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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

"We Are the World 25": Not Nearly as Great as the Original

Posted By on Tue, Feb 16, 2010 at 11:08 AM

I know it's for a good cause, so I don't want to come down on it too hard, but that new "We Are the World" really blows.

Not that USA for Africa's original 1985 version wasn't without its cheese (Kenny Rogers and Al Jarreau were there, remember?), but Josh Groban? Celine Dion? Justin freakin' Bieber? At least 2010 chorus member Raphael Saadiq beats 1985 chorus member Dan Aykroyd

But the Auto-Tuned A-listers on "We Are the World 25 for Haiti" (Lil Wayne, Mary J. Blige, Kanye West) don't deliver nearly as hard as USA for Africa's Ray Charles, Bruce Springsteen and, yes, Steve Perry. It was revolutionary 25 years ago; today, it seems like just another celebrity cause.

And what's up with old-timers Tony Bennett and Barbra Streisand? Are they even seriously trying? Bennett's first appearance on the new song is even worse than Bob Dylan's solo on the original. Was he shooting for the Laziest Performance award?

But the biggest WTF? moment has to go to still-dead-as-far-as-I-know Michael Jackson's cameo from the original song and video. Yeah, I get that Jackson co-wrote the song. And yeah, I get that Jackson's appearance on "We Are the World" is one of the best, but to resurrect this old performance seems kinda cheap.

Oh, and don't even get me started on Wyclef's cackle. Or Jamie Foxx's Ray Charles impression. Or the rap thing in the middle. —Michael Gallucci (follow me on Twitter @mgallucci)

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