REVIEW: “A Place With No Name” music video + Michael Jackson-themed So You Think You Can Dance episode airs

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Today marks the worldwide premiere of the music video for “A Place With No Name” – the latest Michael Jackson single from Epic Records and their ‘XSCAPE’ album.

The video – set to an edited down version of Stargate’s “A Place With No Name” remix – attempts to pay homage to Jackson’s 1992 short film for “In The Closet”. The production samples visuals from “In The Closet” as well as outtakes and behind-the-scenes footage shot during the making of the clip.

Following a series of unimaginative music videos for previously-released posthumous singles, Jackson’s fans held hope that the detailed lyrical storyline of “A Place With No Name” would be visually represented in the new short film – directed by renowned video director Samuel Bayer.

“The idea is to take it a step forward and to innovate, otherwise why else am I doing it?” explained Jackson in a 1999 interview about his short films. “I don’t wanna be just another can in the assembly line, you know? I want to create; to do something that’s totally different and unusual.”

“In my opinion it has to be completely entertaining and have a linear sense of continuity. I like having a beginning, a middle, and an ending so you can follow a story and not just be a collage of images… Usually it’s an interpretation of the music.”

The Estate of Michael Jackson and Epic Records added to that hope with their press release days before the premiere, saying that “Michael re-envisioned America’s 1972 classic ‘A Horse With No Name’ to convey a narrative following a man whose car breaks down and is led by a mysterious woman to a utopian place where ‘no one is in fear’ and ‘no people have pain’,” adding that the video “has been created by following Michael’s overall vision for short films which tell the song’s story.”

Unfortunately for fans, and for Jackson’s legacy as the master of short films, this clip is not representative of the mystical narrative the song portrays. Instead of being taken to an otherworldly place with grass, birds, flowers and trees (as sung by Jackson in the song) – similar to something you might see in a film like Avatar – we see a collection of images reminiscent of scenes from Baywatch, with a good-looking couple dancing in the desert and at the beach – places that don’t have the kinds of nature the song dictates.

Clips of Jackson from the “In The Closet” short film are spliced in to give the singer presence in the final product. As beautiful as he looks in the shots, they often seem out of place. Musicality and timing was always extremely important to Jackson when editing his own short films, however the dancing segments in “A Place With No Name” are often out of time with the audio.

There is very little, if any imagination as far as scripting goes, and the newly included visuals could have easily been filmed on a smartphone camera and edited using iMovie. Strangely, the last two lines of the song’s lyrics have also been edited out.

Watch the official “A Place With No Name” music video below:

The video was tweeted by the official Michael Jackson Twitter account immediately following a special MJ-themed episode of So You Think You Can Dance, which included duo performances of “The Way You Make Me Feel”, “Dirty Diana”, “Wanna Be Startin’ Something”, “Xscape”, “Slave To The Rhythm”, “Smile”, “She’s Out Of My Life”, “Earth Song” and a group performance to the new single “A Place With No Name”. As a result of the telecast both “Earth Song” and “Dirty Diana” trended on Twitter.

To debut the “A Place With No Name” music video via Twitter and ensure that fans had to visit the social networking site to view it, the clip was embedded into a media player within the @MichaelJackson account’s tweet itself. This, however, has become quite a nuisance for myself, and other fans, who have had issues with the clip lagging and even stopping every few seconds. The second time I personally tried to play it the media player crashed altogether.

As well as its Twitter debut at 10PM ET, the “A Place With No Name” video was shown simultaneously on the Sony big screens in Times Square, New York City. See below:

World Premiere of “A Place With No Name” music video in NYC’s Times Square.

Follow Damien Shields on Facebook and Twitter to stay up-to-date with Michael Jackson-related news.

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