The first posthumous album from [artist id="1102"]Michael Jackson[/artist], Michael, will arrive in stores on December 14. According to a press release announcing the disc's impending release, the first single, "Breaking News," is a never-before-heard track recorded by the late pop icon in 2007 and recently finished by the album's producers. The song will be streaming in full on Jackson's official website beginning on Monday (November 8), and the stream will be live for one week.
"The creative process never stopped for the King of Pop, who was always planning for his next album; unbeknownst to many fans around the world, Michael Jackson was writing and recording songs continuously everywhere from a friend's home in New Jersey to studios in Las Vegas and Los Angeles with a small group of handpicked collaborators," the release read.
The album's cover, an oil painting by Kadir Nelson, is a montage of classic MJ images — among them are Jackson's hands-in-tuxedo-pants-pockets pose from the cover of Off the Wall, Jackson wearing his "Billie Jean" outfit and a somber, Renaissance-like image of Jackson in royal gold and burgundy vestments with a golden crown hovering over his head.
Jackson's first album of new music since 2001's Invincible comes more than a year after his shocking death at age 50.
"Now, through the unique stories that will be told about the songs that comprise Michael, fans will get mind-blowing insight into how this artist worked and a chance to hear the songs he most recently created along with tracks that Michael had a desire to bring to fruition," said the release.
Though Sony did not reveal what songs will be on the disc or who produced the tunes, they were described as "newly completed recordings" in the announcement, suggesting that they had been worked on by producers following Jackson's death. There are dozens — and, by some accounts, perhaps hundreds — of unheard tracks in the vaults of Jackson's estate, and Michael is the first of a planned half-dozen posthumous releases that will unveil the vaults' contents.
The news about Michael comes on the heels of this week's announcement that the Cirque du Soleil production "Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour" will begin its North American run on October 2, 2011.
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