A Place With No Name

Album: Xscape (2014)
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  • This song was first conceived in 1998 by Elliot Straite, a New Jack Swing producer who goes by the name "Dr. Freeze." Straite knew Michael Jackson's manager at the time, John McClain, and was given an opportunity to work with the King of Pop. This was one of three songs they collaborated on. "I did all the music, and he only had to learn the lyrics," Straite said. "'A Place With No Name' is itself a kind of escape, a song where you just close your eyes to find yourself instantly transported into a wonderful world."
  • Three weeks after Michael Jackson's death on June 25, 2009, TMZ.com obtained a 24-second snippet of this previously unreleased song and put it onto the Internet. A full version was later reworked by the Norwegian production team Stargate, known for their hits with Ne-Yo, Rihanna and Katy Perry, for Jackson's second posthumous album Xscape.
  • Stargate's Mikkel Eriksen recalled to Billboard magazine that Jackson was a fan of their songs for Ne-Yo (they included his 2005 chart-topper "So Sick") and he met with them at the Midtown Manhattan Chinese restaurant Mr. K's to discuss future projects. "Just the two of us, and managers, and Blanket was there as well," he said. "Down in the basement."
  • The song's melody and lyrics resembles America's 1972 single "A Horse With No Name." Straite admitted the song was inspired by the seventies hit. "The lyrics of this song are very deep. I wanted to refresh it, make a version for the 2000s as well," he said. "The group America loved the idea. They found this 'update' absolutely terrific. They were really excited about this project."
  • This wasn't the only time a member of the Jackson family borrowed from the work of America. Janet Jackson's 2001 hit single "Someone To Call My Lover" sampled "Ventura Highway."
  • The song's music video was helmed by director Samuel Bayer (Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit," Blind Melon's "No Rain," Justin Timberlake's "What Goes Around... Comes Around"). The clip mixes shots of a photogenic pair's dance routine and driving a Jeep through a desert with outtakes and behind-the-scenes footage Jackson originally filmed for his 1992 "In The Closet" mini-movie.

    According to Jackson's official website, the clip closely adapts the song's narrative: "A man is enticed into a magical place by a mysterious woman. This Utopian world is one where no one is in fear and no people have pain."

    The video premiered worldwide exclusively on the late icon's Twitter account on August 13, 2014, marking the first time the social media site has ever premiered a music clip.


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