Off the record: David Smyth By David Smyth, Evening Standard 23.02.07 Returning from exile: Michael Jackson’s new track is online at MySpace

MJEOL NOTE: Raymone Bain released a statement on behalf of Jackson saying that this isn’t a “new” song. Read here

… A new track, No Friend of Mine (Gangsta), has appeared online at the MySpace home of a producer called Tempamental. It’s unclear whether the track is meant for Jackson’s first album since 2001’s … Invincible, or the new album by former Fugee Pras Michel, who also raps on it, but either way it’s not half bad. It’s concise at just over three minutes, and sounds current with staccato piano, hip hop beats and squalling horns. Pras takes a verse (including the couplet “Unless you wanna call me conceited/Cos I’m a smooth criminal I told her to beat it”), then Tempamental raps a second verse, while Jackson sings the chorus with familiar multilayered smoothness and manages a third verse with genuine power. Considering how frail he has appeared in recent years, he screams impressively here, although these days it’s hard to listen to any of his lyrics without thinking of his turbulent history. The song seems to be about a straightforward acrimonious break-up, but lines such as “Because of what you’ve done to me baby/I can no longer smile/And I’ve waited so long, just to carry on” could easily be taken to refer directly to his tribulations. With will.i.am on principal production duties (“He still sings like a bird,” says the Black Eyed Pea) a new Jackson album before the end of the year now looks like more than just a rumour. Whatever you think of his other qualities, that voice is the greatest thing about the man and it’s about time he got back to doing what he does best. Source: [url=http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/music/article-23386634-details/Off+the+record%3A+David+Smyth/article.do]This is London.co.uk[/url]

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