Artistic Decisions in Michael Jackson's Career That Are Questionable

Michaels Lover

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The Off The Wall medley in the HIStory Tour...
Playback is already a let down, but doing it using the same vocals from when he was 20 years younger is too much.
He could have at least re-record them with his adult voice.

What exactly do you mean with "his adult voice"? He was 21 when he made otw, that was his adult voice??
 

AlwaysThere

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The only album after thriller that has a duet is bad...

HIStory too!

You could say the same for his music too. The "code" for his albums was to stick to the Thriller formula once he realized it worked; a mix of upbeat dance tracks, one rock number to help crossover with that crowd, a duet, a "social statement" song etc

Also true. What helped alleviate that, though, was how the songs were always sonically and musically adventurous. No two albums feel or sound the same, even if on paper thereÂ’s a lot of similarities context wise.
 

rolerprod

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not doing prerecorded songs for his live shows and just letting the original playback play
 

mj_frenzy

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Some more:

His excessive make-up on the cover of his ‘BAD’ album while wearing the black, leather outfit.

The reason is that so much make-up makes him look too glossy and shiny, which does not match with his bad, tough and street image of the ‘BAD’ album and era.

His excessive make-up in the prison version of his ‘They Don't Care About Us’ music video.

The reason is that so much make-up makes him again look too glossy and shiny, which does not match with the prison concept of that music video where being in the role of a prisoner inside a prison he should have appeared without wearing any make-up at all.

The concept of his ‘Man In The Mirror’ music video in which the singer does not appear at all (with the exception of few seconds towards the end), and as result that music video has fallen into obscurity.

The Moonwalker version of the ‘Man In The Mirror’ music video would have been a far better choice as the official version of that music video.

Also true. What helped alleviate that, though, was how the songs were always sonically and musically adventurous. No two albums feel or sound the same, even if on paper there’s a lot of similarities context wise.

This does not apply to his ‘Invincible’ album which it sounds and feels overly rehashed with that overused formula.
 

king_of_style

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What exactly do you mean with "his adult voice"? He was 21 when he made otw, that was his adult voice??

Yeah, I don't actually know if Michael's voice deepened all that much between Off The Wall and HIStory. I think he just started singing with more of his range than before. Like you can get glimpses of a deeper more "throaty" singing voice in songs like "You Can't Win" and in the backing vocals for "I Can't Help It". I think he just sang in that higher register because he was used to doing it and figured he would go with what worked.

EDIT: You'll notice too that in rehearsal footage he'd be singing songs that are low to medium range in a softer, higher voice, more like Off The Wall and Thriller era. There's even rumors that during one "Earth Song" performance he sang the entire "What about us?" section in a higher voice but the playback covered it up.
 

analogue

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I feel like more of Smooth Criminal could have been sung live and not just the very ending. I think all of the ''You've been hit by'' parts could have been live and the ''I don't know/dad gone it'' adlibs too.
 

AdamBa17

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Lip sinking during live performances absolutely drives me bonkers. Change the performances so you can sing it live or at least most of it live. Trying to preform the music videoÂ’s basically on stage was asking too much. I would have preferred he sing live an minimize the dancing.
I'm watching Victory Tour Toronto right now after just watching Bad live at Wembley - it's insane how much less Michael dances on the Victory Tour. The singing seems to be the main focus, the moves second. There are still a decent amount of moves, but way less than the following tours. And because they're less frequent I feel like they're sharper and more powerful.
 

Themidwestcowboy

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I feel like more of Smooth Criminal could have been sung live and not just the very ending. I think all of the ''You've been hit by'' parts could have been live and the ''I don't know/dad gone it'' adlibs too.

I disagree with this sentiment. I have yet to hear a Smooth Criminal that was sung fully live that sounds good. The verses are almost unintelligible and too breathy. Going by MSG and Hartford amature audio I think he did the right thing to lip sync that song.
 

SmoothCriminal1995

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I disagree with this sentiment. I have yet to hear a Smooth Criminal that was sung fully live that sounds good. The verses are almost unintelligible and too breathy. Going by MSG and Hartford amature audio I think he did the right thing to lip sync that song.

Yep completely agree mate as much as I love MJ singing live, it was understandable him lip syncing Smooth Criminal.
Although I must admit, I always get a kick out of hearing MJ sing the full second verse lyrics when he did it live
So they came into the outway
It was Sunday, what a black day
Every time I tried to find him
There were no clues, theyÂ’re behind him
And they end up never knowing
WhoÂ’s the suspect or what to expect
 

analogue

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I never said Smooth Criminal could have been sung fully live. I said that parts of Smooth Criminal could have been sung live. Just the the '''You've been hit by'' and the I don't know/Dad gone it'' parts of the song. Not the entire thing. And Michael did the ''Dad gone it'' parts on the BAD Tour and that sounded great. And the ''You've been hit by'' parts at Madison Square Garden 1988 sounded great too.
 

SmoothCriminal1995

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I never said Smooth Criminal could have been sung fully live. I said that parts of Smooth Criminal could have been sung live. Just the the '''You've been hit by'' and the I don't know/Dad gone it'' parts of the song. Not the entire thing. And Michael did the ''Dad gone it'' parts on the BAD Tour and that sounded great. And the ''You've been hit by'' parts at Madison Square Garden 1988 sounded great too.

Sorry my friend I misunderstood, you know what I think you're right. Is it my imagination or doesn't Mike sing some of the Annie are you okay's on the Wembley show, as well as the mic coming on earlier for the adlibs? I haven't seen it in a whole but I can't remember

I do think he could have sung much more of the track on the Dangerous Tour but admittedly it sounds fantastic anyway
 

analogue

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I noticed that the backing vocalist can be heard a lot clearer for Smooth Criminal at Wembley 1988.
 

Themidwestcowboy

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I never said Smooth Criminal could have been sung fully live. I said that parts of Smooth Criminal could have been sung live. Just the the '''You've been hit by'' and the I don't know/Dad gone it'' parts of the song. Not the entire thing. And Michael did the ''Dad gone it'' parts on the BAD Tour and that sounded great. And the ''You've been hit by'' parts at Madison Square Garden 1988 sounded great too.

Oh yeah I misread it man sorry! I think the Bad Tour was the best combination of Lip synch and live vocals for Smooth Criminal
 

Themidwestcowboy

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I'm watching Victory Tour Toronto right now after just watching Bad live at Wembley - it's insane how much less Michael dances on the Victory Tour. The singing seems to be the main focus, the moves second. There are still a decent amount of moves, but way less than the following tours. And because they're less frequent I feel like they're sharper and more powerful.

I've always said that MJ sacrificed his live vocals for dancing and movement and in my opinion his dancing in some parts was a bit excessive. I'd rather watch Human Nature from the victory tour and Bad tour (mainly 87 leg) than from the Dangerous Tour.
 

Nite Line

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I've always said that MJ sacrificed his live vocals for dancing and movement and in my opinion his dancing in some parts was a bit excessive. I'd rather watch Human Nature from the victory tour and Bad tour (mainly 87 leg) than from the Dangerous Tour.

Yes, MJ sounds very breathy during the performance of Human Nature at the Dangerous Tour. He sounds like he is out of breath. I really donÂ’t enjoy any of the performances of Human Nature from the Dangerous Tour. I think a big reason why MJ declined as a live vocalist from the 90s onwards is because he was putting way more emphasis on dancing than singing.
 

analogue

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I always thought it was strange how Michael sounded so out of breath on WBSS and HN and the Dangerous Tour when they were only the 2nd and third songs in the show. Did Jam really take that much out of him?
 

Nite Line

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I always thought it was strange how Michael sounded so out of breath on WBSS and HN and the Dangerous Tour when they were only the 2nd and third songs in the show. Did Jam really take that much out of him?

It could also be due to the headset mic that he used during both WBSS and HN at the Dangerous Tour.
 

Nite Line

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- Michael should have carried on singing Bad live in 1988-89, as opposed to resorting to lip syncing. He sounded really good while singing it live in 1987.
- Another Part of Me was one of MichaelÂ’s best live performances and he shouldnÂ’t have dropped it from the setlist after the Bad tour.
- I think Lady In My Life is a fantastic track, but it was a wrong choice for an album closer. Thriller should have closed with a more upbeat song.
 

analogue

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Maybe it's for the best that Another Part Of Me wasn't performed after the Bad Tour, because it probably would have been lip synced.
 

Mikky Dee

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- Michael should have carried on singing Bad live in 1988-89, as opposed to resorting to lip syncing. He sounded really good while singing it live in 1987.
- Another Part of Me was one of Michael’s best live performances and he shouldn’t have dropped it from the setlist after the Bad tour.
- I think Lady In My Life is a fantastic track, but it was a wrong choice for an album closer. Thriller should have closed with a more upbeat song.

I agree with your third point.
 

Mikky Dee

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I always thought it was strange how Michael sounded so out of breath on WBSS and HN and the Dangerous Tour when they were only the 2nd and third songs in the show. Did Jam really take that much out of him?

Ever tried to sing and dance at the same time....especially a song as intense as JAM???
It's likely to be more about adrenalin and the headset microphone, IMO.
 

SmoothCriminal1995

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I think it was my mate Midwestcowboy, who told me to watch the amateur show of Rome 1992, few years back, were MJ uses a handheld mic for WBBS. Midwest was right it's so much better, it's more like the Bad Tour
So maybe the headset mic was part of the problem with the breathy vocals? Just a guess on my part
 

datblackboi08

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- not performing with his brothers at all for the J5 Medley...not a single show during his solo tours. Even though they would be in attendance sometimes.

- MJ & Friends Tour...shouldn't have happened.

- not releasing any official live stuff other than HBO 1992.

- not performing songs like PYT, Burn This Disco Out, Can't Let Her Get Away, 2 Bad.

-not touring the US after Bad Tour.

That's all I can think of right now.

Also to everyone saying MJ should have kept singing live...if he could have than he would have....people seem to forgot that he was singing live his entire career from 1965 through the Bad Tour (1987-1989, 123 shows and most of Dangerous Tour) with an exception to BOW, HTW, JAM, TWYMMF, MITM and Bad. Eventually you simply can't do it anymore. Perfect example is Stevie Wonder (who performed sitting down most of his career, NOT DANCING ALSO FOR 2 HRS A SHOW). He's always sang live and his voice is still far better than most singers, but it has been worn down over the decades.
I know a lot of people saw MJ as more than human but he was simply a man.
 
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AlwaysThere

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^^ On that note, IÂ’ve always felt that MichaelÂ’s bands were horribly underwhelming. The musicians were decent enough, but the backing vocalists were horrible (excluding the excellent Darryl Phinnessee). The only time I ever enjoyed listening to a Michael Jackson band was in This Is It; that configuration was borderline perfect (though to this day IÂ’m bitter that he never toured with a live horn section).
 

mj_frenzy

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-not touring the US after Bad Tour.

It has widely been noted that this was because his popularity started to decline there (after the BAD Tour).

The grunge genre (such as, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, etc) was becoming very successful in USA at that time (early ‘90s), and additionally after the Chandler allegations, Michael Jackson was being treated like a pariah in his home country which of course also adversely affected plans for touring there during the ‘90s.

His tarnished image (because of the allegations) in the USA seems to be also the reason for not including USA in the ‘This Is It’ World Tour plans (after the 50 London shows).

Eventually you simply can't do it anymore.

According to certain accounts, he was planning to sing more songs live and not at the expense of dancing (in his ‘This Is It’ shows).
 

Galactus123

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Editing of the Bucharest concert and Another Part of Me music video.

Hiring Sheryl Crow as backup vocalist... Her vocals in Billie Jean in Yokohama is an example why

I like her as backing vocalist. Billie Jean got much better in 88. I think she was better than Siedah Garrett on Dangerous Tour.
 
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analogue

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None of us will ever know how much singing would have been done for This Is It, but my guess would be that it would have been similar to the Dangerous Tour.
 

dam2040

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None of us will ever know how much singing would have been done for This Is It, but my guess would be that it would have been similar to the Dangerous Tour.

I honestly think the first number of shows would be comparable to History given MichaelÂ’s health. If they managed to get him better maybe he wouldÂ’ve sung more.
 
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