Hear ‘Love Never Felt So Good,’ first single from Michael Jackson’s ‘Xscape’

Okay, so maybe they got it right.

In the wake of consternation on the part of some Michael Jackson fans who feared a new “contemporized” posthumous album would sully the artist’s legacy, Epic Records released the lead single from “Xscape,” and the initial offering is not half bad. It’s difficult to tell if the vocals are a bit thin on “Love Never Felt So Good,” or if producers Timbaland, Justin Timberlake and Jerome “J-Roc” Harmon were a little heavy-handed at the control board. At times, the orchestration overpowers Jackson instead of backing him up, but the trio did an excellent job of mixing Timberlake’s voice in harmony with Jackson’s. Timberlake posted a picture of the artwork and, later, a clip of the track, on Instagram Thursday.

It’s got a very disco-heavy sound that’s reminiscent “Off the Wall” (both the album and the song). That’s not a surprise, given that Jackson initially wrote the song in with Paul Anka in 1983. Usher also helped debut the song; Thursday night, he danced to it in a performance at the inaugural iHeartRadio Music Awards.

One thing is clear, if this is what Jackson left on the cutting room floor, it makes his untimely death that much more tragic, because “Love Never Felt So Good” suggests that he had a satisfying catalog of work ahead of him.

The album, out May 13, will also feature appearances from Mary J. Blige and D’Angelo.

RELATED: Epic to ‘contemporize’ unreleased Michael Jackson songs in new album

Soraya Nadia McDonald covers arts, entertainment and culture for the Washington Post with a focus on race and gender issues.
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