Re: List of Michael's Unreleased Material
There's one aspect about the tracklist of Xscape that makes me think: All of the rumored tracks (minus Chicago) have been considered for the last album, too. Why are there no new candidates for this new album, like BB/MP tracks or Invicible outtakes for example? I'm not complaining about the tracklist for Xscape, I'm just curious about the motivation behind it. I can think of some possible explanations:
- Those songs are all very good and may sound rather coherent
But I'm still not sure about LNFSG. Will this Thriller era-vocal song fit in? I'm sure they could have used more recent ballad-like songs if coherence was top-priority.
- They don't have access to more songs
Well, we know there are many songs the Estate doesn't control (like Will.I.Ams stuff and RedOnes). But I don't believe that all of the more or less recent and finished songs in the Estate's possession have been released by now. They didn't even ask MP/BB for recent songs for this album, so these songs are still out there for future albums.
- They wanted to get rid of most leaks
This might be a one of the reasons for using those songs. Now most leaked songs with finished vocals and chances for chart-success have been released. And by using this very songs and not considering new tracks for this album, there won't be any leaks of previously unknown songs this time. Thus, a third album of unreleased stuff in the distant future will most likely consist of surprises.
What do you think?
Very good points.
To begin, I want to note that any song that Michael wrote and produced alone (i.e., Much Too Soon, Do You Know Where Your Children Are) could be released at any time: as owners of his estate, Branca and McClain own these songs and can do what they want with them. The issue lies whenever they want to use a song that was cowritten/coproduced with anyone else (i.e., the will.i.am/RedOne tracks, Hollywood Tonight), because they now need to gain the permission of the cowriter/coproducer. This is the primary reason why nothing Michael recorded with Quincy Jones showed up on Bad 25
, and none of will.i.am's collaborations have been released. (RedOne is still open to releasing his songs provided the estate donates the money to charity, but they have yet to agree on anything.)
As of this writing, the estate has more than enough material to last them several years. As Joe Vogel testified, there are between 30-40 finished/nearly finished songs, and over 100 songs that are partially finished. In the latter category, there could easily be several dozen tracks that have just enough vocals to be formed into a full song. (Hollywood Tonight was only about 60% complete when it was released.)
It wasn't a matter of a lack of songs or cohesiveness as much as it was being afraid to make another mistake. They are well aware that fans want an album that does right by Michael and serves his memory correctly, and they didn't want to risk screwing it up again. So they sifted through the leaked songs and picked those that seemed to see the most acclaim from fans (Escape, Do You Know Where Your Children Are, Slave to the Rhythm, A Place With No Name, Blue Gangsta); threw on Love Never Felt So Good, which McClain is majorly fond of and wanted on Michael
; and reviewed a number of songs that Michael was either working on or planned to work on during his final years, She Was Loving Me being one of them. But undoubtedly this was also just a way to rid the vault of leaks, as your third point states.
According to what I've heard, the estate is considering releasing one more album in 2017 to properly complete the Sony contract with a bang depending on how successful Xscape
is. (Don't take my word as law, though; anything could change.) Odds are, that one will consist of primarily unheard material, given that almost all of the best leaks are about to be released.