There’s a “new” Michael Jackson album. Eight songs have been “contemporized” by a group of producers including Timbaland and one of Jackson’s executors, John McClain. But so far there’s no song list. And no one contacted Jackson’s long time engineer, Bruce Swedien.
I spoke to Swedien today and he had no idea the project was happening at all. So it will be interesting to see what these eight songs are.Five years ago when Michael Jackson died, Swedien told me that he didn’t think there was much unreleased material to be mined. Last year, when “Bad 25” appeared, a whole CD of lost songs was included. The songs included the ones Swedien did recall, like “Don’t Be Messin’ Around.” But that would have tapped out the inventory.
Of course, there are still more songs that Jackson recorded with Eddie Cascio. But that project was so mishandled that his hardcore fans refused to believe they were made by Michael himself. (They were, but that’s another story.)
“Contemporized” sounds a little like “colorized” used to be for movies when studios started messing with classic black and white films. So everyone will brace themselves for “Xscape,” with new debates to follow. If Michael’s well loved classics have had a lot of sonic fiddling, the noise will be endless.