"Breaking News," the dancefloor-ready first taste of the upcoming Michael Jackson album "Michael," was posted in full today on the singer's website and has since led some fans, and even members of Jackson's family, to wonder whether the song's vocals are authentic.
The four-minute track, in which Jackson defends himself against his detractors and the media, will be included on the first posthumous album of original material from the King of Pop, set for a Dec. 14 release on Epic Records.
Michael Jackson, "Breaking News"
The song begins after 35 seconds of sound bytes from various news reporters who bemoan, "The paparazzi would not leave him alone" and "Here we go again, another lawsuit for Michael Jackson." Over a percolating beat and a racing string section, Jackson sings on the chorus, "Now is it strange that I fall in love/Who is this boogie man you're thinkin' of?"
"Breaking News" will stream for one week on michaeljackson.com, where "Michael" is now available for pre-order. The news of the album release followed last week's announcement of Cirque du Soleil's forthcoming show Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour, set to begin in October 2011.
Amidst the excitement over new Michael Jackson projects, however, is a brooding controversy over whether the voice singing on "Breaking News" is authentic. "Deceptively merging shady vocals with MJ samples (from prior MJ records) will never fool me," TJ Jackson, the song of Michael's brother Tito Jackson, wrote on Twitter. "I'm disgusted, disappointed and saddened."
LaToya Jackson also appeared to question whether the voice is really her brother's, telling TMZ, "I listened to it ... It doesn't sound like him."
In a statement, Sony Music Group countered that it 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."
Where do you stand on the "Breaking News" controversy? Sound off in the comments.