There is a lot of new music coming out over the next few weeks, from Kanye West’s latest album to the debut from Nicki Minaj to the hotly-anticipated new release from Kid Rock. But perhaps the most fascinating new tracks from this season will be coming from Michael Jackson, who will see his first posthumous full-length album (which is called Michael) drop on December 14. After getting a short tease last week, the album’s first single “Breaking News” made its online debut at Jackson’s official online hub.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Jackson song without some controversy. The late singer’s family is claiming that many of the tracks on the upcoming Michael are not “real,” and that the voice heard on “Breaking News” is actually that of a Jackson imitator. (In response to the controversy, Sony Music — the label putting out Michael — said that it had “complete confidence in the results of our extensive research as well as the accounts of those who were in the studio with Michael that the vocals on the new album are his own.”)
But what do the critics think of Jackson’s latest opus? The results have been decidedly negative. Michael Cragg of the U.K.’s The Guardian ripped it on just about every level. “Having listened to Jackson’s music non-stop as a teenager, the vocal comes as a shock because it doesn’t really sound like him,” Cragg wrote. “Deeper and somehow flatter than on his last album, 2001’s Invincible, it sounds like a heavily treated guide vocal. There are the obligatory ’hee hees,’ but as the synthetic horns and vinyl scratches appear in the final third, ’Breaking News’ feels like a song Jackson wouldn’t have been happy to release.”
Jacob Ganz of NPR was also skeptical of the legitimacy of the song. “Is there anything in the lyrics to this ’new’ Michael Jackson song that identifies it as a Michael Jackson song? If it went ’Everybody wanting a piece of Britney Spears,’ would it work any less well?”
What do you think of Michael Jackson’s new single “Breaking News”? Let us know in the comments!