Michael Jackson's 'This Is It' soundtrack: EW's review

The soundtrack for Michael Jackson’s posthumous concert film This Is It arrived in stores today. Read on for EW’s review.

Michael Jackson
This Is It: The Music That Inspired the Movie
Pop (Epic)

Legend has it that Michael Jackson left behind hours upon hours of unreleased music when he died this summer — an entire alternate discography lurking in a vault somewhere. His latest posthumous release includes exactly one of those mythical songs: “This Is It,” the uplifting ballad he co-wrote with Paul Anka under another title. If you’re feeling generous, you can count the minimally distinguishable “Orchestra Version” of “This Is It” as another new track. Either way, it’s a decent if slight addition to Jackson’s songbook.

Aside from that, This Is It mostly amounts to another greatest-hits compilation from an artist who released several while he was still alive. The hook is that these familiar tunes — yes, the same studio versions you’ve heard a million times — are arranged in the same order as they are heard in the new This Is It concert film, and presumably as they would have been played in the epic live stand that Jackson had planned to put on in London. It’s a smartly sequenced hit parade, from “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’” through “Man in the Mirror.” Uptempo jams predominate, with a few show-stopping ballads along the way. Those would have been some spectacular concerts in London, that’s for sure. Still, savvy consumers couldn’t be blamed for recreating the soundtrack as an iTunes playlist from the music they already own.

True Jackson fans may find This Is It’s second disc to be of greater interest, though it clocks in at a mere four tracks: Jackson’s own rough demos of three key hits plus a fairly unremarkable spoken-word poem. Hearing the King of Pop work out the vocal harmonies for “Beat It,” in particular, is well worth the price of admission (or at least a healthy chunk of it). Might as well enjoy these rare glimpses into Jackson’s creative process for now. Until his estate lets the world hear more, this would seem to be it. B+ —Simon Vozick-Levinson

DOWNLOAD THIS: “Beat It (Demo)”

More from EW’s Music Mix:
Michael Jackson on the Music Mix
Them Crooked Vultures: Hear the supergroup’s first single now
Paloma Faith: Don’t cry “Amy Winehouse rip-off!” just because she’s awesome
Lady Gaga reveals new tour details: “beautiful, expensive-looking, delicious”

Comments (62 total) Add your comment
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  • lakeisha givens

    Micheal you rock and my friend Micheal passed before you and he was only 12 years old…………………

    • Michael

      I’m sick of people that can’t spell the name Michael right. It’s only the most popular first name for the past 50 years (in the United States). Yes I do know some people spell their name Micheal but not Michael Jackson.

      • Ethel Merman

        Have you considered that it’s just a typo? Try being my sister, Mischael (Michelle).

  • jon

    I love Michael Jackson and just being real and honest about the song ‘this is it’ and its pretty weak. I was not feeling it. I liked the song with him and Akon ‘Hold my hand’ better and i dont know where that track went to.

    ‘Watch music videos 27/7 on defSpot com , thousands are added on daily on defSpot’

  • Dwight K Schrute

    Why would anyone care about this?

    • briana.d

      YOUR QUESTION WAS “WHY WOULD ANYONE CARE ABOUT THIS” because some of us meet him one on one at neverland michael was like the father i never had.he was kind and gracious and so so so so so so fine and cute.

  • James

    Who is Michael Jackson?

    • lana

      You dont know who michael jackson is? He is one of the greatest entertainers of all time i think hes up there with Elvis and The Beatles! He came out with The Greatest selling album of all time THRILLER! And every album of his is very good in my opinion :)

      • snoopy

        he’s superior to both the beatles and elvis. he has a larger fan base and perfoms in more musical genres than those two did.

      • Brett

        That’s not true snoopy.

  • SoCalGal

    Saying “Who is Michael Jackson” just shows your ignorance. You may as well say, “Who was John Lennon?” Stoopid.

    • Webster

      The fact that you took the bait and responded to prior message – suggests that you’re the “stoopid” one.

      • me


      • briana.d

        im not supid michael jackson is awesome.

    • briana.d

      yeah stopid if you dont know who michael jackson is your an idiot.

      • stella luna

        Let’s see…….you’ve mispelled ‘stupid’ twice, so we’re all in agreement here that you indeed are the stupid one. And be glad that MJ wasn’t your father, you’d be on a therapists couch right now!

  • Tom Black

    I don’t get it. Where are the actual audio tracks used in the movie? Were those actually recorded as performed live or were they overdubbed after the fact???

    • briana.d

      wat r u talkin about

  • couchgrouch

    a rehash of studio songs strongly suggests the concerts would’ve been synchronized robotic dancing to pre-recorded tracks. a spectacle to be sure(if you’re into that sorta thing) but live music…probably not. why else would you release stydio tracks to a CONCERT movie?

  • Samantha Delynne

    Thats sad that pop star Michael Jackson isnt Alive anymore thanks to Dr murray.June 25th 2009.Michael Jacksons Heart stopped pumping on that Day June 25th 2009 because of the overdose from Dr murray.He should be Locked up for good.What he did/Also to make him pay for what he did that day June 25th 2009.Dr murray is sick in the Head.Hes not a good Doctor.

    • heidi

      Dr. Murray is an idiot isn’t he?

      • kyky

        No, michael jackson was

    • Rock Golf

      Jackson’s health was his own problem. If one doctor didn’t give him the meds he wanted, MJ would just have shopped around until he found one who would.
      Nobody could say “no” to Michael Jackson. If enough people had, he’d be alive.

    • briana.d

      your right but wrong Dr.murry should die

      • supadupamodel

        Does the ‘d’ stand for ‘dumb’???

    • stella luna

      Michael Jackson is not alive anymore because of Michael Jackson not because of Dr Murray or anyone else. He decided to pump those drugs into his system, and if Murray didn’t do it, MJ would have found someone else to do it.

      • DC

        Any doctor is supposed to influence the patient not to take drugs if patient is depending on it and can not think clearly. Dr.Murray was just interested in Michael’s money and that’s why he did it. Generaly, if doctors just do what patients say then we don’t need them! Otherwords, if MJ was surrounded by the right people he would’ve been alive today.

  • Ken

    Aside from one new song, what is the purpose of buying yet another greatest hits cd? Anyone with a computer can easily sequence these songs in the order of the movie, you don’t need to spend 10 or 15 bucks to do it. This just seems like a cash grab.

  • couchgrouch

    yeah, Michael left a lotta debt and that’s being passed on to his fans. so pick up that cd folks…his lawyers need the $$$.

    unless that doc forced those drugs on Michael, Michael’s more to blame. sure the doc belongs behind bars but you’re not gonna tell me MJ was unaware of the dangers of drug addiction. or plastic surgery addiction. or addiction to wacky religions…or….

  • Jeff W.

    Wow, this sounds like a while lot of nothing. What idiot would buy this “greatest hits” album? Wouldn’t any true fan already have all this stuff? The “new” song stinks but if people must have it grab it from iTunes.

    • Rock Golf

      No can do. iTunes doesn’t have the album because they allow tracks to be sold separately. You want the track “This Is It” be prepared to drop $15 to get it along with all the hits you already have.

      You’re paying for the sequence.

  • toodles

    MJ is alive. just wait until the end of the film’s 2 week run and you’ll see. it’s going to be revolutionary.

    • Rock Golf

      Sure he is. He’s living in the Bahamas, with Elvis, Marilyn & JFK.
      Biding their time.
      Biding their time.

      • briana.d

        stupid he is dead there all dead.

    • Janice Stephanie

      Hope you are true…I’d jump for joy!!!

  • diana hazely


  • heidi

    I’ve heard one track from the album that has been left unmentioned by this reviewer.. she’s out of my life..
    It’s a beautiful piece, very very intimate.. very simple, just Michael Jackson and someone strumming a guitar as he sings. I think the Sony can’t release tracks of Michael because MJJ has rights over his songs, and the legal wrangling would just be a big mess. so they just took whatever they could sell without having to get into that mess.. plus, someone mentioned that latoya took harddisks of michael’s music so whoever has the tracks, can sell, and as long nobody sues, they can profit off michael’s work.

  • Carly Hawa

    I’m without doubt going to see it! I was never lucky enough to see him perform in concert so this will be the next best thing! Can’t wait!

    • Janice Stephanie

      Yup like you I never had the chance to see him in any of his concerts. I was going to London to see him for the first time, sadly though, he would be gone too soon…

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