Posthumous Michael Jackson Songs Pulled from Streaming Services over Fan Speculation That Someone Else Is Singing Them
"Monster," "Breaking News" and "Keep Your Head Up" were allegedly sung by Jason Malachi
Published Jul 05, 2022Every year we seem to learn new things about the increasingly complicated legacy of Michael Jackson — some Sonic the Hedgehog-related, some much darker and more troubling — and today sees that streak continue with the news that Sony has pulled three posthumously released Michael Jackson songs from streaming services over fan speculation that Jackson isn't actually singing on them.
As reported by Stereogum, the story goes like this: Back in 2010, Sony Music released Michael, the first posthumous collection (Jackson died in 2009) of the pop icon's unreleased music. Composed of songs recorded at various points between 1982 and 2009, the album went on to achieve platinum status and featured collaborations with Akon, 50 Cent and Lenny Kravitz.
But one of those collaborative tracks — the 50 Cent-featuring "Monster" — along with album tracks "Breaking News" and "Keep Your Head Up" have long been a source of contention among dedicated fans of Jackson.
A longstanding rumour (one that even Jackson's family members have said might be true) says that the voice featured on those three songs is actually that of session singer Jason Malachi. Malachi himself reportedly admitted that his voice was used in a now-deleted Facebook post from 2011, with Malachi's manager claiming that the post was fake.
Jackson fan Vera Serova even filed a class action lawsuit for the alleged vocal fraud, though an appeals court ruled that it didn't matter whether Jackson's voice was really featured on the posthumous album.
Sony remains steadfast that Jackson recorded the three songs with songwriting and production team Edward Cascio and James Porte in 2007, but that hasn't stopped them from removing the songs from YouTube, Spotify and Apple Music in an attempt to quiet the controversy.
In a statement to a Jackson fan page, a spokesperson for Jackson's estate wrote:
The removal of these three songs has nothing to do with their authenticity. The Estate and Sony Music believe the continuing conversation about the tracks is distracting the fan community and casual Michael Jackson listeners from focusing their attention where it should be — on Michael's legendary and deep music catalogue.
Someone probably should've told them about the Streisand Effect, but the deed is done.