Michael Jackson's New Song 'This Is It' Is Familiar But Solid

We're still a few weeks away from the release of "Michael Jackson's This Is It," the film culled from the hundreds of hours of rehearsal footage taken during the lead-up to the late superstar's planned residency at London's O2 Arena. The movie gets released on October 28, and the accompanying soundtrack album hits stores the day before. There is as much buzz around the soundtrack as there is the film, because it contains a never-before-heard Jackson song called "This Is It," recorded specifically for the London concerts. That single hit airwaves this morning and is streaming at the film's official Web site.

Rumor has it that "This Is It" is actually an outtake from the sessions from either Off the Wall or Dangerous, but it sounds a lot more like the latter. In fact, the melody and arrangement both seem to borrow an awful lot from Jackson's "Heal the World." Lyrically, it's a mixture of lovey-dovey sentiment and save the planet positivity, both of which are consistent with Jackson's late period work. It's got a casual tempo and an overall light touch, not unlike the bulk of 2001's Invincible.

It's certainly no "Billie Jean" or "Bad," but it's also not nearly as tepid as, say, "Earth Song" or "Butterflies." In addition to "Heal the World," it's closest musical cousin is "Human Nature," another mid-tempo stroll. Depending on who you believe, there may be hundreds of songs that Jackson recorded that are sitting in a vault somewhere — songs that were never meant to be released. "This Is It" isn't necessarily the most inspiring introduction to that material, but it does have a strong melody and Jackson's unmistakable vocal prowess, so it's still a good start.