Michael Jackson’s “Love Never Felt So Good” music video featuring Justin Timberlake unveiled!

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When Michael Jackson was alive, he made what he liked to call ‘short films.’ Mini movies that took you on an adventure. A visual representation of the narrative portrayed in his timeless music. Now that Michael Jackson is no longer with us, his Estate, record label, directors and choreographers make ‘music videos’ – a term Jackson refused to use for his visual artistry.

“In my opinion it has to be completely entertaining and have a linear sense of continuity,” expressed Jackson regarding his short films during a 1999 interview with MTV. “I like having a beginning, a middle, and an ending where you can follow a story and it not just be a collage of images. And sometimes that’s great too, but it depends on what vision the director has.”

Today, the music video for Jackson’s “Love Never Felt So Good” featuring Justin Timberlake was unveiled. Directed by Rich Lee – who has worked with the likes of Alicia Keys, Eminem, will.i.am and Matchbox Twenty to name just a few, and choreographed by Rich and Tone Talauega – who worked with Jackson numerous times throughout his career and now work with Cirque du Soleil on their MJ shows, the video serves its purpose.

Above: Music video for Michael Jackson’s “Love Never Felt So Good” featuring Justin Timberlake, from the ‘XSCAPE’ album.

It’s reasonably well-made. There are a few sloppy moments in the choreography and editing could have been tightened up, but overall I find it enjoyable to watch. A bittersweet tribute to the King of Pop set to a 34-year-old song he’d likely have never wanted us to hear.

After a hugely successful response on radio and iTunes, resulting in the track debuting at #20 on the Billboard Hot 100 last week, the video should serve as an effective way for Epic Records to get their foot in the door with music television stations like BET and MTV. The video has also been made immediately available on Jackson’s official VEVO channel. This should essentially secure the track a few extra weeks at the top end of the charts, with streaming statistics impacting the overall chart positions of singles. With 101,000 digital downloads sold this past week, on top of the 80,000 sold the week prior, the “Love Never Felt So Good” single sits at #22 on this week’s Billboard Hot 100. It was the 6th most downloaded song in the U.S. this past week, one of the most streamed tracks in the world, and is currently at #5 on the U.S. iTunes singles chart.

While I do enjoy the end result, and have watched it four times already, I feel this has to be where these kind of music videos end. No more compilations of fans dancing around to Jackson’s music with the same old snippets from his existing short films spliced in. In my opinion it’s time to be a bit more adventurous and make a really unique, cinematic piece. Perhaps they could bring someone like Spike Lee in to direct a video for “Do You Know Where Your Children Are”, or do something similar to Madonna’s “Get Together” music video (see below) for a track like Jackson’s “Slave To The Rhythm”. Step outside the ‘safe’ box.

Above: Madonna’s “Get Together” video; compiled from live performance footage and digitally edited/re-imagined. She was on tour at the time and was not able to personally film a video for the song. 

I personally find the “Get Together” video slightly bland and lifeless, but that’s because I am not a huge Madonna fan and she’s not exactly giving an electrifying performance in the source footage used for the music video. Michael Jackson, on the other hand, gave nothing but electrifying performances for 40 years. With the right vision and execution they could really do something special with footage of Jackson performing live on tour. They could also do an animated video in the style of Daft Punk. Britney Spears also did a decent animated video for “Break The Ice” in 2008. Regardless, in my opinion, whatever they do next needs to be re-imagined in a way that’ll not only make the visuals fresh and entertaining to the casual viewer, but to the longtime MJ fan as well. After all, how many times have we seen that footage of Jackson grabbing his crotch on the roof of the car in the “Black Or White” short film? Enough!

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