Obama, Meet We Are the World

I’m somewhat of a Barack Obama fan, so I suppose it’s nice that Will.i.am and other celebrities have decided his candidacy is important enough to warrant a pro-Obama (proBama?) “We Are the World”-style music video.

But with the “lyrics” consisting of sung-chanted portions of an actual Obama speech, and with the participants not once winking (see: Scarlett “Yeah, I Made a Tom Waits Covers Album” Johansson singing at a sibilant-dulling mic screen), the video basically is a cross between “Voices That Care” and the brilliant Ali G sketch where he beatboxes to a nuclear protester’s embarrassingly dreadful protest song.



Still, none of them holds a candle to the best celebrity song of all time: Rockers to Help Explain Whitewater.

2 responses to “Obama, Meet We Are the World

  1. See, I actually think the video is clever because the melody of the song is taken from the compellingly melodic speaking style that Obama himself uses. That’s kind of cool. On the other hand, it also emphasizes the kind of slogany hollowness of Obama’s rhetoric. I’m going to vote for him, but I think the reason he doesn’t inspire me as much I want him to is because he speaks in such abstraction. I’m not saying he should temper his inspirational speeches with policy, but “yes we can” is so ambiguous. Yes we can what? And more importantly how? With figures like MLK, the rhetoric was lofty and inspirational but there was a distinct problem– de jure racism– that he was using that rhetoric to address. All the talk in this election about “change”– I mean, what are they saying needs to be changed? There are tons of problems in this country, but just generally talking about “change” qua change is sort of meaningless to me, Joe Q. Average Voter (who is over-educated but also ignorant).

  2. It is a cool idea, and the execution is pretty good. There were just so many vocal runs and over-serious celebs that it reminded me of the other vids.

    But yeah, that is what gives people the most misgivings about Obama, I think. (Also nice use of “change qua change.”) I think he has plenty of detailed policies that pretty much bely that complaint, but at the same time he doesn’t usually make them the focus of his pitch.

    The New Republic has wrestled with this somewhat effectively, here and here. The sense they get is that Obama doesn’t just care about change qua change — that he wants change for the sake of pursuing specific policies and sees his brand of “change” and “unity” as means of most effectively getting those policies enacted. But he definitely doesn’t make that case so clearly in his usual speeches.