Saturday, February 13, 2010

Thumbs down for "We Are the World 25"

The 25th anniversary remake of the "We Are the World" video premiered tonight. If you didn't get a chance to see it, watch the full version here.

I personally am not a fan. There are those (mainly my family members) who would accuse me of filtering my viewing experience through an MJ fan filter. That's not my problem, I don't think it was sacrilegious to redo the song. Though the MJ tribute - superimposing him into the video for a duet with sister Janet - was very awkward.

In general, I felt that the entire project came off as disingenuous compared to the original collaboration. I appreciate the spontaneity of the original, which was put together the night of the American Music Awards. While I realize the project was put together to raise money for Haiti and the more celebs, the wider the audience and potential donor base, it seemed like WATW25 became more about filling the studio to capacity with famous people rather than creating a quality charity song. If you want people to buy the song or video, make it good.

My major beef: I'm so over Auto-Tune. Jay-Z may have called for the Death of Auto-Tune, but it just won't seem to go away. When you have people like Celine Dion, J-Hud, Barbara Streisand, Mary J. Blige and Josh Groban featured on the track - all artists with pipes of steel - and then you have Lil' Wayne and T-Pain Auto-Tune (I refuse to call it singing) for a couple of verses (longer than Ms. Streisand and Groban's solos), you're just creating a recipe for disaster. The T-Pain part killed the song for me.

I'm not sure how the solo selection process worked. I could have done with more Dion and less Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus and Nicole-from-the-Pussycat-Dolls. The rap was out of place. And honestly, it seemed like LL was the only one who was into it. I want to know where Stevie Wonder was that night because his part on the original was amazing and I would have rather heard that.

Here's the old video if you want to compare.

The one update I endorse is Wyclef's part. The pain in that man's voice is real. And his cries gave me a sense of urgency. I imagine it might be the push some people need to give to Haitian relief.

By the way, what did Jeff Bridges and Vince Vaughn add to the mix? I wonder if they were trying to recreate the confusing celeb cameo that Dan Akroyd make in the original.

Thoughts, anyone?

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