Saturday, February 27, 2010

Why I Love...

...The Original "We Are the World"

Ok, so I don't love "We Are the World". I've honestly never really been a fan of the song. But I do like it much better than "We Are the World 25". The song is a tad bit corny but you can't completely hate it because 1) it's for Mother Africa and 2) it's so damn catchy. Oh and 3) in the video MJ is rockin' this jacket: 

That's a nice jacket. I want that jacket.* Anyway, the original trumps the new one on many levels. Let's take a look. TO THE LIST MAKING MACHINE! [Insert old school Batman transition here]

Musicians v. "Musicians"
The original "We Are the World" is most well-known for it's superstar cast. It was written by music superhero Micheal Jackson alongside fellow Motown legend, Lionel Richie and produced by the-one-and-only Quincy Jones. Throw all the other humongous names in there and you've got the highest quality ingredients for a charity single hit. One of the problems with the new one is that most of the performers don't matter. Everyone's gonna remember the name Diana Ross for years to come. But who's gonna remember Nicole Schrzinger? (You don't know who that is, do you?) Or Justin Beaver? Or Joe Jonas? Nobody, that's who.

Also, this might just be because I'm out of the loop, but I didn't recognize half of the people there. Who were those people? If they're gonna make a charity single they better put in some of the few people I know like The Gaga and Queen B. (As long as they don't sing "Video Phone" *shudder*)

Lastly, Lil' Wayne? Really??? Not only was it an insult to actual singers who could've had that line but it was also an insult to Bob Dylan who I hear is like, really famous or something.

"Leave your ego at the door"
It's said that 25 years ago Quincy Jones told everyone to drop their egos off with a babysitter for the night but I guess ego babysitting is an 80s phenomenon because people seem to have brought theirs along this time.

Ok, so there's actually no evidence of egoism here. From what I hear, Barbra Streisand was the only one who threw a diva fit. But there's something over-processed about WATW 25. Maybe it's because I'm more aware of the beast that is celebrity and how it is usually skips hand-in-hand with huge egos these days. Everyone just seems so glammed up and shiny. Which is what I would've expected from the 80s WATW considering most of those people were just coming from the AMAs. But nope, everyone seemed rather cozy in their WATW sweatshirts. No, "I'm ready for my close-up" hair and make-up.

We're so concerned
Man, the beginning with J. Hud and what's-her-face from the Pussycat Dolls (that Nicole chick you don't know) is so full of "look how concerned I am" face that I almost fainted from the overload. I don't disagree that the situation in Haiti is a grave one so people probably shouldn't be having tickle-fights and dancing on tables. But, everyone in WATW 25 seems so aware of what they're doing and it kinda ruins it. I guess, with the legacy of the original hanging over your head it's hard to not know the sort of impact that you could be making. So, I'll give them that. But there's a whole different vibe coming from WATW #1. Everyone seems to be having a good time and there's a real sense of hope as opposed to the morbidity and "This is serious, guys" attitude of WATW 25.

WATW looks like a bunch of people just recording a charity single while WATW 25 looks like a bunch of people recoding a charity single for a music video.

Not enough adorableness
Where are the cute people in WATW 25??? WATW had Paul Simon looking adorable with his bad haircut. It had Cyndi Lauper looking adorable with her multi-colored hair and baby face. It had Willie Nelson looking adorable in a "I'm kinda confused" way.

In fact, it's missing a lot of things: big hair (Diana Ross), shoulder pads (LaToya Jackson), mullets (Steve Perry), blind piano players (Stevie and Sir Ray Charles) and Kenny Rogers. At least they kept The Jacket. Good job, guys.

Verdict: Well, there's not much of a verdict; I already said I liked the first one better. Allow me to demonstrate through music math: Tina Turner + Bruce Springsteen + Billy Joel + Diana Ross (- The Supremes) x Ray Charles = Awesome Overload while Miley Cyrus + Justin Beaver** + The Jonas Brothers (- King Kevin) x Lil' Wayne = Kinda Alarming

All in all, I guess the final "verdict" is that WATW 25 lacks the musical prowess and charm of the original. Everything's too glossy and glamorous visually while sonically (whoa!) it sounds disjointed, esp. with the rap bit. I honestly think they should've just hired R. Kelly to churn out one of his famous choir-backed anthems and just left WATW alone. But, it was for charity so I can't hate too much. I'll just be in this corner quietly sipping my haterade.

ciao, muchachos 

*So, I did some research and that jacket (along with the gloves on the cover of the Bad album) are being housed at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Annex in NYC. I'm thinking we get a group together and go steal it? Let me know! 

**I wish his name really was Justin Beaver because then he'd be a real Canadian.

"Why isn't it ever over when she says, 'ciao!'" you ask. I don't know, I really don't.

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

I'm Still Bitter: So Weird

One of the best parts about getting old is being bitter and annoying about things from the past that can't be changed. I figure, since I just turned 20, that I should just go ahead and start early.

What am I bitter about today? So Weird. Not the show itself, of course. But rather the sucky third season. You know me and Disney are always in a war - an imagined war - but a war nonetheless. And it seems that Disney can do no right lately because, well...they can't. (No one, and I mean NO ONE who greenlights Camp Rock 2 can ever do right again. It's not in line with the laws of the universe.)

In case you don't know,
So Weird was a tv show that aired on the Disney channel way back in 1999. It was about a girl named Fi[ona] (Cara DeLizia) who traveled the country with her rocker mom (Mackenzie Phillips), her brother Jack and some other random people who don't really matter. Oh, except for Eric von Detten who always matters. Anyway, Fi would always run into supernatural occurrences (little girls who were werewolves, aliens, time warps) that helped her connect with her deceased father who was also into exploring the supernatural. Yeah, deep stuff.

When Season 2 of
So Weird ended, the show was getting in there. Season 2 was pretty dark, for a Disney show that is. It dealt primarily with Fi finding out that her dad, like her, dabbled in the supernatural. She also finds out this was probably the cause of his death. In the season finale, Fi discovers that her dad's twin sister receives messages from him in her sleep. Fi has some encounter with a demon on a roof and is saved by the ghost of her father. I mean, this really is deep stuff, guys.

Then season 3 comes around, Fi's gone and we're dealing with people getting sucked into pretty paintings. Um, whaaa? What seems to have happened is, even though the writers had a wicked sick third season planned, DeLizia left the show for whatever reason and Disney said "Uh, no" to what the writers had planned. So, DeLizia was replaced with Alexz Johnson (of
Instant Star fame) and So Weird got itself a nice, light, happy! tone. Blech.

Now, I happen to like Alexz Johnson and I can't blame her for
So Weird's demise. It's not her fault Fi upped and left. But I can blame Disney because I'm in a network blaming mood. *cough*NBC*cough*

If it wasn't for
Even Stevens and, yes, even Lizzie McGuire, I would say this was the end of a Disney era. Disney hasn't had a kid-oriented drama since So Weird ended. (Even though it is dramatically bad, JONAS is not a drama, kiddos). Disney has never really been one to push the envelope but they've really given up lately.

Interestingly enough,
So Weird is an earlier example of the "special teen" formula of which Disney is now so fond. Except, that time, they were doing it right. Hannah Montana, That's So Raven, JONAS, Sonny With A Chance...they are all so overplayed with their identical storylines and bad humor. Wizards of Waverly Place is actually pretty clever in my book (for another discussion). And Suite Life of Zack and Cody (not that "On Deck" sh*t) didn't pander too much to the "special teen" formula. Plus is was mildly funny when it first started. So Weird happened to be creative and entertaining. Also, the main focus wasn't "I'm a special teen who travels with her rock star mommy. I'm so special!" The show focused on cool supernatural folklore and legend and family dynamics. And it was more than just mindless entertainment churned out for annoying 10-year-olds. It looked like a lot of thought had gone into the never seen third season.

Season 3 of
So Weird makes me bitter because it's largely representative of the growing hole in quality television for our precious 9-14 crowd. (Those are made up numbers y'all; I don't know Disney's target audience) Like I said before, I have to forgive the writers because the odds (aka Disney) were against them. But it just gives me more reason to want to give Mickey Mouse a good, swift kick to the gut.

Kids these days need what we had back in the 80s and 90s. Once upon a time kids' tv taught us how to enjoy our imaginations and find the excitement in the mundane of everyday lives instead of sitting around on our bums wishing we were famous pop stars or bad actors. (Yeah, I'm talking to you Nick J.)

And that, my friends, is why I am bitter.


P.S. - Happy
18th Birthday, Taylor Lautner! If your parents love you, they've hired you an entourage of big, burly bodyguards and bought you a house with a reeaaalllyy high, electric fence...Enjoy!
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