The first track, "Breaking News," from the forthcoming Michael Jackson album Michael— reportedly recorded at the home of producer Eddie Cascio in 2007—was released online late Sunday evening. The song features Jackson repeatedly referring to himself in the third person: "Everybody wanting a piece of Michael Jackson," Jackson sings against a New Jack Swing-style beat. "Reporters stalking the the moves of Michael Jackson."
It's unclear how much work has been done to the song since Jackson died last year; it was recorded just two years after Jackson was acquitted of child molestation charges, and begins with a montage of reporters talking about him (including the voice of Martin Bashir, whom Jackson felt unfairly edited him in his famous TV special "Living With Michael Jackson").
TMZ's Harvey Levin calls the song "vintage Jackson" and says that "you will not be able to suppress the image of Jackson dancing to the song." The Guardian has a different take: "For all the talk of Jackson working with producers like RedOne, Will.i.am and Mark Ronson before his death, the beat that drops after the intro is dated, all synth strings and perfunctory drum claps. Deeper and somehow flatter than on his last album, 2001's Invincible, it sounds like a heavily treated guide vocal."
Reaction on Twitter is almost universally negative. To wit: "Sony F**KING SUCKS MONKEY BALLS. That is not f**king Michael Jackson singing on that released track! They should have just let T-Pain sing freaking auto tone on this sh*t! I'm pissed!"
Release of the song has caused friction within the Jackson camp, with members of Michael's immediate family claiming the song was actually recorded by an impostor. Audiologists hired by Sony disagree with that claim. Michael hits stores on December 14.