Thriller 40th Anniversary - Songs Discussion

ChanceToDance

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You haven’t even heard the whole song yet! Don’t make an opinion based on 15 second preview, come on now at least wait till you hear the entire thing.
I would rather make an entire opinion based on a really short snippet, thank you. Speaking of which I think Seven Digits, Groove Of Midnight and Don't Believe It are better than any song MJ has created in his career.
 

wonderouzmj

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Just listened to the leaked “The Toy,” which seems to be missing the third verse. It’s not much of an omission since it’s literally a copy/paste of the first (literally, it’s not even a different vocal take), but interesting nonetheless. I wonder if the estate did it, or if this is just an early version?
Where did you hear it? Q
 

AlwaysThere

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Where did you hear it? Q
I conferred with somebody who has (who gave me a description of the track years ago and was dead on, straight down to the lyrical changes and the drum machine intro) and they said this is an abbreviated take, but that the version they’ve heard adds nothing at all. I’d love to get some answers.
 

farlnd

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The Toy is definitely a demo. It was begging to be finished and I’m glad Michael did. They did it justice in the end. The digital fade is a little distracting though.
 

wonderouzmj

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I conferred with somebody who has (who gave me a description of the track years ago and was dead on, straight down to the lyrical changes and the drum machine intro) and they said this is an abbreviated take, but that the version they’ve heard adds nothing at all. I’d love to get some answers.
I got it now. Thanks. Im looking forward to who do you know
 

MJ5

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.

FhpUdg5UAAA0VRU

FhpUdg7VEAABo0n
thanks, added to 1st post.
 

kai

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someone already sent me the disc 2 tracks.
I can confirm:

Starlight, Got The Hots, Carousel, Sunset Driver - NO DIFFERENT than we already know it.
CGOOTR might be a little different from the mixing.. but they cut the first part of the song...
She's Trouble quality is crystal clear.
 

MJ5

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I think your Remix of BTM might still be the best version after this week! Congrats :D
What do you think about the demo of BTM, kai? Did you expect more as well?
 

kai

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I think your Remix of BTM might still be the best version after this week! Congrats :D
What do you think about the demo of BTM, kai? Did you expect more as well?

thanks :D i did expect more.
 
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MJ5

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@mods (@Hiker): Why are Youtube links of songs that are now (nearly) released not allowed? Will it be possible on Friday, or what is the point here?
It has also never been a problem to post a Youtube link of an unreleased track like HotStreet for example.
 

MJ5

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Behind the Mask might be botched. :(


It should be Michael singing, "WHO DO YOU LOVE," but for some reason it skips over the first three words and starts halfway through "LOVE."

Compare it to the 2010 mix, starting at 4:16:


Ill give it a full listen now.. sounds horrible if so.

Any other parts that are somehow "butchered" in your opinion?
 

Calisto

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Ill give it a full listen now.. sounds horrible if so.

Any other parts that are somehow "butchered" in your opinion?
I'm just going by what that Twitter user posted. Hopefully he just has a bad rip or defective disc and the actual mix is fine.
 

Hiker

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@mods (@Hiker): Why are Youtube links of songs that are now (nearly) released not allowed? Will it be possible on Friday, or what is the point here?
It has also never been a problem to post a Youtube link of an unreleased track like HotStreet for example.
Youtube / Twitter links are allowed. We rely on them to apply copyright properly. It's the direct file download links of released / copyrighted material that are not allowed because they cannot be regulated.
 

AlwaysThere

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Okay, I caved and listened. Initial thoughts:
  1. “Starlight” — Only commenting to confirm that, yes, there is static/distortion in the version I listened to. I’m in disbelief.
  2. “Who Do You Know” — I fell in love with this the second it started. Some sparse electric guitar work, a laidback groove, and MJ singing the blues like only he can. It feels like a country song given a pop makeover. “I lost my baby two years ago (Have you seen her?).” I was expecting this one to be a half-baked demo, but I’m overjoyed that the vocals are more or less finished. His vocal is somewhat reminiscent of the main section of “The Lady in My Life,” in the sense that he’s just singing, not performing; he’s wowing us with his voice and tone, not his high notes. In the final second, you hear MJ cackling in the background (similar to the ending of “Free”). I could listen to this on repeat for hours. 5/5
  3. “Behind the Mask (Mike’s Mix)” — As expected, this is just the Greg Phillinganes instrumental (with weaker drums) with MJ’s vocals. It has a completely different arrangement than the 2010 mix though: the first verse is longer (but the second half is unusable), the second verse is scratch vocals, the chorus doesn’t show up until after the second verse, the two “bridges” are flipped, the “hee hee hee” background vocals are sourced from the end of the song, and there are some extra ad-libs. For me, this is painfully average (except for the last 10 seconds or so, which suddenly becomes f**king awesome). John McClain saved this one. 2/5
  4. “The Toy” — Hugely disappointing. This is a very rudimentary demo: a basic drum pattern, keys, and some light synth strings. It’s literally the same as “Best of Joy,” with a different opening lyric and no chorus. (Also, the third verse is indeed present; I have no idea what I was talking about earlier.) Beyond the production, which I can’t judge too harshly since it’s a demo, I feel like these vocals just don’t have the sincerity of the 2008 recording. I don’t care for the constant vocal doubling, and it feels like MJ’s heart just isn’t in it. The harmonies are heavenly, but it seems like Neff-U really made “Best of Joy” what it was. Eh. 2/5
  5. “What a Lovely Way to Go” — Very, very underwhelming. Another sparse arrangement: a piano, some beatboxing, and layered vocals. The leaked snippet is literally the opening lyric and, as it turns out, the weird vocal sound comes from them doing some (necessary) pitch correction; there’s a few off-key moments throughout. I’m surprised this one was up for Michael, because the lyrics that I can make out don’t make much sense (“Heard you were a loser, but don’t say that you was in it all the time / Don’t be just pretending that it’s all knowing, love here inside / But I don’t need the right to know everything she does”) and there are multiple moments where MJ is clearly mumbling or scatting. I don’t hate it, but it’s not something I feel I’ll return to often (and it has the single weirdest and most abrupt ending I’ve EVER heard in an MJ song). 1.5/5
All in all, I’m a little let down. “Who Do You Know” is spectacular (and now I’m a little bitter that they blew it on a reissue rather than giving it its time in the sun on a proper album), but the other three songs really don’t do it for me.
 
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t2fk

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Hey with the mastering discussion - I haven’t caved and listened to the leaks, is the mastering equivalent to his home demos shake a body, don’t stop, working day n night, billie Jean home demo ect? Is that why there’s complaints?
 

Dorian

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Judging by the snippets I’m not interested in listening to the leaks. It will probably be a one time listen and that’s all on Friday. I can understand why they didn’t make the album cut.

Also, the state of the archive is completely shit if they considered what a lovely way to go as a releasable song lmao.
 

AlwaysThere

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Also, the state of the archive is completely shit if they considered what a lovely way to go as a releasable song lmao.
“Who Do You Know” and “Dream Away” restored my faith that there’s more gold than we’re aware of, but yeah, “What a Lovely Way to Go” has no business being up for a studio album. “Who Do You Know” is infinitely better in every respect and deserved that position.

(I’m really hyping this one up. I love it so much. I’ve listened to it three times already and I already know I’m going to play it to the point of exhaustion. It’s already one of my favorite posthumously released songs.)
 

Hess

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Or maybe they have a more complete version with different MJ vocals of WALWTG - and maybe more finished instrumentation.

This might just be an early demo version. We do not know what's in the vault.
 

Hess

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I can't wait to hear Who Do You Know - seems like everyone likes that songs and says it's the highlight of disc 2.
 

farlnd

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Hey with the mastering discussion - I haven’t caved and listened to the leaks, is the mastering equivalent to his home demos shake a body, don’t stop, working day n night, billie Jean home demo ect? Is that why there’s complaints?

It appears they really haven't made an effort to actually mix any of the newer material. My question is how many of these mixes were sourced from 1/2" tapes made at the time and which ones were hashed together from the multitracks. I think we may have a mixed bag here. If they had finished masters from the Thriller era there is no reason not to use them. I'm assuming a song like She's Trouble was taken from one of those tapes.
 

MJ5

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My "first listen" review:

Starlight (3/10): I am just so happy it evolved to Thriller, and did not stay like this. A nice-to-have addition for a complete Demo collection of the whole album along BJ, WBSS, or Beat it Demo imo. Whatsoever, is the leaked version better than the released one? :oops:
GTH (7/10): The song has such a strange rythm, but I somehow like it since day one after T25 Japanese release. In my ears, still a nice-to-listen song in between.
Who do you know (9/10): Great chill vibe, lovely vocals. Even if it is very different, the vibe feels like a mix out of "Why?" and a The Jacksons late 70s song. Love it!
Carousel (8/10): Transition from Who do you know is sweet. But why not the longer version?
BTM Demo (6/10): I expected more, mostly because I hoped for a more-finished 80s version compared to the 2010 mix. Anyway, one could have known we will now in fact get the real DEMO, that might be one of the earliest versions of the songs - a similar state compared to existing BJ or WBSS demos. It is cool to have, but not a song I would listen to every day.
CGOTR (1/10): not fitting T40 that much, especially in such a shortlist of songs. They at least could have put it in the end of Disc 2. Whatever, next.
The Toy (4/10): Interestingly, not much difference to the 2009 Best of Joy version. Happy that Michael worked on it again. The 2010 release was a great inclusion.
Sunset Driver (4/10): Inclusion is okay, but not one of my favorites. Some parts are groovy though.
What a lovely way to go (8/10): I really like the refrain including the beatboxing. I wish it was properly mixed and finalized. For a demo it is truly great. Happy about this one, as it is the only MJ production without co-production. This one would have fit as the last track, not only because of its title.
She's Trouble (6/10): Great to hear this in crisp quality. It fits the T40 concept. The wav-file will get a nice place next to Nite Line and Hot Street in my digital collection.

Overall rating the disc 5/10, today I am grateful it was not strongly promoted towards a wide audience, as it consists of songs and mixing Michael would have never wanted seeing the light of day. Well, there was not much promotion investment anyway. Even so, I am very happy about the release for the fan base. In my opinion a few songs could have been considered for a later release, definitely.

Positive:
+ WDYK
+ WALTG
+ She's Trouble HQ

Negative:
- CTGOTR inclusion
- BTM Mike Mix = less finished mix as expected
- Hot Street and Niteline missing
- Starlight release maybe worse than leaked version

Changing my previous votes now (no vote for BTM 🤫). Don't forget to vote for your favorite HERE!
 
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Hess

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I am confused. Where do you hear the entire songs? I can't find the full songs on YT.

ALSO -How on earth can they release Starlight with distortion? Surely they must have had professional producers to master the songs before the release. Make sure sound volume is the same for all songs, clean up etc. I really hope the iTunes version will sound crystal clear. Otherwise it's very disappointing.

Still I can't wait to hear Who Do You Know and What A Lovely Way To Go
 

t2fk

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My "first listen" review:

Starlight (3/10): I am just so happy it evolved to Thriller, and did not stay like this. A nice-to-have addition for a complete Demo collection of the whole album along BJ, WBSS, or Beat it Demo imo. Whatsoever, is the leaked version better than the released one? :oops:
GTH (7/10): The song has such a strange rythm, but I somehow like it since day one after T25 Japanese release. In my ears, still a nice-to-listen song in between.
Who do you know (9/10): Great chill vibe, lovely vocals. Even if it is very different, the vibe feels like a mix out of "Why?" and a The Jacksons late 70s song. Love it!
Carousel (8/10): Transition from Who do you know is sweet. But why not the longer version?
BTM Demo (6/10): I expected more, mostly because I hoped for a more-finished 80s version instead of the 2010 mix. Anyway, one could have known we will now in fact get the real DEMO, that might be one of the earliest versions of the songs - a similar state compared to existing BJ or WBSS demos. It is cool to have, but not a song I would listen to every day.
CGOTR (1/10): not fitting T40 that much, especially in such a shortlist of songs. They at least could have put it in the end of Disc 2. Whatever, next.
The Toy (4/10): Interestingly, not much difference to the 2009 Best of Joy version. Happy that Michael worked on it again. The 2010 release was a great inclusion.
Sunset Driver (4/10): Inclusion is okay, but not one of my favorites. Some parts are groovy though.
What a lovely way to go (8/10): I really like the refrain including the beatboxing. I wish it was properly mixed and finalized. For a demo it is truly great. Happy about this one, as it is the only MJ production without co-production. This one would have fit as the last track, not only because of its title.
She's Trouble (6/10): Great to hear this in crisp quality. It fits the T40 concept. The wav-file will get a nice place next to Nite Line and Hot Street in my digital collection.

Overall rating the disc 5/10, today I am grateful it was not strongly promoted towards a wide audience, as it consists of songs and mixing Michael would have never wanted that it sees the light of day. Well, there was not much promotion investment anyway. Even so, I am very happy about the release. In my opinion they could have been considered for a later release, definitely.

Positive:
+ WDYK
+ WALTG
+ She's Trouble HQ

Negative:
- CTGOTR inclusion
- BTM Mike Mix = less finished mix as expected
- Hot Street and Niteline missing
- Starlight release maybe worse than leaked version

Changing my previous votes now (no vote for BTM 🤫). Don't forget to vote for your favorite HERE!
Where did you hear it in it's entirety?
 
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