Just like (almost*) all remakes, We Are the World doesn’t even hold a candle to the original. The thrill of all those superstars getting together for a great cause was unprecedented… at least for 1985. No one seemed to be involved for the face time or the advancement of their careers because they already had plenty of face time and stable careers.
Soloists from the 1985 version (known as USA for Africa):
- Lionel Richie
- Stevie Wonder
- Paul Simon
- Kenny Rogers
- James Ingram
- Tina Turner
- Billy Joel
- Michael Jackson
- Diana Ross
- Dionne Warwick
- Willie Nelson
- Al Jarreau
- Bruce Springsteen
- Kenny Loggins
- Steve Perry
- Daryl Hall (of something-something & Oates)
- Huey Lewis
- Cyndi Lauper
- Kim Carnes
- Bob Dylan
- Ray Charles
Not one of them (not even Kim Carnes, who had previously won two Grammy’s for Bette Davis Eyes) was an obscure artist. Sure, chorus had its odd inclusions (Dan Aykroyd and Bette Midler par exemple), but the overall tone of the arrangement felt sincere. Especially since Madonna wasn’t any part of it.
LINGERING QUESTION: Why didn’t Smokey Robinson get a solo part?
Now before ripping, um, getting into the new Artists for Haiti version, I must give pause to ponder: are my feelings based in nostalgia (which is like an underage female robot), or in actual taste? Has the concept of this type of project been tainted by the likes of Voices that Care, I’m Fucking Ben Affleck, 30 Rock’s Kidney Now, and Huey Lewis’ I Am the World (videos below)? Or am I simply jaded?
Without further ado, ugh, We Are the World 25 for Haiti (skip to the 1:12 mark to get around the egomaniac that is Jamie Foxx):
Could you make it through the entire thing? You’re a brave soul indeed. Now I can’t really fault or knock the intentions or the cause, but here are some things that I can knock:
- Who the fuck is Justin Baby Bieber and why the fuck is he taking Lionel Richie’s spot? Oh, he’s a YouTube star? My bad. (*wanking motion*)
- A Pussycat Doll? Srsly?
- Academy Award-winning, non-American Idol-winning Jennifer Hudson can sing. That’s for sure, but compared to the grouping above (save poor Kim Carnes), is she that big of a star? (I was being figurative, no pun intended… even though I love puns.)
- Even though I didn’t know who Jennifer Nettles was, I found out she’s from Sugarland. I know think they’re a popular country band, so she earns her Kenny Rogers card.
- The next stretch I can approve of: Tony Bennett, Janet Jackson, and Barbra Streisand. My only problem (besides the reused MJ footage) is it feels like foot-stomping. (Foot-stomping = “Wah! I didn’t get my turn!”)
- Josh Groban and Mary J. Blige are welcome parties, but their presence (see what I did there?) reminded me of their comedy appearances below.
- Fuck Miley Cyrus. I don’t mean literally, of course. Because she’s underage (and maybe a robot).
- Enrique Iglesias has been around awhile, has family credentials, and brings a Latin flair, so okay.
- Jamie Foxx simply leaves a bad taste in my mouth, er, ears, or whatever with his Ray Charles impression, so fuck him.
- Another deserved stretch: Wyclef Jean, Adam Levine (of Maroon 5), Pink, BeBe Winans, Usher, Celine Dion, Fergie, and Toni Braxton, with passes for Mary Mary (gospel singers) and Isaac Slade (of The Fray).
This is when it turns Just Shitty:
- Auto-tune central: Lil Wayne, Akon, and T-Pain. My thoughts on auto-tuning summed up here.
- FUCK YOU VERY MUCH, JAMIE FOXX!
- And the out-of-place rap by LL Cool J, Will.i.am, Snoop Dogg, Busta Rhymes, Swizz Beatz, Iyaz, and Kanye West. On its own, the rap section isn’t bad (except for Jamie Foxx, of course)… my opinion stands that they simply should have made a new song.
- Why is the Pussycat Doll shown so much?
- Why weren’t these artists given solos over some of the others: Gladys Knight, Natalie Cole, Faith Evans, or Rob Thomas (amongst others in the chorus)?
- Srsly, why is the Pussycat Doll shown so much?
- Why did Paul Haggis have to direct this? And why couldn’t he get the core soloists together like in the original?
- What is Wyclef saying at the end of the song? Unity? Piety? R.U.T.?
- And I just can’t shake the feeling that all these people have the same agent…
Vodpod videos no longer available.
*Dawn of the Dead and The Hills Have Eyes were decent remakes.