Michael Jackson (Duet with Akon), "Hold My Hand"

75 Billboard Rating

With its faux-news-report intro and defensive lyrics, "Breaking News," the first taste of Michael Jackson's forthcoming posthumous album "Michael," directly addressed the media circus surrounding most of the pop star's life. On the other hand, the Akon-assisted first single, "Hold My Hand," takes a less controversial approach and instead relies on an uplifting hook and a warm sound that resembles Jamaican pop. First recorded in 2007, the ballad sways along with its gentle piano line, which is punctuated by light synthesizer effects as the inspirational verses blossom into the track's singalong chorus. Akon cruises in the same tender mode as his more romantic singles, while Jackson's vocals are frustratingly sparse but remind the listener of his effortless talent. "This life don't last forever/So tell me what you're waiting for," he sings, attacking the last syllable in grand fashion. "Hold My Hand" isn't a classic Jackson single, but MJ diehards should delight in hearing a stylish pop production that doesn't dwell on the singer's troubled life.