Hear Michael Jackson’s Off-the-Wall ‘Love Never Felt So Good’
'Xscape' single, while evoking singer's past, fits retromaniacal present
Long live the King of Pop? When Epic announced a posthumous Michael Jackson album made up of “contemporized” recordings, skepticism was natural. Then, when an unofficial XSCAPE title track started circulating in early April, its echoes of Jackson’s less-loved early-’00s work weren’t entirely encouraging. The presence of D’Angelo, Mary J. Blige, and lead XSCAPE producer Timbaland — along with the fact this is Michael Jackson — give the project more than enough credibility to warrant further listens. And last night during the inaugural iHeartRadio Music Awards, Usher danced to the premiere of “Love Never Felt So Good,” which succeeds by harking back to Jackson’s string-draped disco-soul from decades before — a style that’s already contemporary thanks to Justin Timberlake, Pharrell, Robin Thicke, and more. That throwback quality might be because the song dates to 1983, when Jackson co-wrote it with former teen idol and (“This Is It” songwriter) Paul Anka. Estate co-executor John McClain handled contemporization duties, and while we hope we never have to write a phrase like that again, well, it’s been a while since a new M.J. song felt so good. Retromania is a hell of a drug.
Listen below, and download the song on iTunes.