Love Never Felt So Good

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"Love Never Felt So Good"
Love Never Felt So Good cover.png
Single by Michael Jackson and Justin Timberlake
from the album Xscape
Released May 2, 2014 (2014-05-02)
Format
Recorded
  • 1983 (original)
  • 2013–2014 (reworked)
Genre
Length
  • 3:21 (original version)
  • 3:54 (reworked solo version)
  • 4:05 (duet version)
Label Epic
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
Michael Jackson singles chronology
"I'm So Blue"
(2012)
"Love Never Felt So Good"
(2014)
"A Place with No Name"
(2014)
"I'm So Blue"
(2012)
"Love Never Felt So Good"
(2014)
"A Place with No Name"
(2014)
Justin Timberlake singles chronology
"Not a Bad Thing"
(2014) Not a Bad Thing2014
"Love Never Felt So Good"
(2014) Love Never Felt So Good2014
"Drink You Away"
(2015) Drink You Away2015
Music video
"Love Never Felt So Good" on YouTube

"Love Never Felt So Good" is a song by American singer-songwriter Michael Jackson, released posthumously on May 2, 2014. The song, reworked from a 1983 demo track originally composed by Jackson and Canadian singer-songwriter Paul Anka, was the first single released from Jackson's second posthumous album, Xscape. Two versions of the single were developed. The first was a solo version produced by American record producer John McClain and Dutch record producer Giorgio Tuinfort. The second version was a duet featuring American singer Justin Timberlake, produced by American record producers Timbaland and J-Roc, which received positive reviews from music critics. Its accompanying music video premiered on May 14, 2014 on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. In the video, Timberlake appears with a crowd of young dancers, who reference Jackson's most known dance moves, interspersed with archival footage of the late pop singer's many short films. The song is the second collaboration between Jackson and Anka to be released since Jackson's death in 2009 — the first being "This Is It".

The duet version of "Love Never Felt So Good" charted within the top ten in eighteen national charts, reaching the top spot in five countries. Michael Jackson became the first artist in history to have a Top 10 single on the US Billboard Hot 100 in five different decades when "Love Never Felt So Good" reached #9 on May 31, 2014 (six decades if his Jackson 5 tenure is included). It spent eight weeks on top of the US Adult R&B Songs. The song also charted at #8 on the UK Singles Chart.

Background[edit]

First worked on as a demo, Jackson co-produced the song during a 1983 recording session with Anka. The original version only featured Jackson's vocals, finger snaps and a piano, played by Anka. In 1984, Anka sent the song to Johnny Mathis, who recorded a new version of the song with revised lyrics by Anka and Kathleen Wakefield.[3] Mathis' version made it on his 1984 album, A Special Part of Me. In 2006, Jackson's demo leaked online. During the 2013-2014 recording sessions for the Xscape album, the song was given a revision as a disco-sounding track. The first version, which only features Jackson, was produced by John McClain and Giorgio Tuinfort and was featured as the first track on the standard version of Xscape. The second version, featured as the last track on the deluxe version of the album, was co-produced by Timbaland and J-Roc and featured Timberlake in duet vocals with Jackson. While producing Timberlake's duet version, Timbaland sampled the percussion and breaths from Jackson's 1979 song "Workin' Day and Night".

Release[edit]

On April 30, 2014, it was revealed that "Love Never Felt So Good" would be unveiled at the iHeartRadio Music Awards on May 1, 2014 as the album's first single. During the awards show, the song premiered with a tribute by American R&B singer Usher.[4] The digital download for the single became available on iTunes at 0:01 EDT on May 2, 2014 on both its album version and duet version with Justin Timberlake.[5][6] The release date of the single to urban radio stations was confirmed as May 6, 2014, though actually the single hit the radios on May 2.[7] On May 10, 2014 a Fedde Le Grand remix was announced and world-premiered by Danny Howard on his BBC Radio 1 show Dance Anthems. The remix was released on May 19, 2014.[8]

Critical reception[edit]

Upon its release, "Love Never Felt So Good" received positive reviews from critics. Surprised by the quality of the song, Aisha Harris from Slate magazine wrote that Timberlake's version "sounds like an outtake from Off the Wall" and further commented: "If producers are going to put out more MJ music, let's hope it continues to sound this good."[9] Carl Willott of Idolator offered a positive outlook on the duet version, stating: "[...] where [Timberlake and Jackson's] voices make for an uncannily natural combination... the other great thing is that it’s not trying to be an event, it's just a breezy dance floor strut that wouldn’t feel out of place on Off the Wall or The 20/20 Experience."[10] Chris Richards of The Washington Post called the solo Jackson rendition "terrific. It's airy, sweet, funky and pretty much impossible to dislike," though he would go on to pan the Timberlake remix, which he commented "surfaces all the grody feelings that came rushing in 2010 with Jackson's first posthumous album, Michael."[11] Gavin Edwards from Rolling Stone said, "even if it isn't on a par with Jackson's best work, it sounded like it could have easily been the sixth single off Bad, which is more impressive than it sounds."[12] Stephanie Chase from Contactmusic said that "It's not groundbreaking or an exceptional example of his artistry, but it gives a good indication that Xscape could serve as a fitting tribute to Jackson and his legacy.[13] Jon O'Brien from Yahoo! commented: "the classy disco-soul of this single could easily have been lifted from Off the Wall or Thriller."[14]

"Love Never Felt So Good" also got praised by musician DJ Cassidy, who told the song had a positive impact on him.[15]

I haven’t been a huge fan of albums that come out after an artist dies. You know, it just doesn’t have their stamp on it, so it’s never going to be what it would have been if the person was alive. But “Love Never Felt So Good” was a great record. It was definitely one of my top five songs from the last five years.

Commercial performance[edit]

"Love Never Felt So Good" became Michael Jackson's 29th top-ten single and Justin Timberlake's (pictured) 16th on the US Billboard Hot 100.[16]

The single debuted on the UK Singles Chart at No. 27 in the issue dated May 4, 2014 after just 24 hours on sale.[17][18] It reached number one in South Korea, Denmark, Israel, South Africa, and Germany and Belgium's respective urban charts.

In the United States, the single sold more than 60,000 downloads from the debut date of May 2, 2014 to May 4, 2014, and drew 31 million all-format radio audience impressions since its first plays that Friday. With the Clear Channel's promotional synergy after the premiere of the song on the iHeartRadio Music Awards, the song received hourly plays on May 2, 2014 on the company's pop, adult and R&B/hip-hop stations, greatly contributing to its airplay,[19] which made the song debut on the following Billboard radio charts: Adult R&B Songs (No. 19), Adult Contemporary (No. 23), R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay (No. 28) and Adult Pop Songs (No. 40).[20] The song made splashy debuts at No. 20 on the Billboard Hot 100[21] and No. 6 on Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs from 80,000 downloads sold, 34 million audience impressions from 358 radio stations, and 1.9 million U.S. streams, which made it Jackson's highest-charting entry since the 2002 single "Butterflies".[22] After its first full week on sale, the song reached No. 6 on Billboard's Digital Songs chart with sales of 101,000 copies, but the whole week radio audience impressions reduced 36% to 22 million which caused the song to drop to No. 38 on Radio Songs, and lowered the song's Hot 100 position to #22 in its second week on the chart.[23][24] In its third week, the song rose to No. 9, becoming Jackson's first top-ten hit since 2001's "You Rock My World".[16] Jackson also became the first act in the Hot 100's history to score top ten hits in five different decades, as he has done for each decade from the 1970s to the 2010s.[16] The single then topped the US Billboard Top Adult R&B Songs chart for 8 weeks.[25] "Love Never Felt So Good" has since been certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

Counting Jackson's entire chart career in addition to his solo career, the 2010s is actually his sixth decade with a single charted (not peaking) in the US Top 10, as The Jackson 5 single "I Want You Back" first reached the Top 10 the week of December 27, 1969, on its way to a number one peak in late January 1970; however, Jackson was not credited on that single as an individual artist.[26]

Music videos[edit]

The music video for the duet debuted in the morning on May 14, 2014, which was regarded as "a careful visual tribute of the late pop singer's lasting legacy on future generations." It was directed by Rich Lee and Justin Timberlake.[27] A crowd of young dancers lip synced and Justin Timberlake sang along and made some memorable moves from Michael Jackson's classic music videos or live shows. Clips from the following music videos appeared in the "Love Never Felt So Good" music video (in order of appearance):[28][29]

A month later, a music video for the solo version was uploaded to the official Michael Jackson YouTube channel. The music video featured clips from the duet version, as well as clips from other Michael Jackson music videos, such as "Dirty Diana" and "You Rock My World", along with some of Jackson's live performances, such as "Billie Jean".[30]

Live performance[edit]

The song was performed live at the 2014 iHeart Radio Music Awards on May 1, 2014.[31] American R&B singer Usher danced across the stage, moonwalked, and hopped on a table to spin during the play of the song. Other dancers dressed in Jackson's style performed his signature moves in front of digital backdrops flashing graffiti and brick walls.[32]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Result Ref.
2014 Soul Train Music Awards Song of the Year Nominated [33]
Best Collaboration
MTV Video Music Awards Best Choreography [34]
2015 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Music Video [35]
BMI R&B/Hip-Hop Awards Most Performed R&B/Hip-Hop Song Won [36]

Track listing[edit]

  • Digital download – solo version[37]
  1. "Love Never Felt So Good" – 3:54
  • Digital download – duet version[38]
  1. "Love Never Felt So Good" (with Justin Timberlake) – 4:05
  1. "Love Never Felt So Good" (Fedde le Grand remix) – 4:43
  • CD single
  1. "Love Never Felt So Good" – 3:54
  2. "Love Never Felt So Good" (with Justin Timberlake) – 4:05
  • Digital EP – duet version[39]
  1. "Love Never Felt So Good" (DM-FK Classic Tribute Mix) - 8:23
  2. "Love Never Felt So Good" (DM Classic Radio Mix) - 4:11
  3. "Love Never Felt So Good" (DM Epic Dub) - 7:54
  4. "Love Never Felt So Good" (DM Red Zone Dub) - 6:52

Official versions[edit]

  • Original Version 3:21
  • Album Version 3:54
  • Duet Version 4:05
  • Video Mix 3:55
  • Video Edit 2:13 (Incorrect)
  • Fedde Le Grand Remix (Extended) 4:43 [40]
  • Fedde Le Grand Remix Radio Edit 3:26
  • D.M.-F.K. Classic Tribute Mix 8:23
  • D.M. Classic Radio Mix 4:12 [41]
  • D.M. Epic Dub Mix 7:54
  • D.M. Red Zone Mix 6:52

Personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Belgium (BEA)[92] Gold 15,000*
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[93] Gold 0^
France (SNEP)[94] Gold 150,000*
Italy (FIMI)[95] Platinum 30,000*
Mexico (AMPROFON)[96] Platinum+Gold 90,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[97] Gold 400,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[98] Platinum 1,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Version Label
Italy May 2, 2014 Contemporary hit radio
Epic
United States Digital download
  • Epic
  • MJJ
May 6, 2014 Contemporary hit radio Duet[101] Epic
Adult contemporary radio
Urban contemporary radio Solo[103]
May 19, 2014 Digital download Fedde Le Grand remix[104] MJJ
Germany May 30, 2014 CD single
Sony

Cover versions[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]