The announcement of the album was full of unfortunate portent: There was the kind of dumb title (Xscape), the fact that it would consist of unfinished tracks “contemporized” by producers like Timbaland and Rodney Jerkins, the rumor that it would contain a song called “Do You Know Where Your Children Are?” that is about child prostitution — and the fact that most of the stuff that made it onto Jackson’s latter-day albums weren’t all that great (so how good could the leftovers be)?
With all that in mind, expectations are remarkably low for Xscape, which is probably why the just-released title track is a semi-pleasant surprise. It’s not going to hold a candle to anything from Thriller, but it could have fit in the upper third of Invincible. The tune is surprisingly spry and finds Jackson dipping more into the guttural register he tended to use on his more “tough” songs, and it’s not a bad beat.
The other refreshing thing is that it sounds like a Michael Jackson song, albeit a pretty pedestrian one. The idea of grafting new sounds onto existing Jackson tracks is pretty ghoulish, but outside of the fact that the drums sound pretty huge, “Xscape” doesn’t have too many traces of Timbaland’s fingerprints (or, you know, dubstep drops or something).
Xscape will be in stores on May 13 and will feature production assistance from Timbaland, Rodney Jerkins, Stargate, Jerome “JRoc” Harmon, and John McClain.
What do you think of “Xscape”? What Jackson album do you think it would fit on best? It’s Dangerous, right? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.