Backbeat: Michael Jackson's 'Immortal' Listening Session; Journos Dance in Their Chairs
Backbeat: Michael Jackson's 'Immortal' Listening Session; Journos Dance in Their Chairs

Epic
Epic Records' Courtney Lowery and Tara Melega welcomed journalists at the NYC Sony Music Office.

Thursday (Oct. 27), Sony Music's Epic Records held a private listening session of Michael Jackson's "Immortal" (Nov. 21). Epic Records Senior Director, Courtney Lowery, and Director, Tara Melega, warmly welcomed journalists into the NYC Sony Music office, including VIBE's Editor-in-Chief Jermaine Hall, VIBE's Music Editor, John Kennedy, Essence's Entertainment Editor, Yolanda Sangweni, Jet Magazine's Senior Editor, Tia Brown, Ebony Magazine's freelance reporter Lyndsay and Billboard.

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"We used 70 songs [of Michael Jackson's] in different ways," Epic Record's Sr. Vice President of A&R and Marketing John Doelp told Billboard.biz before Paul Smeilus of Epic Record's Operations pressed play to a short EPK. The clip included footage from Cirque du Soleil's 'Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour' and album's music engineer, Kevin Antunes, and writer and director of the tour, Jamie King, working together on the project. When Cirque du Soleil asked Jamie King for suggestions on a music engineer for the album, Antunes popped into King's mind.

"Immortal," released via Epic Records in conjunction with the Estate of Michael Jackson, includes remixes and mash-ups of Michael Jackson's classics recordings which were mixed by Antunes (Rihanna, Madonna, Justin Timberlake). Antunes "re-imagined" Jackson's recordings for Cirque du Soleil. "Immortal" will be released as both a deluxe double disc and single disc.

Everyone in yesterday's session danced in their seats as Antunes, who was conferenced in from Florida, walked the attendees down nine tracks, "condensed version," as Melega told attendees, from the album, including:

1."Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'"
2. "Dancing Machine"
3. "This Place Hotel" segment ("Smooth Criminal" and "Dangerous")
4. "Speechless"/"Human Nature"
5. "Thriller"
6. "Beat It"/"State of Shock"
7. "They Don't Care About Us"
8. "I'll Be There"
9. "Immortal Megamix" ("Can You Feel It"/"Don't Stop 'Till You Get Enough"/"Billie Jean"/"Black Or White").

"The most challenging is making sure that you stay true to Michael. I want to make sure that the fans, his family and everyone that was close with him know this is a Michael record," Antunes shares with the group when asked what was the most challenging thing about working on "Immortal."

Antunes continued to speak on how he came across newly discovered outtakes which he intricately mixed in with original recordings. "There's a section in the Jackson 5 medley, during "ABC" where normally when ABC breaks down -- before Michael says 'Shake it, shake it baby' -- when that whole section is playing, we came across another piece that was an outtake. As soon as I played [the outtake] Jessie Jackson leaned over, tapped [me on] my shoulder and said 'Kevin, I remember when we did this. I remember!'"

"Immortal" Deluxe Album Tracklisting:
Deluxe Disc 1:
1. Workin' Day and Night (Immortal Version)
2. The Immortal Intro (Immortal Version)
3. Childhood (Immortal Version)
4. Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' (Immortal Version)
5. Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground) (Immortal Version)
6. Dancing Machine/Blame It On The Boogie (Immortal Version)
7. Ben (Immortal Version)
8. This Place Hotel (Immortal Version)
9. Smooth Criminal (Immortal Version)
10. Dangerous (Immortal Version)
11. The Mime Segment: (I LIke) The Way You Love Me/ Speed Demon/ Another Part of Me (Immortal Version)
12. The Jackson 5 Medley (Immortal Version)
13. Speechless/Human Nature (Immortal Version)
14. Is It Scary/Threatened (Immortal Version)
15. Thriller (Immortal Version)
Deluxe Disc 2
1. You Are Not Alone/I Just Can't Stop Loving You (Immortal Version)
2. Beat It/State of Shock (Immortal Version)
3. Jam (Immortal Version)
4. Planet Erath/Earth Song (Immortal Version)
5. Scream/Little Susie (Immortal Version)
6. Gone Too Soon (Immortal Version)
7. They Don't Care About Us (Immortal Version)
8. Will You Be There (Immortal Version)
9. I'll Be There (Immortal Version)
10. Immortal Megamix: Can You Feel It/Don't Stop 'Till You Get Enough/Billie Jean/Black Or White (Immortal Version)
11. Man In the Mirror (Immortal Version)
12. Remember the Time/Bad (Immortal Version)

"Immortal" Single Album Tracklisting:
1. Workin' Day and Night (Immortal Version)
2. The Immortal Intro (Immortal Version)
3. Childhood (Immortal Version)
4. Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' (Immortal Version)
5. Dancing Machine/Blame It On The Boogie (Immortal Version)
6. This Place Hotel (Immortal Version)
7. Smooth Criminal (Immortal Version)
8. Dangerous (Immortal Version)
9. The Jackson 5 Medley (Immortal Version)
10. Speechless/Human Nature (Immortal Version)
11. Is It Scary/Threatened (Immortal Version)
12. Thriller (Immortal Version)
13. You Are Not Alone/I Just Can't Stop Loving You (Immortal Version)
14. Beat It/State of Shock (Immortal Version)
15. Jam (Immortal Version)
16. Planet Erath/Earth Song (Immortal Version)
17. They Don't Care About Us (Immortal Version)
18. I'll Be There (Immortal Version)
19. Immortal Megamix: Can You Feel It/Don't Stop 'Till You Get Enough/Billie Jean/Black Or White (Immortal Version)
20. Man In the Mirror (Immortal Version)