Michael Jackson may or may not be singing the first single, “Hold My Hand” off his first posthumous album, but music critics, for the most part, are giving a thumbs up to the album and sentimental new video featuring the King of Pop.
The video was released Thursday (Nov. 9). It’s the first time Jackson has appeared on screen since his death in June 2009 from a drug overdose.
Reviews have been generally positive, despite the controversy surrounding the song.
Michael’s mother Katherine Jackson, and two of his children, Paris and Prince Jackson contend that Michael is not singing on the album. Other critics say the song does not meet Michael’s perfectionist standards.
But while the album is no “Thriller,” arguably Michael’s best, critics found positive things to say about it.
Rolling Stone magazine said the songs were recognizably Jackson songs, and that the album is “compelling” at least in part.
But damning it with faint praise, it added: “He would not have released anything like this compilation, a grab bag of outtakes and outlines assembled by Jackson’s (Sony) record label.”
Influential USA Today called the album “a credible musical effort that can’t be dismissed.”
It singled out collaborations with rapper 50 Cent and rocker Lenny Kravitz, as particularly notable.
Entertainment Weekly gave the album a “B”, calling it “certainly no great affront to his name”
The New York Times said it was a “miscellany of familiar Jackson offerings: inspirational, loving, resentful and paranoid.”
In Great Britain, where Jackson still had a strong fan base, influential music critic Neil McCormick was effusive.
The album “bursts with verve and confidence” and “may well be Jackson’s best work since his Eighties glory days,” he wrote.
“It is certainly a great deal better than anyone had the right to expect…Jackson is finally about to get the comeback he craved,” he added.
The video is a mix of previous video clips of Jackson performing and new footage of children singing in a “We Are the World” kind of vibe.
The song is a duet recorded with R&B singer and producer Akon in 2007 and is the first single off the album, entitled simply, Michael.
The collection of 10 songs completed by various record producers will be released Dec. 14. Check out the video below.
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