Despite Jermaine Jackson's disappointment, the album is a hit with critics.
Michael Jackson’s posthumously released album of previously unheard songs is just falling into the hands of critics. It’s the first posthumous album, released by Epic Records, under the guidance of LA Reid himself. As such, a team of high-profile producers, including Timbaland, Stargate and Cory Rooney, was hired to work on the songs, which Reid rescued from the “Jackson vaults.”
Xscape is predicted to be the bestselling album of 2014.
One possible collaboration, however, was notably overlooked. The Jackson Five don’t feature on the album at all – not even as solo artists. According to TMZ, Jermaine Jackson in particular is a bit peeved by the oversight.
When confronted by TMZ about the album, Jermaine said: “Hey, Timbaland could have been me. Original Jackson Five, back together on record. What was wrong with that?”
But Jackson remained civil throughout the encounter, saying: “And I love Timbaland, by the way. Nothing against Timbaland. But that could have been us.”
But it seems like the album is faring well enough without the Jackson siblings’ involvement. Billboard gives the “strange project” an overwhelmingly positive score of 90, citing the focus on Jackson’s voice instead of the production – “his smooth ecstasy and pained grit; his swoops, pops, shouts and grunts; those moments when he's overcome by emotion, or breaking free of all restraint and gravity.”
TIME’s review gives a little more background on the album’s convoluted history and questions the motivations of Epic Records and the estate, but for the most part acknowledges Xscape as a sincere, highly revealing collection of Jackson’s work. “. After all – possibly for the first time in Posthumous Jackson history – there’s enough music to speak for itself,” the review says.