Radio Creme BruleeGeorge Michael Shines With "White Light"
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George Michael Shines With “White Light”

29 June 2012 20 Comments
This blog belongs to Radio Creme Brulee – an internet music radio station that broadcasts globally.

Throughout most of his 30-year career, international superstar George Michael has managed to have a hold on his international fanbase through his two primary avatars – the “seminal popstar” and the “soulboy”. In recent years, the “soulboy” avatar has eclipsed that of the “seminal popstar” as George Michael has sporadically released one ballad after another since “Patience” (2004) – his last full-length studio album of original material. The commercial response to those downtempo endeavors has been mixed. His two brilliant covers  – “For the Love of you” (originally performed by the Isley Brothers) and “Edith and The Kingpin” (originally performed by Joni Mitchell) went under the radar thanks to a “limited digital release” approach which made it virtually impossible for these songs to be purchased legally outside of Europe. “December Song” (George Michael’s first Christmas song since the timeless “Last Christmas” with Wham) charted in the UK top 20 singles charts after a stellar performance of the song by George Michael on the British television show “The X Factor”. “Understand” is the best of the lot but it was not released as a single and that oversight definitely relegated the song to “George Michael fan secret” status. “True Faith” (a cover of the New Order 80s hit) was a failure both commercially and artistically  – mostly because of George Michael’s ill-conceived decision to mask his actual voice with a vocoder for the entire vocal section of the song. George Michael may have also fallen short on the production of his newer (post 1998) uptempo tracks thus leading to tracks that could have been career-defining as opposed to just “great songs”. Noteworthy examples include “An Easier Affair” ( with its dodgy and lackluster intro), “Precious Box”(the song was two whole minutes longer than it needed to be), and “Amazing”(putting on a husky voice as opposed to showcasing the inherent smoothness of his vocals which would have suited the song better). Despite his timeless body of work, one cannot help but notice some of his artistic misfires over the past decade. Hence, there is undoubtedly an inkling of skepticism hidden within the excitement that both his casual and ardent fans feel as George Michael ventures back into “pop star” territory with his new single “White Light”. Fortunately, “White Light” provides a chance for that cloud of skepticism to dissipate fairly quickly.

The song opens like a typical electronic pop track with a dance beat reminiscent of (but heavier than) “Precious Box” (a track off the “Patience” album). But unlike in “Precious Box”, the production does NOT overpower George Michael’s vocals. George Michael’s vocals still reign on this track. Most pop stars tend to have pretty inane lyrics in their uptempo tracks and reserve profoundness and lyrical competence for their downtempo tracks. George Michael deviates from this norm substantially and indulges his introspective genius on “White Light” by singing about his fight for his life as he battled pneumonia in an intensive care unit in Vienna halfway through his Symphonica tour – an undoubtedly perspective-changing experience for the superstar.  The words in the verses seems to capture an emotion that brims with gratitude and a feeling of being rescued by divine intervention. The tune in the verses does not stick and it takes unpredictable twists and turns that lead to the catchy chorus in which George Michael sings over a “vocoded” background vocal with the repetitive refrain “I’m alive, I’m alive!”

There’s no white light I’m not through,
I’m Alive!
And I’ve got so much more than I want to do,
I’m Alive!
“Was it science that saved me,
or the way that you prayed for me?
Either way, I thank you, I’m alive.

The chorus then takes another twist in which string arrangements (reminiscent of the style of hit dance single “Back To Basics” by The Shapeshifters) dominate the production in true “quintessially George Michael classy” style as George continues with the following lines:

And tomorrow is mine,
I said tomorrow is mine

Three distinct observations surface almost instantly. First, George Michael still has not gotten over his love for vocoders. Fortunately, he uses them sparingly on this track in a way that they actually add to the track as opposed to detracting from the track. Second, George Michael does not sound like a 49-year old man. In fact, his voice still brims with the youthfulness of the 19-year old boy that debuted “Wham Rap” on radio exactly 30 years ago. Last, despite the lyrical content of the song, it is aching to be played in a night club.

“White Light” undoubtedly marks a reinvention of sorts for George Michael and sees him making a foray into an electronic production style (which we saw traces of on his “Patience” album). This move might have a divisive effect on George’s fanbase. While some might see ‘White Light” as a healthy and necessary reinvention, others might view the song as being stripped of a production style that could only belong to George Michael.

Last but not least, ‘White Light” marks 30 years of George Michael being an international radio star. In a business wherein musical careers are short-lived and the idea of stardom and celebrity is ephemeral at best, George Michael has risen against all odds to become one of the most successful male pop stars of the last hundred years and for that I applaud him. If “White Light” is representative of the new album George Michael is planning to release in the Autumn, both casual and ardent fans have a lot to look forward to.

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RADIO ALERT: George Michael is the most played artists on our radio station. We might be one of the few American radio stations that plays George Michael’s post-80s material. We are definitely the ONLY radio station in the world that plays his rare gems (b-sides, covers, album tracks). “White Light” is currently on high-rotation on our radio station. Listen to our station from ANY part of the world via the button below.

You can also check out a full-length clip of George Michael’s “White Light” below.

20 Responses to "George Michael Shines With “White Light”"

  1. jim ross says:

    great to see the great man back I have grown up with his music he is one of the greatest artists alive helped me through a lot of hard times inspirational brillant singer P.S big fan lol jim

  2. @Jim: His music has been the soundtrack to an entire generation – right from the youthfulness of Wham to the contemplative “Older” period to the liberated happiness on songs like “An Easier Affair” and “White Light”. George Michael is definitely one of the best artists of the last 100 years.

  3. yvonne breevaart says:

    wonderfull to hear your playing George,s music and the new gorgeous song #whitelight George,s music has always been in my life 30 years already and counting he is the best singer/songwriter ever and I was am and will always be so very proud to be one of his lovelies:))

    yvonne breevaart from Holland

  4. @yvonne: Thank you so much for your comment. My first impression of pop music as a three-year old was the music of George Michael when he was with Wham. The journey started there and it is great to see that 27 years later, it continues with “White Light”. I was very lucky to meet George briefly back in 2004 in New York. He’s a really cool guy. You know you can listen to our station from Holland either online or on your smartphone. We play loads of George Michael!!!

  5. Tracie says:

    Thanks for playing George Michael. I have been a fan since the wham days. Great to hear that George’s music connects with all generations. I love White Light and hope to hear more of it on Creme Brulee. George brought me to your station and I will be listening in more from Australia Thanks again

  6. @Tracie: Thank you so much for the comment. I too have been a fan from the Wham days. I was a toddler then but even at the age of 3, I would dance around to “Wake me up before you go go”. But it is the mid-90s material by George Michael that made me a fan for life. Please do tune into Radio Creme Brulee when you get a chance and please feel free to provide your feedback/suggestions/recommendations. We’re constantly looking for ways to improve.

  7. Claudia Mahlert says:

    Thank you so much for playing and supporting George Michael and his new BRILLIANT song #whitelight.I’ve been a fan of George since the 80s. It started with Wham and since that time George Michael and his music became important to my life.I can’t stop listening to “White Light”,his new song.So beautiful lyrics. This song makes me feel ALIVE again, after all I’ve been going through in the past! Thank you Radio Creme Brulee for your excellent taste in music and for playing George Michael ♥

    Claudia Mahlert, Germany

  8. Analia Mourin says:

    Thanks again for sharing these wonderful news about my idol George Michael. I’ve followed his career since I was a teenager, and love his music and beautiful lyrics he writes. I bet this new song will be a big hit like everything he does. Best regards from Guayaquil, Ecuador, South America.

  9. @Claudia: Thank you so much for your wonderful comment. George Michael has always been a lyrical genius – right from his days with Wham. He had a maturity beyond his years that definitely found its way into his superior songwriting. “White Light” continues in that tradition – which is a good thing. I hope you also enjoy the rest of the material on our radio station. Feel free to let us know if you have any suggestions or ideas for the station.

  10. @Analia: It is so great to get a comment from a blog reader in Ecuador. This is actually quite an honor for us. I really hope “White Light” does well for George Michael. His lyrics are still top notch. No doubt about that.

  11. Sam says:

    Listening to ur station from Tehran, to see you guys keep on the good faith in playing george’s song. Lovin’ the track…one of his best music tracks ever…The message here is for us HIS fans, he would like to thank all of us HIS fans for praying for him and he is ALIVE, ALIVE, ALIVE!!!
    what a wonderful gift you have given us George.

  12. @Sam: We’re supremely honored that we now have a listener in Tehran. Thank you so much for giving us a spin! George Michael’s music is a fairly regular staple on our radio station. Of course, with the release of “White Light”, the rotation of his music is a little higher. We tend to emphasize radio play of the newer stuff. Thank you once again. I really hope you enjoy the rest of our music selection too.

  13. Flame says:

    George was my “first love music” I found him in the days of wham and I followed his wonderful solo career. I attended his concert at the Dutch Forum Assam (Milan, November 12): Magic! I am moved to see it finally live: beautiful voice, he sang many songs in a sublime way. Pivoted sat on the stool; fun to see him dancing to “George Michael”! I’m glad he is back after illness, so fit.

  14. @Flame: Thank you so much for your comment. For me too, Wham was my introduction to pop music. I loved the fact that he evolved as an individual and artist over the years and added new elements of the soundtrack of our lives.

  15. Sam says:

    @Radio Creme Brulee Gangs! you’re welcome my friend…I am so glad we are living in an era which’s removed all the borders between nations with the help of internet…people are just click away far from each other…I’ve been a fan of George since 84 when I was only 9..many years have passed and many things have happened and I never stopped being his hard-core fan. but when it came to meet him in person on his 40th b-day I was completely speechless. it was beyond the words to describe the man in words…to me he’s simply the best male artist in the business, WHITE LIGHT is getting popular here in parties…it’s always been good knowing and meeting people whom I have got something in common with, George!

    I really enjoy listening to ur station while I am at work. great choice of songs u got in ur selection, keep on the good work!
    love n hugs from Iran to US

  16. @Sam: Great to hear from you once again! I too have been fan since 1984. I was a three-year old then. I didn’t understand the concept of a band so my mom just told me that the guys were called “George & Andrew”. It wasn’t until many years later that I realized they were actually Wham. I think that is pretty cool that you got to meet George Michael. He’s a pretty nice guy isn’t he? Where did you meet him? I met him briefly back in 2004 in New York City. I remember giving him a hard time about touring and he just responded with a grin saying “yeah, you never know what I might do!”. He is definitely the best male artist in the business – without a doubt. I am glad to know White Light is picking up steam in Tehran. Iranians have always had amazing taste in music so it does not surprise me that the song is getting popular there.

    I am also glad to know you are enjoying the radio station. If it ever gets boring or repetitive, please do let us know! We like criticism. It helps us stay on the top of our game. Don’t let us get lazy at all. We want to keep all our listeners engaged in the long run.

    Thank you once again for your comment. It is great to have our material read by folks in Iran. It really serves as validation for what we do here at Radio Creme Brulee.

  17. Claudia says:

    Hi George, great to see you back with White Light. I especially love the lyrics and not only your favourite line LOL You are a musical GENIUS. Your writing is always like poems… Keep up the good work! Take care. XXXX

  18. @Claudia: George truly is a lyrical genius – and it’s nice to see that he keeps the introspective lyrics even for his dance stuff and not just the downtempo material.

  19. Ally says:

    Love White Light! Wish he didn’t have that one expletive in it , which although cut short in radio version ( though expletive is in full in the version from US iTunes store I purchased) – still makes it difficult to play when have children around ( and a lot of the fans, like myself, a fan since 1983, do have kids now). It is such a great song I am worried having the expletive will diminish it’s chances for high mainstream success ( would be great if he could do a version that said ” what on earth” for example instead of ” what the #%*” ) Thrilled George is back , can’t wait for the album and hope he tours the US soon.

  20. @Ally: I totally agree about the expletive. That was so not necessary. It wouldn’t hurt for George Michael to edit himself a little bit at times. I think an edited version will be released so I am not too worried about that hindering mainstream success. I too hope George tours the US again. I was too young (3 years old) when he rose to fame with Wham but I finally got to meet him back in 2004 and watched him in 2006 in London and then again in 2008 in Boston. I’d love to watch him in concert again!

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