Saturday, February 13, 2010

We Are the World, We Are the Children

I would be completely remiss if I didn't mention something about the mass artist charity event of the year that is the 25th Anniversary Cover of "We Are the World" (with all proceeds going to help the ongoing strife in Haiti). I'm proud how Quincy Jones and Lionel Richie managed to mix both veteran heavy-hitters and current superstars, of all genres in such a fast turnaround, and quite rightfully included vocals and imagery from the dearly missed Michael Jackson as supplied from the original. The inclusion of AutoTune, however, not so much (we're looking at you, Lil Wayne and T-Pain).

I don't know about anyone else, but I vividly remember first hearing the song during a music class in the 6th grade. My teacher felt it was necessary viewing (smart lady, still is -- I think I get some of my snark from her), and after watching a 'making of' special on VHS (yes, kids -- it does exist -- to think I went to middle school in an age before DVDs...I feel old -- I joke, I joke), she played the song and we all had to sing along (most of us begrudgingly). Most of us didn't realize then the impact of those lyrics. But I think everyone feels it's weight now.

Still, how you or I feel about the cover isn't truly what matters -- what's really at stake is the message within the song, and an attempt to get music listeners around the world to shell out $1.29 or its international counterpart in an effort to help those who need it most. These days, $1.29 isn't much, and what you get in return is a humble effort by an impressive number of musicians. Whether or not some of the artists should have been included is obviously not up to armchair DJs like you or I to decide -- what matters is they pulled their star power together to remind us that some things are just more important. Do yourself and another a favor today; stop by iTunes and give it a whirl.

PS - Apparently a Spanish version is in the works, to be produced by the Estefans. Can't wait!

PPS - How great is that promotional image? It's like the photographer asked everyone to look at him, and Barbara Streisand screamed "fire" in a crowded room so only she was looking. Doesn't Justin Bieber look photoshopped in, or is that just me? And apparently Vince Vaughn is this version's Dan Akroyd. Curious.
PPPS - You can watch the music video as premiered last night during the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, here thanks to Billboard. (It's also where I snagged the image from, so thanks, BB!) Or, if you're so inclined, you can watch the original music video, produced in 1985 below. Either way -- please do stop by iTunes, and do the right thing.

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