It’s been almost five years since the untimely death of Michael Jackson but now the “King of Pop” can be heard again with all new music. On Friday the airwaves of almost every pop and r&b radio station in the country debuted a new offering from the late performer with a song called Love Never Felt So Good.
The world got its first public listen of the song at Thursday nights iHeart Radio Awards in Los Angeles presented on stage by music producer and label executive L.A Reid. Reid telling the audience from the stage of the Shrine auditorium that he went into the archives of the deceased super-star’s musical library, and found a raw cut of the song believing it captured the effervescence and feel of Jackson at the height of his success. Written back in 1983, Love Never Felt So Good is reminiscent of his songs of that era produced by Quincy Jones, capturing a light dance groove and an easy melody very similar to the Jones produced albums Off the Wall album of 1979 and 1982’s chart record-breaking Thriller.
The new track is credited as co-written back in 1983 by singer and song writer Paul Anka. To make the sound more current, the song was produced with a contemporary arrangement as part of a posthumous album of previously unreleased Michael Jackson music dropping May 9 called Xscape. L.A Reid enlisted a string of top-notch music industry producers to give the treasure trove of music a modern sound and even tapped the talents of Justin Timberlake to work as lead producer on the album and lending his vocals on a bonus track of Love Never Felt So Good .
On June 25, 2009 word of Michael Jackson’s death sent shock waves around the world and throughout the music industry. For days radio stations played tributes to the super-star performer while fans from around the world kept candle light vigils. On November 11, 2011 a jury trial found Jackson’s doctor Conrad Murray guilty of administering a deadly injection of the medical anesthetic Propofol to the sleep deprived singer. At the time of his death Michael Jackson was in the midst of preparing for a major concert tour that was a mere weeks away from debuting in the UK. For L.A Reid and those connected with the Xscape project believe the new eight song album will be a welcomed gift to those who miss the music of an artist believed to be gone too soon.
Music critics who have been attending industry listening parties of the new album have given the effort mixed reviews. While some are lauding Xscape as a project that needed to be made showcasing the best of an artist whose legacy has been tarnished since his death with ongoing family court battles over his fortune, others have given the new music a thumbs down. One critic even calling the effort a radio friendly collection of remixed B-sides. In spite of what music critics like or not , this latest compilation of Michael Jackson music will get the ultimate review once it is sampled by the music buying public in the coming days.
By Hal Banfield