Michael Jackson’s final years were marked by hubris, morally dubious behaviour and exhaustion.
Giving that life a zombie extension with a second posthumous album of out-takes, “contemporised” by current producers, seems an awful idea.
It turns out to be a mediocre one.
“Love Never Felt So Good”, a 1983 Paul Anka co-write, sweeps in on lush Philly strings, while never suggesting it should have been added to Thriller.
The boy-man who supposedly never grew up is elsewhere haunted by adult concerns. “Xscape” finds him spied on, resentful and judged. On “Slave to the Rhythm”, his voice flutters like a trapped bird.
His talent survives in these songs. So does its fatal fracture.
Download: Love Never Felt So Good, A Place With No Name, Xscape, Do You Know Where Your Children Are