It’s hard to be cynical about relief efforts and treacly but well-intentioned songs released to raise both awareness and funds. Hard, but definitely in my wheelhouse. Before we launch into the cynicism, I’m just going to say: give to Haiti – seriously, they need it.
There. Now you don’t need to hear “We Are the World 25 For Haiti.”
But if you’re full of morbid curiosity like me, and want the rest of this post to make sense – or perhaps if you’re that rare connoisseur of anything truly ghastly and soul-devouringly horrible – you’ll listen anyway:
Here’s my blow-by-blow, suck-by-suck breakdown.
0:00. “Hi, I’m Jamie Foxx.” That’s right, folks – you have no excuse for not closing your internet browser and walking away right now. This isn’t a bait-and-switch. They’re telling you right up front what you can expect. And it sucks.
0:26. He just promised a “dazzling array” of artists. I anticipate the same dazzle I get from the fried appetizer platter at your neighborhood shitty pub: superficial promise (chicken fingers AND mozz sticks? get out!) followed by grease-soaked regret and ominous rumblings from the stomach of all who partook. And even the parts you liked will be overwhelmed by the terrible ranch dip and the nachos that sat until the chips turned soggy.
1:07. It’s too early for this to suck so hard. No one’s even singing yet!
1:30. The vocals are introduced by four year old Canadian gaywad Justin Bieber and Autotune. This is akin to kicking off your presidency with a promise to rid the world of evil doers – nothing good can follow.
1:43. Oh check it out, talent.
1:58. Oh check it out, the second coming of Rick Astley.
2:03. When grandpa starts singing, you know it’s time to wrap up the leftover turkey and hide the rest of that case of Coors. The holiday and the fun are over.
2:22. Ahhh! The introduction of the ghost of Michael Jackson may be tasteless, but it scared me more than “The Wolf Man” and almost as much as Benicio Del Toro’s weird-looking face. And who says he can’t play Anthony Hopkins’s son? …Sorry, this song is already boring the shit out of me.
2:34. Easily the song’s highlight. Babs takes it to the mat here – she said, “I am going to pin this fucking song! I OWN THIS RING!” And who was gonna argue? Nobody, that’s who. The emotive speak-sing of the word “day” is the jump-off-the-turnbuckle that iced this baby.
2:52. Who just sang the ghost backing vocal for Miley? I didn’t see anyone. I’m kinda spooked. MJ, was that you..?
2:56. I don’t care if you do cry – I’m still taking your lunch money, weiner boy.
3:10. Jamie Foxx: actually decent. Huh.
3:14. What the..? Holy crap! I think Wyclef mistakenly thought he was booked to do a duet with Capleton today. Without question, different music is playing in his headphones than what everybody else is getting.
3:22. The part of Stevie Wonder in tonight’s performance will be played by that white guy from Maroon 5. If, like I did, you remember their hit single “This Love” and can’t get it out of your head for the next four years… I’m sorry.
3:28. Pink: congratulations, I have nothing snarky to say about you. This is what a “We Are the World” vocal part should sound like: just the right combination of seeming like you mean it, eyes closed but not spazzing out or crying, no stupid dramatic hand gestures, and sticking close to the melody. It can only go downhill from here.
3:41. Ahhh, zombie! Shoot it in the head! SHOOT IT! …Seriously though, Michael looks good for a dead guy. I can see why they called him in.
3:48. In a short span, Usher showed us how to do tasteful show-offy, and then Celine threw him to the ground, stomped on his fuckin’ throat, and said “WHO SAID YOU COULD BRING THE MELISMA? I COPYRIGHTED THAT SHIT!” Lionel Richie only looked on with disinterest and did some inexplicable hand gestures.
4:07. Oh good, hand clapping and hushed chorus vocals. Surely this thing is winding down. *checks timer… kills self*
4:08. The rest of this post will be written by ghost Cooper. If they can bring back Michael, anything is possible.
4:20. American Idol dude.
4:28. Bald guy – Michael Stipe? Moby? Why he’s doing that soulful hand thing? That’s it, I’m nodding off until something good happens.
4:48. That is NOT it. Listen, Lil Wayne. I have resigned myself to your weird turtle-like looks and your insistence on recording four songs a day and even your shitty new “rock” album, but you + Autotune + squealing electric guitars + “We Are the World” = fuck you, Lil Wayne. I didn’t even know it was possible to ruin something that already sucked.
5:00. Is it wrong that I’m thinking of buying a Pink album? Maybe this song has created a parallel universe where music is much worse than normal, and as a result Pink seems completely awesome. If a stewardess hands me a tiny bottle of liquor in a minute and then my plane starts shaking but doesn’t crash, I’m going to freak out.
5:29. Sorry, T-Pain: just like in real life, we don’t need you now that we have Weezy. Hand him the keys to your Autotune and get the hell out.
5:31. Was that… Jeff Bridges? Turk 182? TRON? The Dude? Jeff has put his stamp of approval on this monstrosity? Jesus Christ, now I HAVE TO listen to the remaining… three minutes… *sob*
5:40. The comedian usually opens for the band. Who let this dipshit hang around and who gave him a mic?
5:52. At the risk of sounding like the world’s oldest fogey, this hip hop breakdown sucks and it has permanently destroyed everything that is good in the universe. My copy of “The Chronic” fell apart in my hands and a single tear rolled down my cheek as I listened to that.
6:30. Wyclef brings it back home with the single funniest and most bizarre moment in the song.
6:56. Kanye West cares about black people. Weird thing is, when he raps this kind of sounds like a Kanye song, and it’s like 60% better.
7:38. We’re not just increasing your awareness of the earthquake, we’re also increasing your awareness of how Haitians pronounce “Haiti.” I’m down with this, but I still don’t care for Meh-HEE-co. Or DOYCH-land, which is a terrible mangling of the word Germany, if you ask me.
8:00. Sweet relief. It’s over. And Lionel agrees with me – I’m pretty sure that “Wow” was sarcastic as hell.