News flash. The posthumous dead musician hologram thing was cool once! Yup, that’s right. One time. It was in 2012 at Coachella, and history was made when during Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg’s epic headlining performance, Tupac Shakur rose from the dead. Well, he actually didn’t rise from the dead, but history was definitely made when Hologram USA and Musion Das Hologram Ltd created a hologram of Tupac Shakur to appear during Dre and Snoop’s set. The crowd went bananas. I was there. My jaw dropped. For a hot second everyone looked around and said, was that really Tupac? Of course it wasn’t but the hologram proved to be a genius idea and creation. The performance at Coachella made news worldwide, and created the possibility to see some of the most loved musicians of our time alive again to entertain us all again.
Last night, the world was introduced to hologramming again, when at the 2014 Bilboard Music Awards, the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson was brought back to life by the same company who resurrected Tupac in the desert in California, for a buzz worthy performance of a new track, “Slave to the Rhythm,” off Jackson’s recently released posthumous album, Xscape. Yes the performance was one of the highlights of the program, but it made me think, are we really going there again? Michael Jackson is one of the greatest entertainers of all time. He is a musical icon whose achievements and contributions to music will never be duplicated again. Can’t we just leave it at that? Can’t we leave his extremely impressive musical legacy alone? It’s bad enough when record companies and the estates of these fallen stars seek to profit off the death of a very talented individual. I haven’t given enough of a listen to Xscape yet to determine if I even like the record or I feel bad for Jackson that this new collection of music has seen the light of day, even though he may not have wanted it too. There is a reason why certain material an artist makes never sees the light of day. Either they personally don’t like it or feel comfortable with that material being released, or specific songs don’t flow with the vibe of a particular album. For what could be an endless amount of reasons why Michael Jackson worked on those specific songs at various times throughout his career, he wasn’t ready to release them to the public. I can understand why LA Reid, one of the most successful producers of R&B music of my generation, would want to release these rare musical moments from Michael to the public, but does that really due justice to the artist that is Michael Jackson? Would Michael have released this stuff on his own? It’s been five years since Jackson passed. His more recent work wasn’t a slam dunk with audiences before he passed. Michael Jackson, who dominated 80’s and 90’s pop music like no other artist, struggled to find his right place in the current hip hop and R&B landscape that was dominated by younger and fresher talent. Alot of the songs on Xscape just sound outdated. And just because you throw Justin Timberlake on a track doesn’t mean it’s going to be good. And I’m not knocking “Love Never Felt So Good,” but the song sounds like it should have came out a long time ago.
So maybe I am just being a crumedgedon about this whole thing. But I didn’t like the performance. I think it’s just way too hard to replicate the real Michael Jackson. Michael was wearing outdated clothes. He looked like he had on an outfit from the “Remember the Time” video. And he looked like the Michael stuck between the “Bad” and “Dangerous” albums, which is a very old Michael Jackson, and not even close to the best Jackson to even consider bringing back to life. I don’t like the song “Slave to the Rhythm.” The song sounds very outdated and I feel like Michael Jackson deserves more than a cheesy moment meant to set the Twitter universe on fire. I believe that we should let Michael rest in peace and not shove down people’s throats music or moments that Michael himself may have not been proud of. Posthumous albums are never really good. Tupac and Biggie’s posthumous albums were both disappointments, so were albums by Michael Hutchence, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopez, George Harrison, and Gerald Levert. The only posthumous album that I can remember liking, that was of great quality was Nirvana’s Unplugged Live from New York, released eight years after Cobain’s death in 1994. My feelings won’t change about Michael Jackson’s recently released Xscape album. When I think about Michael Jackson I think about “Human Nature,” and “Don’t Stop Until You Get Enough” and the pure essence and beauty of the songs from Off the Wall and Thriller or how he stepped on to a Grammy’s stage and moonwalked into our hearts and minds with a blistering performance of “Billie Jean.” That to me is classic Michael. That is the real deal. I don’t need to see another hologram performance of a fallen icon, because that is not reality to me . We need to let the best musicians who are no longer with us rest peacefully. We can remember them by listening to their amazing music or watching historic performances from their pasts. It’s nice to throw on an old cassette or record and recapture that magic from time to time. But these super techy reincarnations just don’t add up for me. As far as im concerned, Tupac only rose from the dead once and that was at Coachella. It’s just not that cool if everyone else can do it too.