Feature

A Jackson comeback?

Michael Jackson released a new version of his song

What happenedMichael Jackson released a new version of his song “The Girl Is Mine” online Tuesday, and is rumored to be planning both a solo tour and a reunion tour with his brothers as The Jackson Five. But critics wonder if the former King of Pop has fallen too far to make a comeback.

What the commentators saidRemember the last time Michael Jackson tried to make a comeback? said the Times Online. It was a “disaster.” He was “booked to perform at the World Music Awards in London” back in 2006, “but managed only a few faltering notes.” But his return to the spotlight this time does seem “more ambitious”: For the new version of “The Girl Is Mine,” he collaborated with Will.i.am from the Black Eyed Peas, and the upcoming 25th anniversary edition of Thriller features “remixes by hip-hop heavyweights Akon and Kanye West.”

Well, it’s really do-or-die time for Jackson, said the blog Hollyscoop. He “has accumulated over $300 million dollars in debt, which he needs to start paying off somehow.” Apparently, he’s “in talks to do a series of live shows in London,” which could earn him “up to $30 million.” That’s a start—“if he gets his act together and actually comes through with the shows.”

The “bottom line is that Jackson is still an icon,” said Greg Kot in the Chicago Tribune, “despite a litany of tabloid indiscretions that would’ve crushed most careers and reputations.” And although he “hasn’t made much in the way of compelling new music in at least a decade,” luckily, somebody else has his back: Chicago rapper Rhymefest’s new release Man in the Mirror (The Michael Jackson Dedication Album) could go a long way toward putting Jackson back on top. It “freely dips into the Jackson back catalog” and “rearranges this material into a fascinating virtual collaboration between two artists of different generations who have never met.” Not only do “sparks fly,” but Jackson “is portrayed as a gentle eccentric with musical chops to burn.”

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