Last weekend, the world stood still as “Breaking News,” the first of a rumoured 250 unreleased Michael Jackson songs was unleashed on the internet. “Breaking News” was supposed to be the first single from the posthumous album Michael, but just as quickly as it had appeared it disappeared in a cloud of controversy, replaced by a duet with Akon (always words to strike fear into the heart of the most gungho pop fan).
“Breaking News” sounds like the Platonic ideal of late period MJ, a confused mess of paranoid musings about his antagonistic relationship with the media. The song begins with snippets of news broadcasts talking about the king of Pop (just as History’s “Tabloid Junkie” did), before a hard rnb beat kicks in. The verse features a heavily processed Jackson speaking about himself in the third person—“everyone wanting a piece of Michael Jackson/reporters stalking the moves of Michael Jackson—while in the chorus, he muses, “why is it strange that I would fall in love/who is that boogeyman you’re thinking of?” Continue reading