Justin Timberlake Brings Michael Jackson's "Love Never Felt So Good" Back To Life

Friday, May 2, 2014

Posthumous releases are a grin-and-bear-it deal. Or a not deal, depending on your own personal choice. Sometimes it feels intruding and opportunistic whenever we hear these types of projects, as the artist isn't alive to control how the work is going to sound, and believe me, demos are like first drafts for writers, and that ish is scary when you read it back to yourself after it sits on the page for a few months. So as much as I am curious about Michael Jackson's Xscape project, I'm still in a state of unease, as Jackson isn't in control of how to mold and shape these eight tracks, and the whole thing feels like the equivalent of reading fan fiction --- it's pure delusional fantasy. The release of Xscape though is coming up quick, and during the iHeart Radio Music Awards last night (I never knew there was such a thing...) the debut single from the project, "Love Never Felt So Good" premiered for the very first time. The demo has been kicking around since 1983 (along with Johnny Mathis' 1984 version), and in a weird way, its redress isn't too far gone from the disco revival that we are experiencing at current.

To get it out of the way...Justin Timberlake is a Taco Bell Michael Jackson. It's great in a pinch, even slightly flavorful when it wants to be (especially when you add Velveeta on top, because well, everything is better with Velveeta), but it's not the real thing. Nonetheless, Timberlake has been dying to snatch Jackson's legacy work side-by-side with Jackson for all his life, so I guess duetting with the soft audio shell of a demo from your deceased idol is the next best thing. It's eerie, ghostly even to hear these two side-by-side on such a vibrant spin of a dancefloor number, but if there was anybody from my generation who was capable of keeping up with Jackson, Timberlake (or Bruno Mars) is probably one of the few able to carry it off. As much as I want to think this is ill-advised and total garbage, I don't. "Love Never Felt So Good" just wandered off of Off The Wall, and it is charming, melodic, and nostalgic with the silky pop-funk that made Jackson such a stud way back then that it's hard to not race into its arms and hug it.

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