On May 13, a new posthumous album from Michael Jackson arrives. Dubbed Xscape, the record takes eight vocal demos recorded over his lengthy career and modernizes them with the help of Justin Timberlake, D'Angelo, Questlove, Timbaland and more.
Most of these are polished versions of tracks that have floated around the Internet for years. But if the first song "Love Never Felt So Good" is any indication, the collection will be spit-shined in a way that does his legacy proud and gives fans reasons to salivate.
As you gear up for the release of Xscape, check out these Michael Jackson demos for insight into his recording process. Some have been on official re-releases, some just found their way to our digital world and some were reportedly not good enough to make the final cut. But honestly, all of these are pretty great.
Queen's Freddie Mercury and Michael Jackson were friends in the early '80s and recorded songs together. Surviving Queen member Brian May recently stated their sessions will see the light of day soon, but until then, here's a loose guitar jam called "State of Shock" which has an impressive number of "whoos," "hee-hee's and "yeah, yeahs!"
This early version of "Billie Jean," recorded in 1981 and featured on the 25th anniversary edition of Thriller, is an excellent example of Jackson's vocals in the early steps of a song. The music is all there, but his vocals meander at the beginning before he finally kicks the chorus in.
In 1991, Michael Jackson teamed with LL Cool J for this funky tune called "Serious Effect," which ultimately got scrapped from the final Dangerous track list. It's a lighthearted song that has LL taking it rather easy with his verse—not once did he mention wanting to knock something out.