"We Are The World" to be remade. Really?
Seriously? There's such a deficit of collective songwriting talent and ability out there that we've absolutely gotta re-make "We Are The World" as a Haiti benefit event single?
Nobody could be bothered to dream up a killer tune, something new and fresh? Nobody had a heatseeker gathering dust at the back of the vault?
Nobody could throw together a nuclear modern pop dirty bomb over a couple all-nighters, a satchel of trucker speed, and a dumptruck full of corporate cash?
Must we lean -- again, again, and again -- on the glories of the distant past?
Come on, now. If Hollywood's disparate songwriting braintrust can crank out something as effortlessly bouyant as Adam Lambert's debut, they can save Haiti with a 3-6 minute barnburner.
I mean, sure, to live in modern times is to acknowledge that nothing is sacred, and that most of the content with which we amuse ourselves to death is a retread of some other content, new, old, or just born.
Recycling isn't just for environmentalists: slightly worn ideas are cheaper than original ones, which is why every third movie and every other TV pilot that sees release now is a refurbished remake of something else and why we've grown accustomed to hot new singles that liberally and eagerly reference older singles. So, you know, Owen Wilson, Snoop Dogg, and Ben Stiller in 2004's Starsky & Hutch, right? Campy, Frat Pack-y fun that didn't draw my ire, probably because I'd never watched an episode of the 1970s original television series.
Whereas 2005's big-screen regurgitation of The Dukes of Hazzard makes my blood boil everytime I think about it because I grew up with the source material; it's like a sacred text.
I could go on, but my point is where one stands on the rightness or justness of a remake will vary depending on personal mythology -- but that's only part of why I'm vehemently, dead-set against the idea of anyone remaking "We Are The World."
When "We Are The World" dropped as a single, I was 8 years old. I had little to no understanding why the song was important; I just knew that it was, probably because every celeb clutching his or her oversized headphones in the video seemed seriously overcome with emotion. Their eyes were closed tightly, their faces scrunched; they were really into the emotion of whatever choice they were making, of making a better day, or whatever, amen.
My youngest aunt, Yvonne -- ten years my senior -- owned the vinyl. When she was around, sometimes she'd play the song for my cousins and I. When she wasn't around, I'd gaze, transfixed, at the unlikely spectacle of a couple dozen performers clustered close together. The song was pretty great -- an inspiring piece of pop stagecraft that still brings a nostalgic smile to my face and has inspired plenty of weaker-if-just-as-well-intentioned imitations -- but I think the unity factor is what stuck with me, the mass collaborative moment, not to mention the time-capsule nature of the whole thing.
And, you know, if I were Justin Timberlake or Mariah Carey or The-Dream or Lady Gaga or or Lil Wayne or Taylor Swift or Kanye West or whoever, and Quincy Jones dialed me up and asked me to appear on a "We Are The World" remake, I'd sign on without even thinking once.
Which brings us to the other part of why this particular remake is bogus, to my mind.
If I were a modern pop artist who signed on for "We Are The World" part duex, wouldn't I ultimately look back and wish that my big, save-the-world moment had been an original one, instead of a carbon-copy of a big, save-the-world moment that will forever belong, and rightly so, to a (mostly) totally different group of singers, writers, and producers?
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