"Don't have a place to run, but there's no need to hide," Michael Jackson growls in the title track off of Xscape, an eight-song album of the King of Pop's unreleased vocals reworked over new music that drops on May 13. "I've got to find a place, so I won't hide away/ Xscape."
Premiering today on MichaelJackson.mtv.com, "Xscape" expresses the same kind of frustration found in "Scream," even though the production echoes every era from Off The Wall to Invincible. A man who inhabited a truly incomprehensibly difficult place in the world, the "Blue Gangsta" singer sounds like he didn't want to erase himself, just live an unwatched, normal existence from time to time.
Although the "Xscape" vocals were recorded between 1999 and 2001, producer Rodney Jerkins (aka Darkchild) told Billboard that the sound of the music was ever-evolving. Jackson was so dedicated to pioneering that next sound, that he even once sent Jerkins to a junkyard with a DAT recorder.
"[I'd] start hitting stuff and was like, 'Wow, that could fit in a song. That could go with the kick.'" Jerkins continues: "After awhile, the sounds started coming to life, and it was all of those moments of him constantly challenging for that next thing."
While "Xscape" is still true to Jackson's legacy, it sounds like Jerkins has finally found that next thing.
+ Listen to Michael Jackson's "Xscape" at MichaelJackson.mtv.com.
GIF credit: Gavin Alaoen/MTV