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“This is It” Soundtrack : Buy It Or Leave It?

Oct. 28 2009, Published 6:56 a.m. ET

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With all the excitement surrounding the two-week run of This Is It in theaters, it only seems fitting that fans will want to pick up the two-disc soundtrack as a keepsake of Michael Jackson’s final encore.

The new release is packed with the original album and single versions of many of his biggest hits from different stages of his career—including Shake Your Body (Down To the Ground), Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’, Billie Jean, Beat It, Thriller, Human Nature, Man In the Mirror, Black and White, The Way You Make Me Feel—which, make no mistake, are incredible to hear back to back, reminding you why Michael became anointed the King Of Pop.

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However, the posthumous release offers very little in the way of new material. There are two versions of the memorable title track Is This It, one with back up vocals by his siblings and the other an orchestral version, and the beautiful spoken word poem Planet Earth, where Michael delivers enchanting lines like, “Tender with breezes caressing and whole / Alive with music haunting my soul.”

There are also three unreleased demos for Beat It, Wanna Be Startin’ Something and a stunningly stripped-down version of She’s Out Of My Life, along with an accompanying 36-page booklet capturing memorable moments from Michael’s final rehearsals in London, where he’s dancing and singing in various outfits and looking like the spectacular star we remember.

But this collector’s item soundtrack is really for the die-hard fans, those who must have the few new cuts here. The rest of us will be better served listening to the original albums until the DVD version of the live concert comes out in February.

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