Quincy Jones Needs A Time Out

Now that time has settled  and everyone has had a chance to digest the latest reenactment of the 1985 classic, “We Are The World.” It must be said that both versions were recorded for great purposes, 1985′s for African famine relief and 2010‘s for the devastating Haitian earthquake. The thought was there. The execution, however, that’s another story.

The newest version which boasts stars such as Justin Bieber, Lil Wayne, Usher, Kanye West, Barbra Streisand and others, wasn’t a bad song. It actually turned out better than I expected. It just wasn’t 1985′s. Think about the stats which the former boasted; Fastest selling American pop single of ALL TIME. First single to be certified platinum, Three Grammys & As of last year, over 20 million units sold and over $60M in humanitarian aid.

When you think about it like that, it’s hard to keep one’s head above water. Another reason many have reservations regarding the new record is because of Michael Jackson’s influence. I’m of the belief no one should ever attempt to recreate Jacko’s material. It just shouldn’t be done. That is no disrespect to any artists currently making music today, but it’d take 10 iconic careers to even tug at the coattails of the King of Pop’s. Another person who happens to agree with this sentiment is a megastar who chose not to take part in the 2010 remake, Jay-Z.

“I know everybody is gonna take this wrong: ‘We Are the World,’ I love it, and I understand the point and think it’s great. But I think ‘We Are the World’ is like [Michael Jackson's] ‘Thriller’ to me. I don’t ever wanna see it touched. I’m a fan of music. I know the plight and everything that’s going on in Haiti. I applaud the efforts: [Millions have been raised] through text [donations] to Haiti. So I appreciate the efforts and everything, but ‘We are the World’ is [musically] untouchable like ‘Thriller’ is untouchable. Some things are just untouchable. It was a valiant effort, but for me, it’s gonna be untouchable.”

Lastly, using autotune with so many talented artists on one right record seems pointless. It’s almost like lowering the rim at the NBA All Star Game.  Will.i.am has created hit after hit for Black Eyed Peas, was it too much to hand him a pen and pad and have him write a new record? Again, I understand the motive.  I’m just of the belief some stuff shouldn’t be recreated. Regardless of how impressive this record would/could have been, it would have always suffered from the iconic presence of its predecessor.

Recommended for You

Around the Web

Best of XXL

  • John Cochran

    Totally agree. It made it even worse for me because we just lost Mike and they can’t wait to rip his stuff. If he were alive and involved in it then maybe it would’ve been better. It just highlighted for me how inferior other artists are compared to MJ. And the rap parts were horrible.

  • AZ40

    Is everyone sayin’ this now that Jay-z has come out and said it, where was everyone before hand. I said it before why not just create something totally original if you’re even gonna do a song, it doesn’t really feel organic, which i don’t agree with I think the tradegy is beyond needing a song, I think these artist would be better off doing something else besides taking time out to re-record a song, even though many have done a lot already

  • LEEK

    The ’85 version… 3 of 5 stars!! People tend to forget Cindi Luaper & Bruce Sprintstein. You’re only as strong as your weakest link & Mike was great, but sheesh they were horrible!!

    • Lowedwn

      I gotta disagree with you there. Even Huey Lewis went in on the ’85 version(granted with coaching from Mike). The new version seems too forced emotionally to me, while the original just seemed very heartfelt and genuine.

    • http://www.bboycult.com $yk!

      If the first one wasn’t an epic classic there would be no reason to re-do it 25 years later, with the author’s death and the calamity playing major parts in it.

      A 3/5 * rating can hardly suffice for a legacy of silver anniversary proportions, career sustaining proportions (i.e. CELINE DION) but it was an opinion stated.

      This year’s version should be a 1/5 *, eh?

      I totally co-sign with all who say there should have been a new song.

  • http://www.bboycult.com The $ykotic Don McCaine

    “So I appreciate the efforts and everything, but ‘We are the World’ is [musically] untouchable like ‘Thriller’ is untouchable. Some things are just untouchable. It was a valiant effort, but for me, it’s gonna be untouchable.”

    ^ Best thing he’s said in a minute.

    I agree with the MJ sentiment John C stated above.

    This the 2nd L I’ve witnessed because of the “MJ syndrome”, the BET tribute was the 1st.

    But I stand by my words from the jump, and many others agree, it’s come across as a promo op more than a song of care. Sean Penn had more emotional on Larry King last night than these people did.

    Welcome to the X-spot, hopefully your civilized talk (yes pun) can co-exist with some of the uncivilized thoughts.

  • JD

    Its not because of Jay Z I agree it is because at the end of the day it has to do with good taste. Jacko put his imprint on this song so how dare you add of all things autotune to it. We could/can help this circumstance in other ways. The song should have never been redone.

  • sb

    the 10′ version is trash

  • DV8

    If Mike was alive that shit would have never happened. What a traveshamockery.

  • LEEK

    I think if Mike was alive the song (if remade at all) would have been what it is now. Mike’s involvement in the ’85 version was co-writer and performer. QUINCY gathered the other performers, Mike had no real say back then. Mike has always been a forward thinking artist, and what’s more futuristic than autotune. As for the stats on the ’85 version, the song came out 3 years after THRILLER!!! Everyone was swept up in Michael-Mania.

    Bruce Springstein’s grandstanding=Wyclef’s grandstanding=FAIL.

    • Lowedwn

      What? Mike damn near vocally coached the whole cast on the original record. Have you seen the old tapes of the recording? And you even said Mike co-wrote the song. You think he woulda let any ol artist just jump on the track and sing it however they want? C’mon man.

      “and what’s more futuristic than autotune”…I’ma a take that as a joke or assume you’ve never heard of Roger Troutman or Roger & Zapp.

  • http://www.jamal7mile.blogspot.com Jamal7Mile

    Still haven’t seen the new video. Still haven’t heard the new re-make. Still say that a totally new song should’ve been made for Haiti.

  • LEEK

    It’s given if someone writes a song, they’re going to coach whoever sings. With that said, Jackson’s coaching wasn’t going to save it from all the bullshit overperforming. LAUPER gets a solo but not SMOKEY ROBINSON. Not saying the ’10 version is superior but the ’85 version has it’s flaws

  • Brooklyn

    wait…they used autotune in the remake? that’s already an epic fail, i have no desire to hear that shit now.

  • Datnigga

    All them niggas Boule anyway! Remember, whenever Quincy has something to do with it, its prolly has something to do with solomy! LMAO! Sad but true!

  • Curtis75Black

    The 1st version was a pop record. The 2nd version is a pop record with added Hip Hop. WATW was written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Ritchie produced by Quincy Jones. 2 of the original artists Co-signed the decision. Why is everyone acting like it was all about Micheal ? Why is everyone all of a sudden acting like they were jammin’ this shit on a constant basis back in 85 on their parents record player ? I’m quite sure the peeps old enough to remember the song and the artists involved was too much into Hip Hop to really care and was probably offended that no one for the community reppped. That’s why Prince put together that Martin Luther King tribute, which repped R&B and Hip Hop. Forget how the song sounds or who was or wasn’t involved for a second and check for the reason it was done.

  • Deadly MIME

    I think that the remake was garbage. They killed the original idea that Michael and Lionel was going for. I understand that hip-hop is really big now so it had to be on the song, but at the same time the hip-hop in it ruined the song. WTF LL Fool Gay, Poop Dogg, fuckin Kanye aka Gayfish, fuckin Will I’m Not, Lil Lame? I saw fuckin Nipsy Hussle in that video and he didnt even sing. Hip-Hop should have did a song on their own. Oh T-Pain, fail!


    just heard it, one thing i have to say wyclef STFU, him and the autotune fuck the song up….so TPAIN AND CLEF KILL YALL SELF

  • http://grindoutbeats.com BlackBoy

    Let’s all just pray that no more disasters like that earthquake happen so we don’t have to sit through another disaster in its aftermath….

    …and on a side note, that picture above looks like Quincy’s saying to someone “I know, look at it!!! It’s back waaaayyy far now!!!… yeah he SHOULD just shave it all off totally!!!”

  • http://bunkerproductions.ca snopop

    A bit late, but this clip accurately captures how I envision the We are the World 10 going down.

    youtube. com/watch?v=54YHZ2BQ1yU

    Seems like their motivated to pat themselves on the back, not actually accomplish anything.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54YHZ2BQ1yU snopop

    A bit late, but this clip from the Simpsons accurately captures how I envision the We are the World 10 going down. Click on my Name.

    Seems like they’re motivated to pat themselves on the back, not actually accomplish anything.

  • http://XXLmag.com Leroy Love

    I think looking at the original Dream Team and comparing all the ones that followed is similiar to what has taken place with “We Are the World” Pt.2. There is no comparison to the original. There will always be just one “Dream Team” and the same is true for the “We Are the World” series…I’m sure R Kelly could have written a song with the same vibe that would have probably sounded better. Its still not too late to do one.

  • Chase

    Quincy Jones can do whatever he wants!!!! Why? Because he’s Quincy Jones!!!!