We already knew that an unreleased George Michael song would appear on the soundtrack for the upcoming holiday movie Last Christmas, and now we’ve got our first listen! “This is How (We Want You to Get High)” marks the iconic pop singer’s first single since 2012.
Inspired by the unforgettable Wham! classic, Last Christmas stars Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones) as a down-on-her-luck woman who meets a handsome man (maybe ghost?) played by Henry Golding (Crazy Rich Asians). Directed by Paul Feig (Bridesmaids) with a script from Oscar-winner Emma Thompson (Love, Actually), the movie will heavily feature Michael’s music.
First written and produced in 2012 by Michael and James Jackman, “This is How (We Want You to Get High)” was recorded in London’s Air Studios during the singer’s final recording sessions in 2015. Despite being recorded just a year before his death, Michael’s vocals are strong (albeit helped along by autotune) and the song features the passion he effortlessly exuded on tracks like “Careless Whisper” and “Freedom ‘90.”
The song hides dark, introspective lyrics about addiction and toxic decisions behind a bouncing tempo and a beat that mixes disco with Latin influences. “I will always try to get my shit together,” Michael sings on the track. “I guess we always knew that it would be stormy weather.”
Michael ends the song on a somber note: “Looking for a different space/dreaming of a sunnier day/Oh, it never came, how could it have baby?/Where the present meets the past/It’s hard to be more than we’ve seen.” It’s an eerily prescient message from a man who died far too young, at the age of 53 of fatty liver disease and an unspecified heart condition.
Michael was one of the most boundary-breaking voices in pop music for decades, and it’s good to hear his voice again. He was never afraid to confront difficult topics in his songs — like sexual health and drug use — and this is no exception. Even after his death, he’s putting out tracks many musicians wouldn’t dare.
You can hear more of his music on November 15, when Last Christmas hits theaters.