Has it really to come to this? Michael Jackson, one of the most popular singers of all times, needs an intro like Jason Derulo?
“Hold My Hand,” his collaboration with Akon, opens with an “Akon, MJ” shout-out that instantly dates it and, somehow, cheapens it. However, that’s nothing like the cold-splash-of-water opening line with Jackson singing, in a bit of tragic foreshadowing, “This life don’t last forever.” Who knew that two years later, he would be dead?
That’s the bad news, the good news is the song, the new posthumous Jackson collaboration with Akon, is a sweet tribute to friendship and solidarity when the darkness comes. Its “united we stand, divided we fall” ethos works well. There’s also a bit of a romance theme, if you want to go there, about letting Akon be “your one and only” until the morning comes, but mainly, it’s a salute to being there for each other.
The chorus is redolent of Hootie & the Blowfish’s “Hold My Hand,” embellished with strings and swirls. The song ends with some trademark Jackson hoots and hollers, but, quite frankly, they could have been lifted from any MJ song (like “Man in the Mirror”) over the last 30 years. Jackson and Akon originally began working on the track in 2007. An unfinished version leaked after Jackson's death. The final version opens strong with Jackson, but he resorts to a featured role as the song goes on. It follows another new track, "Breaking News," which radio began playing two weeks ago.
The song, from the Dec. 14 album, “Michael,” is a nice effort, but more in the “Oh, isn’t that sweet” way rather than in any kind of groundbreaking, “we have to have it” way.
Listen for yourself here.
What do you think? Is "Hold My Hand" worthy of the King of Pop?