Michael Jackson XSCAPE (Standard Version)

XSCAPE (Standard Version)

Michael Jackson

Released on May 9, 2014 by Epic - MJJ

Main artist: Michael Jackson

Genre: R&B/Soul

Includes: 1 Digital booklet

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Underneath it all, underneath all the keyboards and programmed rhythms designed to bring the music on Xscape into the 21st century, is this simple fact: the lead single, "Love Never Felt So Good," was co-written by Paul Anka, a superstar of another era who never quite made his presence known in the new millennium. Jackson didn't care. MJ loved old show biz and songcraft in equal measure and that love can be heard on "Love Never Felt So Good," along with the other seven songs on XSCAPE. Only the second major posthumous release in his catalog -- he passed in 2009 on the eve of an orchestrated comeback -- Xscape delves deep into that past, excavating songs that have been languishing in the vaults for various reasons since at least 1983 or perhaps later. Exact dates aren't published because Xscape isn't meant to be an archival release, it's designed to push Jackson back onto the charts, which means "Love Never Felt So Good" is constructed as a duet with Justin Timberlake, who is as eager as a puppy to sing with his idol. That he's not really trading lines with MJ doesn't matter; his presence is endorsement, ensuring chart attention which it might not have received. The deluxe edition of Xscape contains the original demos of the eight songs on this album -- it's a short record by any measure -- and, ultimately, these are fascinating in a way the finished tracks aren't; these spare voice and keyboard sketches are nevertheless full-bodied, so it's possible to imagine how the songs would've fit on Bad, Dangerous, or Invincible. Often, the demos reveal how strong Jackson's songwriting is -- they're so flexible, they could withstand any number of arrangements, which is why "Love Never Felt So Good" is so instructive. In its original voice-and-piano arrangement it's possible to hear its glitzy show biz roots via Anka, but the production -- supervised by L.A. Reid and Timbaland -- is clever, accentuating Off the Wall while being spare and clean enough to sound modern. This is especially true of the version of "Love," which is a duet with Justin Timberlake -- the show biz kid is happy to create an illusion -- but the entire affair is savvier than 2010's Michael, which was caught between the twilight of sentiment and commerce. Xscape considers Jackson's legacy quite carefully, deciding to emphasize the splashy soul and diluted disco of Off the Wall over the triumphant Thriller or any of the calculated records that followed in its wake. If he had lived, Jackson likely wouldn't have followed this path -- everything from Bad and beyond showed he was acutely aware of pop trends, often to his detriment (he'd hold himself back instead of engage) -- but that's also the appeal of Xscape. Timbaland and Reid evoke the Michael Jackson we all love and miss, finding songs that are worthy and giving them arrangements that are simultaneously nostalgic and modern. It's a difficult trick to pull off but they largely succeed, so Xscape is a worthy and memorable coda to Jackson's career. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Album : 1 disk - 8 tracks Total length : 00:34:00

  1. 1 Love Never Felt so Good

    Michael Jackson, Associated Performer, Composer, Lyricist, Main Artist, Producer, Associated Performer, Composer, Lyricist, Producer - Franck van der Heijden, Associated Performer - Arlia De Ruiter, Violin - Paul Anka, Composer, Lyricist, Piano, Producer - Sara Koch, Violin - Vera van der Bie, Violin - Vera Laporeva, Violin - Herman Van Haaren, Violin - Elisabeth Liefkes, Violin - Pauline Terlouw, Violin - David Peijnenburg, Violin - Wim Kok, Violin - Mieke Honingh, Violin - Norman Jansen, Violin - Julia Jowett, Violin - Bastiaan van der Werf, Cello - Annie Tangberg, Cello - Arend Liefkes, Bass - Giorgio Tuinfort, Piano, Producer, Programmer - Kevin Hissink, Guitar - Marcel Schimscheimer, Bass - Jeroen De Rijk, Percussion - Rutger "Rutti" Kroese, Assistant Engineer, Programmer - John McClain, Producer - Paul Power, Recording Engineer - Dave Pensado, Mixing Engineer - Cole Nystrom, Assistant Engineer - Alex Deyoung, Assistant Engineer Copyright : (P) 2014 MJJ Productions, Inc.

  2. 2 Chicago

    Michael Jackson, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Producer, Associated Performer, Producer - Cory Rooney, Composer, Lyricist, Producer - Dan Warner, Guitar - Timbaland, Producer - Jerome "Jroc" Harmon, Co-Producer - Chris Godbey, Mixing Engineer, Recording Engineer - Perry Jimenez, Assistant Engineer - Matt Weber, Assistant Engineer Copyright : (P) 2014 MJJ Productions, Inc.

  3. 3 Loving You

    Michael Jackson, Associated Performer, Composer, Lyricist, Main Artist, Producer, Associated Performer, Composer, Lyricist, Producer - Timbaland, Producer - Jerome "Jroc" Harmon, Co-Producer - Chris Godbey, Mixing Engineer, Recording Engineer - Paul Bailey, Assistant Engineer - Matt Weber, Assistant Engineer Copyright : (P) 2014 MJJ Productions, Inc.

  4. 4 A Place With No Name

    Michael Jackson, Associated Performer, Composer, Lyricist, Main Artist, Producer, Associated Performer, Composer, Lyricist, Producer - Dewey Bunnell, Composer, Lyricist - Mikkel S. Eriksen, Associated Performer, Recording Engineer - Tor Hermansen, Associated Performer - Dr. Freeze, Composer, Lyricist, Producer - StarGate, Producer - Phil Tan, Mixing Engineer - Daniela Rivera, Engineer Copyright : (P) 2014 MJJ Productions, Inc.

  5. 5 Slave to the Rhythm

    Michael Jackson, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Associated Performer - L.A. Reid, Composer, Lyricist, Producer - Larry Gold, Associated Performer - Babyface, Composer, Lyricist, Producer - Steve Tirpak, Associated Performer - Emma Kummrow, Violin - Daryl Simmons, Composer, Lyricist - Luigi Mazzocchi, Violin - Charles Parker, Violin - Timbaland, Producer - Dayna Anderson, Violin - Jerome "Jroc" Harmon, Co-Producer - Kevin Roberson, Composer, Lyricist - Chris Godbey, Mixing Engineer, Recording Engineer - Tamae Lee, Violin - Eliza Cho, Violin - Perry Jimenez, Assistant Engineer - Jeff Chestek, Engineer - Michelle Bishop, Violin - Carlos Rubio, Violin - Karl Petersen, Assistant Engineer - Blake Espy, Violin - Erica Miller, Violin - Davis Barnett, Viola - Jonathan Kim, Viola - Renee Steffy-Warnick, Viola - Jennie Lorenzo, Cello - Mark Ward, Cello - Jesus Morales, Cello - Ranaan Meyer, Bass - Matt Weber, Assistant Engineer Copyright : (P) 2014 MJJ Productions, Inc.

  6. 6 Do You Know Where Your Children Are

    Michael Jackson, Associated Performer, Composer, Lyricist, Main Artist, Producer, Associated Performer, Composer, Lyricist, Producer - Dan Warner, Guitar - David Williams, Guitar - Larry Gold, Associated Performer - Steve Tirpak, Associated Performer - Emma Kummrow, Violin - Luigi Mazzocchi, Violin - Charles Parker, Violin - Dayna Anderson, Violin - Tamae Lee, Violin - Eliza Cho, Violin - Michelle Bishop, Violin - Carlos Rubio, Violin - Blake Espy, Violin - Erica Miller, Violin - Davis Barnett, Viola - Jonathan Kim, Viola - Renee Steffy-Warnick, Viola - Jennie Lorenzo, Cello - Mark Ward, Cello - Jesus Morales, Cello - Ranaan Meyer, Bass - Timbaland, Producer - Jerome "Jroc" Harmon, Co-Producer - Chris Godbey, Mixing Engineer, Recording Engineer - Paul Bailey, Assistant Engineer - Demacio "Demo" Castellon, Recording Engineer - Vadim Chislov, Assistant Engineer - Jeff Chestek, Engineer - Karl Petersen, Assistant Engineer - Matt Weber, Assistant Engineer Copyright : (P) 2014 MJJ Productions, Inc.

  7. 7 Blue Gangsta

    Michael Jackson, Associated Performer, Composer, Lyricist, Main Artist, Producer, Associated Performer, Composer, Lyricist, Producer - Larry Gold, Associated Performer - Dr. Freeze, Composer, Lyricist, Producer - Steve Tirpak, Associated Performer - Emma Kummrow, Violin - Luigi Mazzocchi, Violin - Charles Parker, Violin - Dayna Anderson, Violin - Tamae Lee, Violin - Eliza Cho, Violin - Michelle Bishop, Violin - Carlos Rubio, Violin - Blake Espy, Violin - Erica Miller, Violin - Davis Barnett, Viola - Jonathan Kim, Viola - Renee Steffy-Warnick, Viola - Jennie Lorenzo, Cello - Mark Ward, Cello - Jesus Morales, Cello - Ranaan Meyer, Bass - Jerry Hey, leader, Horn - King Solomon Logan, Producer - Daniel Jones, Producer - Timbaland, Producer - Jerome "Jroc" Harmon, Co-Producer - Perry Jimenez, Producer - Brandon Jones, Producer - Jeff Chestek, Engineer - Karl Petersen, Assistant Engineer - Chris Godbey, Mixing Engineer - Matt Weber, Assistant Engineer Copyright : (P) 2014 MJJ Productions, Inc.

  8. 8 Xscape

    Michael Jackson, Associated Performer, Composer, Lyricist, Main Artist, Producer, Associated Performer, Composer, Lyricist, Producer - LaShawn Daniels, Composer, Lyricist - Rodney Jerkins, Composer, Lyricist, Mixing Engineer, Recording Engineer - Mo Horns, Horn - Fred Jerkins III, Composer, Lyricist - Fredrik Strand Halland, Guitar - Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins, Producer - Trehy Harris, Mixing Engineer - Jaycen Joshua, Mixing Engineer - Mike Donaldson, Engineer - Greg Morgan, Editor, Engineer - Larry Gold, Associated Performer Copyright : (P) 2014 MJJ Productions, Inc.

  • Album description
  • Underneath it all, underneath all the keyboards and programmed rhythms designed to bring the music on Xscape into the 21st century, is this simple fact: the lead single, "Love Never Felt So Good," was co-written by Paul Anka, a superstar of another era who never quite made his presence known in the new millennium. Jackson didn't care. MJ loved old show biz and songcraft in equal measure and that love can be heard on "Love Never Felt So Good," along with the other seven songs on XSCAPE. Only the second major posthumous release in his catalog -- he passed in 2009 on the eve of an orchestrated comeback -- Xscape delves deep into that past, excavating songs that have been languishing in the vaults for various reasons since at least 1983 or perhaps later. Exact dates aren't published because Xscape isn't meant to be an archival release, it's designed to push Jackson back onto the charts, which means "Love Never Felt So Good" is constructed as a duet with Justin Timberlake, who is as eager as a puppy to sing with his idol. That he's not really trading lines with MJ doesn't matter; his presence is endorsement, ensuring chart attention which it might not have received. The deluxe edition of Xscape contains the original demos of the eight songs on this album -- it's a short record by any measure -- and, ultimately, these are fascinating in a way the finished tracks aren't; these spare voice and keyboard sketches are nevertheless full-bodied, so it's possible to imagine how the songs would've fit on Bad, Dangerous, or Invincible. Often, the demos reveal how strong Jackson's songwriting is -- they're so flexible, they could withstand any number of arrangements, which is why "Love Never Felt So Good" is so instructive. In its original voice-and-piano arrangement it's possible to hear its glitzy show biz roots via Anka, but the production -- supervised by L.A. Reid and Timbaland -- is clever, accentuating Off the Wall while being spare and clean enough to sound modern. This is especially true of the version of "Love," which is a duet with Justin Timberlake -- the show biz kid is happy to create an illusion -- but the entire affair is savvier than 2010's Michael, which was caught between the twilight of sentiment and commerce. Xscape considers Jackson's legacy quite carefully, deciding to emphasize the splashy soul and diluted disco of Off the Wall over the triumphant Thriller or any of the calculated records that followed in its wake. If he had lived, Jackson likely wouldn't have followed this path -- everything from Bad and beyond showed he was acutely aware of pop trends, often to his detriment (he'd hold himself back instead of engage) -- but that's also the appeal of Xscape. Timbaland and Reid evoke the Michael Jackson we all love and miss, finding songs that are worthy and giving them arrangements that are simultaneously nostalgic and modern. It's a difficult trick to pull off but they largely succeed, so Xscape is a worthy and memorable coda to Jackson's career. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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