Is Michael Jackson's New Single 'Breaking News' a Fake?

"Sounding like Michael Jackson and BEING Michael Jackson are two different things," says Taryll Jackson

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Today, Sony Music began streaming a new single titled "Breaking News" from Michael Jackson's upcoming album "Michael." The track is currently available to listen to in its entirety on, however, the late King of Pop's family is disputing its authenticity. "Sounding like Michael Jackson and BEING Michael Jackson are two different things," tweeted Tarryl Jackson, who is not alone among Jackson relatives saying this is not Jackson's voice. Sony and others close to the recording stand by the track.

Leaving the song's authenticity aside for a moment, others are judging the song's artistic merit. Here's the latest from the blogosphere:

  • MJ's Nephews Say It's a Fake, reports NME:
Writing on Twitter, TJ Jackson accused the song of "deceptively merging shady vocals with MJ samples", while Tarryl Jackson implied that a soundalike had been used on the track.

"Sounding like Michael Jackson and being Michael Jackson are two different things," he Tweeted, adding that he was in the studio when the track was originally being recorded.

In a further Tweet he said that he believes there are unreleased tracks featuring Jackson's vocals on the forthcoming album, which he will support "100 per cent", but added: "I will not support 'Breaking News' and a few others because it simply is not him."
  • Other Family Members Also Think It's Fake, writes Heather B at Manolith:
Michael’s mom, Katherine, his sister, La Toya, and his children, Paris and Prince, do not believe it’s MJ’s voice on the song.  “I listened to it… it doesn’t sound like him,” La Toya told TMZ.  While Prince claims he was upstairs in the house where the songs were recorded, and none of what he heard matches the newly released track.
  • Sony Defends Its Authenticity, Sky News reports:

Sony Epic Records said it has "complete confidence in the results of our extensive research as well as the accounts of those who were in the studio with Michael that the vocals on the new album are his own".

  • This Is Almost Certainly Michael, writes the TMZ staff:
Numerous experts say it is 100% definitely, positively MJ.  There is little doubt, especially since we know it was recorded in 2007 at a home studio in New Jersey, the exact place and time Michael had been living with his family.
  • The Song Is Authentic—and Awesome, opines Harvey Levin, managing editor of TMZ:
I'm not a music expert, but I am a Michael Jackson music fan ... and it's definitely Michael Jackson. The song -- which is awesome -- is a pretty harsh look through Michael's eyes at the media. In essence, he is saying ... You've treated me shabbily and you've hoped for my demise, but I'm back! The song is vintage Jackson. The initial beat will remind you of "Billie Jean" and there are all sorts of MJ trademarks throughout. When you hear it, you will not be able to suppress the image of Jackson dancing to the song.

The theme of lashing out at the press is vintage Jackson, dating back at least to 1987′s “Leave Me Alone.” Aside from that, the melody here feels second-rate, with echoes of his own “Who Is It” and (to my ears, in the descending verses) Bobby Brown’s “My Prerogative.” This probably shouldn’t come as a surprise. Jackson chose to leave “Breaking News” unfinished in his vaults for a reason. But dedicated fans will no doubt appreciate the chance to hear even these warmed-over leftovers.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.