Sunday, December 11, 2005

feed the world, indeed

One of the most exciting things about being a rock star must be that at any given moment, somebody could ask you to participate in a group singalong to raise money for something. Just imagine being able to hold that giant headphone to your ear with one hand while you emote with the other. Although nowadays it would probably all be wireless, and that would be sad. You probably wouldn't even be able to get everyone in a big room together anymore, because they would all need to have their bodyguards and plastic surgeons there. I, however, remember a simpler time, when Spandau Ballet shared a stage with Paul McCartney for the wholesome purpose of saving the world.

So, yeah, there's We are the World, with lyrics that were life-affirming yet nonspecific enough that they could be applied to any humanitarian situation. "We all must lend a helping hand... you know, love is all we need..." They had to invent a lot of opportunities for this kind of cheerful ambiguity so that all those singers could put in their own two vague cents. And those people clearly don't tone down their shit for anyone. They're used to having their own song and this time around they only have a few seconds to be heard so they're going to make the most of it, harmony be damned. (I'm talking to you, Huey "But if you JUST BELIEVE!" Lewis.)

I think the Pointer Sisters sang on We are the World, actually. Granted, I'll bust a move to Jump (For My Love) any day of the week, mostly because I admire their use of parentheses, but they're really not the sort of band that had much staying power.

Who am I kidding? I'm doing the neutron dance as I write this.

Anyway, I had a point here, somewhere. This time of year we get to hear one of the best singalongs recorded... Do They Know It's Christmastime? by God Only Knows Who. I think I hear Bono in there thanking God it's THEM instead of YOU. My only memory of that show Pop-Up Video is when they responded to the song title with a pop-up that said something to the effect of, "Well, they probably don't care. Most Africans don't even celebrate Christmas." I love you, Pop-Up Video. Why should that stop us, though? Nobody can strongarm a holiday like Americans. "You WILL celebrate this because otherwise we won't drop any boxes of food down from helicopters. Now dance to the song we made for you, Ethiopia, DANCE!"

I think of Pop-Up Video every time I sing along with the chorus which now just sounds like, "FEMA, who-oa...," which is really so much more timely. That song has a lot of levels, people.

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