Someone missed a great marketing opportunity here. Would it not have been more appropriate to release the new Michael Jackson posthumous album, “Xscape,” on Easter Sunday?
For Michael lives again on Tuesday.
Nearly five years after his death, eight tracks of his vocals recorded from 1983 to 1999 – right after “Thriller” – are coming to fans and dance floors in the form of his second posthumous album of studio recordings.
The studio recordings have been set to new music from Timbaland and Jerome “J-Roc” Harmon, Rodney Jerkins, Stargate and John McClain, the former A Records executive now co-executor of Michael’s estate, according to a
cover story that details how producer L.A. Reid brought Michael’s music back to life.
The plan got underway a little less than a year ago when Reid met for dinner with John Branca, Michael’s former adviser and lawyer and co-executor of his estate.
Reid wanted to do a Michael Jackson biopic but Branca said no.
Reid’s next request of Branca: Let me go into the vaults and hear the recordings Michael left behind.
“Let me hear everything,” he said to Branca. “And then let me go out and put my team together and make an album on Michael.”
Reid said he had no idea what was in the vaults. “I was just being a lying-ass record man,” he joked to Billboard.
He had his producers create new songs based only on Michael’s vocal tracks. So no, they are not remixes.
While early reviews have been largely favorable – the album has hit written all over it – some grumpy fans and critics feel that Sony’s Epic Records is exploiting Michael’s treasury of unfinished work.
And some of us just want to dance, especially after reading a review by Randall Roberts at the
Los Angeles Times
“From the first lines of the first song, the Paul Anka-penned, ‘Love Never Felt So Good,’ ‘Xscape‘ confirms that hearing Michael sing ‘new’ material can still be a mystical experience, and throughout the freshly produced recordings the sound of a still-vital spirit rushes into the present with revived energy,” Roberts writes.
“Does it swing? Yes. Does it feel like a contractual obligation album? No. Does it honor Jackson's legacy? Yes. Can you dance to it? God yes.”
What are others saying about the album?
The Daily Beast called it a 'shameless money grab."
Time magazine says Jackson’s legacy gets ‘mostly’ honored.