Xscape (album)

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Xscape
Xscape.png
Compilation album by Michael Jackson
Released May 13, 2014 (2014-05-13)
Recorded
  • 1983–2001[1] (original songs)
  • 2013–2014 (reworked songs)
Genre
Length
  • 34:25 (standard)
  • 73:43 (deluxe)
Label
Producer
Compiler L.A. Reid
Michael Jackson chronology
Bad 25
(2012)Bad 252012
Xscape
(2014)
Scream
(2017)Scream2017
Singles from Xscape
  1. "Love Never Felt So Good"
    Released: May 2, 2014
  2. "A Place with No Name"
    Released: August 12, 2014

Xscape is the second posthumous[5] album of previously unreleased tracks by American singer Michael Jackson. It was released on May 13, 2014 by Epic Records and MJJ Music. It is the tenth album released by Sony and Motown since Jackson's death on June 25, 2009. L.A. Reid, chairman of Epic Records, curated and served as executive producer for the album enlisting Timbaland to lead a team of record producers, including StarGate, Jerome "J-Roc" Harmon, John McClain, and Rodney Jerkins, to remix and contemporize the eight selected tracks. Jerkins produced the title song and is the only original song producer to work on the final productions.

Xscape was promoted across the Sony group of companies; Sony Mobile used a snippet of "Slave to the Rhythm" in their advertising campaign for the Xperia Z2 mobile phone. "Love Never Felt So Good" was announced as the official lead single to premiere on May 1, 2014. The deluxe edition of the album includes all of the songs in their original forms as well as one bonus track and two videos.

Background[edit]

Officially announced on March 31, 2014, Xscape features 8 tracks which were originally recorded between 1983 and 1999.[6][7][8] It is the second such album of posthumous material to be released by Epic Records since Jackson's death in 2009.[9] The title track "Xscape" was recorded in 2001 for Jackson's tenth studio album Invincible.[10] American producer Timbaland and Epic Records chairman and CEO L.A. Reid executively produced the album,[11] with additional production from Rodney Jerkins, StarGate and John McClain.[12] Timbaland said that Reid had personally approached the producer at his home to discuss the new Jackson project.[13] Jesse Johnson, former lead guitarist of the American band The Time revealed that he had worked on elements of one song that featured Mary J. Blige, Questlove, and D'Angelo.[14] However, the track failed to be included in the final track listing of the album. Reid said that they wanted to honor Jackson's legacy when naming the album, "the title of this album (Xscape) honors Michael's album naming process. He always chose a song from the album to name his projects and, beginning with Thriller, used only one word titles, each with an edgy quality to them (Thriller, Bad, Dangerous, HIStory and Invincible). This is true of the new project."[15]

Recording history[edit]

"Love Never Felt So Good" was co-written by Canadian singer-songwriter Paul Anka[16] and was originally recorded in 1983 as a demo with Anka at the piano. The song was also recorded by American entertainer Johnny Mathis.[17] A duet version of the song with Justin Timberlake was recorded and released as a single - the song features percussion and breaths from Jackson's 1979 song "Workin' Day And Night".

"Chicago" (originally called "She Was Lovin' Me") was recorded in 1999 but failed to make the Invincible album.

"Loving You" was recorded in 1985 before the "Bad" sessions started.

"A Place With No Name" was written and recorded in 1998. The track resembles "A Horse with No Name," a hit song by American rock band America. A 24-second snippet was leaked online by TMZ in July 2009 and a full version was leaked in December 2013.[18]

"Slave to the Rhythm" was recorded during the Dangerous sessions in 1990. A Tricky Stewart remix version leaked on the internet in 2010, which was intended for the first posthumous album, Michael. Justin Bieber also recorded a "duet version" featured with Jackson's vocals, which was leaked in August 2013. The Michael Jackson Estate afterwards stated that they had not authorized the release of this recording.[19]

"Do You Know Where Your Children Are" was written and recorded during the "Bad" sessions. However, the song was later picked up and reworked for the "Dangerous" album but did not make the cut.

"Blue Gangsta" was written and recorded in 1998 but failed to make the Invincible album. Rapper Tempamental remixed the song without Jackson's permission and made it available on his MySpace web page in late 2006. The remix titled "Gangsta (No Friend of Mine)" featured Pras of the Fugees.[20]

"Xscape" was written and recorded in 1999 during his Invincible album recording sessions but failed to make the album. The song was completed in 2001 and leaked on the internet the following year. The tune has been given a modern spin by its original producer, Rodney Jerkins, and features samples of "You Rock My World", a song recorded in the same era as "Xscape".

Promotion and singles[edit]

Two official singles, "Love Never Felt So Good" and "A Place with No Name", were released from Xscape. "Slave to the Rhythm" was the first song announced for the album, and appeared on several notable music charts due to digital downloads and streaming. "Loving You" was released as a promotional single to UK radios.

In February 2014, Sony and Jackson's estate announced a partnership with Sony Mobile that saw the release of an ad incorporating a new version of the track "Slave to the Rhythm", which was confirmed as one of the album tracks.[21] The commercial advertisement was for Sony Mobile's Xperia Z2 mobile phone.[22] The album had been aired to the UK media in the basement of a Knightsbridge hotel on March 31, 2014. The journalists were permitted to hear the album once without any electronic devices, and song titles were kept secret.[23] The entertainment correspondents for some UK media, such as Sky News,[24] London Evening Standard,[23] The Daily Telegraph,[25] Mixmag,[26] The Guardian[27] and Digital Spy[28] were invited.

On April 30, it was revealed that "Love Never Felt So Good" would be unveiled at the iHeartRadio Music Awards on May 1 as the album's first single, contradicting statements by Timbaland that suggested that "Chicago" would be released first.[13] It was co-written by Canadian singer-songwriter Paul Anka,[16] and features Justin Timberlake.[29] "Love Never Felt So Good" was previously recorded by American entertainer Johnny Mathis.[17] The digital download for the single became available on iTunes at 0:01 EDT on May 2, 2014 for the album version and the duet version with Justin Timberlake.[30] The release date of the single to urban radio stations confirmed as May 6, 2014.[31] On May 4, the track "Chicago" became available to Music Unlimited subscribers, being followed by "Loving You", "A Place with No Name", "Slave to the Rhythm", and "Do You Know Where Your Children Are" in the succeeding days.[32]

The Xscape standard and Deluxe Editions were available for pre-order beginning April 1 on iTunes.com/MichaelJackson and elsewhere, and available at all retailers worldwide on May 13.[33]

A Pepper's ghost[34] illusion of Michael Jackson performed "Slave to the Rhythm" at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards on May 18, 2014. The performance was choreographed by the Talauega brothers and was directed by Jamie King.[35] A day after the coverage, the live performance of "Slave to the Rhythm" was uploaded to Michael Jackson's VEVO YouTube channel.[36]

Following the success of "Love Never Felt So Good" on the Billboard Hot 100, the song rocketed into the iTunes Top 5 in the US, peaking at #1 in 17 countries and landing in the Top 5 in 67 countries around the world, within 24 hours of release. "Love Never Felt So Good" marks Jackson's 49th Hot 100 entry and it made multiple debuts on various radio formats charts.[37] Jackson became the first solo artist to have a single reach the top 10 in five different decades.[38] "Slave to the Rhythm", which debuted at number 45 on the Billboard charts, was Jackson's 50th Hot 100 hit.[39]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 66/100[40]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3.5/5 stars[41]
Consequence of Sound C[42]
The Guardian 3/5 stars[43]
Los Angeles Times 3.5/4 stars[44]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[45]
Slant Magazine 3/5 stars [46]
The Sydney Morning Herald 3/5 stars[47]
The Independent 4/5 stars[48]
Billboard 90/100 [49]
Entertainment Weekly B[50]

Xscape has a score of 66 out of 100 on Metacritic, based on 22 critics, indicating generally favorable reviews.[40] Prior to the album release, Xscape was played for critics at exclusive album listening parties in New York City.[51] Bernadette McNulty from The Daily Telegraph praised the album as "pristine", noting the "front-and-center presence of Jackson's voice in the mix".[25] Michael Cragg from The Guardian said Xscape feels "like an album created to showcase a handful of Jackson songs that on the whole deserve to be heard".[27] Richard Suchet from Sky News thought the album "sound[ed] more like modern-day remixes".[24] Nick Stevenson from Mixmag asserted that the album was "more like a collection of B-sides from Off the Wall than a follow-up to Invincible".[26] Michael Arceneaux from Ebony said "the upcoming project 'from' the late singer sounds like a recipe for legacy tarnishing".[52] Elysa Gardner of USA Today said that the producers on the album "ensure that Jackson's enduring strengths as a singer are represented, layering in modern electronic textures without overwhelming the distinctly slinky, shivery vocals or overall structure of the tunes."[53] Other critics suggested the product was just a way to promote Sony smartphones,[54] and had questions about the songwriting and production,[55] or with the singing.[56][57] Self-confessed Jackson-fan Nekesa Mumbi Moody, writing for Yahoo, said that much of the album had a dated feel, with "A Place with No Name" having poor lyrics and sound. She concluded that "putting out music that falls below Jackson's standards detracts from the carefully constructed catalog he spent decades creating and protecting."[58]

Commercial performance[edit]

Xscape became Jackson's tenth UK number-one album after it debuted atop the UK Albums Chart with 47,764 first-week sales.[59][60] Currently, sales of the album in the UK stand at 135,500 copies and has been certified gold by the British Phonographic Industry. The album also debuted at number one in Belgium, Denmark, France, and Spain.[61] It debuted at number two on the US Billboard charts with first-week sales of 157,000 copies in the United States.[62] In its second week of sales, the album sold 67,000 more copies. In its third week it sold 35,000 copies bringing its total sales to 259,000 copies.[63] In its fourth week, it sold a little more than 25,000 copies,[64] and the fifth week it sold a little less than 25,000 copies.[65] The album has sold 459,000 copies in the US as of January 2015.[66]

In Canada, the album debuted at number three on the Canadian Albums Chart, selling 12,000 copies.[67]

Track listing[edit]

Xscape – Standard version (catalog number 88843053662)[68]
No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Love Never Felt So Good" (recorded in 1983, in the "Thriller" era)
3:54
2. "Chicago" (recorded 1999, during the "Invincible" sessions) Cory Rooney 4:05
3. "Loving You" (recorded 1985 – 1987, during the "Bad" sessions) Jackson
  • Timbaland* Harmon[a]* Jackson[b]
3:15
4. "A Place with No Name" (recorded 1998 – 2008, during the "Invincible" sessions)
5:35
5. "Slave to the Rhythm" (recorded 1989 - 1991, during both the "Dangerous" sessions)
4:15
6. "Do You Know Where Your Children Are" (recorded 1987 & 1990 – 1991, during both the "Bad" & "Dangerous" sessions) Jackson
  • Timbaland* Harmon[a]* Jackson[b]
4:36
7. "Blue Gangsta" (recorded 1998 – 2001, during the "Invincible" sessions)
  • Jackson* Straite
  • King Solomon Logan* Daniel Jones* Timbaland* Harmon[a]* Jackson[b]* Dr. Freeze[b]
4:14
8. "Xscape" (recorded 1999 - 2001 & Late 2002, during the "Invincible" sessions)
  • Darkchild* Jackson[b]
4:04
Total length: 34:25
Xscape – Deluxe Edition (catalog number 88843066762)[70]
No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Love Never Felt So Good"
3:54
2. "Chicago" Cory Rooney 4:05
3. "Loving You" Jackson
  • Timbaland
  • Harmon[a]
  • Jackson[b]
3:15
4. "A Place with No Name"
5:35
5. "Slave to the Rhythm"
4:15
6. "Do You Know Where Your Children Are" Jackson
  • Timbaland
  • Harmon[a]
  • Jackson[b]
4:36
7. "Blue Gangsta"
  • Jackson
  • Straite
  • King Solomon Logan
  • Daniel Jones
  • Timbaland
  • Harmon[a]
  • Jackson[b]
  • Dr. Freeze[b]
4:14
8. "Xscape"
  • Darkchild
  • Jackson[b]
4:04
9. "Love Never Felt So Good" (original version) (recorded in 1983 for Johnny Mathis)
  • Jackson
  • Anka
  • Jackson
  • Anka
3:19
10. "Chicago" (original version) (recorded in 1999 during the "Invincible" sessions) Rooney
  • Jackson
  • Rooney
4:43
11. "Loving You" (original version) (recorded in 1985–7 during the "Bad" sessions) Jackson Jackson 3:02
12. "A Place with No Name" (original version) (recorded in 1998 during the "Invincible" sessions)
  • Jackson
  • Bunnell
  • Straite
  • Jackson
  • Dr. Freeze
4:55
13. "Slave to the Rhythm" (original version) (recorded in 1990 during the "Dangerous" sessions)
  • Reid
  • Edmonds
  • Simmons
  • Roberson
  • Reid
  • Babyface
4:35
14. "Do You Know Where Your Children Are" (original version) (recorded in 1986–7 during the "Bad" sessions) Jackson Jackson 4:39
15. "Blue Gangsta" (original version) (recorded in 1999 during the "Invincible" sessions)
  • Jackson
  • Straite
  • Jackson
  • Dr. Freeze
4:16
16. "Xscape" (original version) (recorded in 1999 during the "Invincible" sessions)
  • Jackson
  • R. Jerkins
  • F. Jerkins III
  • Daniels
  • Jackson
  • Darkchild
5:44
17. "Love Never Felt So Good" (featuring Justin Timberlake)
  • Jackson
  • Anka
  • Timbaland
  • Harmon[a]
  • Jackson[b]
  • Anka[b]
  • Paugam
4:05
Total length: 73:43
Notes
  • ^[a] signifies a co-producer
  • ^[b] signifies a vocal producer

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from Xscape album liner notes.[72]

  • Michael Jackson – composer, primary artist, producer, keyboard, drums, vocal producer, vocals/background vocals
  • Dayna Anderson – violin
  • Paul Anka – composer, piano, producer
  • Babyface – composer, vocal producer
  • Paul Bailey – assistant
  • Cheryl Banks – production coordination
  • David Barnett – viola
  • Davis Barnett – viola
  • Diana Baron – publicity, public relations
  • Jim Bates – public relations
  • Alla Benyatov – marketing
  • Shalik Berry – A&R
  • Michelle Bishop – violin
  • John Branca – executive producer, management
  • Dewey Bunnell – composer
  • David Byrnes – legal counsel
  • Scott Carter – marketing
  • Demacio "Demo" Castellon – engineer
  • Lauren Ceradini – publicity
  • Jeff Chestek – engineer
  • Vadim Chislov – assistant
  • Eliza Cho – violin
  • Fuko Chubachi – art direction
  • LaShawn Daniels – composer, vocals (background)
  • Jeroen DeRijk – percussion
  • Alex Deyoung – assistant engineer
  • Dr. Freeze – composer, vocal producer
  • John Doelp – associate producer
  • Mike Donaldson – engineer, vocal editing
  • Elisabeth Liefkes-Cats – violin
  • Mikkel S. Eriksen – engineer, instrumentation
  • Blake Espy – violin
  • Mike Daddy Evans – production coordination
  • Rick Frazier – production coordination
  • Brian "Big Bass" Gardner – mastering
  • Dalia Glickman – A&R
  • Chris Godbey – engineer, mixing
  • Larry Gold – string arrangements
  • Jerome "J-Roc" Harmon – producer
  • Trehy Harris – mixing
  • Tor Hermansen – instrumentation
  • Jerry Hey – horn, leader
  • Kevin Hissink – guitar
  • Fredrik Strand Holland – guitar
  • Mieke Honingh – violin
  • Norman Jansen – violin
  • Jaycen Joshua – mixing
  • Fred "Uncle Freddie" Jerkins III – composer
  • Rodney Jerkins – composer, engineer, mixing
  • Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins – producer, vocal producer
  • Perry Jimenez – assistant engineer
  • Brandon Jones – engineer
  • Daniel Jones – producer
  • Julia Jowett – violin
  • JP Robinson – creative director
  • Jeff Juin – A&R
  • Michael Kane – accounting
  • Joel "Roosevelt" Katz – legal counsel
  • Jonathan Kim – viola
  • Sarah Koch – violin
  • Wim Kok – violin
  • Rutger "Ruffi" Kroese – assistant, drum programming
  • Jay Krugman – marketing
  • Heath Kudler – music business affairs
  • Emma Kummrow – violin
  • Karen Langford – legal counsel, project supervisor
  • Vera Laporeva – violin
  • Sam Lecca – creative director
  • Tamae Lee – violin
  • Arend Liefkes – bass
  • Efrem I. Paugam - producer
  • King Solomon Logan – producer
  • Jennie Lorenzo – cello
  • Mat Maitland – art direction, design, images
  • Luigi Mazzocchi – violin
  • John McClain – executive producer, management, producer
  • Ranaan L. Meyer – bass
  • Erica Miller – violin
  • Mo'Horns – horns
  • Jesús Morales – cello
  • Greg Morgan – editing, sound design
  • Bill Nation – photography
  • Cole Nystrom – assistant engineer
  • Charles Parker – violin
  • David Peijnenburg – violin
  • Dave Pensado – mixing
  • Karl Petersen – assistant engineer
  • Marisa Pizarro – A&R
  • Paul Power – engineer
  • Aaron Reid – A&R
  • Antonio "L.A." Reid – composer, music coordinator, producer
  • Daniela Rivera – assistant engineer, engineer
  • Kevin Roberson – composer
  • Cory Rooney – composer, vocal producer
  • Carlos Rubio – violin
  • Arlia de Ruiter – violin
  • Heather Santos – A&R
  • Marcel Schimscheimer – bass
  • Scott Seviour – marketing
  • Daryl Simmons – composer
  • Mike Sitrick – public relations
  • Stargate – producer
  • Phil Tan – mixing
  • Annie Tangberg – cello
  • Pauline Terlouw – violin
  • Timbaland – executive producer, producer
  • Steve Tirpak – assistant copyist
  • Giorgio Tuinfort – drum programming, piano, producer
  • Vera Van Der Bie – violin
  • Franck van der Heijden – conductor, orchestral arrangements
  • Bastiaan Van Der Werf – cello
  • Herman Van Haaren – violin
  • Joe Vogel – photography
  • Mark Ward – cello
  • Dan Warner – guitar
  • Renee Warnick – viola
  • Matt Weber – assistant
  • Howard Weitzman – legal counsel
  • David Williams – guitar, soloist
  • Stephanie Yu – music business affairs

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[117] Gold 35,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[118] Gold 7,500*
Belgium (BEA)[119] Gold 15,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[120] Gold 40,000^
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[121] Gold 10,000^
France (SNEP)[122] Platinum 100,000*
Germany (BVMI)[123] Gold 100,000^
Italy (FIMI)[124] Gold 25,000*
Japan (RIAJ)[125] Gold 100,000^
Mexico (AMPROFON)[126] Gold 30,000^
Poland (ZPAV)[127] Platinum 20,000*
South Korea[128] Platinum 12,224
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[129] Gold 20,000^
Sweden (GLF)[130] Gold 20,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[131] Gold 10,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[132] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[133] Gold 500,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Region Date Label Format
Austria May 9, 2014 Sony Music
Denmark
Germany[134]
Spain[135]
France[136] May 12, 2014
United Kingdom[137] Epic Records
Italy[138] May 13, 2014 Sony Music
Canada[139]
United States[140]
  • Epic Records
  • MJJ
Mexico[141] May 21, 2014 Sony Music
Japan[142] Sony Music Japan CD
India[143] May 12, 2014 Sony Music
Germany[144] June 6, 2014 LP
United States[145] June 10, 2014
  • Epic Records
  • MJJ
China[146] June 25, 2014

Sony Music China

CD

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-FsyL7WX88
  2. ^ Michael Jackson's Xscape Review – Flavorwire
  3. ^ Michael Jackson's 'Xscape' Doesn't Belong to Him — It Belongs to Us «
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  54. ^ Michael Jackson’s Posthumous Album, ‘Xscape,’ Is a Confused, Shameless Money Grab - The Daily Beast
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  119. ^ NO certyear WAS PROVIDED for BELGIAN CERTIFICATION.
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  130. ^ NO certyear WAS PROVIDED for SWEDISH CERTIFICATION.
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