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

by

comment

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)

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at news@clevescene.com.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club


Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.


Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.


Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.