It’s hard to believe that in two months, it’ll have been five years since Michael Jackson passed away. The surreal quality of that day and the days that followed are still very present in my mind.

Over the years, there have been a bevy of posthumous releases. The folks at Motown have issued a couple of excellent compilations of the Jackson 5 archive material. As far as the adult MJ solo stuff? Let’s just say that the decisions made seem to have been based more on commerce than preserving a legacy. And none of the posthumous albums has even sold particularly well, so it would seem that there’s been a failure on that front.

Not that it makes a difference: another album of previously unreleased material, called Xscape, will be released on May 13th. It will consist of 8 songs remixed by contemporary producers including Timbaland, Rodney Jerkins and Stargate. A bonus edition of the album will include the original versions of all eight songs. Timbo has been making noise in the press about this for quite some time, and rumors that Justin Bieber was somehow involved have also been circulating for a hot minute.

Admittedly, I will purchase this. Partially because I’d like to have the original versions of the songs included in my collection, and partially because I have this weird compulsion to own everything Jackson-related that comes out. I’m not sure what the sales expectations are, but I’d have to imagine that the law of diminishing returns will come into play commercially if not creatively; but probably creatively too.

A track listing is certainly forthcoming, but you can hear the original version of “Xscape” here.

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