Most of us don't have to worry much about what will happen to our stuff after we die. Sure, we might be concerned that whoever inherits our amigurumi Cthulhu collection might not appreciate it as much as we did, or fret about somebody digging into our browser history and discovering our carefully indexed reviews of dozens of different hemorrhoid creams. But such cares have nothing on those of celebrities, who must increasingly fear the living plundering their posthumous products and images like zombies descending on a hot dog factory. For example, someone might pump out a few ...
5Endless Zombie Albums
If you're a famous musician, leaving this mortal realm doesn't mean you get to stop working. Albums released after a musician has died are everywhere, and sometimes they make sense. If an artist was working on an album pre-death, and just had to get the dedication to their dog in the liner notes right, there's no reason to halt production and stomp on poor Ned Bark's glory. But after that album comes out, and the collections and "best ofs" that follow it, record companies often decide that they have to go deeper, and that's when you start getting to the Bad Stuff.
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"What about a Nirvana Christmas album? Have we tried a Nirvana Christmas album yet?"
These records tend to be filled with tracks that musicians who choked to death on their own vomit after a three-year bender once looked at and thought "No, I'm better than that." But those musicians are not around to be all fussy anymore, and so consumers are treated to Jeff Buckley albums made up entirely of unfinished, scratchy demos and Doors albums that fill time with Jim Morrison reciting average poetry. "Michael Jackson has a sore throat at the studio and coughs into a microphone for 19 minutes" is presumably coming out in 2017.
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Followed shortly by a Vegas show about it.
But terrible as these recordings might be, at least they usually feature music or words that the musician actually produced with their still-living body. That won't always be the case, because new technology means we can all look forward to ...
4Just Faking Their Goddamn Voices With Robots
Say your most beloved celebrity died tragically early, without singing all the words you wanted him to. And say you've run out of albums to release that consist of remixes of him ordering coffee and then yelling at the barista that he wanted soy milk, not coconut. What do you do next? Let the guy rest in peace? No, silly, you turn to Japan.
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Turn your head toward them in a dead-eyed stare. That's right.
Our Japanese friends, deciding that their blank-staring sex robots weren't creepy enough, have started using technology to metaphorically resurrect dead, no-longer-profitable-enough singers. It's all thanks to the speech synthesizing technology Vocaloid, developed commercially by Yamaha. Vocaloid can be programmed to mimic a particular human singing voice, dead or alive, like an extreme, necromancy-powered version of autotune. Early tests have already produced music from a folk singer who passed away in 2007, and last year, producers announced a new song by rock musician Hideto Matsumoto, who died in 1998 but is now being dragged out of his grave by singing robots. Take a look at the video of the song below, and remind yourself that apart from the backup vocals, no human is singing:
Judging from the online response, the reaction of many fans to posthumous Vocaloid releases seems to be "leave these poor dead people alone already," but obviously, the demand is out there, because the technology keeps marching forward. Whether there is some way to combine Vocaloid technology with future celebrity-themed sex bots remains to be seen.