The Michael Jackson Album Conspiracy

The Michael Jackson Album Conspiracy (photo)

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Questions arose about the authenticity of the recordings on Michael Jackson’s new album, after the teaser release of his new single, “Breaking News,” immediately after it was posted online on November 8th. Some fans didn’t think it sounded like Michael, and then even his kids and his own mother claimed some of the tracks were faked.

The official Sony music news release included this bit: “The creative process never stopped for the King of Pop who was always planning for his next album; unbeknownst to many fans around the world Michael Jackson was writing and recording songs continuously everywhere from a friend’s home in New Jersey…”

New Jersey? This only made people more suspicious. Then there’s the incredible album cover art by painter Kadir Nelson, which includes references, some obvious, some cryptic to just about everything Michael Jackson has been involved with over the course of his astonishing and totally bizarre life. But someone with a magnifying glass and loads of free time noticed a certain symbol disappear from the album art, as it was originally posted by Sony Music. When I came across that, I recalled downloading the press image of the album art a few days prior and had a look myself — Lo and behold, there was a blank bubble where once there had been the Artist formerly known as Prince symbol floating beside Siegfried & Roy’s tiger.

Original cover on the left, new cover on the right. Look closely at the bubble to the right of the tiger’s head.

Apparently, this was the work of a rogue artist and no official permission was given by Prince to use his symbol, so Sony removed it. So says Dr. Funkenberry anyway who received the response from Prince’s reps. Why the symbol was included in the first place remains unclear, though Michael Jackson and Prince were notable rivals in many ways, they never really collaborated on anything. Though they did play ping pong together at least once. Speculation that Prince had something to do with the new album is unfounded.

As for the authenticity of the recordings, it seems that they are indeed real. Joe Vogel writing for the Huffington Post has an exhaustive piece on why, who authenticated them and what this New Jersey home is all about. It’s the home/recording studio of Michael Jackson’s good friends, the Cascio family, which the tracks in question came from.

Sony and Jackson’s Estate invited a host engineers and producers who had worked with Jackson, some for over 30 years, to listen to the tracks along with a musician who had “worked with Michael over the years and who had also contributed to one of the Cascio tracks,” Vogel writes. “Each of them listened to the a cappella version of the vocals on the Cascio tracks without any musical accompaniment so that they could give an opinion as to whether or not the lead vocals on the Cascio tracks were sung by Jackson. To a person they all confirmed that the vocal was definitely Michael Jackson.”

That would still leave doubt in the minds of some, so then they brought in “one of the best known forensic musicologists in the nation” to compare the a cappella vocals with those from previously recorded Jackson vocals. Using waveform analysis, the forensic musicologist “found that all of the vocals were the voice of Michael Jackson.” Sony covered all bases as, “It was also specifically verified that the vocals did not belong to well-known Jackson impersonator, Jason Malachi.”

“Michael,” the album, is due out December 14th, lingering conspiracies included.

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”

Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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GIFS via Giphy

On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”

But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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Draught Pick

Sam Adams “Keeps It Brockmire”

All New Brockmire airs Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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From baseball to beer, Jim Brockmire calls ’em like he sees ’em.


It’s no wonder at all, then, that Sam Adams would reach out to Brockmire to be their shockingly-honest (and inevitably short-term) new spokesperson. Unscripted and unrestrained, he’ll talk straight about Sam—and we’ll take his word. Check out this new testimonial for proof:

See more Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC, presented by Samuel Adams. Good f***** beer.

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