The news didn’t make much of a ripple on this side of the pond, but we nearly lost George Michael last year. The iconic singer-songwriter contracted pneumonia while on his Symphonica Tour and was admitted to a Vienna hospital in late November. He remained there for a month, with a portion of his time spent in the intensive-care unit.
“They spent three weeks keeping me alive, basically,” Michael said in an emotional press conference upon returning to London after his release, adding that it was “the worst month in my life.”
Life informs art, and Michael’s near-death experience serves as the inspiration for “White Light,” his first single since 2011′s not-so extraordinary “True Faith” cover (aka “vocoder gone wild”) and his first original composition since 2008′s “December Song,” a Christmas tune. Thank the heavens that “White Light” is a synthy dance number — with just two fleeting flirtations with the vocoder — that harkens back to the remixes from his Older period. It’s a worthy addition to his impressive discography.
“White Light” premiered today, timed to the 30th anniversary of the day that “Wham! Rap” (Michael’s debut single with musical partner Andrew Ridgeley) entered the British charts. The lyrics video is below, and seeing the words on screen make it clear that he considers himself a very lucky man, particularly in light of the tragedies that befell fellow artists Amy Winehouse and Whitney Houston, forever silencing their voices.
We’re also glad you made it through alive, George:
“White Light” gets a UK release on August 12, with remixes by Voodoo Sonics and Kinky Roland and a bonus studio cover of Tim Buckley’s “Song To The Siren,” which featured on Michael’s Symphonica setlist. No word on a U.S. digital release yet, though a CD single (remember those?) is available for pre-order.