XSCAPE: The latest on the upcoming Michael Jackson album

Share Button

It’s been three weeks since the announcement of the upcoming ‘XSCAPE’ album – to be released by The Estate of Michael Jackson via Epic Records on May 13. In their joint statement, published on michaeljackson.com, an “unprecedented global campaign” to promote the project spanning multiple marketing platforms was promised.

However, despite the album being released worldwide in just three weeks (even less than three weeks in some countries), fans of the King of Pop haven’t heard a peep from The Estate or Epic Records since their announcement. So, here is a little update on what fans might be able to expect in the coming weeks.

During the last week of April the ‘XSCAPE’ album’s presence will be felt across prominent social media websites including Facebook, Google and YouTube. Banner advertisements on these sites are scheduled to run for approximately one month, until the end of May.

The album’s lead single, “Love Never Felt So Good”, will hit radio in the first week of May. The track is currently expected to make its worldwide debut on May 5, along with the digital release of the track. Fan sites have also quoted Sony as stating that the music video for the track will premier the same day, while I’ve been told that the music video will be part of the Deluxe Edition’s bonus content and will be released the same day as the album. So who knows regarding the video? I guess time will tell! One thing is for sure, though; there will be a video.

From the beginning of May, until ‘XSCAPE’ is released on the 13th, fans should expect to see a steady increase in written reviews by major online and print publications, radio involvement, and the introduction of the “Making of Xscape” documentary featuring interviews with the producers who worked on the project. The documentary will supposedly be teased piece by piece, in individual chapters, before being officially released in full as part of the ‘XSCAPE’ Deluxe Edition’s bonus material.

The highly-anticipated (yet practically already deciphered – see below) ‘XSCAPE’ track list will be officially unveiled between now and the first week of May. As always, previews of each track will be made available to fans via iTunes prior to the release of the album. I’ve also been told that fans may not necessarily have the entire track list masterminded yet, with mystery regarding the bonus track remaining unconfirmed.

Earlier this month it became popular belief that the ‘XSCAPE’ album’s Deluxe Edition bonus track would be Jackson’s cover of the Sly Stone song “Hot Fun In The Summertime” – featuring guest appearances by Mary J. Blige, D’Angelo, Questlove and others. Rumors regarding this track, which was produced by D’Angelo and executive produced by John McClain, started swirling when the track’s guitarist, Jesse Johnson, spoke about it on his Facebook. However I’m hearing that there were other tracks considered as the bonus track and that Johnson MAY have spoken too soon. There’s been no indication as to what the bonus track might be, if not “Hot Fun”, which adds to the mystery The Estate and Epic Records were hoping to create for fans in the lead up to the album’s release.

New information is also now available regarding which producers worked on what tracks, following newly published review by USA Today.

“Love Never Felt So Good” (originally co-written by Jackson with Paul Anka and Kathy Wakefield in 1980) has been carefully re-produced by John McClain and Giorgio Tuinfort. McClain, who serves as co-executor of The Estate of Michael Jackson, has already produced three tracks for posthumous Jackson compilations; “Much Too Soon”, “Behind The Mask” and “This Is It”. McClain also co-wrote “You Are My Life” – which features on Jackson’s 2001 ‘Invincible’ album. Tuinfort, a specialist pianist (who fittingly goes by the nickname “Piano Man”), co-wrote and co-produced Jackson’s “Hold My Hand” duet with Akon.

Timbaland, whose real name is Timothy Mosley, can be credited with production on four tracks on the ‘XSCAPE’ album; “Chicago (She Was Lovin Me)”, “Do You Know Where Your Children Are”, “Lovin’ You” and “Slave To The Rhythm” – the latter of which was co-produced by Jerome “J-Roc” Harmon. “The Michael Jackson album is great. It’s great. I can’t lie. And not because I did it. It’s great,” said Timbaland in a video recently uploaded to hangwith.com, adding: “I think I did a great job on it from what I was given. The beats are jammin’.”

As previously reported, Rodney Jerkins got the call to come back in to the studio and revisit the title track, “Xscape” which he and his “Darkchild” team (Fred Jerkins III, LaShawn Daniels and Jay Harvey Mason) co-wrote with Jackson during the 1998-2001 ‘Invincible’ sessions.

The only two tracks from the album that have not yet been attributed to producers are those originally written by Elliot Straite (aka Dr. Freeze) in 1998; “A Place With No Name” and “Blue Gangster”. The statement released three weeks ago by The Estate of Michael Jackson and Epic Records cites that Norwegian production and songwriting duo Stargate (Tor Erik Hermansen and Mikkel Storleer Eriksen) had also produced tracks for the ‘XSCAPE’ album, so we can probably surmise that they have revamped these two tracks.

UPDATE: It has been revealed that Timbaland produced “Blue Gangsta” and Stargate “A Place With No Name”.

‘XSCAPE’ Standard Edition track list, including surmised list of writers and producers, below:

  1. “Love Never Felt So Good” (Written: Jackson, Anka, Wakefield / Produced: McClain, Tuinfort)
  2. “Chicago (She Was Lovin Me)” (Written: Rooney / Produced: Mosley)
  3. “Lovin’ You” (Written: Jackson / Produced: Mosley)
  4. “A Place With No Name” (Written: Straite, Bunnell / Produced: Hermansen, Eriksen)
  5. “Slave To The Rhythm” (Written: Reid, Edmonds / Produced: Mosley, Harmon)
  6. “Do You Know Where Your Children Are” (Written: Jackson / Produced: Mosley)
  7. “Blue Gangster” (Written: Straite / Produced: Mosley)
  8. “Xscape” (Written: R. Jerkins, F. Jerkins III, Daniels, Mason, Jackson / Produced: R. Jerkins)

Four versions of ‘XSCAPE’ will be available:

  • Standard version (CD)
  • Deluxe Jewel Case O-Card version (CD + DVD)
  • Deluxe Softpack version (CD, DVD + Poster)
  • Vinyl version (LP)
The Deluxe Editions of ‘XSCAPE’ will include 8 remixed tracks, the same 8 tracks in their original form (as Jackson last worked on them during his life), an unknown bonus tracks and two videos.

Discuss below…

Share Button