Features

Saturday Deluxe / 9 November 2019

New George Michael song released

With much fanfare (cue an oh-so-predictable premiere on the Zoe Ball breakfast show) a new George Michael song was unveiled on Thursday. ‘This Is How (We Want You To Get High)’ features on the soundtrack to the new Emma Thompson-penned romantic comedy Last Christmas. The film features a character obsessed with George’s music (Emilia Clarke’s Kate) and features Wham! and GM songs throughout.

Anyone thinking of claiming that George would never have allowed his music to be used in this way, are apparently wrong, since Emma Thompson has confirmed he was onboard with the idea. She spoke to him and said “he loved the idea of the story and he loved elements of it that were socially conscious”.

For George’s manager (his old mate David Austin), his team, and the executives at Sony, this must have seemed like a gift. A way to build his ‘legacy’ get his streaming numbers up and attract news fans.

Sadly, Last Christmas (which is released next Friday in the UK, but is out in the US already) has not wowed critics. The BBC described it as “brutally unfunny and contrived” and even asks “what did George Michael do to deserve this?” while The Guardian isn’t much better calling it a “clunky, charmless disappointment”. Rolling Stone don’t pull any punches either, with a scathing one-star review saying the film is “incredibly, shockingly, monumentally bad”.

Without wanting to state the obvious, what this shows is that once you are dead, you are relying on other people to make good decisions on your behalf when it comes to – in George’s case – your music and your legacy. In the three years since George passed away we’ve had a flawed album reissue (Listen Without Prejudice) a frankly awful documentary Freedom and now an apparently terrible movie, with George’s music all over it!  Safe hands? I don’t think so.

Even more astonishingly, this brand new George song has been wasted as part of the film tie-in. ‘This Is How (We Want You To Get High)’ is the last track on the soundtrack album, which is effectively a new George Michael compilation (it features 12 solo tracks and three Wham! songs).

I actually really like ‘This Is How (We Want You To Get High)’. It’s sophisticated, melodic, well-produced [the extended version is particularly good] and potentially the best thing with his name on it in well over a decade. But ultimately it is rather ruined by George’s latter years fascination with mashing up his own voice (see 2011’s horrendous New Order cover True Faith). It’s very heavily treated in both the chorus and the verses. A 40-second long intro (and the outro) doesn’t have this and is all the better for it. In fact it’s very poignant hearing George at the end, singing of “dreaming of a sunnier day that never came” ‘properly’, with some gentle acoustic guitar accompaniment.

As we know, George was often his own worst enemy and his control-freakery – made obvious in Andrew Ridgeley’s recent memoir – was as much a hindrance as it was a help. But he is no longer with us, so arguably it’s an opportunity for his team to save him from himself. An example of this would be to withdraw cooperation from a film that looks like it’s going to be a turkey, and perhaps not follow to the letter ‘what George would have wanted’ when it comes to the new song’s vocal production.

Sometimes people are just wrong, and when they are no longer around those wrongs can be corrected, not continue to be enforced. Think about Stanley Kubrick refusing to allow A Clockwork Orange to be released in the UK for all those years. After his death in 1999 his wife Christiane and the family allowed this decision to be reversed quite quickly, and suddenly the work was available on VHS and DVD and could be screened in cinemas. We know it isn’t what Stanley Kubrick wanted but on reflection it was probably the right decision.

Likewise, for a song that one assumes wasn’t completely finished anyway, would it have been so bad to dial down on the vocal treatment and showcase that amazing voice? Turn something so close to being really good into something that actually IS really good?

What are your thoughts on both the new song and how George’s team are managing his legacy in the wake of his 2016 death? Leave a comment.

Since the single isn’t being issued physically, the only place to get it on CD or vinyl is the soundtrack to Last Christmas.

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George Michael & Wham!

Last Christmas - CD soundtrack

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1 Last Christmas
2 Too Funky (Single Edit)
3 Fantasy
4 Praying for Time (Remastered)
5 Faith (Remastered)
6 Waiting for That Day (Remastered)
7 Heal the Pain (Remastered)
8 One More Try (Remastered)
9 Fastlove, Pt. 1
10 Everything She Wants (Edit)
11 Wake Me up Before You Go-Go
12 Move On
13 Freedom! ’90 (Remastered)
14 Praying for Time (Live)
15 This Is How (We Want You to Get High)

84 responses to Saturday Deluxe / 9 November 2019

  1. Daryl says:

    Genuinely thought it was Gary Barlow singing when I first heard it, so I can see what people are saying about tinkering with the voice.

  2. David Hannah says:

    I bought the CD for the new song (which i don’t mind) and for Everything She Wants, which is the 7″ remix, and i believe the first time it’s been issued on CD…

  3. AndreasL says:

    I suppose what this new release has confirmed for me is that George wasn’t secretly recording his soul searching stripped back opus at Rick Rubin’s Shangri la studios, but was rather continuing to compromise the quality of his work by trying to stay relevant to the charts and contemporary fads. Real shame. I believe he didn’t come close to realising his full potential as a songwriter, due to both personal issues and wanting his cake and to eat it too. Had he stayed strong on his LWP conviction to focus on the music, loose the face and release an album every 1-2 years, he/we would have been in a very different place right now. ‘Older’ was of course amazing, while ‘Patience’ had some excellent material (My Mother, Precious Box), but many songs suffered from dated/over-production (John & Elvis, Round Here), and it felt like he was trying to cram too many styles into the one release.

    Looking at the merits of the song on its own, again George decides to work by himself or one of his not too proven collaborators, rather than any of the amazing producers out there who would help channel and challenge his talents. This track is better than recent releases, though the catchy guitar riff and beat are very reminiscent of Justin Timberlake’s ‘Like I Love You’ from 02 (especially when the guitar riff is turned up at about 3.50 min mark). The song was completed at one of his last recording sessions, and apparently 4 completed tracks were offered to Emma to choose from, so hopefully there is enough material to finish off an album.

    I do think ‘True Faith’ gets a bum rush because it was George, but had it been someone like James Blake or Frank Ocean, it may have been heralded as a very innovative/credible release. I do however think it tried to be a bit too clever in the later part and was a bit too polished, and definitely needed someone like James himself to produce it. Similarly with ‘White Light’ – great track, but in need of another producer.

    ‘December Song’ however in my opinion is one of George’s best songs period. God only knows why it wasn’t chosen to play over the final credits of the movie and save the new track for a new release. Good work David.

  4. Shawn C. says:

    I love the new song and have preordered the vinyl to get my hands on it. I’m not sure how I feel about introducing the new song via a film soundtrack. My initial thought is that it is a bad move, but to be honest the method they used to release the Niles Rogers remixed “Fantasy” a few years ago – an absolutely fabulous song that deserves to be a hit – fell flat. With “Last Christmas” they have received a fair amount of publicity, for example a week of GM radio on Sirius to hype the film, even if the movie does suck.

    As far as messing with George’s version of the song, I have to disagree. I’m assuming his altered vocals were completed, not that they went in and messed about with them for this release. If that was the case then they should absolutely first release the song as George intended. I don’t have any issue with some remixes in addition to his original, say on a maxi-CD or something, but I think it would be terribly inappropriate to release some bastardized version before first releasing the song as he wanted it released. I also don’t have the significant issue with the vocal manipulation that others do – though True Faith was disappointing.

    I hope there are more surprises in the GM vault.

  5. Daryl says:

    I think I’ll wait until I’ve actually watched the film before deciding whether it’s a turkey or not :’D

    • Chris Squires says:

      Good point.

      Love Actually and The Shawshank Redemption leap to my mind as films I love but were panned by many, not all, critics. The Christmas theme, like Love Actually’s, will mean it comes out on rotation every year. I can see something above “Cult Classic” maybe? Slow Burner is another one.

  6. Ivan says:

    My thoughts? Exactly your thoughts, Paul. Another flawed GM’s release. Worth mentioning the “Freedom” documentary has yet to be released on streaming platforms and/or domestic formats. Too bad alternative versions of “This Is How…” are not going, for the moment, to be released. That Single/EP I’d buy with my eyes closed, just to listen to his clean, pure, soulful and not auto-tuned-mashed voice!

  7. AndreasL says:

    I actually really like the song. I don’t think it’s much use being super critical now he’s no longer with us. It was obvious a while back that he was going down this contemporary road, like it or not. ‘Patience’ had some great songs but wreaked of someone too long away from the business and in need of a helping hand. Real shame that call to Mark Ronson wasn’t chased up later on, and of course the later years of George’s life were consumed by drug addiction, rehab, possible attempts on his own life, all culminating in his eventual death. Not hard to see why there was little original output during this period. George seemingly wasn’t one to exorcise his demons through song.

    The later albums obviously way overdue the deluxe/vinyl treatment. There are a lot of ‘Older’ demos out there probably leaked by Andros, but I doubt any will make it on the deluxe editions. Plenty of official b-sides/remixes during this period, so should be a decent re-release anyway. Let’s just hope they get a decent remaster/vinyl print. Same goes for ‘Patience’.

    Not sure why people are calling for ‘Trojan Souls’, when the project was not completed and all versions of tracks as far as they were completed leaked years ago. The hour long ‘making of’ raw video footage is very interesting to watch, but assume it’s owned by Andros, so might be a task getting this for official release in any format. Wasn’t fond of the LWP deluxe set. Remaster was terrible. Album should have been marketed as including “the infamous lost dance album LWP2″ or ‘Extended Play Thing’, and included the released dance tracks as well as killer/Papa, Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us, Disco etc, which would have made 90% of the lost album. Know George sanctioned the re-release, but lost opportunity nonetheless.

    Movie soundtrack a waste of time. Lets just hope this doesn’t delay a comprehensive release campaign. And what does David do all day? Not as if there’s a Prince vault to troll through now is there? . . .

  8. Pingback:Out This Week / on 15 November 2019 | superdeluxeedition

  9. John Lomas says:

    I’ve not been buying music for around ten years now instead downloading music from YouTube for free had this song on several times since it’s release explicit version is better much more George than the other one can’t wait for more there must be more somewhere

  10. Mino Gagliardi says:

    True Faith was innovative and creative!

    • bob says:

      I am a huge George Michael fan but I thought it dreadful. One of the very best pop voices ever covering one of the best pop singles ever, and we got that awful dirge.
      I still don’t know what he must have been thinking to release that.

      Regarding the new song, I wonder if George’s singing voice had changed since the car accident episode, I heard somewhere he had to have throat surgery ( I think it was) The Freedom documentary mixed historical commentary by George along with new, and their was a noticeable difference in his voice. Of course he was older but still.
      Whitney Houston had lost much of her singing voice when she made her comeback. For sure substance abuse takes its toll on the voice.

  11. TOM RICHARDSON says:

    I love the song but agree about the processed vocal being unnecessary. His voice was amazing without the effects. I do think the lack of physical single release may be to direct people to the album and thus ensure big sales of that. Still an annoying and cynical ploy though!

    George’s team do need to up their game – the reissues have been half-hearted – the deluxe Faith was pretty good as was Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 but they shouldn’t have tacked MTV Unplugged on the end! As this was an unreleased live album (from several years after the LWP era too) it should have been given a full stand alone release with all the fanfare this amazing performance deserved! That’s full CD/vinyl/DVD/Blu Ray etc. They should start from the Wham! days onwards and give his whole catalogue the sort of treatment the likes of Metallica and Jethro Tull bestow on their reissues. Neeeeeever gonna happen though sadly….

  12. Paul Lewis says:

    I agree with most of that, but pulling out of the movie probably wasn’t realistic, even putting aside the legalities of that, there’s rarely a point where such a decision could/would be made. The first time it might be evident would be when they were shown a rough cut, and it was probably too late by then… even assuming anyone would be able to make that judgment. It’s all the more difficult when you are sitting watching it with highly reputable filmmakers who still believe passionately in their movie. (And until it actually comes out, there’s no knowing if audiences may actually enjoy it… there’s many such examples of that, but that’s another issue). There could be a whole book about “how bad movies happen to good people”, I know a couple of great stories myself, but that’s for another day. Not to mention a book of great music in bad movies (and I’m not referring to Bo Rhap or Rocketman, which I thought were both very well done).

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      You’d think reading the script would have made it obvious it was a turkey, but I guess that didn’t stop the filmmakers going right ahead…

      • Paul Lewis says:

        I’ve thought that of so many films! Given the credentials of the scriptwriters, filmmakers and cast – and music – involved, that was probably never likely. The bean-counters would be comfortable there is money to be made, and despite its apparent shortcomings, they could well still be right! If it fails at the box office, that’s another story… but I wish there was such a predictably linear relationship between success and quality!

  13. z rosa miller says:

    I was so looking forward to this new release. As always what pulls me immediately are his lyrics and then melody. I always revered George above the rest when it comes to lyrical content. From that aspect, this song did not disappoint. The lyrics are brutal and as always has such a strong social commentary. I have to admit it took me hearing this song two three times before I was hooked. Lyrics hooked me immediately melody hooked me a little bit later. Someone had commented that the backing vocals are the only part of the song the vocoder was used on. Once armed with that knowledge, I went back and listened again. It’s very clear that The upfront vocals don’t have this treatment and you can separate his beautiful velvety gorgeous voice from the backing tracks. I’ve been a massive fan of George’s since his teenage years in Wham and loved and practically have everything he has put out. I understand that this was meant to be a club song, which then makes sense as to why the extra treatment because it would lend very well to that atmosphere. I know how extremely particular and what a perfectionist he was with his work, so I hope in my heart of hearts that what gets released did have his full stamp of approval. Although many people may not like the new techniques he used because they just want his voice, I have to respect the artists choice. I’m sad to think that we will never hear that gorgeous voice on any new lyrics, but what he did leave behind is a treasure. Hey, if Frank Sinatra said he had the best voice he’d ever heard, then I can understand how his fans feel about the treatment that was used on this single. I will forever love and respect his work. It’s a shame he had to suffer through such media scrutiny and constant vigilance from the paparazzi. It actually makes me sick.

  14. -SG- says:

    Good song, I was xpecting something off with the voice, but I don’t think the vocal effects sound out of place for the type of song. It sounds contemporary. I know there was talk of a new record nearly complete around the time of White Light, this sounds like it was from that lost album era. I thought the reason for the aborted album was he had second thoughts with the production of some of the songs, then opting to go for a more organic sound and live album.
    I have to echo what some others have written, that as far as Christmas songs go, “December Song” is his definitive xmas tune, I rate it as one of his best songs, possibly my favorite. His estate must be saving it for the tear jerking end of a biopic film, a poignant song made even more due to his death on Christmas.
    The movie is christmas fluff, with an intended limited (annual) shelf-life. I dont think it will do him any harm, if anything it just makes him more of a beloved figure,it is a christmas movie that will haunt cable for years to come.

    I’m sure in years to come he will be remixed, sliced an diced, given the orchestra treatment, and duets with future superstars. But his team does not appear to be taking an aggressive approach. The vaults will likely be raided at some time, but as there appears to be a limited amount of new material, I can understand their slowness to let it out all at once.

  15. Jackson says:

    I hadn’t heard his version of True Faith until it was mentioned in this review. At least it was for charity, I guess? I looked up a review in The Guardian that called it “a dreary run through a song that now sounds like it’s being performed by a depressed dalek.”

  16. Alan Stewart says:

    It feels like the family are a bit too caught up in unquestioningly following what they believe to be George’s wishes – and quality control ends up not being what it really ought to be. From what I understand, George himself signed off on the film at the initial concept stage but much can change through the process and maybe the estate needs to be more involved in the development and delivery of future projects

  17. Amanda says:

    Really like the new song, exponentially better than the unlistenable True Faith.

    If the movie is a turkey, the estate couldn’t have known that when they signed up; on paper it sounds like it ought to be great.

    David was George’s friend for most of his life, presumably it was George’s will that put him in charge. If I don’t sometimes agree with what he decides, so be it, the same was true of George’s own career decisions when he was alive.

  18. MüllerMüller says:

    Oh – come on…..
    I like the song – it is much better than some 2019 songs these days!
    Like the PSB, make a fine maxi cd : album version, instrumental & extended
    Oh – come on, x-mas is coming…..
    Make a smile!

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      I can’t understand whey they haven’t done that. Especially on vinyl. They’d get to the top of the vinyl charts easily.

      • TOM RICHARDSON says:

        Hear hear! I continue to be both perplexed and mystified by the industry’s bizarre choice to limit their own income by limiting the scope of their releases! One format!? (Yes, one because I refuse to consider streaming to be a format as it is transient!) Those that don’t, won’t or simply can’t grasp technology miss out and so do the artist and label! Nobody wins! Let people own a product by releasing it on CD/vinyl/cassette/download/streaming! It makes zero sense. Don’t they want our money?? They clearly do so why don’t they let us give them more?!!

  19. Ard says:

    Saw the movie already, I’m coming from the Netherlands. It’s not that bad at all. Everybody enjoyed it very much. The twist at the end was/is very special. Go see it! Even Andrew is in it……

  20. Grim Reaper says:

    Emilia Clarke is in the movie. It has to be great, right?

  21. vikerii says:

    When was the new song recorded? Was this truly a new song, perhaps intended for a new album… or a leftover from Patience?

  22. Keith Brittain says:

    I do like the new song, but it ahoild have been on a “new” GM release.

  23. Jason says:

    In addition to my earlier comments, if they really wanted to show everyone what a tragic and terrible loss this was, they should have just released George’s MTV Unplugged performance on CD, vinyl, and video. There’s little better example or reminder of his talent and artistry, or anybody else for that matter.

  24. Gisabun says:

    There is usually a reason why a track was not released while an artist was alive: the artist probably thought it wasn’t up to his/her standards.
    I am not a GM/Wham fan or listened to the unreleased track, but judging by some of the comments, that could be the main reason.

  25. mino gagliardi says:

    The legend tells that the new track was recorded in the same period of True Faith (a fab new version by the way and not an horrendous’ version as Paul said). During that period the same legend tells that George lost power in his voice (due to pneumonia or drugs) that’s why he used the autotune (also Cher use it). The new track is amazing after some listenings (I did not like it the first time) the only thing is that it is quite similar to Madonna’s Miles Away and that’s why George did not relaease that. Probably, could be, none can tell. A legend will tell a new story in the future….

    • John Cooper says:

      I agree on True Faith. It gave the song a whole new meaning, it’s a very sad listen now knowing what was ahead for him.

    • seikotsi says:

      I agree, his True Faith version is fantastic. And I am more of a new order fan than a George Michael fan. (not into this new song – seems a bit repetitive)

  26. RJS says:

    I’m not sure why you’re so concerned about this. George Michael will not be primarily remembered for his music appearing in a soon to be forgotten lightweight comedy. His legacy is Wham! and his first three solo albums. Any posthumous releases will be nothing more than footnotes.

  27. Kittens69 says:

    Hindsight is a wonderful thing and I imagine when GM and co were approached about the film idea they must have been reassured by Emma Thompson’s involvement and the chance to make some cash out of catalogue without much effort. Sadly it seems the film is a duffer, but that’s not the GM estate’s fault – I imagine they’ve just not had the power or knowledge to do much about it. The issue I have with the re-releases is the sanitising of GM’s image; the de-sexualising and removal of the stuff that actually made him interesting is a great shame. Hated the doco in particular. Really Only want to hear the Trojan stuff now and get ‘Older/Upper’ and ‘Patience’ on vinyl.

    • John Cooper says:

      Usually when the press hate something (the greatest showman for example) the public disagree, myself included. Some of the films they recommend as the greatest thing of all time are complete tripe. It’s a Christmas film, people live all that schmaltz I bet it’s huge and anything new from George is a bonus

  28. Stuart says:

    Well put, Paul. Underneath that vocal treatment is a song I would buy but I just can’t stand how he sounds on it.

    Is it possible that the effects could be removed and the ‘real’ vocal performance exposed? Anyone know?

  29. John M says:

    I actually feel sad after listening to this, and I’m a huge George fan. We know that George Michael’s lung capacity was very much impacted by his bout of pneumonia, which affected him vocally. I feel that what we’re hearing with regards to the vocal processing is an attempt to cover this up – his voice sounds worn and tired. I just don’t think this should have been released.

  30. Otto says:

    I like the song but his voice doesn’t need that mechanical crap.
    I’m not sure when the decision was made to allowed the songs in the movie. As the movie is all about someone being obsessed with the singer I guess in a very early stage. At that time no one could tell if a movie is going to be great.
    Take Sean Connery, he turned down the Matrix and Lord of the Rings. Instead he went on making The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. You never know and I guess there is never an intention to make a bad movie I guess.
    But, yes, it should be handled more careful by the team and management of George.

  31. Joe Mac Pherson says:

    Oh, the ironies of Life. In the 1980’s, I never bought anything by Wham, or George Michael. And later, I never bought anything by George Michael. I liked some of the songs, but there were too many more that left me irritated, or indifferent.
    Yet, from the first time I saw the official trailer for Last Christmas, I was absolutely ready to see this movie. Now it’s out, and I’m definitely going to see it. Maybe it’s my emotional state these days, but this is the film that will give me a brighter mood.
    I love the trailer! I’ve watched it a number of times. It works for me, so I’ll see Last Christmas! I already know I’ll buy the Blu-ray version, when it’s released.

  32. shane says:

    Lon which of the recent or new books coming out do younot recommend? Id love to have also great photo books on him.

    • Lon Pinkerton says:

      Hi Shane. I just think it would be great if there were an official book and I’m also looking forward to other forthcoming “unofficial” books as well. Also, I hope that the “Cover To Cover” tour gets an official DVD / CD release one day as I was at Wembley Arena in March 1991.

  33. winnyuk says:

    It’s not a bad track. I agree with Paul the “quieter” bits at the beginning and end would have been a more interesting path to take but they suffer from the exaggerated vocal echos which ruin so many of his other songs for me, e.g. “Jesus As A Child” and the jarring sibilant “S” sounds
    throughout.
    Each to their own of course.

  34. Lon Pinkerton says:

    To be honest the re-issues have been rather odd starting with the “Faith” deluxe edition, which should have included a live disc of the Paris concert (widely available on bootleg) from April 1988 and also a live DVD. This set also included the track “Fantasy” as did the “LWP Vol 1” re-issue (which sessions were the song recorded for?). Also very confusing also on the “LWP Vol 1” package is the “Unplugged” concert from 1996 would have sat better with a future potential “Older” deluxe set. And the elephant in the room are the missing “Trojan Souls” sessions (including the excellent “This King of Love”), probably due to George’s “cousin” Andros owning the master tapes. As a true fan I would also like to see a book similar in style to “The Complete Beatles Compendium” by Mark Lewisohn which would pay George’s legacy the ultimate compliment by highlighting the recorded legacy and live performances which are how George will be remembered.

    • Barnaby Dickenson says:

      Fantasy was recorded for Listen Without Prejudice Vol. II, along with tracks like Happy, Too Funky and Do You Really Want To Know. It really had no business being anywhere near the Faith reissue, but there were no b-sides or extra tracks from that era, so it was an attempt to include something other than the basic 9 tracks.

      • Paul Sinclair says:

        It’s amusing that they’ve included it on the Last Christmas soundtrack. Seems to be a rule that whatever GM product is coming out, Fantasy must be on it :)

  35. Henrik says:

    Great points Paul.
    the new song is ordinary. Im dissapointed.
    knowing that GM was A hard judge upon his Music im really afraid that Any new GM music Will NOT be George. Think its better left alone.
    But afraid the the record company and the family wants it out.
    Stick to the reissues. NOT so easy to mess that up.
    damn so sad that he is gone.
    A world Class singer and songwriter.

  36. Alastair says:

    The song is fine – nothing earth shattering, but OK. As for legacy, pick the music that means the most to you, and enjoy it, and be happy that you were here at the right time to experience it.
    I’ll stick to listening to ‘Older’ which is my choice of his best work in his lifetime.

  37. Kauwgompie says:

    I love the new song but definitely would have preferred it in his regular voice. It’s a real bummer, I love Christmas, I love GM, I love Christmas movies, I love Emma Thompson and I Love Last Christmas (the song). I cannot believe they cannot make sth better out of these amazing ingredients. The reviews are atrocious, worse than atrocious. It must be really bad. I guess I’ll wait to see it on tv or in the plane.

  38. jason says:

    While the new song features some unnecessary vocal tweaking, it’s at least, tolerable. Maybe it was a case of the song being basically unfinished in the first place, who knows? (Someone must.) I think the travesty here is that it’s been saddled to a dubious project at best, one which critics are howling about, but remember…they didn’t exactly like Love, Actually either, and see how big that turned out? What’s sad is that it seems like a basic cash-in to reconnect new generations with George’s music, when there most certainly have to be better ways of approaching this situation. However, I’m reminded of George’s involvement in the Eli Stone TV show and remember that it wasn’t anywhere near the level of Shakespearean drama.

    To your points, Paul, I do think the song could have sounded “warmer”, and while it’s basically a gift getting any unreleased George material at this point, presenting it in this form seems somehow bargain-bin methodology. Why didn’t they at least include his Christmas song, “December Song” on this Christmas compilation? I’ve never seen it on vinyl, and the choice of omission is rather baffling. Then consider all the big hits that are absent…”Father Figure”, “I’m Your Man”, “Careless Whisper”, “Jesus to a Child”…why this then? Don’t we deserve deluxe editions of Faith and Older first? How about a release of purely unreleased and hard to find material? If this was the gift the family was promising us as something special before Christmas, it’s hardly fulfilled that prediction. What a shame.

  39. Michael says:

    I suppose the listen reissue was flawed in terms of track listing. I believe however that & the Freedom documentary (which I did not think was bad) were both nearly or completed when George Michael was alive with his input.

    The film does not appeal to me at all. And December Song (which is great) should have been on the soundtrack. I can see why George Michael gave tentative approval if in fact he did. Emma Thompson’s involvement & homelessness being included in the plot.

    In terms of the estate George Michael had the same manager for 30 years. David Austin was a friend never his manager when George Michael was alive.

    As a loyal fan for 35 years I would like the estate to start at the beginning with an expanded editions of Fantastic, Make It Big & The Final. It would be great if they go through the Wham! shows that were filmed & include at least some of that plus their best tv appreances & the film Foriegn Skies.

    I would also like a photo book by a good publisher.

    Beyond that the only thing I know about the estate is that they are working on having his discography available on vinyl.

  40. Robert says:

    Paul, I agree. I think it’s very melodic. Miles better than current dreadful shlock played on US radio (that’s an other topic for another day).

    What struck me more was the sudden sadness I felt from the imagery in the video. It seemed like it made his passing so much more real for me. God bless him.

  41. Michael says:

    I know it’s not a physical format, but all 3 versions (Clean, Explicit and Extended) of Georges’ new track can be downloaded on Amazon. That’s what I did as I have all the other tracks on other formats.

    • Franky says:

      Download file – Boring and lacking in audio quality! Downloads are useless to those who appreciate music properly and like to collect it on real formats (CD, Vinyl and even Cassette). Streaming is killing music, hence the reason the chart is no longer an actual singles chart and full of stuff all sounding the same and tuneless (such as awful grime music, which is literally terrible rap spoken in an aggressive manner, like some yob having a go at someone, and lacking much singing).

  42. Ole says:

    I like the vocal treatment. It sounds modern and he uses that autotune as stylistic device. I think correction software like Robbie Williams or Gary Barlow use (for example on that awful FLY soundtrack) are the real enemy. I love all of GM‘s late solo singles, even True Faith is an interesting interpretation. The movie is a feel good movie. Nobody should analyse it too much. It’s good for an afternoon with your wife/ girlfriend and that’s it.

  43. Mister Stick says:

    I was never a Wham (!) or George (!) fan, but I knew some guys with a Replacements-like band in the 80s and they did a cover of “Father Figure” that turned my head. Sometimes you need a new treatment to see how good a song is, and then you take more interest in the songwriter.

    This new tune does the opposite. If there’s a fine song in there, I can’t hear it. Some climber with an auto-tune toy decided the song only had a shot at fleeting success if it was compromised to the current homogenization of all things. And maybe he or she (or it – don’t robots make these kinds of decisions now?) is right, maybe it will get its 12 minutes of recognition, if only on brand status.

    But shouldn’t the remainder work of great departed artists be treated as something to garner lasting appeal, and to reflect the state of mind of the performer when the work was done? Seems so to me, anyway. And this feels like it could have been a nice, class-act addition to the George (!) canon, maybe kind of sort of in the vibe of those mucho-successful Santana collabs of the 90s.

    But as is presented, and in light of this being part of the Wham-O tree, I think another onomatopoeic term, with exclamation, is apropos: Phooey!

  44. LeeUK says:

    To be honest I couldn’t careless about the movie but the fact it’s a vehicle that gives fans a mini career spanning greatest hits on vinyl is good enough for me. The new song is ok, a stripped down version would have been nice but hey ho. I loved the LWP release, the vinyl sounded so beautiful even if the cd/dvd/download was a bit of a mish-mash with it’s additional tracks and time-line

  45. Domenico Gigante says:

    a NEW song of GM is a gift of God…. And the incredible voice thrill me …

  46. Franky says:

    I preferred it when you could purchase singles as SINGLES (vinyl and CD). No way I am purchasing the soundtrack for just this one song. As for his voice, which I have always liked, it has been spoilt slightly by the ridiculous trend of vocoding and auto-tune that is so obvious on this track and so many artists tracks these days and it sounds dreadful. I can only assume, unlike George Michael, a lot of new artists cannot sing in tune and need to have it done to get a contract and a hit.

  47. andrew R says:

    Like a lot of GM material from his later phase , it goes round and round
    but seemingly never resolves itself with a hook and a proper chorus .
    and again like the later stuff it is overproduced/treated vocally.
    contrast Last christmas with December song to see what i mean.

    • Ole says:

      December Song is a masterpiece. It’s his most beautiful tune in my opinion.

      • Jamie says:

        I totally agree, December Song is sublime. It doesn’t get the credit it deserves but on the other hand I’m kind of glad it’s not played in saturation at Christmas. It’s kind of a hidden gem!

        I was moved to comment as I have made similar comments on the Steve Hoffman forums. I am concerned about the way George’s legacy is being handled. Of course, the last, botched SDE (LWP) was prepared in George’s lifetime but I feel that insipid movies and announcements about George’s artwork being sold is all we are getting. There should be vinyl reissues of the albums from Older onwards, more releases on RSD. An up to date and comprehensive compilation. Ladies and Gentlemen sold bucketloads in 2017 and it was nearly 20 years old! There needs to be somebody with know how and experience driving George’s musical legacy. It should be about the music, not gossip about his personal life.

        Oh, and just before I shut up! Please don’t botch the SDE of Older. We need a well mastered 2 LP, plus a box with all the singles/remixes and Upper tracks, Unplugged on DVD/Blu Ray, and the album mixed in 5.1. It’s too good an album to mess up

  48. Alan says:

    Yes, True Faith was unbelievably awful. He jumped on the autotune bandwagon and completely overdid it.

    Not sure his “legacy” is in the wrong hands. The Listen Without Prejudice re-issue was his own work, wasn’t it? Largely compiled and decided-upon before he died. We’ve seen much less exploitation of George Michael’s work than we have of, say, David Bowie’s. There are still three tracks – You and I, Song To The Siren and White Light, along with True Faith – that have yet to be collected up on a compilation.

    This film – and album – does at least have the one new song. It’s a pity the film is apparently so bad, but no one could fault the music in it!

  49. Staale Venstad says:

    Great song. Do you know if the extended version is on both vinyl and cd?

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      It’s not on either

      • Franky says:

        Oh well, I will not be purchasing it. I like to buy music on a solid format (CD or Vinyl) but I certainly do not want to have to buy a whole soundtrack album just for the one song and do not think anyone should have to when it could have easily been released as a CD single or vinyl 7inch /12inch. I am certainly not paying for a track that is only available as a music file (that is like having an audio book or a car driven for you – pointless and not as enjoyable).

  50. Chris Squires says:

    I’ve heard the track twice now, an was initially underwhelmed and this wasn’t really improved too much upon a second listen, I despaired of Vocoders back in the day, this is no better. Whatever made George tick seemed to have left him, when that point was (if at all) is up for debate. I was having a discussion with the Mrs. this morning about what age does to your music, we were listening to Bird on a Wire from I’m your Fan and I was comparing it to the latest Lilac Time album.
    I cannot think of one modern album that I truly enjoy from an artist that I loved (Maybe 50 Words for Snow is closest). Being 50 / 60 / 70 doesn’t help most artists and what they produce at that age can rarely compare or even get close to what they were producing 20 / 30 or 40 years ago (ageing sucks). I found myself reeling off albums that did nothing for me when an earlier album was the soundtrack to my life. So the George track doesn’t fill me with the joy that I had hoped to feel. It most probably says more about me than it does his talent though. I have rarely felt that replacing beautiful, hummable tunes with rhythm and beats works for me.
    As far as the film goes, it’s all in the writing….. And maybe Emma Thompson just isn’t a very good writer. I’ve just watched Mamma Mia: Here we go Again for about the fifth time and I cried (bloody buckets – My Love, My Life!) and laughed for the 5th time. Written by Richard Curtis. Get the writing sorted and it is half the battle. It’s a sequel, it’s tracks supposedly further down the pecking order (Andante, Andante / Kisses of Fire), it was supposed to be rubbish and yet it is brilliantly made and written. Maybe George’s music just can’t save a badly written Turkey however good the music was. Time will tell.

    • John In Ely says:

      I’d give David Crosby’s more recent stuff a listen.

      As an artist in HIS 70’s, I’d say that much of what he has produced recently is just as good, if not better than some of the stuff that he produced in THE 70’s.

    • Derek Langsford says:

      Chris, two exceptions in my opinion are OMD and Gary Numan.

      OMD have three very good to excellent albums since they reformed (History of Modern [2010], English Electric [2013], and Punishment of Luxury [2017]), and Numan’s last two (Splinter: Songs from a Broken Mind [2013], and Savage: Songs from Broken World [2017]), and in particular the latter, have been very good. Listed to Savage so many time it was like the early days with Replicas and The Pleasure Principle. Amazing two of my favorite artists from the early 80s are still making excellent albums and not just hitting the 80s retro circuit.

      Still have not been able to get into 50 Words for Snow, but Aerial was extraordinarily well crafted and, to me, a good addition to her ouevre.

      Will have to check out Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again after your endorsement. Was worried that a sequel would be disappointing. Hope Pierce Brosnan’s voice doesn’t feature too prominently :-)

  51. Ern says:

    From 40 seconds into the song to about 3.17, my brain keeps asking me, is that really George Michael singing? Of course it is George singing but the vocal effects in the song just does not work and makes it for a very jarring listen. It also detracts from the lyrics and his singing, which is a shame because the tone in his voice is what the fans want to hear.

  52. Tom Walsh says:

    I think this is a really good track. Not in the same league as his best and he vocal treatment is a bit overdone but it fits with the bitter verses and contrasts well with the opening and beginning. It will be a staple on Radio 2 and will comfortably be the best thing on the playlist

  53. Nabobofdub says:

    Why always the urge to ruin a legacy?! You realise people just don’t ‘get it’ when the whole narrative surrounding an artist is subverted even albeit unwittingly……

  54. Tony says:

    I remember an interview with Neil Tennant, who wants a compilation called Posthumously to be released when the PSBs are no longer with us,
    that’d be great, surely these days most artists leave some kind of arrangement in writing.
    I like this new GM song, it looks like being an unfortunate accompaniment to a turkey of a film when it could have been on a better thought out release, the treated vocals are odd, GM did True Faith live when I saw him, he sounded like Metal Mickey.
    GM deserves a lot better, but I bet that new compilation sells well.

  55. Robert Laversuch says:

    Hi, love the song. Obviously haven’t seen the film yet but feel that maybe in the wake – sorry bad pun – of both Rocketman and Freddie Mercury tribute bio pics I feel this might be getting a bad rap as people are unconsciously lumping them together? Will definitely get this when it comes out. As to George’s memory maybe is very much like with Jimi Hendrix that while there is stuff in the vaults it will find its way onto the market. And The Hendrix family are doing well out of this policy so maybe George’s family are feeling similar. In the end people are people and of course some will feel that George’s legacy will be tarnished and others will feel that this maybe is a cash in. No matter what, George Michael died far too early and I’m just happy that there is still stuff out there to keep us going for a while longer.

  56. Sebastian says:

    I actually thought exactly the same when I first listened to the new song. The voice treatment is completely unnecessary with the great voice George had. It would have been much much better if they left his natural voice on the song. But it looks like if you release a pop song these days, you have to heavyly vocode it to reach the new audiences.

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