It’s hard enough to finish a song by a noted perfectionist such as Michael Jackson after the singer’s death, but the challenge of filming a video for the first posthumous single from the most celebrated video maker in music history has got to be even more daunting.
So MJ fans must have been eager to check out a 30-second teaser of the clip for the Akon collaboration “Hold My Hand,” that was posted on Jackson’s website over the weekend, just over a week before the King of Pop’s first posthumous studio album, Michael, is slated to hit stores.
The quick-cut preview opens with Jackson, bathed in a spotlight on stage and dressed in a black leather jacket, black pants and a gold lame unitard, blowing a kiss to unseen fans and spreading his arms wide. With the song’s swelling, cinematic strings and Jackson and Akon’s vibrant vocals on the chorus pumping behind, we then see a succession of images, including a mother holding a smiling baby, MJ on stage during his prime, a lit-up Ferris wheel, a grade-school girl stretching her arms toward the sun, a baby in a diaper learning how to walk and the track’s title graffitied on a cement wall.
The action then moves inside to a dark venue, as a blinding light emerges in the distance from the point of view of an ecstatic, clapping crowd. It quickly becomes clear that the audience is awaiting Jackson’s arrival on stage, as his unmistakable profile appears in shadow on the curtain. More quick cuts reveal a b-girl in a gold lame top busting a few moves while swinging chains and a child MJ impersonator shuffling his feet amid classic images of Jackson on stage at various points in his career.
Those clips are then interspersed with shots of a huge chorus singing the song’s refrain while waving their arms in the air on a set that looks like a reservoir or a dam. The teaser ends with a montage of children’s hands and a close-up of a grand piano cued to the tune’s haunting keyboard break.
The duet with Akon was recorded in 2007 and, as a message on MJ’s site points out, “a handwritten note from Michael belonging to his estate indicated his desire that ‘Hold My Hand’ be the first single on his next project.”
After an unfinished version leaked in 2008, Akon recently went back into the studio to complete production on the track.
What do you think of the “Hold My Hand” teaser clip? Share your thoughts in the comments.