Michael Jackson's 'Xscape' Debuts Two More Tracks: "Blue Gangsta" & "Loving You" — LISTEN

Almost five years after Michael Jackson passed away, he's poised for a comeback. No, it's not an April Fools hoax (though picking that day to start the pre-orders sale does represent some especially poor planning on the PR department's behalf): A number of his never-before-released vocals, dug up from the Jackson estate vaults, have been added to "contemporized" backing tracks by producers such as Timbaland and L.A. Reid, to bring us a total of eight new songs from the King of Pop. This posthumous album, titled Xscape, is due out May 13, but several of its tracks have already been released for public comsumption — including the "Billie Jean"-reminiscent "Chicago" and the Justin Timberlake duet "Love Never Felt So Good." On Thursday, two more previews hit the Internet: "Blue Gangsta" and "Loving You," each its own indicator that this album has an excellent chance of becoming a real success, not just commercially (because who wouldn't shell out for a piece history?), but critically as well.

"Blue Gangsta" is an expansive, ominous track, all minor chords and violins underlaid by a tightly coiled beat — and, most importantly, carried by Jackson's signature vocals, which swing from low-down melodies to raspy falsetto shouts. His performance on this track is especially energetic, a reminder of the passion that made him such a formidable performer.

Then, there's "Loving You," a much smoother ballad — crooning and soulful, its potentially retro sensibilities complemented by a plunking piano intro and synth-brass choral bursts, all jollied along by Timbaland's heavy drums. It's the kind of song you imagine playing on a hazy afternoon, drinks in hand, cares gone the way of stray balloons.

So, put in your pre-orders today — or just let the songs come to you, out of radios and parkside stereos, as Michael Jackson's Xscape may well be the surprise smash hit of the summer.

Image: Epic