Most of the Guys may be a little young to remember 1985-1986, the year when you couldn’t escape “We Are the World.” Well, I had to participate in several performances of it all the way up to 1989. (Some music experts credit elementary schools’ adoration of the song as the progenitor of “Kidz Bop.” Think about that.)
Well, the ghosts of Michael Jackson and Lionel Ritchie are at it again.
Dozens of “singers”–nearly twice the number of the 1985 recording–have been invited to remake the song, with a few modified lyrics, for Haitian earthquake relief.
You’re probably wondering why I think this charitable work is a bad idea (other than that I’m horrible person who hates everything). I’m glad you kind of asked:
The charity is based on sales.
If I were to gather 100 or so celebrities for the sake of throwing money at a problem, I wouldn’t use them as a middleman to your money. I’d shake them down for the money they’ve already gotten out of you.
This new cast of “We Are the Worlders” includes Joel and Benji Madden (Good Charlotte), Heart, Celine Dion and Nicole Ritchie. Chances are that you’re embarrassed to admit that you’ve already paid for one album or single from these people. What are the chances that you’ll buy another single featuring them?
(For those keeping count, that would be shame on you.)
These particular people won our money through the bad decisions we made as youth. We can’t sue the makers of Jncos and wallet chains for ongoing mental duress in yearbooks. But, Carlos Santana can, and should, donate some of our money back for Rob Thomas (who is also performing).
Half of the performers aren’t singers.
I really hate to sound like your parents, but Akon? LL Cool J? Snoop Dogg? Kanye? Lil Wayne? T-Pain?
These aren’t singers. They’re rappers. “We Are the World” is a song.
Granted, it was written in 1985 when hip-hop was still unknown to the parts of America that give money to Africa. But, was it really missing the part where at least six different guys “break it down?”
Could it be that, by adding hip-hop to what is essentially the most coked up gospel choir ever, that …
This is yet another gritty remake.
The remake of “We Are the World” displays, not only a lack of creativity, but the idea that we can repackage a singularly successful charity event for Haiti by recording it with the Jonas Brothers and Miley Cyrus. So, for a gritty remake, it’s also littered with chaste teenyboppers? (Say what you will about the pop stars of the 1980s, but Cyndi Lauper is still a legend and was never as crass as these Disney stars.)
And did you think I wouldn’t notice who else is on the guest list? Vince Vaughn.
Vince “Psycho” Vaughn.
Vince “Let’s remake a Hitchcock classic shot-for-shot but with my head in it” Vaughn.
Had Lionel Ritchie and Barry Gordy snuck in Will Ferrell, Ben Stiller and one or more Owenses, then maybe we’d think this was an ironic inside-joke remake like Starsky and Hutch.
The song itself has aged horribly.
From the intro brought to you by Casio to the inclusion of Steve Perry and Sheila E., the original has not aged well. The only thing that’s aged worse than “We Are the World” is Dan Aykroyd’s career and … oh wait, he was in the original, too.
Seriously though, it was great for its time. In 1985, this could raise $30 million.
But it’s 2010. We’ve already heard the song a million times. It hasn’t even been timely enough to parody it since we sent our love down a well:
That’s right: the last time the public cared enough about “We Are the World” to laugh at it was when The Simpsons was still funny.
Now you may disagree with me, and that’s fine. But, why do you believe that the Haitians don’t at least deserve their own damn song?