A new single by British pop superstar George Michael has been released nearly three years after the singer’s death at the age of 53.

This Is How (We Want You To Get High) was released this evening in Australia, moments after receiving its first radio play on BBC Radio 2’s The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show in the UK.

Work on the track, the first posthumous release by the late music icon, started in 2012. It was subsequently developed and recorded at Air Studios in London, before the finishing touches were added in late 2015 during George’s final recording sessions.

The “This Is How (We Want You To Get High)” single cover. Image: Andrew Macpherson/supplied.

The song’s release ties in with the new festive film Last Christmas, a romantic comedy from Universal Pictures to be released across Australia tomorrow.

Co-scripted by Academy Award winner Emma Thompson, who stars in Last Christmas alongside Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones) and Henry Golding (Crazy Rich Asians), the film was inspired by the eponymous Wham! hit and has been described by its director Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, Mad Men) as “a love letter to George”.

The film’s soundtrack—to be released this Friday, 8 November—includes This Is How (We Want You To Get High), eleven other George Michael tracks and three Wham! songs.

Initial reaction to the new single has generally been positive.

On the Popjustice music forums, a focal point for online pop music discussion since the year 2000, most George Michael fans hailed the song’s upbeat dance sound.

“I love it! Nice to hear some up-tempo music from him. His later releases were so down-tempo. So sad he never finished his last album,” one forum member wrote.

“So good to hear his voice on something new, [there’s] no one like George,” commented another.

While one person complained that the “vocal sounds like it came from a CDR rip”, another said: “It’s actually pretty decent and quite a grower … it’s wonderful just to hear his voice again.”

The single is now available to buy or stream via Apple Music, iTunes, Spotify and YouTube Music, and is accompanied by a lyric video, which can be viewed below.

The openly-gay George Michael, who passed away on Christmas Day 2016, has sold over 115 million records worldwide (not including Wham! units) making him one of the most popular recording artists of all time.

The singer had strong connections with Australia and purchased a home at Sydney’s Palm Beach in 2010, the same year he performed at the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

He staged several concert tours of the country and in 1988, filmed the music video to his US Billboard #1 single One More Try at the iconic Carrington Hotel in Katoomba, NSW.

At the time of his death, the superstar had an Australian boyfriend, Brisbane-born Fadi Fawaz, who is currently in dispute with the singer’s family over his will.

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