In this update of his 2011 book, Vogel combs the King of Pop's discography and talks with his collaborators to get to the heart of the beloved music that has been mired in controversies stemming from Jackson's troubling personal life.
Vogel...offers an intelligent, song-by-song exploration of Michael Jackson's (1958–2009) albums, from the concepts, musical content, lyrics, arrangements, and influences to behind-the-scenes stories of the many people and events integral to each project ... Biographical details, including those pertaining to sexual abuse allegations, are honestly presented but primarily as relevant to the profound scope and impact of Jackson's music and its enduring legacy. Beautiful reproductions of album covers, extensive notes, and an appendix nicely enhance the volume ... This comprehensive and engaging reference is a significant addition to popular music research. A must for Jackson fans and students of musical and social culture.
In this exhaustive and engrossing volume, Vogel attempts to craft a definitive account of Jackson’s adult solo recordings. For the most part he succeeds, although his staunch defense of the artist against every critical review clouds his objectivity ... Strictly for music geeks, maybe, but Vogel effectively describes Jackson’s unwavering perfectionism in the context of his very public triumphs, trials, and tribulations.
The research is impressive, but the book would have benefited from better editing and more critical nuance. As he quotes a half-dozen or more reviews of an album (or track), he embraces those that are positive and discredits anything negative as an inability to listen 'objectively' whatever that might mean in the field of criticism. His own escalation of superlatives and comparisons approaches delirium ... Some fans will appreciate the author’s seriousness of purpose (which others will find tedious), but the book has more value as a reference work than a critical study.