Recently, Epic Records released Xscape, which is essentially a compilation album containing around 34 minutes of unreleased material from the deceased pop megastar Michael Jackson. Supposedly, the main purpose of this album is to contemporize the Michael Jackson sound. This is all well and good, except for the fact that the marketing campaign is acting as though he’s risen from the dead to record another album.
This isn’t even the newest compilation of unreleased material. In 2010, there was another album, simply titled “Michael”, which contained other unreleased songs from the late king of pop. The only difference is that I didn’t hear a lot of hype surrounding that album back in 2010, at least not compared to the hype Xscape has gotten this year.
If that’s not enough, they apparently got a hologram of Michael Jackson to appear on stage at the Billboard Music Awards ceremony. Naturally, the fans were divided over what to think of this hologrammatic monstrosity. Some loved it, others were freaked out by the very idea.
Amazingly enough, Jacko isn’t the celebrity to be reanimated this way. They’ve actually managed to make holograms of Tupac Shakur, Frank Sinatra, and even Elvis Presley. The difference is that Tupac, Sinatra, and Elvis have all been dead for years before this technology could be perfected. Michael Jackson, on the other hand, has only been dead for the better part of five years now, and apparently people miss him enough to make a hologram.
If this technology is being perfected, then who knows how long it will be before we take exploiting dead celebrities to a whole new level. Imagine if, at a Queen tribute concert, they got a hologram of Freddie Mercury to perform live. That would be both awesome and horrifying.
I don’t think they’re going to stop there. Imagine if they could create holograms of dead artists, and use them to record posthumous albums featuring new material? Of course, hologram technology hasn’t developed that far yet, but if that were possible, there’s no telling what kind of plans record companies would have for them.
What if, in about a hundred or so years from now, we’ll start seeing an industry of dead celebrities, which involves holograms of dead celebrities? That might not be possible, but then again, there are plenty of things we though were impossible, but we eventually made them possible.
I know Michael Jackson was a talented musician, even if his music isn’t my style, but if we’re willing to make a hologram just to see him again, then our priorities are quite skewed. I honestly hope that Epic isn’t insulting our collective intelligence. After all, we all know that Michael Jackson is dead, and that no amount of hype and hologram tours can make us think otherwise.