- Audio CD (May 13, 2014)
- Deluxe Edition edition
- Original Release Date: May 13, 2014
- Number of Discs: 2
- Format: Deluxe Edition
- Label: Legacy
- Run Time: 111 minutes
- ASIN: B00JDB4PEY
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (961 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,979 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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Bonus DVD Includes:
- XSCAPE Documentary (L.A. Reid and the producers discuss their experiences on this project)
- XSCAPE Documentary Outtakes
- Exclusive Mr. Brainwash poster – Michael Jackson was an early admirer of Mr. Brainwash and they became friends. Now he has created an original piece of art which has been included as a poster with the CD version.
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Top Customer Reviews
I have to hand it to L.A. Reid and Timbaland, who executive-produced the album with Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins, Jerome Harmon, Stargate and John McClane... These musical archeologists unearthed some excellent material to modernize. They pay the utmost respect to Jackson in the way each track is produced. It sounds like a Jackson album... and that says a lot. You won't find weird remixes with the artist of the week making guest appearances here... just carefully excavated Michael Jackson.
Giving Justin Timberlake a chance to sing an alternate version of "Love Never Felt So Good" was also a stroke of genius. JT gets his chance to realize a missed opportunity and the track will surely introduce a new set of ears to Jackson's music along the way.
By including the original archival tracks on the deluxe edition, Timbaland and his team give validity to everything that was produced posthumously. Nothing is overproduced... just enhanced.
Finally, thanks to Michael Jackson for the source material and thank you to the producers of this album. The love and respect put into the production of this release has brought legitimacy back to the MJ franchise.
Somewhere Mike is tipping his hat...
8 songs have been picked (though ardent fans would have heard 6 of them in some form or the other) and sensitively and lovingly worked on by a team of producers including Darkchild, Timbaland and Stargate. One should ideally get the deluxe edition which comprises the 8 touched up songs, the 8 songs as they appeared originally, and a bonus track. This allows one to compare and also decide which version you prefer.
Opening is "Love Never Felt So Good", a bouncy retro Soul/Disco jam that sounds like it fell off the "Off The Wall" album, very "Rock With You". The original version is a lovely stripped ballad with just piano and finger snaps backing the exhilarating vocals. The bonus cut is yet another version which is a duet with Justin Timberlake and has a lovely beat box bridge and some extra harmonising. The album's highlight and already a top 20 hit on the Billboard hot 100, his first since "Butterflies".
"Chicago" is a midtempo groove with dramatic strings (the strings remind me of "Billie Jean"), while the original is a lilting string-swathed ballad that sounds like it could be from some movie soundtrack. "Loving You" is a sweet swaying ballad with hard hitting beats while the original has a soothing feel and softer beats.
Rhythmically "A Place With No Name" reminds one of "Leave Me Alone" or "The Way You Make Me Feel", with mysterious story-telling lyrics (borrowed from the America song "A Horse With No Name") set to a dark ominous riff and a swinging beat. The original is an acoustic bouncy ballad. "Slave To The Rhythm" sounds closer to his latter sound on albums like "Blood On The Dancefloor" or "Invincible", while the original sounds softer.
"Do You Know Where Your Children Are" is an ambitious piece with a deep distinctive riff, smidgens of electric guitar, lyrics about a sexually abused girl, (bound to be controversial) and some vocalising reminiscent of "Wanna Be Starting Something" as the song ends. The original isn't as rhythmic.
"Blue Gangsta" sounds sparer than the futuristic original which trumps the reworked version, in my opinion. Closing is the title track "Xscape", a funky horn-peppered joint reminiscent of songs like "Jam" or "Dangerous" with Jackson's vocals alternating between lower growl and upper register. Again, here I prefer the original which sounds uncluttered and smoother. This was apparently the most recent recording, recorded during the "Invincible" sessions.
I feel the producers largely captured Jackson's vision, but then that's just my opinion. What can't be denied is that I enjoy it and it makes me want to dance.
The Voice is a TV show based solely on an artist's voice. Well, Michael isn't here to support or promote this album, so his voice alone is the driving force. It's shocking how alive he seems in these songs; as if he could reach out and touch you, and he does, with his vocals alone. The thought of songs this good being Michael's discards just makes me giggle.
Michael's vocals in Slave To The Rhythm are ferocious. Hearing him again is like a warm comfy blanket. He's back. He's as brilliant as ever. And he is missed, yet right here in my ears with a new beat once again. I don't mind that Michael's originals were remixed by producers today. Many of them worked with him on the originals, and they seemed to try and tie everything together with the right spirit.
There's a great article in Billboard called Bringing Michael Back that tells a very clear back-story on how this album came together. And there's some great videos on YouTube, one with Paul Anka telling a great story about how he worked with Michael. I believe these videos are all part of a behind the scenes documentary that is available. Those clips aren't on the Deluxe version I got. But I wanted to buy direct from Michael's website because they let you have the album a day before everyone else. I'll get those videos another way; probably YouTube.
I liked the last posthumous album, Michael. Yes it was a little juvenile and not as sophisticated as A side Michael, but it was a great album and Michael's vocals are always stellar. But Xscape is head and shoulders above that album. The songs are so strong, and I personally am jumping back and forth between Michel's originals and the new mixes. These are no B side tracks. These are great songs by an artist that was so good, he had the luxury of shelving them because everything he does is so strong.
Masterful. I hope it wins awards and goes number #1 and all that good stuff. Not out of sentiment, but because this is worthy material. Only a true great can come back after 5 years and still stir the air and uplift one's spirit in an instant. Xscape does just that for me. Love it. A more than worthy posthumous album.