Friday, February 26, 2010

my take on 'We Are the World 2009"

You probably know by now that the makers of the original 'We Are the World' put together a remake of the classic in order to contribute to Haitian earthquake victims. In 1985, three of the most powerful people in music (at that time): Quincy Jones, Lionel Richie and the late Michael Jackson collaborated a charity single to benefit the victims of African famine. Most people say that it was the US responding to the UK's Band Aid's 'Do They Know Its Christmas?'. It's also a legend that this was started by the late Harry Chapin, who was killed in a car crash in '81. Anyhoo, the single 'We Are the World' went on to win several awards, became #1 in different formats, and helped raise over $100 million to Africa. Like Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side of the Moon', just about 4 in 10 people owned the copy of the 45 (like me!).

Fast forward 25 years later. We've seen total devastations and events around the world, including the civil war of Yugoslavia, 9/11, hurricanes, and tsunamis. In what people call 'good timing' was the earthquake of Haiti. According to wikipedia, Richie and Jones weren't too serious about the idea when they were approached to do a 25th anniversary version of the single last year. I personally think because of Wyclef Jean, they chose to do it. And who can blame him? I just listened to the song on Youtube and I wasn't really quite moved. Don't get me wrong: I was amazed that people like Streisand and Dion contributed their powerful vocals to the song. But Justin Beiber? A trashy man like Lil' Wayne? And a rap verse, too? I also wasn't taken with the 'Autotune', which I consider cheating. That's why you'll always find me degrading people like Faith Hill, Florida, Lil Wayne and of course, the king of Autotune, T-Pain. I also think that they should have recruited more heavier rock musicians like Tom Morello, Eddie Vedder, etc. Why not put a few more country or more alternative acts on there? I know they did the best they could to get as many people to 'leave their egos at the door', but I guess it wasn't too bad. They even should have asked St. Louis's favorite son, Sammy Hagar, who openly stated in an interview that he was hurt for not being asked to appear on the 1985 version.

I'm glad that this is going for a good cause, but what can I say? Let's hope this one makes a real difference.

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