New Michael Jackson song airs, from beyond-grave album

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The Independent Culture

A second song from a new posthumous album by late pop legend Michael Jackson was released on Thursday, days before the beyond-the-grave record hits music shops around the world.

"Hold My Hand," a duet with US singer Akon, went online complete with video ahead of the December 14 release of "Michael," an album of songs the King of Pop wrote before his death, according to producers.

A first song from the album, "Breaking News," was released last month and triggered an online storm of debate over whether the vocals were indeed sung by Jackson himself.

The video for "Hold my Hand" "tells the story of the song through a collage of images of both Michael and Akon as well as people representing Michael's legacy, shining a light on the aura left behind by King of Pop.

"The video is a tribute to all that Michael stands for - life, in all its permutations...love, and its power.... A video of memory, healing and joy," said the video's producer Mark Pellington, cited on Jackson's website.

When the first song was released record label Epic Records was forced to issue a statement saying it was confident the album was indeed Jackson singing, after fans and La Toya Jackson questioned its authenticity.

"We have 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," said Epic.

The cover of the new album shows images of the eccentric singer at various stages of his career, dominated by one of him being crowned by cherubs with a biblical-looking star in the background.

A film, "This is It," was released last year with footage of rehearsals by Jackson for a series of London concerts he was preparing for before he died in June, 2009.

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