• Record Label: Epic
  • Release Date: May 13, 2014
Metascore
66

Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 22
  2. Negative: 2 out of 22
Buy Now
Buy on
  1. May 16, 2014
    50
    While those demo versions were almost entirely incomplete, Jackson at least understood and interacted with those arrangements. Instead, we’re left with a record that is, aside from its opener, best described by the withering adjective “inoffensive.”
  2. 60
    His talent survives in these songs. So does its fatal fracture.
  3. May 15, 2014
    41
    It's true that the new versions sound more modern and souped-up than the originals (which you also get if you buy the "deluxe edition" of Xscape), but their producers don't have enough distance from Jackson's presence to reframe his voice the way that, say, Junkie XL's remix of "A Little Less Conversation" reframed Elvis Presley's.
  4. May 14, 2014
    60
    Although rejected by the singer in his lifetime, this is pop, not high art, and it has been handled with considerable care, giving us a glimpse, however illusory, of what this extraordinary talent might actually sound like had he lived.
  5. May 12, 2014
    60
    In the end, Xscape justifies its existence with a handful of potential singles that stand up to Jacko's peerless oeuvre, all of them about love's delirious power.
  6. May 12, 2014
    60
    It's an understandably ad hoc collection that conjures up snatches of wonder from scraps of genius.
  7. 60
    Xscape does polish up these old songs, even if it wipes away some of Jackson’s ideas, like the big-band tango Jackson invoked on the demo of “Blue Gangsta.” And Jackson’s voice--deliberately pushed up front in the mixes--is more vivid, and less processed-sounding, than it was on his later albums.... Yet it’s clear why Jackson shelved the songs on Xscape. They’re near misses, either not quite as striking as what he released or lesser examples of ideas he exploited better elsewhere.
  8. May 9, 2014
    60
    Far better to judge the eight tracks here on their own merit, which, for all their inevitable lack of coherence as a set, serve to remind you why Jackson was once pop's premier genius.
User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 158 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 16 out of 158
  1. May 14, 2014
    7
    MJ's most cohesive and entertaining release since "Dangerous". Some of the re-workings are just as fantastic as the demos and each songMJ's most cohesive and entertaining release since "Dangerous". Some of the re-workings are just as fantastic as the demos and each song sounds as relevant today as it could have been then. Full Review »
  2. Nov 14, 2014
    4
    Xscape was only ok. Jackson is back but not in a good way. I feel like this record was not needed. It's not a total train wreck someXscape was only ok. Jackson is back but not in a good way. I feel like this record was not needed. It's not a total train wreck some highlights being Love never felt so good, Slave to the rhythm and Xscape. Overall I am just not feeling this album. I feel this is lazy, tired, but not terrible. Oh and the song Blue Gangsta god almighty one of the worst songs he's ever produced. Full Review »
  3. Oct 8, 2014
    2
    A timely reminder of how mundane and over-rated Jackson was.

    Bland, unchallenging, light-weight pop songs - over-produced (by an army of
    A timely reminder of how mundane and over-rated Jackson was.

    Bland, unchallenging, light-weight pop songs - over-produced (by an army of producers) to prop-up Jackson's mediocre talent.
    His relationship songs are unconvincing - precisely because he never had a normal one!
    All of his songs are inauthentic - as you'd expect from someone who was never "real".

    The usual mix of sickly ballads and harmless dance tracks.
    The usual limited vocal gimmicks.

    His initial fame I can understand - but his enduring fame is mystifying.
    A triumph of USA-style hype over content!

    The Emperor has no new clothes - and he's dead! But that will of course change nothing for the faithful...
    Full Review »