25 years into a music career is normally the sort of milestone that reeks of sentimental yearnings for an artist's 'superior' work, inevitably labelled their 'early years'. Hence a new single from George Michael is more likely to generate responses such as 'Is that guy still going?', rather than a more open-minded, welcoming approach. Which is a shame because with 'This Is Not Real Love', the lead new single from his forthcoming greatest hits package, Michael demonstrates beyond doubt that he has lost none of the talent he showed so successfully back in his '80s heyday for producing killer ballads. A hauntingly lush backing track that harks back to his mid-90s classic album Older provides the foundation for Michael's strongest vocal performance in recent years. And in ex-Sugababe Mutya Buena he finds the perfect singing partner for this tale of being trapped in an unworkable relationship. Both vocalists stretch themselves without ever trying to compete with each other, and the end result is a magically melancholy affair.