HIStory - PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE - Book I by Michael Jackson on SpotifyA decade after Thriller and MTV transformed pop, Michael Jackson releases a collection that combines a classic greatest-hits anthology with a jarring and uneven new album. He still wants to be the King of Pop and to be left alone. When he bases his music in the bluntness of hip-hop, Jackson sketches funky scenarios denouncing greed, blanket unreliability and false accusation. Without Quincy Jones around to give HIStory the rich unity of Thriller and Bad or even a producer-composer like Teddy Riley to bestow his variations of ongoing style, the new album really jerks you around. With its silly heraldic cover painting and theme-park title piece, HIStory feels like the work of someone with a bad case of Thriller nostalgia. More often, this strategy backfires. As time passes and singles break, maybe those superhuman plans will touch back down on earth.
HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I
That can't be said for the second disc, called "HIStory Continues" and consisting entirely of new material -- which also happens to be the first material he released since being accused of child molestation. References to the scandal permeate almost every song, creating a thick atmosphere of paranoia. If Jackson 's music had been the equal of Thriller or Bad , the nervous, vindictive lyrics wouldn't have been quite as overbearing. Jackson certainly tries to stay contemporary, yet he has a tendency to smooth out all of his rougher musical edges with show-biz schmaltz. Occasionally, Jackson produces some well-crafted pop that ranks with his best material: R. Kelly 's "You Are Not Alone" is seductive, "Scream" improves on the slamming beats of his earlier single "Jam," and "Stranger in Moscow" is one of his most haunting ballads.
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It comprises two discs: HIStory Begins , a greatest hits compilation , and HIStory Continues , comprising new material written and produced by Jackson and collaborators. The themes include environmental awareness , isolation, greed, suicide, injustice, and Jackson's conflicts with the media.