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Michael Jackson’s ‘Hold My Hand’ Released, Features Akon

AP I Getty Images

Que the alarm for controversy — Michael Jackson‘s latest single ‘Hold My Hand’ surfaced Monday morning. Last week, Jackson’s family questioned the authenticity of Michael’s voice in the new song ‘Breaking News,’ but ‘Hold My Hand’ appears to be a step in the right direction, as there is no denying Jackson’s high notes.

The track, which skews more R&B than pop, more hymnal than club banger features heavy vocal support from Akon, who wrote and produced it. Originally recorded in 2007 the song was shelved, then leaked in 2008, only to be finalized by Akon after Michael’s untimely death in June of 2009. The song is available for purchase online, and will be featured on the first posthumous Jackson album, ‘Michael,’ that is dropping on Dec. 14. While Will.i.am, who appears on another ‘Michael’ track, took shots at Sony for releasing the songs without MJ’s final input, the King of Pop’s camp claims a mysterious handwritten note from Michael specified that ‘Hold My Hand’ be the first single for the project.

It doesn’t take a producers ear to hear that the song was pieced together. Michael’s iconic voice takes somewhat of a back seat, as there’s clearly a verse or two missing. Look at a song like ‘Will You Be There‘ off 1991′s ‘Dangerous.’ Despite the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus backing him up, Jackson’s voice is what stands out most. Even on other duets there is a distinct trade-off between singers. That doesn’t happen on ‘Hold My Hand.’ Akon’s beats and production drown out MJ, and it’s almost difficult to hear the difference between them at times.

Not to be mistaken, ‘Hold My Hand’ is a beautiful and catchy song with heartfelt lyrics that stay true to Jackson’s world peace mantra. The song is destined to become a chart-topping single and will get heavy radio play in the coming weeks around the holidays. The question that still remains is whether this is an authentic Michael Jackson song, or is it an Akon song with Michael Jackson on it. Jackson was very particular about who he sang with — Paul McCartney, Slash, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, his sister Janet are among those on his short list. While he expressed interest in working with the guest features on ‘Michael,’ the songs aren’t necessarily being released with his seal of approval. Michael Jackson fans will have to accept the tunes for what they are despite the fact that Jackson — a perfectionist when it came to his music, voice and performance — didn’t have the final say.

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