The Sh– To Just Sh–ty… We Are The World

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):

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, ughWe 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 BennettJanet 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 JeanAdam Levine (of Maroon 5), PinkBeBe 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:

In closing:

  • 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.

Musical Musings… What Have The Aughts Wrought Us?

It’s an end-of-the-year-decade evaluation of the year decade that’s come before.  Long story short – there was nothing new.  

The only things left to hit the mainstream were the very things that were once thought taboo, which explains Jenna Jameson’s widespread fame (no pun intended), the common knowledge of cougars and MILF‘s, and the over-sexualization of the underaged (i.e. countdown-to-age-eighteen clocks for the Olson Twins, Hayden Panettiere, Miley Cyrus, etc). 

"If you like it, then you know it's got a ring to it..."

 

Gone are the days of truly independent filmmaking.  (And BTW, I didn’t ask for 3D films to be brought back.)  Hip-hop and rap break down barriers no more.  Television turned game shows into reality programming, but did little else except compartmentalize audiences between channels.  Everything has become corporatized to the point of homogenization.  

“So what have the Aughts wrought us?” 

Outside of the birth of a new medium boom of the Internet (known as the ol’ TripleDoubleU ’round hyeh), and the boon that was social networking (YouTube, Facebook, Friendster, et. al.), the web just offers another outlet for pre-existing formats. 

So what rose from the ashes of the Y2K bug?  One thing…

Auto-Tune

Although it technically was first heard in 1998, when Cher’s Believe* was torturing me via my alarm clock, while my face was smeared in a puddle of chunky pink Marguerita upchuck on my tiled bathroom floor (true story), it wasn’t until this decade that it took a foothold on almost everything on pop radio (list here). 

She suffers from a rare case of "moonstruck."

 

From Faith Hill’s The Way You Love Me in 2000 all the way up to (though not including) Jay Z’s D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune), the 00’s could be remembered as the Aughto-Tune Decade (clever!), although outta-tune, auto-crooner Kanye West would probably like to think the decade belonged solely to him. 

She suffers from a lack of attention.

 

My Prediction for the 10’s 
Since Lady Gaga is the Cher of now, and IMHO she’s actually quite talented… and not to say Cher wasn’t talented… I guess what I’m saying is… keep an eye on her.  She might set the next trend.  Or not.  Who do I look like, Phil Spector?  (Don’t answer that.) 

(SIDENOTE: I’m secretly rooting for Taylor Swift and her aw-shucksness to put the societal downward spiral on hold.) 

*Another early auto-tuner was Kid Rock’s Only God Knows Why (1998).  And it’s true – only God knows why Kid Rock hooked up with Pamela Anderson after finding out she had Hepatitis C.  Perhaps he confused it with the vitamin…

Musical Musings… Masterful Feline Musicians

I really wish I would have saved this picture:

Play him off, cat piano!

Can't wait for the Meow Re-Mix

Perviously used in this post, it goes along purrfectly with this edition of Musical Musings.  If you dove into this post willy-nilly without reading the above title, or if you have an aversion to reading large letters in bold typeface, allow me to introduce you to two of the most fascinating felines ever to grace the music scene (not counting Keyboard Cat or Josie and the Pussycats*, ‘natch). 

The Classical Approach:

The Modern Take (wait for the breakdown at the end):

The Interpretive (Canine) Dance:

*It’s a shame, but I forgot how cute Tara Reid actually was, and I really do miss Rachael Leigh CookWha’ happen to her? And look how young Rosario Dawson, um,  looks.  Eight years really makes a difference, I guess.  And that’s my deep thought for the day.