Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Xscape-A Critical Analysis Part 2

 This is the second installment of my two-part analysis of Michael Jackson's posthumous album Xscape. If you missed it, I've already reviewed the first four tacks Over Here. We shall continue with track five.

Slave To The Rhythm

Early 90's Version

 Now this is quite unique and calls for a whole new explanation! Michael clashes theatrics with the club. A tapestric introduction followed by the dancefloor! "Slave To The Rhythm" will harken you back to the turn of the 90's. When inline skating was a way to pick up a date. Had Jackson released this, the dance industry would have been saved from mundanity. If only he remixed his own tracks(like Janet did on one album). Instead he relied on third-party candidates to do the job(mainly after Bad). There's even a story to go along with the beat(unlike most club-bangers today).

 The songs portrays a passive-dependant mother who is practically enslave to her abusive husband. How she yearns to be released from his heavy chains. But for the good of her beloved children she dances to his whims and keeps instep to the rhythm of her hubby's demands. Thus, she's a slave in every sense of the word. Although she might not be literally shackled, this woman is mentally and emotionally bonded with her husbands iron cords of coercion and manipulation. Check it out Right Here(note: these youtube clips alone don't do justice to these tracks. You should have a good pair of headphones in hand)!

1989-91 Edition: 5/5 Stars!

Modern Version

 Timbaland gives the rhythm more of a revolving dance floor vibe with a little extra emphasis on those chains!I was impressed by the amount of thought that went into this remix. But nothing beats the original. Yes the new version is more modern and today-oriented. But I'm sorry, Mikey's version rises above it head and shoulders! You Just can't out-do the raw energy of Michael's vision. The guy knew what he was doing. Go see Timbaland's Take and you'll know what I mean.

New Take: 4.0 Stars!

Do You Know Where Your Children Are

90's Version

 Now this version goes before the 2010 Leak. As with most of his early demos, it is noticeably digitalized. Whereas the latter mix incorporates more live instrumentation. I prefer the finalized edition. Don't get me wrong. The former is also quite enjoyable. But the guitar lick from the other mix just blows me away!

 Two drop-dead gorgeous 12-year-old girls face a broken family with an abusive uncle and an abusive father. So in distraught, they ran away and attempted to go it alone. Only to become allured by a huckster who promises them fame and fortune. Turns out he was a liar and now these girls are caught within the clutches of the porn industry. Don't you think papa should be a wee bit concerned about their missing children? Even giving his lives for these poor girls fettered in sexual slavery. It would seem they did at first. But apathy soon followed suit. Mother and father's storkism has all been but extinguished. The demo can be found Here!

Old Demo: 4.5/5 Stars!

2010 Leak: 5/5 Stars!

New Version

 I thought they did a fair job crafting this remix. Though it loses a lot of it's 90's punch. Why do the beams remind me of Sega Genesis all of a sudden? For the past fifteen years soundboards have been overrated and abused. We need a renaissance of real music! Complete with authentic beats and organic melody. But anyhow, I appreciate that Tim and Roc did not rush this unlike the previous Desaster. Listen to the remix Here.

New Version: 4/5 Stars!

Blue Gangsta

Invincible Mix

 I see 007 written all over this with a hint of the Mafia and Godfather meddled in there. And yes, Jackson did experiment a little with Hip-Hop without being obnoxious. I relish the Italian accordion fuming in the background. But what I like most is Michael's very powerful strung-out emotions portraying a mobster who's conscience is about to go numb.

 This fellow feels immense regret and deep despair. A beautiful girl beckons him turn from the dark side. Yet he has just sworn himself into a high profile gang and has already proved himself by executing an atrocious federal crime. Although the guilt churns sourly within his stomach. He must suppress the pain because there's no turning back now. But try as he might, a feeling of doom continuously envelopes the man. Her glance pierces the very soul of his being. He has no choice but to carry on as "The Blue Gangsta". Check out Michael's version Over Here!

Original Version: 5/5 Stars!

New Version

 They did an outstanding job on the theatrical introduction. Something Michael was very much into. Though once the track kicks in, the beat is too synthetic. But they did add some Latin strings to give it a Mexican tinge. Click Now to try it out!


Michael's Take

 Now this is what I'm talking about! "Xscape" has a powerful backbeat that has become one of Jackson's many signature street rhythms-those sharp timing thuds that defined The History Era. The best part is the bridge in it's highly melodic cue. I bet MJ and Darkchild had a field day with this in the studio.

 The black media has Michael Jackson bound within the confines of yellow journalism. like watchdogs, the Paparazzi make sure they keep him locked up in his cage. Then one day his cell was found empty. Consequentially, the tabloid industry in conjunction with mainstream outlets make an unholy alliance to capture and bring him back behind the bars of sensationalism. Where everyone can break off a piece of the Jackson pie. His death wish is almost prophetic. Go Here and do your ears a favor!

Michael's Version: 6/5 Stars!!!

Timbo Style

 Nothing can outdo the original. And Darkchild's new remix is no exception. Yet they do a good job contemporizing this tune into a Detroit experience-giving it a metropolitan feel. Love it or hate it, Click Here and find out how this compares to the original.

New Version: 4/5 Stars!

In Conclusion

 I am quite satisfied with this record! There might be a few issues that need tweaking here or there. But overall, this project is a vast improvement compared to the Casio bomb. Which turned fan against fan, and fan against estate. I give this album a 4.5 out of 5 stars! Good job guys!

Xscape Album 4.5/5 Stars!

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