Pensacola, Florida
Monday May 21st 2018


Ears & Fingers 5/22/14

By Jason Leger

Michael Jackson-Xscape
In this life, whenever we lose something or someone we love, the loss is followed by a need or a lack.  Oftentimes, rather than allowing ourselves to feel the pain and grief that comes along with loss, we find something or someone to fill the hole we have found ourselves with, or we continue to hold on to what we had that was lost. When it comes to losing larger than life musicians, such as Johnny Cash or Tupac, we cling to what we had and want more and more from it, rather than perhaps finding the way forward that these musicians carved out for us.

Michael Jackson is no exception. He has been dead for roughly five years, and his legacy has now seen two posthumous releases, which would be asking too much from some living artists. For this compilation, Epic Records Chairman L.A. Reid took to the Jackson Vault, found a bevy of unfinished demos from past records, and signed up some of today’s heaviest hip hop producers, not the least of which being Timbaland, to add tracks behind the voice.

This idea sounds great on paper, and it’s actually executed very well. Two standout tracks are ‘Love Never Felt so Good,’ which was co-written by the legendary Paul Anka and the quite contemporary ‘Slave to the Rhythm.’ Here’s the thing: some of these demos stretch all the way back to 1983, and Jackson kept them under wraps for a reason. If he wasn’t happy enough to let them see the light of day while he was alive, what gives us the right to adjust them now that he has no control over them? While it is nice to still be able to enjoy the legendary talent of The King of Pop, we are stripping his legacy of some of the mystery surrounding it. At this point, he has no say over it. That said, this is still a Michael Jackson album with great collaborations and the voice we grew up with, so give it a listen, and if you feel so inclined, buy a copy to help put Blanket through school. “Xscape” is out now via Epic Records.

Chromeo-White Women
It’s been a decade since Chromeo released “She’s In Control,” and for all accounts and purposes, the duo hasn’t lost a step. For their fourth full length, “White Women,” they decided to slow burn the process. Lead single ‘Over Your Shoulder’ came out way back in October, followed by ‘Come Alive’ in January, and most recently, ‘Jealous (I Ain’t With It)’ just last month. Now here we are in May, finally with a finished product on our hands. Personally, the wait has been more than justified. Flying on the backs of those three brilliant singles and several other impressive tracks, as well as high-brow cameos including Toro Y Moi, Ezra Koenig from Vampire Weekend, and Solange, this album is the catchiest I’ve heard this year so far. I will happily give the LP the title of the album of the summer, as it will provide the perfect soundtrack for sunny beach days. Pick it up today, thank me tomorrow. “White Women” is out now via Atlantic Records.

Track of the Week: Looks-Everest
They haven’t released anything yet. There is very little information about them online. Their website is very vague. Yet, London trio Looks have caught me in a big way this past week. Equal parts Grizzly Bear, Foals and Yeasayer, their track ‘Everest’ will aggressively put its hooks into you. Check out the song on the band’s Soundcloud page.