Michael Jackson fans have long investigated and discussed the idea that the “King of Pop” hadn’t actually provided vocals for three of the songs on his posthumous album Michael (2010). Now, the controversial tracks – which are also the subject of a deceptive-representation lawsuit from a diehard Jackson follower – have quietly been removed from leading streaming services.
The removal of the tracks in question – “Breaking News,” “Keep Your Head Up,” and “Monster” (featuring 50 Cent) – came to light in a post on Behind the Mask, a Michael Jackson fan site. As highlighted, the works released on Michael (via Sony Music’s Epic Records), which encompassed a total of 10 tracks when it debuted 12 years ago.
Sony Music initially defended the authenticity of the songs before adopting a more careful position on the matter amid the aforementioned complaint, though the major label and the Jackson estate have since been cleared of liability in terms of the allegedly “fake” tracks. Moreover, Michael producer Eddie Cascio (who co-wrote the songs) maintains that Jackson had recorded “Breaking News,” “Keep Your Head Up,” and “Monster” himself, whereas the artist’s mother Katherine (who turned 92 in May) is among the persons who say that the vocals aren’t her son’s.
In any event, Michael has been slimmed down to just seven songs, or the original tracks minus those that allegedly feature non-Jackson vocals, on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music, Amazon Music, and Deezer alike. (Tidal’s “master” version of the album included seven songs at the time of this piece’s writing, while the non-master edition still contained 10 tracks.)
The individual who identified the updated version of Michael attached to his or her post a response that purportedly came from the artist’s estate. “I can confirm that the three Cascio tracks on the 2010 album Michael are no longer being made available by Sony Music for purchase or streaming but I should point out that the removal of these three songs has nothing to do with their authenticity,” the lengthy message reads in part.
“The Estate and Sony Music believe the continuing conversation about the tracks is distracting the fan community and casual Michael Jackson listeners from focusing their attention where it should be – on Michael’s legendary and deep music catalog,” the reply continues before touting a variety of upcoming projects based upon Jackson’s life and body of work.
Time will tell what the songs’ removal from Spotify, Apple Music, and other services means for the previously mentioned courtroom confrontation, which is one of several that have emerged following the “Thriller” singer’s 2009 passing.