By Todd Martens
Los Angeles Times
LOS ANGELES: A new album will once again offer fans a glimpse as to what music lies inside the Michael Jackson vaults. On May 13, Sony’s Epic Records will release “Xscape,” a collection of eight, previously unreleased Jackson songs.
The album was executive produced by Epic Records Chairman/CEO L.A. Reid, who, according to a Sony press release, curated the album and decided on its final tracklist. A host of recognizable producers worked on the Jackson songs, including the project’s lead producer, Timbaland.
The final eight songs were chosen after apparently combing through four decades of material. All the songs on “Xscape” feature completed Jackson vocals, according to the release, but they were retooled. Reid, in the statement, prefers the word “contemporizing,” noting that producers did not treat the material as sacrosanct.
“Michael left behind some musical performances that we take great pride in presenting through the vision of music producers that he either worked directly with or expressed strong desire to work with. We are extremely proud and honored to present this music to the world,” Reid said in the statement.
Those who prefer to hear the material as Jackson, who died in 2009, left it on the cutting room floor can pay extra for the deluxe edition of “Xscape,” which will also include the eight songs in the original form. The albums will be available for preorder starting Tuesday, and a full tracklist has not yet been revealed.
The title track was said to be written by Jackson and producer Rodney Jerkins, who worked with Jackson on his 2001 album “Invincible.” “It is,” according to the announcement, “the one track on the album that was ’contemporized’ by the producer who recorded it originally in the studio with Michael.”
Other producers on the album include the Stargate team (Rihanna), Timbaland pal Jerome “J-Roc” Harmon (Beyonce) and veteran industry executive John McClain. Epic in 2010 released the posthumous Jackson collection “Michael,” an album that featured the “Hold My Hand” duet with Akon.