On Monday evening, an animated teaser featuring black cats, a spider web, and other spooky imagery arrived on Michael Jackson’s official social media platforms, teasing the release of a project entitled Scream. Today, the details have been confirmed for this new 14-track collection. Scream, bringing together some of the late King of Pop’s darkest songs, will arrive from Epic and Legacy on September 29, giving listeners a month-plus to savor it in the build-up to one of Jackson’s favorite holidays, Halloween.
Naturally, any collection of eerie Jackson material wouldn’t be complete without “Thriller,” but Scream goes back even further to open with The Jacksons’ “This Place Hotel” (originally “Heartbreak Hotel”) from the brothers’ 1981 Epic album Triumph. Though his brothers contributed percussion, and Tito played a guitar solo, “This Place Hotel” is largely a Michael Jackson solo track – written, arranged, composed, and sung by the artist. Another Jacksons track, “Torture,” has been culled from their 1984 album Victory. Written by Jackie Jackson and Motown veteran Kathy Wakefield, it features Michael sharing lead vocals with his brother Jermaine, who had only just rejoined the group. Though the lyrics refer to the torture of a romantic break-up, the offbeat music video was decidedly in more of a horror vein. Also from 1984 is “Somebody’s Watching Me” from Kennedy William Gordy, a.k.a. Rockwell. The Motown scion (and nephew of label founder Berry Gordy) welcomed Michael on chorus vocals, likely a major factor in propelling the paranoia-laced song to No. 2 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. Like “Torture,” it received a horror-themed music video, ensuring its popularity to this day around Halloween.
Jackson’s post-Thriller albums are represented, with “Dirty Diana” and “Leave Me Alone” from 1987’s Bad; the title track of 1991’s Dangerous; “Unbreakable” and “Threatened” from 2001’s Invincible; and “Xscape” from the posthumously-released 2014 album of the same name. Naturally, Scream takes its own title from the memorable Janet Jackson duet which premiered on the chart-topping HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I (1995) and was pointedly aimed at the tabloid media. Two further songs here have been reprised from the HIStory follow-up, 1997’s Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix (“Blood on the Dance Floor” and “Ghosts”). A new mash-up of “Blood on the Dance Floor” and “Dangerous” (with elements of “This Place Hotel,” “Leave Me Alone” and HIStory album cut “Is It Scary”) concludes this collection.
If you’re ready to Scream along to some of Michael Jackson’s darkest and most harrowing – if still irresistibly floor-filling – songs, it will be available on both CD from Epic/Legacy on September 29, with a glow-in-the-dark double vinyl package released October 27 – just in time for the witching hour! Pre-order links can be found below!
Michael Jackson, Scream (Epic/Legacy, 2017)
- This Place Hotel – The Jacksons
- Thriller – Michael Jackson
- Blood On The Dance Floor – Michael Jackson
- Somebody’s Watching Me – Rockwell
- Dirty Diana – Michael Jackson
- Torture – The Jacksons
- Leave Me Alone – Michael Jackson
- Scream – Michael Jackson
- Dangerous – Michael Jackson
- Unbreakable – Michael Jackson
- Xscape – Michael Jackson
- Threatened – Michael Jackson
- Ghosts – Michael Jackson
- Blood On The Dance Floor X Dangerous (The White Panda Mash-Up)
Track 1 from Triumph (Epic, 1981)
Track 2 from Thriller (Epic, 1982)
Tracks 3 and 13 from Blood On The Dance Floor: HIStory In The Mix (MJJ/Epic, 1997)
Track 4 from Somebody’s Watching Me (Motown, 1984)
Tracks 5 and 7 from Bad (Epic, 1987)
Track 6 from Victory (Epic, 1984)
Track 8 from HIStory: Past, Present and Future–Book I (MJJ/Epic, 1995)
Track 9 from Dangerous (MJJ/Epic, 1991)
Tracks 10 and 12 from Invincible (MJJ/Epic, 1991)
Track 11 from Xscape (MJJ/Epic, 2014)