Melancholy love ballad was recorded during Thriller era.
By Gil Kaufman
Yet another new song from the upcoming first posthumous album from Michael Jackson, Michael, has appeared online, and it should appease fans who feared that the 10-song effort would draw primarily from the singer's less-fruitful later years. "Much Too Soon" dates back to the late King of Pop's legendary 1982 Thriller album.
Like the melancholy "Hold My Hand," another song from the album due out on December 14, the latest track is an earnest love ballad. "Much Too Soon" premiered on the iTunes' social networking site, Ping, on Tuesday (November 30).
Singing over a gently picked acoustic guitar and soft, majestic strings, Jackson employs his fragile falsetto to moon about a lover who has left him. The tune mixes a folk feel with touches of classical guitar and a Stevie Wonder-like harmonica break.
"She was there just sitting at the table/ Thinking now that things won't be the same/ And wouldn't you like to go with me?/ And she answered 'no' to me/ But I guess I learned my lesson much too soon," Jackson sings as subtle choir voices rise behind him. "Take away this never-ending sorrow/ Take this lonely feeling from my soul/ If only I knew what things bring tomorrow/ She'd be sitting here beside me."
At just under three minutes, the melancholy ballad has the intimate feel of a credits track that might roll at the end of a tear-jerker movie, and according to notes on the Ping site, it was always a favorite of Jackson's.
"Michael always liked the song and would pull it back out of the vaults for each subsequent album project but never found the right home for it," the site revealed. "Here it finds its place as the bittersweet closing to the stellar collection."
The song was written by Jackson and co-produced along with one of the executors of his estate, John McClain. The string section features famed arranger David Campbell (Adam Lambert, Metallica, My Chemical Romance).
"Hold My Hand," featuring vocals from Akon, is the first official single from the album. Its universal plea for peace features some classic Jackson lyrics delivered over a lilting Caribbean beat.
"Much Too Soon" is actually the third tune from Michael to surface in recent weeks, following on the heels of the uptempo "Breaking News." That never-before-heard track — set to a propulsive, robotic beat and layered with MJ's signature helium-high vocals — was another in a series of songs Jackson penned lashing out at the intrusive media.
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