"Hold My Hand," the official first single from the upcoming posthumous album from Michael Jackson album, was released on MJ's official website over the weekend. The lead track from Michael, due on December 14, is a universal plea for peace on which Akon and MJ weave their voices together over a wash of dramatic strings and a subdued beat.
Akon, who recently went back into the studio to put finishing touches on the song, spoke to MTV News back in 2007 about working with the King of Pop, who reportedly wrote a hand-written note in which he expressed a desire to have "Hold My Hand" released as a single.
"Just to be in the same room [with him], I felt like everything I wanted to achieve in life had already been achieved," Akon said. "That's how incredible that aura [is]."
Unlike "Breaking News," the beat-heavy anti-media screed that was streamed on the MJ site last week, the uplifting "Hold My Hand" is one of Jackson's classic love ballads, a heart-stirring call to unity with a touch of a Caribbean lilt.
"This life don't last forever," Jackson sings in the opening lines in his signature quavering falsetto. "So tell me what we're waiting for/ We're better off being together/ Than being miserable alone."
Then together, the men sing, " 'Cause I been there before and you've bee there before/ But together we can be all right/ 'Cause when it gets dark and when it gets cold we hold each other till we see the sunlight."
As the three-and-a-half-minute single comes to a close, the strings swell and a gospel choir comes in, clapping hands and giving the tune a majestic feel.
The 10-track album will also feature cameos from 50 Cent ("Monster") and Lenny Kravitz ("(I Can't Make It) Another Day".
Even though he worked with Jackson on tracks late in the singer's career on what was slated to be MJ's comeback album, one person who is not excited about the new MJ disc is the Black Eyed Peas' will.i.am.
"Whoever put it out and is profiting off of it, I want to see how cold they are," he told Entertainment Weekly. "To say that what [Michael] contributed during his life wasn't enough. He just wasn't any ordinary artist. He was a hands-on person. To me it's disrespectful. There's no honoring."
Considering how meticulous and particular Jackson was about his music, Will said he thought it was callous of Jackson's label, Sony Music, to release what he suspects are unfinished works. "Michael Jackson songs are finished when Michael says they're finished," said Will, who earlier this year revealed that he worked on the songs "Dreaming" and "Still the King" with Jackson, as well a tribute to James Brown called "I Will Miss You."
"Maybe if I never worked with him I wouldn't have this perspective," the producer told "Access Hollywood," noting that those songs will never be released because MJ didn't give his final approval on them. "He was very particular about how he wanted his vocals, the reverb he used. ... He was that hands-on. ... He kept his vocals and I kept the music. We had that understanding."
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