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The Thriller strikes again

Michael+Jackson%E2%80%99s+compilation+album%2C+Scream%2C+released+on+September+29%2C+just+in+time+for+this+year%E2%80%99s+Halloween+season.+%0A
Michael Jackson’s compilation album, Scream, released on September 29, just in time for this year’s Halloween season.

Michael Jackson’s compilation album, Scream, released on September 29, just in time for this year’s Halloween season.

Erin Grier

Erin Grier

Michael Jackson’s compilation album, Scream, released on September 29, just in time for this year’s Halloween season.

Erin Grier, Reporter, Photographer

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September 29, fans of Michael Jackson excitedly welcomed a new posthumous compilation bearing his name. The new album, Scream, became available for purchase in stores and for digital streaming on September 29 just in time for the spooky Halloween season.

On September 6, Jackson’s YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram accounts posted a 17-second teaser of the album. When fans first heard about the album, they viewed it as another careless money grab by Jackson’s estate, considering the case of his previous posthumous albums.

Since Jackson’s sudden death in 2009,  his former record label, Epic, has released three posthumous albums in his name: Michael (2010), Immortal (2011), and Xscape (2014). The albums, especially Michael, prompted backlash from fans, who noticed that Jackson did not sing several of the tracks. Since this incident, fans disregarded and simply rejected the other posthumous albums, but the new compilation did not disappoint.

Scream features classic Michael Jackson songs with Halloween-ish undertones, such as “Ghosts,”“Blood on the Dance Floor,” “Heartbreak Hotel,” and of course, the 1982 hit, “Thriller.” The album also includes a new mashup called “Blood on the Dance Floor X Dangerous,”  a combination of vocals from “Is it Scary,” “Blood on the Dance Floor,” “Heartbreak Hotel,”“Dangerous,” and “Leave Me Alone,” compilated by The White Panda, a pair of DJs who create mashups of popular songs through Soundcloud.

The album starts off with “Heartbreak Hotel” by the Jacksons, then continues its scary tone with “Thriller” and “Somebody’s Watching Me” by Rockwell, a song where Jackson sings backup. The song switches gears with tracks “Leave me Alone” and “Scream,”a duet between Michael and his sister Janet Jackson. Both songs convey Jackson’s angst towards the media’s negative views of him.

“Leave Me Alone,” originally from his 1987 album Bad, displays his distress with the tabloids documenting his every move and starting outlandish rumors about him, while “Scream” demonstrates his frustrations in lieu of the press accusing him of child abuse in 1993.  “Dangerous” and “Unbreakable” lighten the mood of the album with their timeless and danceable rhythms, and “Ghosts” provides listeners with one last chilling tale before the mashup closes out the album.  

The mashup came as a pleasant surprise, as fans probably expected a super-modern, awkward, dubstep-type mashup of the songs, but the vibrant beat ensures that it flows well, and the songs work together beautifully. The mashup began calmly, with a couple of soft backing vocals from each of the songs. The song did not drag on forever, unlike previous remixes of Jackson’s songs. The mashup’s abrupt ending leaves listeners wanting more.

Listeners find the simplicity of the album admirable, but perhaps Sony played it too safe. Doing just one mashup proved a risk in itself (seeing as they weren’t exactly favored by listeners of the past posthumous albums), but they could put in at least two more mashups without it overwhelming listeners.

Incorporating more of those types of songs might modernize it in order to cater to a younger audience. While Scream may deliver nostalgia to parents, most of the songs come from the 80’s, so younger people do not know them. The response of this generation holds the most importance because, ultimately, these kids will decide if Jackson’s legendary classics can withstand the test of time.

The Chant’s Grade: B+

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The award-winning voice of North Cobb High School in Kennesaw, Georgia.
The Thriller strikes again