Quincy Jones is not thrilled about Xscape, the posthumous compilation of new Michael Jackson songs that L.A. Reid recently released. “They’re trying to make money, and I understand it,” he recently told CBC Radio. “Everybody’s after money, the estate, the lawyers. It’s about money.” But regardless of his opinion, Jones – who coproduced Jackson’s best-selling records Off the Wall, Thriller and Bad – added, “It’s not my business anymore.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Jones crankily answered a question about what he learned from working with Jackson on three game-changing albums. “What am I gonna learn from Michael?” he said. “I don’t wanna be singing and dancing. I didn’t ask him about anything. We told him what songs he was gonna sing. A producer has to do that.”
The tracks on Xscape cull from the Jackson estate’s archives, which Reid combed for standout tracks. He then charged a variety of producers, including Timbaland, Rodney Jerkins and Jerome “Jroc” Harmon, among others, to “contemporize” the recordings. The lead single, “Love Never Felt So Good,” for instance, comes from a 1983 session with singer-songwriter Paul Anka; the new version features Justin Timberlake and a modern disco beat. A deluxe edition of the album features a second disc of the original versions of the songs.
Ultimately, the album was not the runaway success the label was banking on. It debuted at Number Two on the Top 200, just behind the Black Keys’ Turn Blue. Jackson’s album sold 156,000 copies, nearly 7,000 copies behind Turn Blue.
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Jackson’s record label recently promoted Xscape at the Billboard Music Awards with a hologram of the pop singer performing “Slave to the Rhythm,” a performance dubbed “Worst Misuse of a Pop Icon,” in our best and worst moments from the show.