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CONFIRMED: ‘XSCAPE’ Lead Single “Love Never Felt So Good” to Premiere May 1st on NBC

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The Estate of Michael Jackson and Epic Records confirmed today that the lead single from the upcoming ‘XSCAPE’ album will be the John McClain and  Giorgio Tuinfort co-produced early-80s demo “Love Never Felt So Good”.

“Get ready for the premiere of the first #MJXSCAPE single, “Love Never Felt So Good” on Thursday!” reads the post made by the “official” Michael Jackson Facebook and Twitter accounts.

The track, originally written in 1980 (as per U.S. Copyright filing) by Jackson, Paul Anka and Kathy Wakefield, will make its debut during the inaugural iHeart Radio Music Awards, to be held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.

“Love Never Felt So Good” was touted by reporter Kevin Hughes as: “An amazing 1983 disco groove,” with “a soulful vocal, infectious baseline and orchestral strings,” in his review for The Mirror. The track,which has been likened to 2013 Daft Punk mega-hit “Get Lucky” and Jackson’s own 1979 classic “Rock With You”, would apparently not sound out of place on a Pharrell album. A French review hyped “Love Never Felt So Good” as: “A power track completely calibrated for your summer,” adding that the track was: “Big disco funk,” with a galactic groove spirit. Lewis Corner of Digital Spy says that the track comes complete with: “1980s disco beats and crisp finger clicks,” adding that “the groove of the track is soaked in nostalgia.”

The iHeart Radio Music Awards will air live on NBC from 8pm PST featuring performances by Drake, Pharrell, Kendrick Lamar, Pitbull, Shakira, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Ariana Grande, Arcade Fire and Ed Sheeran.

Discuss below…


Damien Shields is the author of the book Michael Jackson: Songs & Stories From The Vault examining the King of Pop’s creative process, and the producer of the podcast The Genesis of Thriller which takes you inside the recording studio as Jackson and his team create the biggest selling album in music history.
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23 Comments

23 Comments

  1. Michaeltiha

    April 30, 2014 at 4:42 am

    First off, I am very excited for the single and album release. However, I thought MJ had worked with Anka “post Thriller”?

    • Damien Shields

      April 30, 2014 at 4:45 am

      The “official” story going around states 1983 but the Copyright filing says the work was done in 1980.

      • Michaeltiha

        April 30, 2014 at 4:56 am

        Thank you! I have Joe Vogel’s book here at home, and according to him the song was written in 1980. The story I had always heard before was ‘1983’. Thank you for clearing this up.

    • emme jay

      June 23, 2014 at 11:24 pm

      this would be an even better song if it was really Michael Jackson actually singing!!! just like “this is it”…if you are not deaf tone and listen really closely…I can tell it’s a fraud! I’ve just been listening to MJ since thriller and being in the music scene for so long…my ears smell a rat!
      pretty curious that I haven’t found anything on the web to this regard. people just eat up any crap you put in their face! anyway…the song does have a good ring…I guess it’s kinda like buying a pair of fake nike’s, they fit and all, but just don’t cut It!

      • i can't even

        June 24, 2014 at 6:38 am

        possibly one of the dumbest comments i have ever seen on this blog

  2. JVL

    April 30, 2014 at 4:54 am

    “Love Never Felt So Good” is the only demo leak out if the bunch pre-leaked that I was never crazy for. I didn’t even listen to the song to the end.

    It’s the only song that I’m truly relying on the new contemporary version to make me like it (as it was the music that I was not digging on the demo).

    If I am sold on LNFSG Thursday, then I will be 100% excited about the possibility of loving XSCAPE from start to finish. The deacriptions of “Chicago”… I know that I will love it, which will only leave the mysterious “Loving You” to make XSCAPE a start-to-end winner with me.

    The MICHAEL album bever stopd a chance due to the Cascio tracks… and overall, it just was not consistelly of quality production.

    XSCAPE already blows MICHAEL out of the word in my opinion. Here’s to Thursday.

  3. Chris V- Next MJ

    April 30, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    Finally. Now I know for sure what song is the first single from the album. Some people kept telling me it was Chicago so I wasn’t sure. But now I am and I’m glad this song will be released because although the demo sounds so simple with piano and finger snaps accompanying Michael’s singing, and a little bit of mumbling, the way he sings that song makes you feel, on the whole, good. When I finished hearing the whole demo, my heart was aching to hear it again and again, which I did do while singing along. This song being released first from the album Xscape will make it 10 times more successful than Michael. Now the album Michael was a disaster. First of all, the Cascio tracks had a big controversy over whether Michael was singing the songs on the album or if it was an impersonator, most likely Jason Malachi. I personally think that it’s Michael’s voice because of the way he enunciates the words and the way he breathes during the songs but that the producers made the mistake of using Melodyne to auto-tune his voice and fix his mistakes. Also, why didn’t they include a second disc with demos of the songs so people would know that it’s actually him singing ALL the songs?!?!? That is exactly why I believe that Xscape will be a surefire success!

    • Pas Mater

      April 30, 2014 at 1:36 pm

      His breathing was copy-pasted from his previous recording along with some words, screams, “awws” and “hoooos”. The lead vocals on all Cascio songs (Monster, Breaking News & KYHU) are Jason Malachi, not MJ. Other 7 songs on MICHAEL are real and great.

      • Arjun Sanyal

        April 30, 2014 at 3:00 pm

        Let’s be fair – ‘Monster’, ‘Breaking News’ and ‘Keep Your Head Up’ are still pretty great songs. I don’t know whether the singer was Jason Malachi or Michael Jackson (although I’m more inclined to believe it was Michael Jackson, but don’t start an argument), but the songs themselves were pretty good. ‘Monster’ was quite reminiscent of ‘Thriller’ and ‘Breaking’ News’ had the same theme as ‘Tabloid Junkie’. Anyhoo, I have pretty high hopes for ‘Xscape’ – ‘Love Never Felt So Good’ should be a good song (judging by the 2013 remix of ‘This Is It’ featuring Paul Anka and Michael Jackson), and the other songs should be hits.

        • Pas Mater

          April 30, 2014 at 4:56 pm

          Paul Anka had nothing to do with this new version of Love Never Felt So Good. John McClain & Giorgio Tuinfort produced it.

          All Cascio songs (those 3 released + 9 more unreleased) had theme similar to some older Michael Jackson tracks. That was their intention. The 3 songs that were released sound the most like Michael (but still it’s not Michael). If you listen other 9 songs (Stay, All I Need, Soldier Boy, Ready 2 Win, Water, Fall In Love, Black Widow, All Right) – you can find them online.. you’ll know that all Cascio songs are fake.

  4. Smooth Criminal

    April 30, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    So we’ll have to wait until the iHeart awards show ?
    Because maybe thursday means during the day of thursday on the radio ?

  5. Erich

    May 1, 2014 at 1:06 am

    Some things to note about “Love Never Felt So Good”…..

    1. The finished version of this song was given to legendary singer Johnny Mathis, who recorded it for his album “A Special Part Of Me.” That album was released in 1984. It’s available on iTunes.

    2. The demo that we all know of LNFSG is clearly a work in progress. The finished version, which Mathis recorded, features lyrics not heard in MJ’s demo.

    3. Regardless of what “Pas Master” says above, Paul Anka did have something to do with this song. He co-wrote it with MJ! He may not have anything to do with production, but still involved. And he will of course be profiting from this as well.

    Can’t wait to hear the new version!

    • Sattapaal

      May 1, 2014 at 1:16 pm

      Wow, thanks for that Erich. I didnt know Johnny Mathis recorded the song! I quite like his version. He’s a legend in his own right.

      Here it is:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPyOCS0xccM

      Classic. I would love to hear MJ’s Vocals on this music. Add a bit more soul to that funk and jazz pop.

    • Pas Mater

      May 1, 2014 at 2:18 pm

      Of course he co-wrote it. I meant with the new version.

  6. Prince

    May 1, 2014 at 8:24 pm

    Justin Timberlake posted artwork from “Love Never Felt So Good” with Michael Jackson’s and Justin Timberlake’s names under the title of the song. Hint of what’s to come at iHeartRadio Music Awards?

  7. el

    May 2, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    Damien, this track never leaked online before, did it?!!

    • Damien Shields

      May 2, 2014 at 5:55 pm

      It certainly did. “Love Never Felt So Good” has been available online since 2006.

      • el

        May 3, 2014 at 5:00 pm

        Thank you for answering. So why is it referred to as “never before heard”?

        • Damien Shields

          May 3, 2014 at 5:35 pm

          The general public have never heard most of these songs. The slogan “the best you’ve never heard” is targeted at that demographic. Hardcore fans will always have a tendency to seek out materials. If fans don’t want to hear anything until it’s officially released they should steer clear of leaks. Fans can be their own worst enemy sometimes.

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Cascio Tracks

First Amendment Coalition to Support Sony and the Jackson Estate in Fake Songs Lawsuit

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There has been yet another twist in the class action lawsuit filed by Californian consumer Vera Serova against Sony Music and the Estate of Michael Jackson regarding three allegedly fake songs commercially released on the 2010 Michael album.

In documents filed with the California Supreme Court yesterday, an organisation called The First Amendment Coalition has requested permission to file an amicus brief in support of Sony and the Estate’s purported constitutional right to sell fake songs as authentic Michael Jackson material.

FAC’s request comes after four separate amici were filed in support of plaintiff Serova by several consumer protection groups along with the California Attorney General’s Office.

All previously filed briefs support Serova’s assertion that this is a straightforward case of false advertising, and that billion-dollar corporations should not be able to commercially label fake art as authentic.

They also assert that by filing an anti-SLAPP motion against Serova, Sony and the Estate misappropriated a statute which is supposed to protect the general public against the limitless resources of wealthy corporations, and to prevent those corporations from intimidating the public into abandoning legal action against them.

Nine consumer protection organisations stated in a joint filing that Sony and the Estate have misused the anti-SLAPP statute to achieve the exact opposite of its intended purpose.

But according to documents filed yesterday, The First Amendment Coalition believes that if the Supreme Court rules in plaintiff Serova’s favour, and if a precedent is set that Sony and the Estate cannot sell fake songs as authentic Jackson material, it could have “significant implications for many different First Amendment contexts beyond the particular circumstances of this case.”

In this case, Sony asserts that they should not be held accountable for the statements made on the Michael album cover and in their television commercial, because those statements were “noncommercial” in nature. Rather, they argue, those statements are merely their contribution to the ongoing public debate about whether the vocals on three of the songs were authentic or fake, and that this makes it free speech under the First Amendment.

FAC has indicated that they will stand with Sony on this matter.

According to the mission statement published on their website, FAC is a nonprofit public interest organisation dedicated to “advancing free speech” and “public participation in civic affairs.”

By definition, public participation in civic affairs is a process in which members of society take collective action to address issues of public concern.

This begs the question: Is the definition of FAC’s mission more appropriately applied to a multi-billion dollar corporation’s purported right to claim that a commercial product is legit, when in fact it is fake? Or to a member of the public who seeks to take collective action to address the issue of that multi-billion dollar corporation falsely advertising that same product to millions of unwitting consumers?

Despite Sony and the Estate’s best efforts to stop her, the plaintiff in this case (Miss Serova) is a member of society who is attempting to take collective action (by filing a class action lawsuit) to address an issue of public concern (that a corporation may be defrauding consumers).

Moreover, FAC’s mission statement also claims to advocate for a “more open and accountable government” and “the people’s right to know”.

It should be noted that the Californian government is in fact advocating for openness and accountability and for the public’s right to know in this case – on behalf of the plaintiff, against the billion-dollar corporation that has conceded in its legal arguments to have ripped her off.

For the purposes of this proceeding, defendants Sony and the Estate have stipulated that the songs in question are indeed fake. And while their exact arguments aren’t due to be filed with the court until March 10, 2021, in the context of the defendants’ concessions, FAC could, in theory, be perceived to be advocating in favour of fraudulent representation of forged art, rather than for openness and accountability and the people’s right to know.

In a press release issued on January 29, 2021, the California Attorney General said:

“Products must deliver on their claims. If someone buys an album from a recording artist, they should expect that the songs on the album were made by that artist unless noted otherwise… We must hold companies accountable to stand by their products. Companies have a First Amendment right to communicate, but their claims must be informed and accurate.”

More to come when FAC files their amicus brief.

A podcast series called Faking Michael is in the works, detailing a decade-long investigation of this case. You can subscribe to Faking Michael on Apple PodcastsSpotify and YouTube.


Damien Shields is the author of the book Michael Jackson: Songs & Stories From The Vault examining the King of Pop’s creative process, and the producer of the podcast The Genesis of Thriller which takes you inside the recording studio as Jackson and his team create the biggest selling album in music history.
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Californian Government Joins Fraud Lawsuit Against Sony Music and Jackson Estate

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The California state government has officially joined a class action lawsuit against Michael Jackson’s estate and record company.

In a press release issued yesterday, the state’s Attorney General, Xavier Becerra, accuses Sony of “shirking responsibility” for making “false and misleading claims” about a posthumously released Michael Jackson album, and then declaring ignorance of their misrepresentation.

The Attorney General also filed an amicus brief with the California Supreme Court, urging them to intervene in the case of Serova vs Sony Music Entertainment, et al., for fear that “broad, destabilising consequences for well-established false advertising principles,” could be felt if it did not take action and rectify a problematic Appeals Court decision in the case.

The lawsuit at the centre of the amicus brief was filed almost 7 years ago. The suit alleges that Sony Music and the Jackson Estate misled consumers when they commercially released the Michael album, comprising 10 tracks, in December 2010.

The plaintiff in the case, Vera Serova, insists that three of the 10 tracks on Michael are part of an elaborate artistic fraud masterminded by co-defendants Eddie Cascio and James Porte, who sold the tracks to Jackson’s Estate for millions of dollars after the superstar’s death. 

Serova alleges that those three tracks, known as the Cascio tracks, are fakes sung by an impostor. And she’s not alone.

Months before the album was released, members of the Jackson family warned Sony and the Estate regarding the Cascio tracks, insisting that they were fakes and should not be released. One of the Estate’s co-executors, John McClain, agreed with the Jackson family.

In response, Sony issued a press release stating that they had “complete confidence in the results of their extensive research” that the vocals were authentic. The company then released the album, including three Cascio tracks, against the family’s wishes.

Sony even went as far as to explicitly inscribe on the album cover that the vocals on all the album’s tracks were “performed by Michael Jackson.”

But despite Sony’s repeated assurances that the vocals were legit, when Jackson’s fans got their hands on the album and heard the Cascio tracks for themselves, a huge controversy ensued. Thousands upon thousands of fans around the world instantly rejected them as fakes.

Ironically, this very controversy – which Sony itself created by releasing the Cascio tracks – is one of the many points the company has since tried to raise as a get-out-of-jail-free card.

Sony says that because thousands of people were questioning the authenticity of the vocals, the company’s claim that Jackson sang them was not commercial in nature, but merely their non-commercial contribution to the ongoing authenticity debate.

But the Attorney General argues that Sony’s logic is absurd. The fact that there were questions over the vocals, the AG says, only increased Sony’s need be sure that the songs were indeed authentic if they intended on claiming they were:

“Questions about the authenticity of songs allegedly recorded by Michael Jackson shortly before his death naturally led to significant interest and debate among fans, members of the media, and the public more generally. That level of interest made it all the more important for Sony to provide accurate information about the songs to consumers.”

The AG added: “It would seriously frustrate the State’s interest in combating false or misleading advertising to immunise a seller from liability merely because its claims bear some relation to a matter of public interest or a public figure.”

Moreover, the Attorney General completely rejects Sony’s claims that their speech wasn’t commercial in nature.

Because the album cover explicitly stated that the songs were “performed by Michael Jackson,” Sony was bound to that statement as being the truth, and could be held liable under consumer protection laws if it were proven otherwise.

“A seller’s description of a product on a label or in an advertisement is a classic form of commercial speech. Thus, assuming Serova’s allegations are true, application of California’s false advertising statutes fully comports with the First Amendment.”

In the press release issued yesterday to alert the media of the California state government’s support of Serova’s lawsuit, Attorney General Becerra said: 

“Products must deliver on their claims. If someone buys an album from a recording artist, they should expect that the songs on the album were made by that artist unless noted otherwise… We must hold companies accountable to stand by their products. Companies have a First Amendment right to communicate, but their claims must be informed and accurate.”

Sometime in mid-February the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office is due to join the California Attorney General and the nine other consumer protection groups already supporting Serova’s case. No amicus brief has been filed in support of Sony or the Jackson Estate.

A date for the oral hearing of these briefs is yet to be set.

A podcast series called Faking Michael is in the works, detailing a decade-long investigation of this case. You can subscribe to Faking Michael on Apple PodcastsSpotify and YouTube.


Damien Shields is the author of the book Michael Jackson: Songs & Stories From The Vault examining the King of Pop’s creative process, and the producer of the podcast The Genesis of Thriller which takes you inside the recording studio as Jackson and his team create the biggest selling album in music history.
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Fake Michael Jackson Songs Lawsuit Boosted by Support from Consumer Protection Groups

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A legal quest for justice over a posthumous Michael Jackson album including 3 allegedly-fake songs has received a serendipitous boost on the 10th anniversary of the album’s release.

On Friday, December 11, 2020, the Berkeley Center for Consumer Law and Economic Justice filed an amicus curiae brief with the California Supreme Court in support of plaintiff Vera Serova’s ongoing class action consumer fraud lawsuit against Sony Music and the Estate of Michael Jackson.

The powerfully-worded brief was co-signed by 8 additional consumer protection organisations. Click here to read it in full.

Serova’s lawsuit, filed in 2014, alleges that Sony and the Estate misled her and millions of consumers when they commercially released the Michael album on December 14, 2010 – exactly ten years ago today.

The lawsuit alleges that three songs on the album are forgeries sung by an impostor vocalist, and that Sony and the Estate falsely advertised those songs to consumers as authentic Jackson material.

The three songs at the centre of the lawsuit – Breaking News, Monster and Keep Your Head Up – were originally co-written and produced by Eddie Cascio and James Porte, who are co-defendants in the fraud component of the case.

The consumer protection organisations wrote in their joint filing on Friday that Serova’s is a “straightforward case of deceptive advertising.”

Yet the case has been in legal limbo for more than four years.

Back in 2016, Sony and the Estate filed an anti-SLAPP motion against Serova, claiming that her lawsuit was a ‘strategic lawsuit against public participation’ (SLAPP) intended to deny the billion-dollar corporations their purported constitutional right to sell fake songs as authentic Jackson material.

For the purposes of their legal arguments, Sony and the Estate conceded that Jackson was not the singer of the three songs in question. To be clear, this was not an outright admission that Jackson was not singing – after 6 years in court, that issue hasn’t even been addressed yet.

Rather, their concession was made in order to prevent Serova from presenting evidence that the songs are fakes. Under normal circumstances, Serova would have been required to demonstrate that her case wasn’t a shakedown, and that she could substantiate her claims with supporting evidence.

But Sony and the Estate said that it didn’t matter if they were fake, arguing that the law allows them to lie to consumers regardless.

Their argument centres around their assertion that the statements made as part of the album’s promotional material – including on the album cover and in a TV commercial – are not commercial in nature. Yes, they’re arguing that the speech in a commercial isn’t commercial speech.

“If we ripped people off and it’s noncommercial speech, they lose under the statutes,” said Sony lawyer Zia Modabber in court. “That is just the law.”

In August 2018, the corporations succeeded in their bid to be dismissed from the case. Serova fought back, petitioning the California Supreme Court to intervene, which they did. But when the case was sent back to the Appeals Court in January 2020, Sony and the Estate were yet again dismissed.

Shockingly, the Appeals Court ruled that Sony and the Estate should be allowed to lie to consumers by selling fake songs as authentic Jackson material. And so Serova petitioned the California Supreme Court a second time, seeking a review of the Appeals Court’s bizarre ruling.

As reported here in April, the Supreme Court found that the Appeals Court’s ruling was legally problematic and granted Serova’s petition for review.

In their filing on Friday, the consumer protection organisations supporting Serova’s case took aim at Sony and the Estate’s application of the anti-SLAPP statute, writing that it “does not provide a get-out-of-jail-free card to forgers.”

Under the stipulation governing this proceeding, Sony’s promotion of Michael plainly violates California’s statutes protecting consumers from false and misleading advertising. Sony marketed Michael as “a brand new album from the greatest artist of all time,” with “9 previously unreleased vocal tracks performed by Michael Jackson.” Because, as the parties have agreed for purposes of this appeal, three of the nine songs were not sung by Michael Jackson, Sony has made advertising statements that were untrue and misleading and has therefore violated California’s basic consumer protection laws.

Amicus curiae brief, Berkeley Center for Consumer Law and Economic Justice et al., December 11, 2020.

The anti-SLAPP statute is intended to protect David from Goliath – to shield the general public against the limitless funds and resources of wealthy corporations, and to prevent those corporations from intimidating the public into abandoning legal action against them.

The consumer protection organisations state in their filing that Sony and the Estate have misused the anti-SLAPP statute to achieve the exact opposite of its intended purpose:

What the present proceeding entails is the misuse of the anti-SLAPP statute by a well-funded corporation to try to silence individual consumer claims arising from what are conceded to be, for purposes of this appeal, the corporation’s misleading commercial statements. In other words, this action embodies precisely the reverse of what the anti-SLAPP statute is intended to accomplish.

The consumer protection organisations concluded their 47-page filing with the following:

The anti-SLAPP statute must not be misused to undermine California’s consumer protection laws. When Sony promoted Michael, it engaged in misleading or deceptive advertising. Sony has no free speech right to deceive consumers. Ms. Serova’s claim for misleading advertising is not a “strategic lawsuit against public participation.” To the contrary: it is a straightforward deceptive advertising action brought to vindicate precisely the individual rights that both California’s consumer protection laws and its anti-SLAPP statute are designed to protect.

The California Attorney General’s Office has also stepped in, requesting an extension to file their own amicus brief in support of Serova.

This means that when the California Supreme Court hears Serova’s case sometime next year, she will not only have the support of at least 9 independent consumer protection organisations, but also the backing of the California state government.

UPDATE: The Los Angeles City Attorney’s office has also joined the chorus of support behind Serova’s case, formally requesting an extension to file an amicus brief on December 14, 2020.

Stay tuned for further updates on the case. This website will continue to provide information as it becomes available.

You can also subscribe to the upcoming Faking Michael podcast series about this matter. A release date has not yet been set, but subscribers will have episodes delivered to them when they do become available.

The trailer for Faking Michael is available on Apple PodcastsSpotify and YouTube.


Damien Shields is the author of the book Michael Jackson: Songs & Stories From The Vault examining the King of Pop’s creative process, and the producer of the podcast The Genesis of Thriller which takes you inside the recording studio as Jackson and his team create the biggest selling album in music history.
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