A lot of our parents taught us, if you don't have anything nice to say, then do not say anything at all. Upfront, I have to say I approached the whole idea of re-recording this song with trepidation. I was always pre-conditioned to view this with a dose of skepticism. Heaven knows that the cause is so so appropriate that within that context, personal assessments seem even pettier and unnecessary.
What I will say is the most triumphant portion of this re-telling of this iconic song has nothing to do with the original. I believe that the hip hop portion and Wyclef's haunting ending are the most memorable aspects of this version. How could anything possibly live up to the original? When a re-creation on the American Music Awards aired with Diana Ross leading the charge, it proved to be less thrilling.
This seems a bit of a mess and painfully imitative. Is it me or does Barbra's reading of the line pale next to Diana? No one particular performer stands out in this revision. Using Justin Bieber as the opening artist is telling because it triggers a continuous reaction of “who’s that”. That underscores no matter how in earnest and well meaning this effort is, this version includes a bunch of second stringers. The camera pans back several times to Nicole Scherzinger of the Pussycat Dolls in lieu of a Gladys Knight or Carlos Santana which leads one to think that this version caters more to pop culture than capturing the truly great artists of the time. The original had a wealth of worldwide known megastars and super stars.
I still question why a new song could not be written considering the vast amount of talent involved. I found not one single spine-chilling moment in the entire piece. Whereas the original version commanded major broadcast and cable simulcast, “We Are the World for Haiti” was reduced to a minor cable simulcast on a Saturday of a long holiday weekend. Here’s hoping the coffers will continue to fill to counterbalance any negative assessment of the song and video.
Kirk Bonin has worked in the music industry for the last three decades. He describes himself as "a child of Motown and the classic rock era." Having spent the balance of his career at Arista Records, his experience and passion gives him a unique perspective on music and the music industry. Kirk can be contacted via email at email@example.com
About the Writer
K. Bonin has worked in the music industry for the last three decades. He describes himself as "a child of Motown and the classic rock era." Having spent the balance of his career at Arista Records, his experience and passion gives him a unique perspective on music and the music industry.