For weeks, the second posthumous album from the late Michael Jackson, has been big news. Everything from what songs could be included in the track listing, to who is among the producers that were at the helm of this recording. But how would its critical aspect measure up to the media attention? That was perhaps the question.
Titled Xscape, this album is a collection of unreleased material, which has been given a modern twist from producers Timbaland, Rodney Jerkins, John McClain, and Stargate. The original edition contains all of the eight remixed tracks, but it is better to check out the deluxe version, as it contains the track’s original versions. That fact could be traced to the opening song “Love Never Felt So Good”, which was recorded over thirty years ago, and the original version sounds like something that could have been included in Thriller.
And speaking of which, listening to the deluxe version of Xscape, basically gives a mystery of what Jackson album these songs could have ended up on. But the drawback is the fact, the focus isn’t really much on Jackson’s two landmark albums Off the Wall and Thriller, except for “Loving You”, which almost had that same vibe as “Love Never Felt So Good”. Instead, songs like “Blue Gangsta”, “Slave to the Rhythm”, and the title track sounded like something that could come from any Jackson album that isn't considered to have the critical or commercial stance of either Off the Wall or Thriller (although Bad and Dangerous comes close).
That is not to say that’s a bad thing. But the modern twist on the songs, doesn't really improves the originality of the songs much, just sounds like a bunch of remixes. Michael Jackson’s Xscape would probably be better, if the original versions of the tracks were the original edition, and there were more focus on Off the Wall and Thriller, because they are the two signature works. But overall, the album is worth checking out.
Key Tracks: "Love Never Felt So Good", "Loving You"