Michael Jackson

May
13
Review Roundup: Michael Jackson – ‘Xscape’

Xscape

Nearly five years after his death, Michael Jackson lives on with his second posthumous album Xscape. The eight unreleased tracks, originally recorded between 1983 and 1999, have been “contemporized” by executive producer L.A. Reid and hitmakers including Timbaland, Stargate, and Rodney Jerkins.

Justin Timberlake duets with the late legend on the Off the Wall outtake “Love Never Felt So Good,” the Timbaland-assisted “Blue Gangsta” evokes a “Smooth Criminal” vibe, and the Darkchild-produced title track recalls latter-day MJ.

Is the King of Pop still able to win over critics? Read the reviews and stream Xscape below.

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May
9
New Music: Michael Jackson – ‘Xscape’

Xscape

After blessing our ears with the Timbaland-produced “Blue Gangsta” yesterday, MTV has premiered the title track off Michael Jackson’s posthumous album Xscape, due Tuesday.

The King of Pop, in his signature falsetto, sings about escaping from the pressure of a relationship on the Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins production.

Jerkins and Jackson originally started working on the song around the time of Invincible in 1999. The producer revisited the track in 2003 before finishing it this year.

“Even when Michael was alive, we never stopped working on the song ‘Xscape,’” Jerkins told the AP. “It was one of those songs where he specifically said to me, ‘It has to see the light of day one day.’”

Xscape features eight previously unreleased songs, which were originally recorded between 1983 and 1999, with additional production from Stargate, Jerome “Jroc” Harmon, and John McClain.

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May
8
New Music: Michael Jackson – ‘Blue Gangsta’

Xscape

In advance of Tuesday’s release of Xscape, another song off Michael Jackson’s posthumous album has hit the net via MTV. “Blue Gangsta,” which was recorded in 1998 and leaked in 2010, features slick vocals from MJ and a funky string arrangement courtesy of Timbaland.

“What you gonna do? / You ain’t a friend of mine / Look what you’ve put me through / Now that I’m the blue gangsta,” sings the King of Pop.

Xscape features eight previously unreleased songs produced by Timbaland, Rodney Jerkins, Stargate, Jerome “Jroc” Harmon, and John McClain.

The album is already off to a strong start. The first single, “Love Never Felt So Good” featuring Justin Timberlake, debuts at No. 20 this week, selling 80,000 downloads after only three days on sale.

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May
7
John Legend Earns First No. 1 on Hot 100, Ariana Grande Debuts at No. 3

John Legend

A decade after making his debut, John Legend has earned the first No. 1 hit of his career with “All of Me.”

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May
2
Timbaland, Rodney Jerkins, & L.A. Reid Discuss Michael Jackson’s ‘Xscape’

Timbaland and Rodney Jerkins

Earlier today, Michael Jackson fans got to hear a new song from the pop icon called “Love Never Felt So Good.” The disco-soul jam, which features Justin Timberlake, will appear on his posthumous album Xscape.

Some of the producers including Timbaland, Rodney Jerkins, and Stargate sat down with Billboard editor Joe Levy to discuss the project, which includes eight unreleased songs originally recorded between 1983 and 1999.

“What drives us is we really want to make a difference and Michael Jackson was the perfect artist who spoke to all of us,” said Epic Records CEO L.A. Reid, who serves as the album’s executive producer. “He tapped us on the shoulder and said, ‘Would you just do me one small favor and remind people that I’m the greatest?’ And we all said yes.”

Timbaland added, “Michael was one of the greatest entertainers. I felt like I had to dig in to a place where it’s deeper than just music.”

Rodney Jerkins, who worked on the title track with MJ, admitted that he was hesitant at first. “I worked with Michael before and I knew what his expectations were, what his standards were,” he said. “Once L.A. played me the music, I was all the way in.”

The behind-the-scenes clip is part of a documentary, which is available on the deluxe edition of Xscape, due May 13.

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May
2
New Music: Michael Jackson & Justin Timberlake – ‘Love Never Felt So Good’

Love Never Felt So Good

The King of Pop continues to bless the world with his timeless music. After receiving its world premiere from Usher at the iHeartRadio Music Awards, the first single off Michael Jackson’s posthumous album Xscape has been released in full.

The ’70s-inspired disco jam, contemporized by Timbaland, was originally written by Jackson and Paul Anka in 1983, but feels just as current today. In addition to the solo version, Justin Timberlake joins his idol on an alternate duet, which takes listeners back to the Off the Wall era.

“Baby, love never felt so good / And I’d die if it ever could / Not like you hold me, hold me,” sings MJ.

Due May 13, Xscape features eight unreleased songs with appearances from Mary J. Blige, D’Angelo, Questlove, and The Time’s Jesse Johnson, plus additional production from Stargate, Jerome “Jroc” Harmon, John McClain, and Rodney Jerkins.

Listen to both versions of MJ’s single below.

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May
1
Usher Premieres New Michael Jackson Single at iHeartRadio Music Awards

Usher

Usher helped world premiere Michael Jackson’s new single “Love Never Felt So Good” at Thursday’s iHeartRadio Music Awards. Following an introduction from Epic Records CEO L.A. Reid, the R&B superstar and an army of talented dancers performed while the song played for the first time.

“Love Never Felt So Good,” written by MJ and Paul Anka, is the first single off the King of Pop’s posthumous album Xscape, due May 13. Justin Timberlake is also featured on an alternate version.

It will make its radio debut on Friday morning.

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