When the original "We Are the World" debuted in 1985-as a call to action against famine in Africa-the notion of cross-genre musicians uniting for an all-star recording in the name of charity was unprecedented, and met with due awe. On a practical level, it's impossible for "We Are the World 25: For Haiti" to recapture that novelty. But Quincy Jones and Lionel Richie-who created the original with the late Michael Jackson-have certainly updated the song to fit the times. This results in some unfortunate choices, from T-Pain's Auto-Tune solo to Jamie Foxx's misguided impersonation of Ray Charles and the absence of a powerhouse rock vocal (Pink aside). Bright spots are to be found, though, in Wyclef Jean's ululating cries and Jennifer Hudson's straight-from-the-gut passion. Jackson's spectral presence, a reminder of the song's essential magic, is still the most welcome one of all. -Monica Herrera

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