Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The “Immortal" One

This early into the musical afterlife of Michael Jackson, it’s hard to know how to react to something like “Immortal.” Should we be excited about an officially sanctioned DJ mix/score to the new Cirque du Soleil production of the same name, peppered with odd vocal interludes, weird New Age accents, crazy funk breakdowns and something called “The Mime Segment”? Or should we reserve our enthusiasm for whatever lies in the archive that’s rarer and/or more revealing of our fallen superstar, no doubt waiting in the wings for the next prime-time opportunity?

More precisely: Whose interest is “Immortal” serving? Is the goal to expand Jackson as an artist, an estate, a brand or a visionary?

Big questions out of the way (and unaddressed), “Immortal” is a double-disc mix of Jackson’s hits both as a solo artist and as a member of the Jacksons and the Jackson 5. (It’s also available in a single-disc “highlights” version.) It was compiled and recontextualized by Kevin Antunes in much the same way that George Martin and Giles Martin reworked the Beatles’ catalog for the Cirque production and soundtrack to “Love,” the dance company’s interpretation of the Liverpool band’s oeuvre. “Immortal” is also, at its worst, way cheesier than “Love,” filled with easy-listening strings, spoken-word interludes buried in spooky echo, and curious pacing.

(excerpts from a "Review" by Randall Roberts, L A Times)

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