price one pays for such a blessing (I’m sure Michael would have questioned many times if this was indeed blessing or curse!). The problem with such a philosophy is that it teaches a person to invalidate their feelings, and to suppress everything. Eventually, if you keep suppressing all of your pain behind a smile, the pain simply festers.

      Interestingly enough, I’ve already seen many reviews and write-ups mentioning this song as merely a track in which Michael lambasts stalker fans. There IS that element (in the first verse) but it is so much more than that, as it emcompasses ALL of what he was enduring as the most famous young man under thirty on the planet. I really hate those reviews since it seems the only angle they are trying to play up is that Michael is somehow blaming his fans for his pain. (Perhaps this was another reason he ultimately did not release the song. Michael, as we know, was always very sensitive to his fans and not wishing to offend them. It’s sad, though, that part of this may have also meant that he felt censored from truly expressing himself artistically, as some subjects simply could not be addressed for fear of alienating his audience. Progressively, over time, he did become much more uninhibited about speaking out on some topics, but he always remained very sensitive to how his fans would perceive certain lyrics/topics).

      But for some to boil the song down to that one essence only is selling it very short. In actuality, he is addressing all aspects of the price of fame-from obsessive fans, to being a media target and scapegoat, to the sort of false face and illusion that one must put on and live with daily. As T.S. Eliot so eloquently said, preparing “a face to meet the faces that you meet.”

      1. I don’t know who wrote such reviews, but I think they again want to distract from the real issue. I never thought this song could be about fans. Yes, perhaps it is included to a certain degree (because stalking fans are not really loving fans, when they don’t respect his privacy), but lines like
        “I feel the pressure setting in, I’m living just to win”
        “Just sign your name on the dollar line, you’ll be fine”
        “I feel their envious looks at me, Their stinkin’ jealousy”
        point into another direction.

        1. Yeah, I sort of got the feeling that they would prefer to shift this into being an issue about the fans, rather than opening up their ears and listening to what the song in its entirety is actually saying…not just about the fans, but about THEM as well.

  6. Hi Raven!
    I’m too a proud owner of this “shiny, new (and very fat!)” Bad25 box. This deluxe edition is very cool!
    This is my opinion in regard to the bonus cd.
    Don’t be messin’ ’round: a good example of a “work-in-progress”. I like the piano played by Michael and his improvises.
    I’m so blue: I simply love it. I don’t know why but its style reminds me For all time somehow, another beautiful unreleased song.
    Song groove aka Abortion papers: we’ve already discussed about it in its specific post, so I have nothing more to add. However I’d like to underline again that too short and beautiful part of the bridge with those piano and strings. I don’t know why, but it has impressed me much since I’ve heard it for the first time. I find it very sweet.
    Free: oh, I love this one too. It gives me that light sensation of walking on air. Those voice’s juxtapositions in the chorus are simply lovely. This song makes me want to think about nothing but only to sing together with Michael, trying to mix up my voice with his voice in those shiny braided notes. And the final “Ronnie (?), you are so silly” with that joyful laughter is simply priceless.
    Price of fame: chills from the very first listening. I can’t find words to describe this song. It’s so powerful and painful. It brings me into tears almost every time I listen to it, especially when he sings the chorus in that so particular vocal range: “Don’t be feelin’ no pain!”, “Don’t you ever complain, boy!” simply strike. It’s like I can feel his pain through his powerful voice. The pre-chorus reminds me the pre-chorus of Who is it for the melody itself and the pre-chorus of Billie Jean for the content (“My father always told me you won’t live a quiet life” as “Mother always told me be careful what you do”). This is that kind of song that people must listen to, it makes you very close to him.
    Al Capone: it simply makes me want to jump, move, sing or whatever, exactly as Smooth criminal. This last one is superior, but I do love also this early version. Have you ever tried to sing the SC lyrics and melody while playing Al Capone? It’s cool! They have so much in common, such as the outline that will become the Annie’s falsetto “I don’t know”.
    We’ve already knew Fly away and Streetwalker: I agree with you, Raven, when you say that this last one is very similar to The way you make me feel, so that is why they decided to cut out Streetwalker. I’ve read also that Another part of me was finally chosen because a technician started to dance immediately when he listened to it.
    Spanish and French versions of I just can’t stop loving you: I have to admit that it would have been cool for me to listen an Italian version of this song (lol)!
    The remixes: I don’t like them (by the way, what are the two saying in the Bad remix? I can’t catch all the words). Maybe I prefer the Speed demon remix, even if I have to admit that it’s becoming already boring, with that chorus with no sung lyrics.
    In the booklet there are interesting informations about the tracks, but too bad that there isn’t the trascription of the lyrics.
    I agree with you, Raven, about what you’ve said in the final part of the article. I want to add that I’m glad to hear “new” songs of MJ: even if it’s sad to realize that they aren’t actually “new”, they give a glimpse on his genius.

    Last but not least, I’d like to suggest you and all the commenters the reading of the brand new post in the Willa and Joie’s blog Dancing with the elephant: it’s a brilliant conversation with C. Thomson about the media coverage of the 2005 trial and the FBI investigation on MJ.

    I’m sorry for this very long post!

    1. That is an excellent point about the line “My father always told me” echoing the “My mother always told me” line from Billie Jean. I hadn’t thought about that, but it is an interesting connection.

  7. Hi, Raven, I know you are busy but I think the lyrics you posted for Price of Fame need some tweaking. Specifically,

    “I’ve been standing here in my shoes, And then i picked up my blues !”

    I think it’s more like–“they should be standing in my shoes, and get a taste of my blues!”

    Also ‘They know my every do’s” sounds to me like “they know my every move.”

    Thanks for focusing on this song. I agree, as you and others said, that it shows how Michael was taught to ‘act happy’ and hide his true feelings (Smile though your heart is breaking). That’s why ‘Free” is so interesting to me as it shows the healthy side –to be free, free like the wind blows, I want to be free, not rushed, not restricted. Also in a few more years Michael would buy Neverland and really ‘make a change,’ leaving the restrictions of not having his own place and opening himself up to all kinds of creative impulses that gave us Dangerous and Dancing the Dream.

    JoyMJ, I LOVE your comments about Free and the ‘shiny braided notes,” and, yes, I love to sing along with Michael too. I can see where some might see it as too sweet, but I love the scat singing on this and I wish someone could decipher the lyrics that run so fast and hit the beats–I find I just scat sing along myself until I get to the chorus–and fly away just like the sparrow!!

  8. Raven, yes, there is such a connection between the two songs, uh? That’s interesting.

    Hi iutd!
    Thank you very much (blush)!
    I appreciate your posts too, especially when you say: “That’s why “Free” is so interesting to me as it shows the healthy side -to be free, free like the wind blows, not rushed, not restricted”. Yes, that’s exactly the feeling that this song gives me: it simply leads me into the pleasure of singing, trying to follow those “shiny braided notes”. And it’s interesting the the difference you’ve pointed out between it and the restrictions described in Price of fame. I don’t know why, but for some reason Free reminds me Fly away, with their light sensations. His voice is so pure. And yes, some words are difficult to catch but this is normal: we find the same characteristic in some others unreleased MJ’s songs.
    On the other side, to me, in I’m so blue he tries to get the same sensation of freedom but out of his sorrow and pain (“Come on set me free”). I love the verse: “They told me you should sing a song / Of happy when you’re feeling blue / I’m singing for so very long / Still crying tell me what should I do?” and that “Shada-da-da-da-da” as so say “I don’t mind, I’ll be strong”. This is a very beautiful song and, as I’ve said above, its classic style reminds me For all time (musically speaking, because of course they talk about different feelings).

    1. Hi, JoyMJ, I came across this quote from Matt Forger re ‘Free.” (in an article on mjjc)

      “This is one of my favorite songs here because you can hear Michael’s emotion, and his spirit, you can hear his happiness and his joy”, confirms Forger. “And this is the feeling that we had in the studio. The atmosphere in the studio would always be exciting. He would be happy and enjoy so much the work. When you hear Michael’s voice it makes you smile and feel so good that you can feel the joy. Anytime I hear the song Free, it makes me feel so good inside”.

      I agree!!

      1. Hi iutd!
        Thank you very much for bringing to my attention this quote (blush). Very true and beautiful words, I absolutely agree!

  9. Thanks for posting your thoughts on the new Bad25 tracks Raven.
    I love the whole release and especially the Wembley concert. How wonderful to finally have a copy of this record breaking tour and in such great quality too considering the lapse of time and technology of the day.

    I have only listened to the new tracks a couple times through so haven’t formed any concrete opinions about my “favourites” as yet although “Free” was actually the one that stood out to me the most after my first listen through. I like the chord changes and the simple beauty of the lyrics in the chorus spoke to me.

    I also just wanted to make a specific comment about the Spanish & French version of “IJCSLY”.
    I think it was a deliberate thing for Michael to record this song in two non-English languages especially considering he would have millions of Spanish & French fans who may only understand their native tongue. He always said he loved his fans and I think he chose to record this song as a way of expressing that to them in their own language. So thoughtful and considerate. That’s Michael 🙂

    Looking forward to your write-up of the Wembley concert. Oh my! *swoons*

      1. I bought the delux box set but have not had a chance to view the video yet. I can’t believe I’m saying that!!! However, I’m very much looking forward to seeing it very soon…hopefully!!!! Raven, it’s great to hear that the video quality is good despite the VHS source…:-)

  10. Quote: “If there is an MJ fan who has gone this long without owning a copy of Bad…well, what kind of fan are you, anyway?”


    Honestly, I didn’t own a copy of Bad until now! Guess I wasn’t a real fan then, eh? Actually, there are probably thousands of people who now call themselves fans who didn’t see him perform live or buy every song or CD he released. I put myself in that category. My experience in the theatre the first time I saw This Is It was a seminal moment. When I walked out, I was deeply affected and wanted to know more, hear more, and see more about Michael Jackson, the real man. Back in 1979 I bought Off the Wall vinyl and played it constantly. I went crazy on the dance floor to his music at clubs where I hung out in the early ’80’s but I didn’t buy another collection of his music until he released HIStory. I don’t have an explanation for the gap or why I didn’t own Dangerous which, when I first listened to it about a month after he died, I thought was the best collection of music I’d heard in a long time. That is until I heard Invincible. But we’re talking about Bad here and in my opinion, the Bad-25 collection is superb.

    For me, the standouts are Abortion Papers, Fly Away and Street Walker.

    I’m So Blue is a lovely song and showcases his emotion-filled voice so well.

    Free is a tune that you would love to be cruisin’ to in a Corvette convertible, like Cris Cross’s beautiful, Sailing. Hearing him express that he’d like to be “free as the wind blows, to fly away just like the sparrow”, makes me hope that he did enjoy a taste of that kind of freedom in his life, if only for a few fleeting moments. The bonus on this song is hearing him laugh so happily.

    Abortion Papers is in a category all by itself. The rhythm reaches out and just grabs you. The lyrics, his voice and the musical arrangement make this a very powerful song. It’s one of those songs that I just marvel at his song-writing ability. There are musical geniuses and then there’s Michael Jackson.

    Price of Fame gives you insight into how Michael lived. Yes, fame lifted him to a pinnacle that few human beings have ever reached and brought untold riches and success, but oh! the price he paid. There’s a scant resemblance to the intro of Spirits in the Material World but I don’t think many people will pick up on it unless it’s deliberately pointed out to them.

    Fly Away gives you the pleasure of experiencing the beautiful range of Michael’s voice. Another true gem!

    Street Walker has the strong intro elements of The Way You Make Me Feel but after listening to Street Walker, I love the lyrics more. They’re sexier and more suggestive. What MJ girl-fan with a pulse doesn’t “feel it” when he says….”Baby, come love me”. Whooo yeah! Plus, this is a groovy beat and I adore a bluesy, raunchy harmonica. That little instrument can add so much to a song. Makes one wonder how Street Walker would have been received had been on the original release. Another Part of Me is mega-funky and the video of him in those leather pants and yellow shirt gives you heart failure (I’m keeping it respectable, Ladies!) but I’m spending too much time visualizing him in a video of Street Walker.

    Great dialogue here. Looking forward to more opinions and comments.

    1. Lol, well I was only joking about the “what kind of fan are you” comment. I just figured most people who have been into Michael for a long time have most likely bought the Bad CD multiple times over, but of course, that may not include everyone. But all of the buzz and hype has been generated over the bonus material and Wembley, so I’m operating under the assumption that most fans have purchased Bad 25 for the new material.

      I will tell you something funny about Streetwalker. You know how sometimes we talk about misheard MJ lyrics? Well, you know the line where he says, “If you don’t believe me you can ask my brother/Cause every night at six, home alone?” I thought for the longest time that line was, “If you don’t believe me you can ask my brother/Cause every night he sits home alone.”

      I used to joke and say, “What’s the matter, Jermaine, couldn’t get a date?” Lol.

      After I found out what the actual lyric was, it kind of ruined the fun for me.

      1. Your comment about Jermaine is too funny, Raven! I knew you were just joking but I did wince a bit because my collection up until three years ago only included Off the Wall and HIStory. I must have been unconscious for a long time. LOL! By the way…I do like the remixes and I’ll tell you why. Many hip-hop loving young kids may not be familiar with MJ’s music. Of course they know who he is, but Pitbull’s rap on one version of Bad is actually pretty cool. He’s very hot with that crowd. I think any way the Estate can introduce new generations of young people to his music is a good thing!

        Oh, and I really liked your take on Bad-25. You could be a music critic!

        This is fun!

    2. Susan said, “My experience in the theatre the first time I saw This Is It was a seminal moment. When I walked out, I was deeply affected and wanted to know more, hear more, and see more about Michael Jackson, the real man.”

      Susan, you took the words right out of my mouth!!!!

  11. I have to say I could not disagree more with your offhand dismissal of both Don’t Be Messin’ ‘Round and I’m So Blue. The first, though hardly filled in or finished, demonstrates Michael’s wonderful versatility and supreme comfort with crossing musical boundaries as he strays into bossa nova beats. It’s infectious and puts a smile on my face. That the likes of Bruce Swedien cites it as a favorite is telling as well. As for “I’m So Blue” I have to say the melody and harmonies of this song really stand out though again the lyrics are skeletal. It definitely had the potential to be a hit.

    I also disagree with both yours and Seven’s reasoning that “Michael gave us all the music he intended for us to have while he was still alive” and that “The sad reality is that nothing new is ever going to match the magic of what he has already given us.” Your opinions are belied by the fact that he was working on a lot of new music that presumably excited HIM, and he constantly reworked older songs as well. In my humble opinion, you are as guilty of trying to put Michael into a box as anyone by putting your arbitrary parameters around what is “good” and what should never see the light of day.

    In fact, I’m quite sure Michael Jackson would be disappointed with the attitude that there would be no further interest in what he left on the cutting room floor or that somehow none of it is worthwhile because he never managed to finish it. That would be similar to erasing an unfinished work by Michelangelo from the record or keeping it shrouded from public view forever. Yes, ideally a great artist gets to finish his work when he is alive and it certainly would grate to have it released unfinished while he is so without his approval (notably, Michael Jackson did of course approve the release of many other unfinished songs and raw demos such as Monkey Business, In The Back, and Fall Again among others.) But death changes things, as we can all appreciate. There will be no more new music. Present and future generations can enjoy and appreciate what was left, however, and gain insight into the process of a creative genius. Hearing the difference between Al Capone and its final form, Smooth Criminal, is a fascinating example.

    I would agree that Price of Fame might have been an important song, affecting as it is emotionally. You can just hear Joseph telling his boys the way things would be, and sense its genuine autobiography.

    Finally, I appreciate that the Estate elected to release these demos in their raw Bad-era form, instead of trying to finish them. The latter can be done respectfully and be interesting too, but I think they should make a point of always including the former for comparison and the special appreciation they tend to inspire.

    1. Mark, did I say at any point that these songs do not deserve to see the light of day? No, I absolutely did not. You are putting words in my mouth that were never spoken here. Obviously, I have been as excited as anyone about this new release, and if I did not feel the new or unheard music was worthy then I certainly wouldn’t have plunked down the change for this collection. It’s just that I am realistic in assessing the unreleased music for the most part as what it is…unfinished demos and work that had not realized its full potential. To expect these tracks to have the full impact of his great classics is an unrealistic expectation, but that is by no means to say that they can’t be enjoyed and appreciated for what they are. In a nutshell, that’s all I was really saying.

      I did say that I’m So Blue is a track I probably need to give a few more listens to, but generally, either something grabs me right away, or it doesn’t. But my opinions are certainly not infallible or inflexible, and sometimes tracks do grow on me over time. I also gave a pretty decent review to Don’t Be Messing Around back when it first came out because I love Michael’s piano playing on it. I am aware of what Bruce Swedien said. However, I still think on the whole that it is hardly representative of Michael’s strongest work. It’s a cool little song, and who knows, maybe it would have evolved into something great but since it was never really finished we’ll never know.

      I do think most of us are in agreement that we would much prefer to hear Michael’s work in its rawest form than doctored up “completed” tracks.

      And I LOVE hearing what Michael was up to; what new ideas and songs he was shaping into being. I just try to keep my expectations realistic-which was partly why Abortion Papers and Price of Fame have turned out to be the delightful surprises for me that they have.

      1. Raven, I apologize if I misread you as saying previously unreleased music should stay that way, which I based on your remark agreeing with “a sentiment that my fellow blogger Seven Bowie has expressed many times, and I do agree there is a lot of wisdom in it: Michael gave us all the music he intended for us to have while he was alive.” I’ll stand corrected about what you meant, but remain skeptical that Seven’s confident assertion has any merit.

        Here’s why: a number of unreleased tracks we’ve been lucky enough to hear over the years have become listener favorites. Under different circumstances, it’s easy to imagine quite a few having become hits, in place of or in addition to others that were hits. We know that in several instances, Michael liked songs equally well– it was apparently a toss-up between Another Part Of Me and Streetwalker for BAD and the former won out, for example; he never gave up on, and reworked many times, the song Much Too Soon that was eventually released on “Michael”… So I highly doubt that he was done in any sense, or that he felt he had given us all he intended to. Indeed I would say the evidence points to the exact opposite.

        For anyone interested in more discussion of the new music on BAD 25, here is an interesting and insightful discussion that includes comments by MJ’s longtime sound engineer Matt Forger:

        1. My take on that particular sentiment is not so much that Michael released all the music he ever intended for us to have while he was alive (because obviously he could not have known when his time would be up, and he was always working on new music right up to the end) but the fact that without Michael at the helm, all future music released will not be completed tracks as he would have completed them, nor will we ever know for certain what tracks he even WANTED released (but this is true of all posthumous projects from all artists). We have to settle for knowing that the new music will almost always be in some ways inferior, but if we accept it for what it is-without exaltant expectations-I certainly think it is possible to enjoy and appreciate what he was continuing to create. Obviously, the fans who do believe that no new music should be released feel this way because they question the ethics of those doing the releasing (not necessarily because they don’t want to hear any new music). I respect the views of those who feel that way, but obviously, I am more middle of the road in that I enjoy hearing the new music (and yes, will buy and support it).

  12. Nobody on this earth knows precisely what Michael meant or would have done.
    No one alive has the right to assume that posture or to judge his intentions, especially non-musicians and bloggers!
    He changed and evolved just like anyone else.

    One thing never changed though, and that was his appreciation and understanding of the inspiration his versatile art in its entirety provided for other artists, musicians, dancers, choreographers, directors, songwriters, singers, conductors, arrangers, remixers… and just plain fans. His intention was to create for posterity and he succeeded probably beyond even his lofty expectations. I don’t think he would want to put limitations on that inspiration even if he could.

    IMO to stop him creating was to kill him, really, and so he never stopped tinkering, he couldn’t. And his respect for the many other great artists in history would probably also include their unfinished works and “lost” masterpieces and strong curiosity about THEIR creative processes, so how perfect it is to share his with the world!

    Nothing has been done by the Estate that doesn’t show great respect for MJ’s creativity and great love for the people he most wanted to share it with – his worldwide fan family, the ones he counted upon to have open hearts and open minds. I find magic in every bit of his work no matter when or in what state of completion it was released. My only expectation is that it will be another facet of what made him the best ever.

    1. Nobody on this earth knows precisely what Michael meant or would have done.
      No one alive has the right to assume that posture or to judge his intentions, especially non-musicians and bloggers!

      And I said, right here:

      As always, listening to Michael’s unreleased demos brings a kind of wistful regret for what might have been, had these tracks ever received the finishing polish of the released tracks. I don’t know so much about the rest, but I believe that Abortion Papers and Price of Fame, for sure, had the raw potential of greatness. Whether they were swept under the rug because they were felt to be inferior, or perhaps due to more personal reasons, will probably remain a mystery, for even Michael’s closest friends and those who worked with him on his projects can still only second guess what his real intentions and motivations might have been.

      You know, I really don’t mind critical comments but I WOULD appreciate if some would read a little more closely what I’ve actually said before jumping to conclusions. Where did I say Michael was supposed to stop creating? Nowhere. Where did I say his unfinished work couldn’t be listened to or appreciated? Nowhere. Just because I’m honest in saying I’m not jumping out of my chair over a few tracks on this collection (obviously, I love Abortion Papers and Price Of Fame) doesn’t mean I’m trying to tear down Michael’s entire body of unfinished work, or saying it shouldn’t be released, or whatever motivations you’re trying to pin on me. I’m just giving an honest review of my take on the CD, as a fan who bought it. I’m glad that you find magic in every bit of work he made. I do, too. But my whole point is that I just happen to find the magic moreso in some tracks than others. If I’m not quite feeling some of these tracks, that doesn’t mean I hate them, or that I’m down on Michael’s entire body of unreleased demos. If I were one of those fans who felt that strongly against new MJ music being released, I wouldn’t have even bought the CD in the first place. I’m just speaking for those like myself who sometimes get a little overly hyped over these releases, because just for a moment, it takes us back to 1987 and that magical anticipation of what greatness is to come from a new Michael Jackson release. I have to sometimes bring myself back to earth a bit and realize that isn’t going to be the case anymore, but certainly we can appreciate this music for what it is, which is-to reiterate-GLIMPSES of magic in-progress.

    2. No need to go on defense, Raven – my comment was more a general one about the release of “unfinished” work that seems to rile some people up so much, purists or however you wish to describe them. It’s their right to not like a song, any song, as it is yours. The meat of my comment was to point out the value of these posthumous releases as NOT a glimpse at what MIGHT have been (that’s too judgmental for my taste) but rather a glimpse of the process by which MJ created and edited and tweaked and composed, a glimpse of what WAS, AS it was. In whatever form, his work was better than so many other musical creations that hit and then split, never to be heard from again or remembered. We now have the unique opportunity to hear him create and that gets me excited about every single one of the songs, every single note, every single lyric, even if MJ had not yet gotten excited enough about it himself before his passing to release it. Even the “Michael” album, a mix of what he left as it was and what others endeavored to finished for him (with love and respect)is really a gem and I personally would never dismiss a song, remixed or not, that adds to my comprehension of what a miraculous artist he was and how much he inspires others to get creative with what he left. I’m not competent to imagine “what might have been”, and IMO if anyone dismisses a song because they think they know what might have been, especially compared to something that came before, then they’re missing the joy of what IS and the artistry that went into it. My advice to all MJ fans is: Listen without expectation.

      1. I did love Breaking News. I’ve always kind of felt like that song was Michael having a last laugh and wink at all of us.

  13. Raven, funny story about Streetwalker lol!

    I’d add a thing. In the booklet there are little descriptions of the unreleased songs. About Price of fame, is written that it talks about “girls who are over-obsessed with me (…)”, as it has been found in MJ’s work notes.
    This could be certainly a part of the matter, but I think, as you and other commenters have pointed out, that this song is really about more than this. There are the lyrics underlined by Susanne, for instance. And in general it’s the whole atmosphere of the song that suggests really more than this. I’ve had this sensation too, as you as others.

    Do you know if any of these songs will be released for the public? I mean for the radio, videos or something, as has been done for the “Michael” album? I haven’t read anything about projects like these. Honestly, I don’t care for a video because they will never be again at the level MJ took them (even if, among these “post-mortem” videos I’ve enjoyed especially those made for Hold my hand and Behind the mask), but, I don’t know, for me it would be nice a radio rotation for some of these songs. Hmm to be realistic, I don’t know if it could be possible, considering the fact that these are unfinished songs (in my opinion better anyway than a lot of finished songs that circulate today lol!). Maybe something could be done with the remixes, as Susan T suggests, though I don’t like them that much (except maybe the Speed demon remix, which anyway it’s starting to become already boring for me after few listenings).

  14. I would like to weigh in a bit on the subject of remixes. I read so many blogs and comments regarding the whole remix subject that are negative in nature. I feel compelled to state a different opinion on the matter. This is no way a reflection on what Raven wrote as to her preference. I respect that but would like others to consider it in a different way.

    Michael Jackson remixes, in particular, need to be discussed in a more factual and understanding way. Michael Jackson, through Sony and MJJ Productions released many official remixes, as well as, making his acapella vocals available to remix artists. There are thousands of remixes of his music out there with a large quantity that are official. Some are good, some are bad, and some are great. There are those of us who actually collect them. While the AfroJack/Pitbull remix on “BAD25” is not one of those great remixes (the rap lyrics really stink), I understand its value in the clubs and it has been climbing to the top of the dance charts. The “Speed Demon” remix by Nero is one that I would consider great. It is a complete wall of sound that enhances Michael’s vocals and really brings his beat boxing forward. That beat boxing is on the original but in this remix it is used to great effect. Michael’s vocal noises are as much music as the instruments!!!!

    “Stranger in Moscow” alone had three official remix CD’s, (1, 2 and 3) released over the course of a year in 1996, each included the album version too. The “In The Closet Dare Me” mix on the Ultimate Collection features Michael in “orgasm mode” and is sexier than heck. Those same noises are on the song released on the “Dangerous” album but are more background. On the Ultimate Collection remix they are front and center. I could go on and on.

    Keep in mind that the original “Billie Jean” from “Thriller” was mixed over 90 times. Yes, #2 time was chosen for the album but I would love to hear the other ones too.

    Sometimes it seems to me that people feel compelled to say they don’t like remixes rather than give them a fair hearing. I have nearly 500 remixes myself, both official and unofficial, and they show me more about Michael’s music than I would ever have known. There are many surprises along the way. His layers hide a lot of gold. Michael’s original work will never be topped and that is a fact that I would not even contemplate changing. However, remix artists are paying homage to Michael’s work in the best way they know how just as a painter who paints Michael’s picture or a writer writes a poem or story about Michael to honor him. I urge people to take a second look at this aspect of Michael’s work that has inspired so many in the music world.

    I would like to second JoyMJ’s comment about Michael’s unfinished songs vs the majority of other artists’ finished songs. She is absolutely correct! Michael’s unfinished songs run circles around most of what assaults our ears these days. I am so thankful for the release of these songs. Go Michael!

    1. I agree. When a remix is done right, it can add entire new elements and dimensions to a song. As you say, there are the good, the bad, and the just plain ugly when it comes to remixes.

    2. Thank you, TheresaB, for supporting remixes with good facts and your enthusiasm. All you say is true and if the fans would investigate remixes more (and with open minds) they would discover that there are more than 300 official MJJ Productions remixes to enjoy, and a multitude of unofficial remixes from all over the world. I too am a fervent collector of remixes and they have enhanced my enjoyment of and respect for MJ’s talent exponentially. Also I have to say that I have not yet encountered an unofficial remix that was done disrespectfully or that was done in hopes of selling unauthorized copies of his music merely for profit. Rather the remixers enter the arena in the spirit of the challenge of remixing the best music ever recorded, the musical equivalent of climbing Mt. Everest. His material is so good that no remix ever released can do any damage to it or diminish its appeal. As remixes were featured in dance clubs all over the world they attracted many new listeners, whose curiosity then sent them back to the original songs for comparison. Win/win for MJ! As you also point out, the remixers have on many occasions “liberated” MJ’s amazing vocal talents a bit from under his complex and astonishing layering, the “musical tapestry” he always loved to weave – and I am greedy for the beauty of his voice so I love to hear it more exposed. The soundtrack for the Cirque Du Soleil’s wonderful tribute show “Immortal” is a perfect example of remixing to bring his vocal forward, done with care and total respect for the original.

  15. Hi TheresaB!
    Thank you for appreciate my comment and for the insight on remixes.
    About this issue, my opinion is that in general I don’t like remixes, whatever, so this is not only in regard to those related in some way to MJ. I agree with you that some are good and that would be good to give them a chance. For instance, I like very much the HIStory remix in BOTDF, but this is another point.

    To refer only to this new release, as I’ve said above (and please Raven forgive me if I’m a little repeatitive), I think that the Speed demon remix is better than the Bad remixes. I agree with you about the beatbox: I’ve noticed that the remix underlines it more than the original, too, and I like this. What I like not so much is the chorus, that is without lyrics, and generally the fact of the absence of all those variations and effects respect to the original. But this is just my opinion. I think that with this remix something could be done.
    I remember when came out the remix “A little less conversation”, who took Elvis again at the top of charts in 2002. Let me tell you a funny story about this. In this year I was a teenager and still didn’t know a lot of things about music legends. Well, when this remix came out I thought: “But Elvis wasn’t dead?”, and for some time I really believed that was Elvis himself that released the song. Later, I’ve understood that things were a little bit different, lol. But this is to say that good, great things could be done with remixes. That remix has been a success and I think that brought Elvis to some who didn’t know him. Maybe something similar could be done in regard to MJ. To me, the Speed demon remix could be good for something like that, but I don’t know if it could have the same power or impact of the Elvis’ remix. I mean, with something very good maybe it’s possible to obtain an effect like that.

    About the Afrojack/Pitbull remix, could it be possible to have the trascription of the rap lyrics or a link to them? For the moment, I haven’t got the chance to search them on the web (so if it possible to read them here it would be good, otherwise no problem! I’ll try to search them on my own). For what I’ve caught, I’ve had the impression that they aren’t good and now I find a confirm in what you’ve said, TheresaB: so it’s true that they really stink!

    1. In some rare cases, I find myself really liking the remixes almost better than the originals. Such is the case with the HIStory remix. I also like the Fire Island radio remix of Money; in fact, I’m pretty cool with most of the BOTDF remixes, except for Stranger In Moscow (that one I just can’t get into, and I love the original too much).

    2. Love your story about Elvis. My mom was a huge fan girl of Ekvus even seeing him in concert twice so I had lots of exposure to his music. When that 2002 remix arrived on the scene, I thought it was so cool hearing Elvis in a new way.

      As for the Pitbull rap lyrics, “pregnant for 10 months” and putting his name “Armando” in it were a bit much for me. I do like the sound of his voice in the rap plus the Spanish part. I haven’t translated it yet so don’t know what he says but sometimes with Pitbull that could be a bit scary. : – )

      1. TheresaB, I’ve answered to you in a comment below because using the mobile version I didn’t know that I could directly post a reply. I don’t know if you have read it, but I re-post my answer here for easiest reading.
        “TheresaB, yeah! I’ve caught those words! When I’ve listened to them, I’ve thought: “But what do they have to do with Bad?” (to use a kind expression. Actually my exclamation has been pretty much rude, lol!)”.

  16. It’s great to hear all the different opinions. As far as remixes, I agree with TheresaB, that remixes are a form of artistic expression and you can like or dislike but not completely diss that whole form, esp. when Michael collaborated on the remix album Blood on the Dance Floor. I also am a big fan of the Speed Demon remix and find it exciting and fun to listen to, esp. while driving! (hope I don’t get a ‘Pull over, boy, and get your ticket right’).

    As far as the songs released after Michael’s death not being ‘as good as’ those released in his lifetime, I love some of the posthumously released songs, including ‘All in Your Name’ released by Barry Gibb, and songs on ‘Michael’ such as Hollywood Tonight and Monster, and it doesn’t bother me at all that other musicians that Michael chose to work with in the past, such as Teddy Riley, worked on and ‘finished’ these. I realize this is an opinion that others do not agree with, and that’s not a problem. We are all just stating our POVs. Was ‘Keep Your Head Up’ a first release on ‘Michael’? That is an amazing song–just amazing.

  17. Such thoughtful comments here with a great willingness to learn and explore new things!! Michael was a perfectionist and he always worked to top himself like no other artist. He continues to inspire all of us.

    P.S. I love the “Michael” album and “Hollywood Tonight” is one of my faves. I don’t mind if they finish Michael’s tracks but it would be good to have the originals side by side too.


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  19. Raven, I like the Money remix too. With the HIStory remix, I also like especially the 2Bad and Scream remixes.

    I know that there are polemics about “Michael”, but I like it, as many of you. On youtube there is a fantastic version of Hollywood Tonight, a little bit longer, I don’t know if some of you have ever listened to it. Now I can’t post the link, but I suggest you to listen to it. Sometimes I listen to this version even more than the album version, lol. And I like Monster and Best of Joy, too. The songs of that album are beautiful to me. It would be nice to listen also to the originals.

    I do appreciate the work made by the Cirque du Soleil. For instance, that Thriller-Monster-Threatened mix is incredible! I like it very much.

    Iutd, All In Your Name is wonderful.

    TheresaB, yeah! I’ve caught those words! When I’ve listened to them, I’ve thought: “But what do they have to do with Bad?” (to use a kind expression. Actually my exclamation has been pretty much rude, lol!).

    MJ is such an inspiration!

      1. Really strange…my comment was awating moderation and now has disappeared!
        I try to re-post my answer.

        Raven, this is the Hollywood tonight version I was referring to:

        I’ve found a review traslated to Italian, hoping to understand something more about this version; this is the original source for you and the commenters:

        The title of the Youtube link says that this is a demo, but, honestly, my ideas about this song are a little bit confused. Some of its elements seem to suggest that it could be actually a demo (for instance Michael sings different words at some point, the fact that the bridge already modified by Riley is here replaced by a solo guitar), but for others it may seem a remix. Maybe it’s both of them. I don’t know.
        I have to confess that I’m a little bit confused, so you and the commenters are very welcome to add informations about this different version.

        All I know is that I like it. It’s longer than the album version and the Michael’s beatbox is very cool.

        Hope this time to get this message correctly!

        1. The comments being held in que for moderation really don’t “disappear.” It’s just that you can’t see them; they will only show up on my dashboard panel until/unless I approve them. I am not sure why yours was held (usually comments from return posters will post automatically) although it looks as though you are using a different IP, so that may be the reason.

          PS. Just read your comment in full. Yes, if you were switching from mobile to desktop, that was probably the reason.

          1. Yes, Raven, I understand now. I really didn’t know that and I’m sorry that now there is a double message with similar content.

        2. I don’t really understand why Ted Riley couldn’t have used Michael’s original words for the spoken bridge (why the need to change them?). Even if Michael hadn’t yet recorded the bridge himself, they could have still recorded a version using his intended words. See, this is the whole thing about others attempting to “finish” his work for him, no matter how lovingly or with what good intentions. It’s one thing to add some polish to a track, but quite another (imo) when you start actually putting your own vision onto the piece instead of what the artist (Michael) intended. I know that in some cases, those intentions may not always be clear, but in this case, he had written the words for the bridge. They had those lyrics. They should have been used. Deciding arbitrarily that “oh we want to make this more positive and have her succeed” is going against the grain of Michael’s artistic vision for the song. That’s the sort of thing that bugs me.

          1. Well, this is what we know as a possible explanation for it (taken from the Vogel’s article):

            “Riley would have undoubtedly used Jackson’s version had their been vocals for it. Unfortunately, they were never recorded.”

            So, from what I’ve understood, they had his lyrics but not the vocals recorded and this had lead them to opt for a very different solution, introducing a completely different bridge.
            But this means that they had to create also new lyrics. For me, to this point, maybe it would have been easier for them to use directly Michael’s original lyrics. In this way, they could have a double effect: have a bridge with the lyrics already written and, especially, have a bridge which respects Michael’s vision for this song.

            Raven, I understand your point and I have the same doubts. I don’t know why they had decided this way, because is true that in the end the finished song offers a very different story.
            I don’t know, maybe to avoid polemics about its content? To offer a story that would have been easier to understand, with an easier impact on public, rather than the original story, which has more implications? You know, Michael’s vision is very often much more complex respect to what it may seem at a superficial approach. We can understand it from a lot of his songs. I’m thinking about Abortion Papers, but especially about Do You Know Where Your Children Are? that has a similar content with Hollywood Tonight. I mean, talking about difficult conditions of children or about the illusion of the fame or put these issues together is not an easy challenge. In fact, these are themes that request a particular and sensitive approach. Maybe in this case they preferred to offer a song with an easier message, even if it means the sacrifice of the original idea.
            I don’t know, this is just a thought because obviously I’m not in their minds. This is the problem for all posthumous releases. In fact it’s not a coincidence that the “Michael” project is surrounded by all this criticism and it’s not a coincidence that the bridge of the video version is without the Riley spoken bridge.

            I like this album, however, even if I prefer much more to listen to original demos and incomplete versions, or at least to listen to the original source and the “finished” version. The originals bring a very deep insight into the real Michael’s creative vision.

        3. Hi, JoyMJ, I think there were 2 versions of Hollywood Tonight released by the Estate, one in the ‘Michael’ album, and then another in a single, where the rap bridge was taken out, maybe in response to criticism. And I believe the video of HT uses the single version.

          1. Yes, thank you iutd, in fact the video version doesn’t have the rap lyrics. This version is also less “processed” than the album version.

            The link I’ve posted is about another version, even different from both the album version and the video version. In this specific version, Michael sings a different line (“She’s only fifteen”) and the bridge has a guitar solo. I was wondering if it may be a demo (as says the title of the video) or a remix/different mix or both of them.

  20. The notes to ‘Michael’ have a photo of something MJ wrote (on The Beverly Hills Hotel stationary). On the top of the page he writes, Hollywood Tonight, and then below it the word “Story”–that word is underlined and in quotes. Then it reads as follows:

    “Story” Girl runs away age 15 she dreams of fame riches the illusion of superstardom Her mission is to make it in Hollywood the obstacles she undertake are unbearable but she makes, against her parents will= a true based on true story.”

    ok, this looks to me like notes to himself and a sketch, not lyrics for a song. Seems to me the bridge written by Riley is pretty much in sync with this ‘story’–no?

    1. I know this handwritten note, but I’ve completely forgotten it. Thank you, iutd, it’s an important thing to take into consideration!

      Me and Raven were referring to this abstract, taken from the Mr. Vogel’s article about HT:

      “After it was released, however, many fans voiced concerns about a) the over-processed vocals, and b) the lengthy spoken bridge. Jackson had, in fact, written lyrics for his own bridge, which were much darker than Riley’s. Jackson’s bridge reads:

      She doesn’t even have a ticket
      She doesn’t even have a way back home
      She’s lost and she’s alone
      There’s no place for her to go
      She is young and she is cold
      Just like her father told her so

      While Jackson’s version highlights the tragedy and uncertainty of a dream deferred, Teddy Riley’s bridge opted for a more positive and tidy resolution. “With the bridge we kind of made her succeed,” Riley explained. “[She] completed her mission.”

      Riley would have undoubtedly used Jackson’s version had their been vocals for it. Unfortunately, they were never recorded. With the new single, however, Sony decided to cut the spoken part completely and showcase instead some of the heightening drama and tension Jackson intended for this section. They used his beatboxing, his idea of swelling horns and strings, and his operatic vocal (pulled from a tape left running during a recording session in a hotel room). In addition to the bridge, the vocals on the new single are left un-processed and the production is scaled back. The result is a single that has a rawer, funkier, but less finished feel than the album version.”

      Well, I think that maybe it occurs to me some time to consider the whole issue. Maybe this thing doesn’t exclude the other (she’s in a difficult situation but in the end she succeds equally), I really don’t know. This is the problem with posthumous releases: they offer different sources and different interpretations.
      However, it’s helpful to have an interesting exchange of opinions as this. Thank you!

      Oh-oh, I think that this is a bit off-topic: we started from the unreleased tracks from Bad25 and we are arrived to the HT’s bridge! Sorry!

      1. Iutd, I’d add that now I think that I’m starting to understand, putting all the pieces together.
        The Michael’s handwritten note is the first thing to consider: there is his vision for HT. In fact he says: “the obstacles she undertake are unbearable, but she makes”. So I think that, what had been basically criticized is the fact that the Riley’s bridge seems to “hide” or not to give exactly that sense of tension that Michael would had offered with his bridge (so that it may lead to a different interpretation for the song).
        I want to say that I’m sorry if maybe I’ve caused confusion: I understand what you and Raven are saying, but maybe I’m not well able to put my opinion into words.
        Thanks again.

        P.S. Talking about handwritten notes, I’ve found this interesting link:

        (there is also the Michael’s handwritten bridge for HT).

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