We Are the World

I vaguely remember watching the original We Are the World music video by Michael Jackson and company.  Obviously, since I was only a year old when it was released, I don’t remember the premier… but my elementary school was definitely a MJ fan, on rain days we’d watch Michael Jackson music videos (scary stuff).

Today, one of my Twitter friend @jungbow posted a link to the new, We Are the World music video, which I surprisingly had not heard about.  This time, instead of helping the people of Africa, the video is meant to help those caught in the tragedy of Haiti’s earthquake.  While I must admit, and I know this will sound horrible, that I’m a little tired of the Haiti commercials from various charity organizations, I am glad to see that people are making a difference.

The original video featured all the major players in the music business of the 1980s, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie, Willy Nelson… It was pretty impressive and moving.  Thanks Michael for that!

Now, on to the new one… You’ll see for yourself when you watch it but I must give a few critiques.  Opening sequence with Jamie Foxx.  Seriously dude, you’re in a recording studio, why the hell is your audio so crappy?  It sounds like he’s recording into a laptop microphone.  Secondly, what’s up with the guilt trip Jamie?  We can’t all donate a million dollars to Haiti, I donated what I felt was a generous and financially sound donation.  Did you donate the same ratio as I did?  I seriously doubt it.  While this video will bring in a lot of money, as we all hope, please don’t try and guilt people into giving.  You should instead, inspire people to donate.  That’s what the song is here to do.

That intro video with the Haitians working to rebuild their country, that’s great.  Can we choose a background track that isn’t ALSO from 1985?  Yeek!

Finally… opening with Justin Bieber?  I’ve already aired my grievances with Justin Bieber before, but I ask again, opening with Justin Bieber?!  When you’ve got the likes of Barbara Streisand, Josh Groban, Mary J Blige and Jennifer Hudson, among others, you choose this pop-tart, bubblegum white boy singer turned Disney star rapper as your headliner?

P.S. That auto-tuning you did on a few of the artists (even the less obvious versions)… I think the I am T-Pain iPhone app would have done a better job.  Yeeks.  On and that DMX-esque intermission… why?  Not that I didn’t like the pop-rap-rock-opera you’ve orchestrated, what a great update for the times, just seemed a little forced.

Ok, and that creepy video interlude of Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson, just weird.  I realize it is an homage to the original video but jeeze.  At least mix the audio better.

Alright, I think I’ve chastised this do-good video enough.  It’s a great song, many of the singers are of my favorites and it serves a great cause.

Alright, now tell me what did you think?  What level of hell am I going to for ranting about the technicalities in a charity music video?  Leave your thoughts in the comments!  Don’t forget you can log in with you Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, etc etc, login and share your thoughts on this post with your friends on all your social networks.


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A Legend Lost

It was just a few days ago that I was talking to a friend I’d bumped into about Michael Jackson.  We discussed his upcoming concerts, his weirdness and ended with a round of praise to his being able to release one ground-breaking album after another.  He was truly an incredible artist.

The next day, at the same exact time, his death was announced through Twitter.

Think what you want, the man was a musical genius.  He guided the music industry for decades, created the top selling album of all time and reigned supreme in the pop world as well as the music video industry.  No one could make a music video like Michael Jackson.  Each video told a story and going beyond 10 minutes for a video was totally acceptable.

One of the most famous ones comes from his best selling album, Thriller.

[flv:MJ_Thriller.flv 640 480]

Michael Jackson died and the world exploded.  We had not seen a reaction like this to the election of Barack Obama, the Iran election and subsequent protests or the deaths of Ed McMahon and Farah Fawcet (who died just hours before Jackson).  In fact, the effect on cellphone towers and the Internet is said to be greater than even September 11, 2001.

No site was safe.  I tweeted at the time that I couldn’t access any news sites with merely a mention of Michael Jackson was inaccessible.  No site was safe, not CNN, not Yahoo!, not even Google!  All reported outages.  AT&T said more text messages were sent that day than any other day in the history of text messaging on their networks.

Twitter, once again the source for breaking news, was completely overwhelmed.  Remarkably, the site was at around 90% stable, more than I’d ever expect out of the infamous fail whale.  A search for Michael Jackson on Twitter’s search page loaded hundreds of new tweets ever few seconds.

You could actually decipher what was going on simply by reading the Twitter Trends.

MTV, Michael Jackon, MJ, Cardiac Arrest, MJ RIP, Hospital, etc

MTV was reporting live and showing tribute videos of Michael Jackson as he was rushed by ambulance to the hospital, with reports of a grim outlook.

Today, a day later, iTunes was a fantastic sample of the impact Jackson’s death had on the world.  His albums, singles and music videos dominated the iTunes Music Store charts, absolutely.

Dominating Music Sales

Dominating Music Video Sales

Dominating Music Video Sales

But it wasn’t all positive.  Perez Hilton continued to disgust with this post on his site, which I will not link to.  Click the picture to open it up a bit bigger so you can read all that Perez Hilton wrote.

This is what Perez originally wrote about Michael Jackson.

This is what Perez originally wrote about Michael Jackson.

Huge thanks to the twitter user than originally posted this image. I’d love to attribute it to him but TwitPic seems to have messed up, the user that actually posted it is not listed as that person today.  Apparently over half a million hits and thousands of comments on a single picture in a single day outdid their servers.

In the end, we’ve lost a legend and for that I am sad.  But perhaps he’s somewhere better, where he doesn’t have to worry so much about his appearance.  A place where his pain isn’t so great.  We know he was a troubled man.  Here’s to hoping that is all lifted.  Let’s put our thoughts on his friends and family, especially his three young children.

And let’s boycott Perez.  Seriously.

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Lady Gaga, Savior

As an artist, I hate the idea of someone spreading my work around the world before it’s ready to be seen by the masses.  And I totally feel for Lady Gaga for having her latest music video, Paparazzi, leaked out onto the internet earlier than she had hoped.

In the end, though, maybe it isn’t such a bad thing.  Thousands of people are twittering about the video and from what I can tell, they all seem to love it.

I feel like I came to the Lady Gaga scene a little bit later than some of my friends who were seeing her in clubs in Washington DC and New York City years ago, but it wasn’t long after I heard her music, especially her live, a cappella performances, that I realized she was the real deal.

We’ve seen so many new artists come out of the woodwork with little skill beyond one particular dance move they do over and over again, some sexy look they have or whatever magic audio engineers are able to pull off with the amazing abilities provided by the autotune.

Lady Gaga is a classically trained singer, dancer and pianist.  I know Chase will give me shit for a week for liking her.  The name alone, “Lady Gaga”, is pretty silly and her fashion sense is, to put it kindly, extreme.  But it all comes together into this beautiful package.

Gaga breaches the established gender and sexual lines; she is what many, and I can’t believe I’m going to type this, gay guys need right now.

Madonna is getting old; seriously, she is starting to, ghasp, look her age.  Plus, what kind of beacon of inspiration can she be?  Leaving her husband for another man who is also married while in the midst of adopting another foreign baby?  Madonna, your acts in the 1980s, 1990s were cute, rebellious and fun.  But now you’ve got a family to think of. Come on Madge, go back to who you were just three years ago. Ok? Thanks.

Brittany is, while not nearly as crazy as she was in the last few years, definitely not a singer or performer.  Her music is catchy and great to dance to and sometimes even has substance but please, lord help us all, do not let her go out and sing and dance live.  Holy shit.

Is that all we’ve got?  Nah, we’ve got Beyonce but she’s getting too big for her Cartier.  Pink? Nah, she’s cool but doesn’t pump out the dance hits or diva ballads like she used to.  She’s our political girl for sure.  Christina? Sing? Yes. Dance? Yes. Beauty? Yes. Style… Well… It’s definitely better than it was in the early 2000s!

So really, who do the gay guys in the world have?

Lady Gaga.  She’s new, fresh, clean, fun, has style galore, sings like most pop singers after they are autotuned (herself without the need for autotuning), can dance and… well you get the picture.

All that being said… I can’t believe how much I like her music, her style and her… je ne sais que

Here’s her latest music video, yeah that leaked one.  It’s one of the biggest singles off her debut album.

[flv:Lady_Gaga-Paparazzi.flv 500 378]

The video every bit as fantastic as I had heard around the internet.  It’s like an old Michael Jackson music video mixed with a little Gwen Stefani and a whole lot of high fashion.  Pop music gold.

I don’t feel nearly so bad about posting this video, the audio is off by a second or two which makes it a totally different experience as when it will be officially launched.  It’s good enough as is that I’ll be buying it from iTunes the moment it is put into the iTunes Music Store.  Also, at least it is given a nice home here right?  Centered, a nice intro image… (see how I’m trying to convince myself of something?!)

Cheers, g’night all!

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