The wait is over. The first posthumous album of new music from Michael Jackson, Xscape, will come out on May 13th. It contains eight previously unreleased songs that a variety of producers have, to quote Epic Records chairman and CEO and the record’s executive producer L.A. Reid, “contemporized.” A deluxe edition of the album will include the recordings in their original form, with online preorders for the album beginning on April 1st.
Reid went through the Jackson estate’s vaults, which comprise four decades of music, to find songs that had completed vocals. He curated the list of songs and the producers who would work on them to give the tracks a “fresh, contemporary” sound. Timbaland served as the album’s lead producer, and additional producers include Rodney Jerkins, Stargate, Jerome “Jroc” Harmon and John McClain.
“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,” Reid said in a statement. “We are extremely proud and honored to present this music to the world.”
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The executive producer kept with Jackson’s naming convention and titled the album Xscape after a song on the album, as with albums like Thriller, Bad, Dangerous and, Jackson’s final release, Invincible. Jackson wrote and produced the song “Xscape” with Jerkins; it’s the only song on the album that was “contemporized” by the producer who worked on the original track with Jackson.
Jackson’s label, Sony, promises an “unprecedented global campaign” for the album. It has not yet revealed the track list, but promises to share more details about the record in the coming weeks.
Sony struck a deal with the Jackson estate to release 10 albums over a seven-year period in 2010. That same year, an album titled Michael, containing previously unreleased studio recordings, was released amid controversy from Jackson’s brother Randy, who claimed that Michael did not sing on some of its songs. The Jackson estate refuted those claims, according to The New York Times. That same year, a collection of remixes titled Immortal came out to accompany Jackson’s Cirque du Soleil show with the same name. Jackson’s label also issued a digital box set, The Ultimate Fan Extras Collection, in 2013 that contained rare demos and recordings of his hits.