Entertainment & Arts

'New' Michael Jackson album set for release

Michael Jackson
Image caption Jackson recorded the songs with "a small group of handpicked collaborators", Sony said

An album of "new" Michael Jackson songs is to go on sale next month.

Entitled Michael, it contains tracks that the superstar was working on before his death in June 2009, and which have been posthumously completed.

Jackson had been collaborating with pop stars including Will.i.am, Akon and Ne-Yo before his death.

But Will.i.am said in August it was "disrespectful" to release the unfinished material because Jackson was not able to give it his blessing.

Some devoted fans are also unhappy at the release. A Facebook group called Michael, This Was Not It complained that it contained "scrapped songs or songs he never wanted to release with Sony. Not his vision".

The first previously unheard track from the album, called Breaking News, will be streamed from the star's official site for one week from Monday.

The song was recorded in New Jersey in 2007 and "recently brought to completion", Sony said.

Jackson's last album of original material, Invincible, was released almost a decade ago.

"The creative process never stopped for the King of Pop who was always planning for his next album," a statement said.

"Unbeknownst to many fans around the world, Michael Jackson was writing and recording songs continuously everywhere, from a friend's home in New Jersey to studios in Las Vegas and Los Angeles, with a small group of handpicked collaborators."

Speaking to the Associated Press news agency about plans for the new album, Will.i.am said: "He was a perfectionist and he wouldn't have wanted it that way.

"I don't think that should ever come out. Now that he is not part of the process, what are they doing? Why would you put a record out like that?

"Because he was a friend of mine, I just think that's disrespectful. What's wrong with what he already contributed to the world?"

Another previously unheard recording, This Is It, was released as part of a compilation last October.

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