The Stories Behind Michael Jackson's "Xscape" Songs

How classic tracks - going back 30 years - and modern production made the King of Pop come back to life.

1. "Love Never Felt So Good"

Demoed in 1983 with co-writer Paul Anka at the piano, the track was finished by John McClain, co-executor of the Jackson estate. Because the vocal and piano were on the same track, the piano remains prominent on the "Xscape" version.

2. "Chicago"

Reid says Timbaland's version of this 1999 track makes clear that "Xscape" is a headphone album. "The beauty [of it] is the sounds that you don't hear out front. It's those ambient sounds."

3. "Loving You"

The original was produced by Jackson in his Encino home studio during the "Bad" sessions. "It showed me [that] Michael [was] fishing around to find the right next producer besides Quincy Jones," says Timbaland.

4. "A Place With No Name"

Jackson rewrote the lyrics to America's 1972 hit "Horse With No Name" and recorded it in 1998 with "Invincible" producer Dr. Freeze. Stargate was with Dewey Bunnell, the writer of "Horse With No Name," at a listening party when he heard the update. "We're about a minute and 30 in and we told him, 'This is your song in case you didn't recognize it,' " says Stargate's Hermansen. "He seemed happy. He was dancing and clapping."

5. "Slave to the Rhythm"

Reid and Edmonds worked on this track in 1989 for "Dangerous." "It never quite measured up," says Reid, who adds that Timbaland and J-Roc's revision makes "Michael sound like he was dancing when he did it."

6. "Do You Know Where Your Children Are"

Jackson first recorded this message song - about a girl who ends up on the street - during the "Bad" sessions, then returned to it during Dangerous. Reid terms the original "a little polite" and says Timbaland and J-Roc's new version "caught the anger in it."

7. "Blue Gangsta"

Another 1999 track produced by Dr. Freeze, this gets a makeover from Timbaland that turns it into an epic. "I don't talk cocky," says Timbaland of his production, "but I'm a bad man."

8. "Xscape"

Jerkins worked on this track with Jackson from 1999 to 2001. When he returned to it recently, he had a conversation in his head with Jackson. "I'm going to have to convince him about this 808 [drum machine]. Michael's going to say it's too muddy. But I'm telling him, 'You don't want to be soft on the radio or soft in the clubs.' " 


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