Ryuichi Sakamoto x Michael Jackson

Given the cash-in nature of posthumously assembled albums, I’m a little surprised by the restraint in terms of celebrity guests featured on the tracklist for “Michael,” the new MJ album. Akon, 50-Cent and Lenny Kravitz, all of whom he had been working with before his death were not big surprises (Kanye West and Will.i.am, who were also working with him are not featured, perhaps they are saving it for the fifth or sixth posthumous album).
The only collaborator I wasn’t expecting was Ryuichi Sakamoto. It’s well known pop music lore that Sakamoto and Jackson recorded a version of YMO’s “Behind the Mask” for Thriller. But the song didn’t make the album cut, possibly for legal reasons, and Jackson’s arrangement was rerecorded and released by Greg Phillinganes in 1985. Now the MJ version is finally seeing release, albeit in an updated version.

About Ben Hamamoto

Ben Hamamoto is a writer born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. He's been published in the Oakland Tribune and has written for New American Media's YO! Youth Outlook and the Nichi Bei Times. He is a research manager for the Health Horizons Program at the Institute for the Future. He also edits Nikkei Heritage, the National Japanese American Historical Society’s official magazine and contributes to Nichi Bei Weekly.

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