Wednesday, February 24, 2010

We Are the World

Just the other day, I heard over the radio that a remake of the song We Are the World was recorded by another all-star cast of singers in the wake of the Haiti disaster.

Entitled "We Are the World 25 for Haiti", it was released as a single on February 12, 2010. Proceeds from the sale of the records will aid the affected of the impoverished country.

Being a fan of the 1985 classic, I could not wait to hear how the remake would sound. In eager anticipation, I went online to search for the video.

Take a listen to We Are the World 25 for Haiti. What do you think?



Bearing in mind that the song is a charity single for a good cause, I ought to be shot for saying what I wanna say.

Yes, the well intentions are laudable and I hope that the song has garnered lots of donations.

But...

to inject my (unprofessional) musical perspective, I feel that the song has been completely bastardized by blundering voices, awkward breakdowns and audio processors.

Who are most of these singers anyway?

Are they supposed to be famous?

That boy who sang Lionel Richie's opening line... is he supposed to be a talent or something? His opening actually prepared me for more audio assaults to come.

I'm sorry to say that I can't appreciate the rap part too. It is jarring.

R&B, hip hop and rap are all the rage and I do like some of such songs. However introducing rap to this beautiful song simply kills it.

And the autotune --the kind of sound akin to projecting one's voice through a fan-- what effect are they trying to achieve? Cher from Believe?

~~~~
Extracted from Wikipedia:
[I]t was agreed that the song would be re-recorded by new artists, in the hope that it would reach a new generation and help benefit the people of Haiti [...] "We Are the World" has demonstrated that diverse musicians can productively work together, and has further influenced the movement within pop music to create songs that address humane concerns.
~~~~

I think that the main blunder of this whole remake for Haiti was the fact that it should not have been a remake of the 1985 classic but an entirely new composition instead. In this way, audiophiles would not start comparing the two. It may be unfair to compare music from two different eras. Who knows 25 years down the road this song may become a classic as well?

Audio assault aside, I like how life images of the Haiti aftermath --shots of smiling kids receiving aid and of the relief work-- have been included in the music video. Scenes from outside the recording studio bring us closer to the aim of this remake.

I also like how materials of Michael Jackson from the 1985 recording sessions was incorporated into the music video, singing alongside with his sister, Janet Jackson. Michael Jackson is a legend and I like him during that period the most.

There are of course some old time heavyweights in this remake like Barbra Streisand and Celine Dion. The latter albeit lending her voice in a vocal style quite unlike her usual. I thought it was quite unique paired with the electric guitar.

Non 80s and before singers worth applauding include the likes of Jennifer Hudson, Pink and Mary J. Blige.

What happened to the guys?


I've managed to find this version with names and lyrics included. Perfect for people like me who can't reognise singers. With this video, I can easily identify who saved and who killed the song.




~*~

For those who appreciate "oldies" like I do, let's enjoy the 1985 classic. I would suggest opening this HD video as a separate window on Youtube, click on "more info" and get to know all these great singers of the 80s.




I found another video in a lower resolution. You can identify with the various singer as the owner of the vidz had included the various artistes' names right smack on the screen, together with their lines. It definitely beats scrolling down the list if you were to watch the HD version above.




More info on the 1985 version from Wikpedia:
"We Are the World" is a song and charity single originally recorded by the supergroup USA for Africa in 1985. It was written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, and co-produced by Quincy Jones and Michael Omartian for the album We Are the World. Following Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas?" project in the UK, an idea for the creation of an American benefit single for African famine relief came from activist Harry Belafonte, who, along with fundraiser Ken Kragen, was instrumental in bringing the vision to reality.

Several musicians were contacted by the pair, before Jackson and Richie were assigned the task of writing the song. Following several months of working together, the duo completed the writing of "We Are the World" one night before the song's first recording session, in early 1985. The last recording session for the song was held on February 28, 1985. The historic event brought together some of the most famous artists in the music industry at the time.



I know of many of these artistes by names from their hit songs only. Putting names to some of these previously unknown faces while watching the video was quite fun.

Lionel Richie --> Hello, Say You Say Me

Stevie Wonder --> I Just Called To Say I Love You, That's What Friends Are For

Paul Simon --> Bridge Over Troubled Waters, Mrs Robinson

Kenny Rogers --> Through the Years (better known as the Nikon ad song)

James Ingram --> The Day I Fall in Love (duet with Dolly Parton in The Beethoven movie theme song), Somewhere Out There (duet with Linda Ronstadt in American Tail)

Tina Turner --> What's Love Got To Do With It

Billy Joel --> Uptown Girl, Just the Way You Are, We Didn't Start the Fire

Diana Ross --> Ain't No Mountain High Enough (with The Supremes), Upside Down

Dionne Warwick --> That's What Friends Are For, I Say A Little Prayer

Al Jarreau --> We're In This Love Together

Bruce Springsteen --> [Gee I'm ashamed to say I dunno any...]

Kenny Loggins --> [Gee I'm ashamed to say I dunno any...]

Steve Perry --> [Gee I'm ashamed to say I dunno any...]

Daryl Hall --> Everytime You Go Away (the orginal)

Huey Lewis --> [Gee I'm ashamed to say I dunno any...]

Cyndi Lauper --> True Colours, Time After Time, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Kim Carnes --> [Gee I'm ashamed to say I dunno any...]

Bob Dylan --> Blowin in the Wind

Ray Charles --> I Can't Stop Lovin You


It's strange how I can close my eyes and identify various of these 80s wonders (and before) just by their voices. That's how distinctively powerful their voices are.


Ending off this post with video of a cute Michael Jackson being teased by Diana Ross.



Gosh this is the first time I used the word "cute" on the King of Pop but he really looked so cute and shy. Oh and that smile is breathtaking.

It's a pity he started whitening himsef due to some skin disorder (fyi he didn't whiten himself in order to forget his roots) and got so obsessed with plastic surgery. Let my memories of him congeal in the 80s era.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
DISCLAIMER:~
Author is no music pundit. Whatever written here are my thoughts and feelings and you need not agree with me. Everyone is entitled to his or her own views and it would be great to hear from you people out there.

=D

4 comments:

  1. Ya, fully agree with you for 99% of the points. I wonder if it is the food they eat or the air they breathe, how come the singers seems to be lack of strength, power and the X factor to touch my heart. Definitely prefer the 80s version, does that mean we are moving into the oldies?? LOL ~chocho

    ReplyDelete
  2. chocho!!! Leave your name as "chocho" and not "anonymous". I get quite wary seeing comments by "anonymous".

    I'm interested to know our differing 1% view. Haha... and yup, we are OLD!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I like the rap part. I think it gives an energetic feel to the song. Otherwise, I agree with you on most that you say. It's for charity.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi anon,

    Actually the rap is not too bad if it exists on its own and not as a remake of the song I feel. I took a listen again and tot it's really not as bad as when I first heard.

    Great to hear from others like you.=)

    ReplyDelete

I love reading sincere comments and hearing your voice. While blatant self promotion of blogs and follow for follow requests are not advisable, I would love if you leave a mark here with a trackback link so that I could connect with you. I reply to comments here or on your blog so don't forget to check back on replies! =)

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...