Justin Timberlake emulates Michael Jackson‘s swagger in the video for their Xscape duet “Love Never Felt So Good,” which also features a number of young dancers recreating scenes from some of Jackson’s most famous videos. They climb on subway turnstiles à la “Bad,” mount pool tables the way he did in “Beat It” and slink across a lit sidewalk in homage to “Billie Jean.”
As the lead single off Xscape, “Love Never Felt So Good” was the first taste of how executive producer Antonio “L.A.” Reid “contemporized” previously unheard songs from Jackson’s catalog for the release. Jackson had originally co-wrote, co-produced and recorded the track with Paul Anka (“Put Your Head on My Shoulder,” “She’s a Lady,” “My Way”) in 1983, the year after Thriller came out. Although that recording had languished in a vault for three decades, it got some new life when Johnny Mathis recorded a version in 1984. But for Xscape, Reid charged John McClain – the co-executor of Jackson’s estate – with putting a modern spin on the track and bringing in Timberlake.
Xscape also features reworkings of unused Jackson recordings by Timbaland, Rodney Jerkins, Stargate and Jerome “Jroc” Harmon; the Timbaland-led “Chicago,” which was recorded during Jackson’s Invincible sessions, surfaced online last week but has since been removed. The tracks “Blue Gangsta” and “Loving You” have both come online, as well. When the album hits stands on May 13th, it will be available in two configurations – one that contains the modernized versions of the song and a deluxe version with a second disc of Jackson’s original recordings.