When it became apparent that “We Are the World” had turned thirty the other day, I did what I always do in these sorts of situations: I lost myself in a clickhole of Wikipedia research on the subject. What interested me most, though, was originally attempting to figure out if anyone had participated as a vocalist in both songs (apparently not), but rapidly became trying to figure out if the judgments of critics against the WATW25 song were valid. Some people were especially upset about the added rap segment to the end of the song, which seems kind of unfair, while others seemed annoyed about specific artists participating in the project, which seemed slightly more fair, but also like a thing that probably happened the first time around.
The most interesting point that came up more than a few times, though, was that the original song had a much more robust volume of stars than the remake, or rather, that the remake had a lot of one-hit wonder, flash-in-the-pan stars involved in it. I was curious about how valid that actual point was, comparatively speaking, between the versions, so I opted to sit down with the lists of people who appeared in both songs and see, between the two, which had an overall higher caliber of “big name stars” versus mid-ground players or flashes in the pan. During this review, I also noted that a whole bunch of obvious names you’d expect to see in one of the two songs simply never performed in either piece, so I also wanted to close out the article with a potential list of people to pick up, from both missing names and current modern singers, in the event that we decide to do another “We Are the World” for… some reason.
For reference, we’re only really discussing people ranked as “soloists” for both songs, and we’re using the lists as documented on Wikipedia of who performed in which songs, in order of appearance. Both lists seem to be more or less accurate, though if there are any inaccuracies, I’m sure someone will point them out sooner or later.
KGC – <i>Dirty Bomb</i> Review (As mentioned, we’re looking back at my review of the, so far only, KGC record produced, Dirty Bomb, for a bit of perspective as to why I feel Dean Garcia and KMFDM have kind of fallen on hard times creatively.)
Website: <a href= http://www.myspace.com/kgcmusic/ target=new>KGC on Myspace</a> (Hahaha oh God Myspace.)
(This was a concept I kind of came up with at random, where X amount of staffers from YHCOR would review the same thing and contribute opinions on it; consider it similar to The Tribunal from IP Games or the standard EGM scoring system, only with non videogame properties. In this case, the first Celldweller CD, which probably didn’t deserve the effort put into this project. Still, a couple of us listened to it, and this was the result.)
Three-way dance: Celldweller, selftitle. (For those wondering why it’s called three-way dance despite the fact that there are only two reviews here, basically another mutual friend who hasn’t come up yet in recaps was supposed to contribute something for this, but never did, and I never fixed the title. Whoops.)
Not the Target Demographic Presents “What the Hell Happened Here?”, Volume One: Conjure One (This was part of an ill-conceived concept I had where I’d look at albums or projects that simply didn’t work or made no sense whatsoever; it was a good idea in theory, but in practice it didn’t have sustaining power long-term, and Beyond the Threshold basically folded not too long afterward anyway. I like this particular column at least, but yeah, it wouldn’t have worked long-term.)
Okay, far be it from me to be obtuse, but I don’t get Conjure One.
(Yet another random CD review from my old website, YHCOR, though this review was one of those random-ass things I wrote about something I still actively listen to today, so it’s more relevant than a review of a 30 Seconds to Mars or a Celldweller CD, so I opted to repost it first.)
Rob Dougan. No, you haven’t heard of him, unless you bought the Matrix Reloaded soundtrack, and then you’d know of him as Rob D. (You’ve almost certainly heard something he’s made, though.) A techno DJ with decent lyrical skills, Dougan released a CD this year of music produced, if the booklet is any indication, entirely by him. (This was back when anything that was entirely electronic was “techno” as far as I was concerned, back before I knew the difference between genres. Well, enough that I don’t call everything “techno,” anyway.) For the most part, it’s a powerful piece of work that basically seems to encapsulate the artist as a whole, but when I say it’s not for everyone, well, you can be sure that I’m pretty much right about that one.
CD Review: A Perfect Circle, Thirteenth Step.
Genre: Experimental Rock.
(This was originally reviewed for YHCOR, and if I’m being honest, I completely forgot that we diversified a bit and started including music reviews, book reviews, and all kinds of other crazy stuff. Joel did a series on horror directors at one point for example. It sucks too, because if I’d had any kind of real motivation or knowledge of how to do internet marketing at 25 I might have actually been able to make a go of YHCOR, since the market was still fairly wide open and we were apparently actually doing okay for ourselves. I mean “Your Hot Cup of Rant” isn’t really any worse than “Videogum” or “Warming Glow” as site titles go. Oh well, hindsight and all that.)
Ah, yes, Maynard James Keenan. You’d most likely know him as the lead singer of Tool, as that’s what he’s best known for, but he’s also the lead singer for A Perfect Circle, which is something of a side project for him. Okay, technically it’s Billy Howerdel’s band, but it might as well be Maynard’s band, because he’s the one selling the CD here. (That’s not entirely inaccurate; basically Howerdel made friends with Keenan while working as a guitar tech for Tool, and Keenan offered his services as a vocalist to Howerdel, boom, APC. Though these days Maynard kind of exists as an entity unto himself, given that he’s had success with Tool, APC and his own band Puscifer, and that Tool hasn’t seen a release in nearly a decade at this point.)
(I discovered this in my review of old articles written for Beyond the Threshold, and realized that I don’t actually have this in my archive of documents, so I’m jumping ahead a bit, once again, to make sure this gets written up, since it’s one of the most hated pieces I’ve ever written, and it deserves its due.)
So it was on my third listen to Peeping Tom that I came to a rather disagreeable realization: Mike Patton isn’t really anywhere as good of a musician as everyone gives him credit for. (Way to bury the lead dude.)