It is with a cautious sense of curiosity that I approach anything from the first of Michael Jackson’s posthumously issued albums (I’m assuming there will be more purely due to the unceremonious cash-cow Jackson’s death has provided). Leading single, ‘Hold My Hand’, sees Jackson performing a duet with Akon, a concept that initially filled me with fear, but remarkably, it works. Jackson’s vocals are as floatingly silky as ever before and Akon’s unsurprisingly auto-tuned voice seems to provide a slightly gritty but fitting counterpart. The entire production of the song clearly oozes qualities of Akon’s own material but it is admittedly jarring to hear Michael Jackson’s voice on something so overtly 21st century. Whilst nothing particularly special, ‘Hold My Hand’ proves itself an upbeat if understated anthem that is sure to linger in the listener’s memory. With its sweeping orchestration and soothingly light accompaniment, ‘Hold My Hand’ has a certain charm despite its relative monotony. More than anything, it is pleasant to hear Michael’s voice on something new. Still, if you want a dose of classic sounding MJ, you’re probably best seeking out ‘Breaking News’.
Tuesday, 16 November 2010
Being ejected from Guns N’ Roses – a band where members have clinically died for short periods from heavy substance abuse – for being too much of a junkie should give quite a clear impression of what metaphorical demons original drummer, Steven Adler, has been battling against for the last two decades. In a moment of sobriety, the maligned drummer formed Adler’s Appetite, a band that saw him and a cohort of other 1980s LA glam musicians effectively become a GN’R tribute act. New single ‘Alive’ however marks a recent trend of original material and, shockingly, it’s really quite good. ‘Alive’ is a short and sharp dose of ballsy hard rock that sees driving guitars, suitably gritty vocals and, of course, cowbell-laden drums come together harmoniously. Adler’s sticking with what he knows; thundering rhythms, head-bangingly heavy riffs and anthemic choruses that make you want to cockily punch the air. After circling the drain for so long, it’s fantastic to see Adler put out something as strong as this. ‘Alive’ is a slab of good-time, life affirming rock and roll that blows most of Chinese Democracy out of the water.