defend the indefensible: "we are the world"

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i know this song is utterly horrible on multiple levels, but it's just so damned catchy in an insidious pepsi jingle kind of way that i find it stuck in my head a lot more often than i'd like. and the lyrics are utterly hilarious (my favorite: "when you're down and out/and there seems no hope at all" - there's just something brilliantly stupid and spinal tap-esque about characterizing starving people in africa as "down and out," as if all human experience could only be described in ancient rock cliches). that said, it's pretty hard to listen all the way through - has any hit song in history ever seemed to last longer?

J.D. (Justyn Dillingham), Friday, 24 June 2005 10:08 (fourteen years ago) link

Well, without it there'd be no "Sending Our Love Down a Well", so I guess that makes it kind of okay.

Taste the Blood of Scrovula (noodle vague), Friday, 24 June 2005 10:10 (fourteen years ago) link

"this isn't about show business, it's about a kid stuck down a well! or something."

J.D. (Justyn Dillingham), Friday, 24 June 2005 10:31 (fourteen years ago) link

Bob Dylan makes this song.

Joe (Joe), Friday, 24 June 2005 11:19 (fourteen years ago) link

I also like Kim Carnes' big solo on this one: "When we."

Joe (Joe), Friday, 24 June 2005 11:19 (fourteen years ago) link

Also: Dan Ackroyd in chorus.

The defense rests.

Joe (Joe), Friday, 24 June 2005 11:20 (fourteen years ago) link

Also we'd never have the Cyndi Lauper performance to show people and say "don't do this" for future charity records...

mark grout (mark grout), Friday, 24 June 2005 11:30 (fourteen years ago) link

but was it the worst charity song ?

AleXTC (AleXTC), Friday, 24 June 2005 11:31 (fourteen years ago) link

no there were worse ones. Oh yes.

mark grout (mark grout), Friday, 24 June 2005 11:33 (fourteen years ago) link

Latoya

Pete Baumann, Friday, 24 June 2005 12:54 (fourteen years ago) link

Mo fo'n

Pete Baumann, Friday, 24 June 2005 12:54 (fourteen years ago) link

Jackson

Pete Baumann, Friday, 24 June 2005 12:54 (fourteen years ago) link

(my favorite: "when you're down and out/and there seems no hope at all" - there's just something brilliantly stupid and spinal tap-esque about characterizing starving people in africa as "down and out," as if all human experience could only be described in ancient rock cliches).

Funny observation. They might as well describe the starving masses as having the blues.

Mark (MarkR), Friday, 24 June 2005 12:57 (fourteen years ago) link

Greil Marcus' defense is classic. Basically he says a few of the performers (Ray Charles, Steve Perry, Lauper) are so transcendent it comes close to redeeming the enterprise.

And, yeah, it's classic.

Alfred Soto (Alfred Soto), Friday, 24 June 2005 12:59 (fourteen years ago) link

Marcus also does a hilarious parse. He quotes Micahel Jackson's "When you're down and out" line and goes, "The Ethiopians are down and out?"

Alfred Soto (Alfred Soto), Friday, 24 June 2005 13:00 (fourteen years ago) link

If you're going to call this a classic, then musical criticism has no meaning any more. You might as well say everything is a classic. The fact that it has so many great people on it makes it even more of an irredeemable mediocrity, not less of one.

Serge Teyssot-Gay, Friday, 24 June 2005 13:21 (fourteen years ago) link

No one claimed it was great BECAUSE of the guest stars. If star power was the only factor, then "Voices That Care" would be a classic.

Alfred Soto (Alfred Soto), Friday, 24 June 2005 13:25 (fourteen years ago) link

I was terrified of this song. I used to run screaming out of the room when it came on.

edward o (edwardo), Friday, 24 June 2005 13:26 (fourteen years ago) link

Ugh. Absolutely without merit. Typically American. We lift the idea from Band And, and then blow it way out of proportion ("the day rock cried" my ass). Plus, it's a horrible, overwrought, lyrically meaningless piece of shit song. Fuck everyone involved.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Friday, 24 June 2005 13:27 (fourteen years ago) link

So why do you think it's a great song, Alfred? I'd be interested to know.

Googling the lyrics, it's all I can do not to throw up just reading them:

There comes a time, when we hear a certain call
When the world must come together as one
There are people dying, and it's time to lend a hand.
To life the greatest gift of all
We can't go on, pretending day by day
That someone somewhere will soon make a change
We are all part of God's great big family
And the truth, you know that love is all we need
We are the world, we are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day so let's start giving
There's a choice we're making
We're saving our own lives
It's true, we'll make a better day just you and me.
Send them your heart, so they'll know that someone cares
And their lives will be stronger and free
As God has shown us, by turning stones to bread.
So that we all must lend a helping hand.
We are the world......
When you're down and out
There seems no hope at all
But if you just believe there's no way we can fall
Well, well, well, well, let's realise
That a change can only come
When we stand together as one
We are the world......

Serge Teyssot-Gay, Friday, 24 June 2005 13:29 (fourteen years ago) link

I always think of the Oscar Wilde line, "It would take a strong man to keep from laughing."

But, seriously, a couple of the performers are really good (Charles, Cyndi, Daryl Hall, Kim Carnes) and the way the video's edited – the face-off between overemoting Broose and smoove Stevie – always gave me chills.

Alfred Soto (Alfred Soto), Friday, 24 June 2005 13:34 (fourteen years ago) link

Plus, it had this man overemotin' :

http://www.concertshots.com/September%2003/cs-KennyRogers10-Atlanta91303.JPG

Alfred Soto (Alfred Soto), Friday, 24 June 2005 13:35 (fourteen years ago) link

Well, maybe I rate overemoting a little less highly than you do. It's an appalling mush of faux-sincerity that's like some bad advertising jingle. I stand by my judgement that if you call this a classic, we might as all go home.

Serge Teyssot-Gay, Friday, 24 June 2005 13:38 (fourteen years ago) link

Bruce Springsteen almost bites off Stevie Wonder's face at the end!

miccio (miccio), Friday, 24 June 2005 13:39 (fourteen years ago) link

The Boss definitely gets Colon Blow Of The Decade for that climax.

miccio (miccio), Friday, 24 June 2005 13:40 (fourteen years ago) link

See, I agree with everything you said and still love the song.

(xxxpost)

Alfred Soto (Alfred Soto), Friday, 24 June 2005 13:40 (fourteen years ago) link

I love the video, but not the song.

miccio (miccio), Friday, 24 June 2005 13:42 (fourteen years ago) link

I mean introducing Michael by panning up from his feet!?!?! OMGWTFLOL(ROFFLE)!!!

miccio (miccio), Friday, 24 June 2005 13:43 (fourteen years ago) link

ohwoahwoahwoahwoahwoah

Cyndi Lauper (miccio), Friday, 24 June 2005 13:43 (fourteen years ago) link

And the Cliff Huxtable-esque sweaters most of'em are wearing are pretty classic too.

Alfred Soto (Alfred Soto), Friday, 24 June 2005 13:45 (fourteen years ago) link

It's a snapshot of mainstream 1985 and as such a brilliant period piece.

And that's it.

(Prince not participating was in retrospect a truly genius move, especially since it prompted the separate release of "4 the Tears In Your Eyes," an utterly wonderful song.)

Ned Raggett (Ned), Friday, 24 June 2005 13:47 (fourteen years ago) link

I would love to have seen a faceoff between Prince and, I dunno, Daryl Hall.

Alfred Soto (Alfred Soto), Friday, 24 June 2005 13:48 (fourteen years ago) link

Wasn't the story that everybody had to clear out of the room when it was Michael's turn to sing. And wasn't his voice treated to an extra sugar-coating of echo and reverb that folks like, say, Huey Lewis were not augmented with?

Michael Jackson......PRETENTIOUS, PRIMA DONNA ASSHOLE!

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Friday, 24 June 2005 13:51 (fourteen years ago) link

All the sugarcoating and echo and reverb couldn't have saved Dylan's vocal.

Alfred Soto (Alfred Soto), Friday, 24 June 2005 13:54 (fourteen years ago) link

When I make a toast, regardless of the situation, I toast only to "life, the greatest gift of all." It never fails that someone will come up to me later and say he was greatly moved by the sentiment.

Aaron A., Friday, 24 June 2005 13:55 (fourteen years ago) link

Ugh.

PappaWheelie (PappaWheelie), Friday, 24 June 2005 13:58 (fourteen years ago) link

the term "check your egos at the door" is kind of mildly funny, I guess.

Pashmina (Pashmina), Friday, 24 June 2005 13:58 (fourteen years ago) link

Always thought Dylan sounded worryingly similar to Eddie Murphy's Buckwheat impersonation on this track.

Most cringe-worthy moment: Cyndi Lauper's unsolicited "aye-yai-yee-yai-yah!" melismatic vocal fart after her slavishly oversung verse.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Friday, 24 June 2005 14:02 (fourteen years ago) link

I want to karaoke this bitch SO BAD.

nickalicious (nickalicious), Friday, 24 June 2005 14:03 (fourteen years ago) link

The lyrics aren't *that* bad. Corny, yes. Overwrought, yes. But the simple "all you need is love" message is delivered fairly well.

OTOH, the lyrics to "Do They Know It's Christmas" always creeped me out:

Where the only water flowing
is the bitter sting of tears
And the Christmas bells that ring there
are the clanging chimes of doom

... that's some seriously bone-chilling stuff. "Clanging chimes of doom"? On a charity record?

MindInRewind (Barry Bruner), Friday, 24 June 2005 14:24 (fourteen years ago) link

Goddamn Alex, O. T. M., on both counts.

PappaWheelie (PappaWheelie), Friday, 24 June 2005 14:29 (fourteen years ago) link

I actually like DJ Koze's cover of this song!

The video is yes, a nice period piece.

Michael F Gill (Michael F Gill), Friday, 24 June 2005 15:09 (fourteen years ago) link

Cyndi's charming in the song – one of the few performers whose schtick injects some much-needed humanity instead of HUMANITY.

Alfred Soto (Alfred Soto), Friday, 24 June 2005 15:13 (fourteen years ago) link

Cyndi's performance in this song immediately made me want her to be bludgeoned with a menhir.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Friday, 24 June 2005 15:33 (fourteen years ago) link

http://members.aol.com/PeSchmit/Obelix/Obelix2.gif

"These NYCians are crazy!"

Ned Raggett (Ned), Friday, 24 June 2005 15:36 (fourteen years ago) link

Yes but you're a gigantic curmudgeon who wants to bludgeon everything, Alex.

The Ghost of Dan Perry (Dan Perry), Friday, 24 June 2005 15:36 (fourteen years ago) link

Not always with menhirs, though, Daniel. An important distinction.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Friday, 24 June 2005 15:38 (fourteen years ago) link

I had to look up the word "menhir" ... yes, bludgeoning by menhir sounds painful.

MindInRewind (Barry Bruner), Friday, 24 June 2005 15:59 (fourteen years ago) link

http://www.mnha.public.lu/pictures/fr/collections/prehistoire/FicheStandard/menhir.jpg

A menhir....yesterday.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Friday, 24 June 2005 16:48 (fourteen years ago) link

A menhir delivery man.

http://heim.ifi.uio.no/~janl/ts/obelix.gif

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Friday, 24 June 2005 16:48 (fourteen years ago) link

thought it was K. Hilson until she started singing

The Reverend, Sunday, 14 February 2010 12:43 (nine years ago) link

Turns out there was already a worse remake:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyEjpl50_XE

Ned Raggett, Monday, 15 February 2010 21:07 (nine years ago) link

This is way less worse than I remembered...

<object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/h7qBq7cJg_s&hl=en_US&fs=1&";></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/h7qBq7cJg_s&hl=en_US&fs=1&"; type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>

billstevejim, Monday, 15 February 2010 21:52 (nine years ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7qBq7cJg_s

billstevejim, Monday, 15 February 2010 21:52 (nine years ago) link

Who is Justin Bieber?

80085 (a hoy hoy), Monday, 15 February 2010 22:13 (nine years ago) link

that vid is worse than the we are the world one. 'we are all the same! like... gays and addicts and asians, right?' Also I'm with you Gwen, STOP GLOBAL AIDS.

Better giving rappers their own verses though. And just having ?uestlove looking around going 'why the fuck am I here with these retards? What are you doing to my ears?'

80085 (a hoy hoy), Monday, 15 February 2010 22:19 (nine years ago) link

Yeah I was able to figure out that he was the five year old who started the song but... why is it him starting the song?

80085 (a hoy hoy), Monday, 15 February 2010 22:19 (nine years ago) link

he is a popular new artist

nagl wayne (J0rdan S.), Monday, 15 February 2010 22:20 (nine years ago) link

With whom -- pedophiles?

Inculcate a spirit of serfdom in children (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 15 February 2010 22:21 (nine years ago) link

Revisiting the original after this awful remake = we really didn't know how good we had it.

Adam Bruneau, Monday, 15 February 2010 23:11 (nine years ago) link

Yeah back then artists had to use an older model called "manual-tune."

Evan, Monday, 15 February 2010 23:49 (nine years ago) link

he is a popular new artist

― nagl wayne (J0rdan S.), Monday, February 15, 2010 10:20 PM (Yesterday) Bookmark Suggest Ban Permalink
With whom -- pedophiles?

― Inculcate a spirit of serfdom in children (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, February 15, 2010 10:21 PM (Yesterday) Bookmark Suggest Ban Permalink

Bahahahaha

Alex in NYC, Tuesday, 16 February 2010 21:31 (nine years ago) link

Bieber has his moments.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6B1upS49NM

Megadeth Panel (Ówen P.), Tuesday, 16 February 2010 21:48 (nine years ago) link

For a brief half second I'm all "He covered 'My World' by Guns'n'Roses?"

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 16 February 2010 21:49 (nine years ago) link

A solo version of the well known charity song, entitled "I Am My World"

Enoki Doki (Paul in Santa Cruz), Tuesday, 16 February 2010 22:08 (nine years ago) link

HA

Megadeth Panel (Ówen P.), Tuesday, 16 February 2010 22:43 (nine years ago) link

Dude owns Twitter too. Girls and pedos united as Bieliebers.

Megadeth Panel (Ówen P.), Tuesday, 16 February 2010 22:54 (nine years ago) link

challop: The Fred Phelps parody version of WATW sounds better than the autotuned one.

Your body is a spiderland (polyphonic), Tuesday, 16 February 2010 22:59 (nine years ago) link

massive lols at "Bieliebers"

sheryl crow but with a very long butt (HI DERE), Tuesday, 16 February 2010 23:00 (nine years ago) link

also Jennifer Hudson is the only person on this who doesn't sound entirely embarrasing

sheryl crow but with a very long butt (HI DERE), Tuesday, 16 February 2010 23:01 (nine years ago) link

"God hates the woooorld
(he hates you)
and all her children
(that means you!)"

lukevalentine, Tuesday, 16 February 2010 23:08 (nine years ago) link

the phelps thing sounds like something me and my friends would make up in 3rd grade

lukevalentine, Tuesday, 16 February 2010 23:08 (nine years ago) link

i mean the part about "you're headed straight to hell" to the tune of a pop song not the part of sincerely wanting everyone to perish

lukevalentine, Tuesday, 16 February 2010 23:11 (nine years ago) link

This reminds me of the Brian Wilson-in-the-studio parody scene from the Dewey Cox movie.

Cunga, Tuesday, 16 February 2010 23:17 (nine years ago) link

"You eat your children" "Yes you do!"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyEjpl50_XE

I love at 2:58 when the two "lady friends" share a moment

Megadeth Panel (Ówen P.), Tuesday, 16 February 2010 23:22 (nine years ago) link

I wonder what John Mayer thinks of all this.

Cunga, Wednesday, 17 February 2010 00:14 (nine years ago) link

you'll eat your kids? I wish!

FC Tom Tomsk Club (Merdeyeux), Wednesday, 17 February 2010 00:44 (nine years ago) link

Who knew?

Los Angeles-based favorite We Are The World have debuted a new mp3 for Fight Song from their debut record Clay Stones, available April 6 on Manimal Vinyl. Listen at Stereogum:

http://stereogum.com/archives/mp3/we_are_the_world__fight_song_stereogum_premiere_113811.html

Formed in the summer of 2008 by film composer Robbie Williamson and choreographer Ryan Heffington, the duo's aim was to create devastating electronic pop music. Joining forces with designer Megan Gold and former CIA agent turned burlesque dancer Nina McNeely, they combined Gold's provocative lyrics and Williamson's heavy minimal tracks with Heffington and McNeely's visceral dancing.

We Are The Worlds pounding bass and thrilling live show soon won them a passionate hometown following who reveled in the group's choreographed concert performances. We Are The World have played with The Gossip, Fuck Buttons, Linda Perhacs, and Tricky.

Praise for We Are The World:

[We Are The World] work the dance beat, taking pop to strange outer space.– Paper Magazine
Art-damaged electronica. – LA Weekly
Addictive as f*ck, haunting as hell, Clay Stones beats compel helpless skeletons to shake and hearts to pump faster with lyrical myth-making. Like a gothic En Vogue, singer Megan Gold stretches and bends guttural glissandos and breathy chants across glassy hooks so hot Id follow their directions straight to the sacrificing stone. – LA Record

http://www.myspace.com/WATWLA

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 18 February 2010 21:04 (nine years ago) link

The only way this song could have been worse is if Sufjan Stephens inserted a mandolin solo......

Ballistic, Friday, 19 February 2010 21:19 (nine years ago) link

Is Sufjan Stevens known for mandolin solos?

Evan, Friday, 19 February 2010 22:08 (nine years ago) link

is he ever!

slapped by a bear (HI DERE), Friday, 19 February 2010 22:08 (nine years ago) link

We are the not-number-one debut single

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 23 February 2010 18:49 (nine years ago) link

It probably would've had a good shot at #1 if it wasn't vomit.

billstevejim, Tuesday, 23 February 2010 19:06 (nine years ago) link

yet another reason why Ke$ha-hate is misplaced

Jack the Dude-Kicker (HI DERE), Tuesday, 23 February 2010 19:10 (nine years ago) link

one month passes...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LdsxjSZFuTo&feature=player_embedded#

Evan, Sunday, 28 March 2010 20:25 (nine years ago) link

eight months pass...

Good Lord, "Do They Know it's Christmas" postively shits all over "We Are the World" in a brown torrent of tannembaum-shaped charity turds.

― Alex in NYC (vassifer)

(name) in (some place i'm not from) (buzza), Monday, 6 December 2010 21:58 (nine years ago) link

This again.

It's very simple: Dionne Warwick >>>>>>>> Simon Le Bon

look at it, pwn3d, made u look at my peen/vadge (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 6 December 2010 21:59 (nine years ago) link

three years pass...

because of MJ 5th anniversary death day, VH1soul is showing WatW…

seems like Lionel crowbarred James Ingram and Al Jarreau in there…respectively gospel and jazz virtuosos that the '85 pop audience would be vaguely familiar with via their hit songs, but they ain't superstars like everyone else, even Aykroyd! two singers that were reflexively respected by black pop machers like Lionel and MJ.

veronica moser, Thursday, 26 June 2014 00:04 (five years ago) link

one year passes...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4HAIsImOkc

ulysses, Monday, 29 February 2016 01:19 (three years ago) link

Who is Justin Bieber?

― 80085 (a hoy hoy), Monday, February 15, 2010 5:13 PM

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 29 February 2016 01:20 (three years ago) link

A more innocent time for all of us, Bieber included.

pitchforkian at best (cryptosicko), Monday, 29 February 2016 01:34 (three years ago) link

he is a popular new artist
― nagl wayne (J0rdan S.), Monday, February 15, 2010 10:20 PM (6 years ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

With whom -- pedophiles?
― Inculcate a spirit of serfdom in children (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, February 15, 2010

ulysses, Monday, 29 February 2016 01:34 (three years ago) link

his hair!

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 29 February 2016 01:38 (three years ago) link

this song inspired a v classic M@tt Helgo thread

Hey (Extended Mix), Monday, 29 February 2016 01:41 (three years ago) link

six months pass...

We are the world
We are the children
Is Usher blind?
Has this been released?
Are you guys quoting lyrics?
― Michael Steele, the first black Superman (HI DERE), Friday, February 12, 2010 11:46 AM Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Neanderthal, Wednesday, 21 September 2016 00:12 (three years ago) link

three years pass...

if we put this in a time capsule someone would say this was the year the world ended

Jordan Pickford LOLverdrive (Neanderthal), Saturday, 30 November 2019 05:16 (two weeks ago) link

Alfred OTM. I love this song

YOU CALL THIS JOURNALSIM? (dog latin), Saturday, 30 November 2019 09:01 (two weeks ago) link

https://youtu.be/3Xaweac0TxY

YOU CALL THIS JOURNALSIM? (dog latin), Saturday, 30 November 2019 09:09 (two weeks ago) link

speaking way upthread about "Voices That Care", I never saw the video before! heard the song every day, but this is my first time seeing it.

*Cetera's hair is a mess
*lotsa NBA cameos
*lol, Jani Lane
*lol, NELSON
*lotsa great voices wasted on a stupid song

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ol6vr5_CY1o

master of nuggets (Neanderthal), Wednesday, 4 December 2019 04:14 (one week ago) link


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