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immortal2To approach the release of MICHAEL JACKSON – IMMORTAL as just another ”greatest hits” or ”best-of” set would be a mistake that more than a few people are destined to make when they see the disc on shelves this holiday season. Released this week in a 27-track collection or as a 20-track ”highlights” edition, IMMORTAL re-imagines classic songs from every era of Jackson’s storied career by drastically shifting arrangements, and crafting a seamless soundtrack for the Cirque du Soleil production based on the legacy of Jackson as a performer.

Without it’s visual accompaniment, IMMORTAL loses some of it’s effect, especially for those who have grown up with the arrangements of the source material permanently locked within their minds. Jackson’s THRILLER is the first album I can remember begging my parents to buy me (I still have my original vinyl), and such, hearing a reworking of the title track is both captivating and jarring at once. Despite the audio trickery at play, I sort of feel bad that Jackson himself never lived to see the spectacle that would be inspired by his voice and persona.

It took me a couple of listens to truly appreciate the new arrangements by Kevin Antunes, the chosen “Musical Designer” for the production, who, like the creators of THE BEATLES’ LOVE before him, was tasked with tampering with perfection.IMMORTAL is an interesting listen for sure, but bound to polarize and confuse certain members of it’s target audience. For a true ”greatest hits,” listeners are encouraged to seek out a collection like NUMBER ONES, and hold IMMORTALas what it is – the soundtrack to a stage show.

Rating: 3/5 Stars

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