NOTE: It goes without saying that watching the “Voices That Care” documentary now is the funniest of Funny Aneurysms. Rest assured, I support our troops. That said, I’m not here to mock Gulf War 2, or even to bring up what everyone thinks about it. I know it’s a sensitive issue, and in so many words, let’s not even go there. I’m just here to make fun of Michael Bolton.
I really doubt that there will ever be as much nostalgia for the 1990’s as there was for any other decade. I mean no offense if you were born then, or if you grew up then (cause I did too). The reason for this is simple: we are going to have to owe up to a lot of REALLY embarrassing crap. Not the funny kind of embarrassing, the REALLY embarrassing kind of embarrassing.
The popularity of one Mr. Michael Bolton for one thing.
The good thing about living in the future (ooh, ahh) is that there is now a whole segment of my reading audience who have never had the, errrr, pleasure of hearing a Michael Bolton song. Perhaps they are familiar with him only through “Office Space”. I would not go so far as to call him a “no-talent assclown”, but the man could not sing. As a matter of fact, you know the “if I can’t sing good, I’ll just sing REALLY LOUD” school of thought that makes the early-season open casting episodes of “American Idol” so tedious? We can pretty much lay the blame for that right at Bolton’s feet. (And for those of you who have never heard him sing and still don’t know what I’m talking about, enjoy this all-too-brief “In Living Color” skit.)
Today, for your Michael Bolton-involving enjoyment, we have two little VHS gems from 1991 that I found in a library thrift store. The first is “Simply Mad About the Mouse”, a collection of music videos from a cover album of various early-’90s people singing songs from Disney movies. I think the Onion AV Club mentioned it once. The covers range from surprisingly good, to unintentionally hilarious, to boring, to terrible, and I remember briefly thinking that it was the most awesome thing ever… when I was twelve.
The second is a documentary recounting the creation of “Voices That Care”, which is the most epic charity single ever created (just shy of 100 participants, compared to the 44 “We Are the World” singers). It is also the most, how shall we say this, surreal.
Major Tangent: You could argue that the all-star version of “What’s Goin’ On” from 2001 is more surreal, but remember that the weeks and months in the wake of September 11, 2001 were incredibly surreal times overall. In hindsight, after all these years, this video just looks awkward. Like, REALLY awkward. Of note is the fact that Fred Durst and Michael Stipe were in the same room and the universe didn’t implode.
Speaking of, I don’t want to digress but something must be pointed out only because I brought him up. Trying to discern or owe up to the popularity of Limp Bizkit is another reason why the ’90’s were kinda embarrassing. See this Onion AV Club article for more thoughts on this.
I had forgotten entirely about “Voices That Care” until the wonderful Everything Is Terrible blog dug this astonishing artifact up again for all to gawk incredulously at. All the memories came rushing back and I remembered thinking that the single was also the most awesome thing ever… when I was twelve.
Fun Fact: The local radio station formerly known as MIX 98.5 FM used to promise “Less talk, more variety, no hard rock, and NO RAP!!! EVER!!!” This literally meant that when they played this song, they skipped right over Will Smith’s solo. I had no clue he was even involved until much later.
Another Fun Fact: According to The Retroist, the Gulf War was pretty much over by the time this song saw the light of day.
Note: In “The Best Parts” below, the title of the video goes to a YouTube link where you can follow along. The counter may be a little off.
The Best Parts of “Simply Mad About the Mouse“:
1 minute in – PIKACHUUUUUUUUUUU!!!!!
3 minutes in –
ANIMATION DOES NOT WORK THAT WAY!!!
But given the number of interviews with high-paid celebrities who come on to voice animated films where said celebrities tell us how astonished they were that, like, they hadn’t even STARTED animating before they came in to record, I wonder if most people actually think animation does work this way?
Also, the moment when I draw a picture of someone and that drawing comes to life and starts singing to me is the moment just prior to the one where I do not smile warmly at my creation but instead start crying hysterically and immediately develop a serious psychosis.
4 minutes in – ATTACK OF THE GIANT BADLY-ROTOSCOPED BILLY JOEL!!!
7 minutes in – Weee!
8 minutes in – AUGH!!!
10 minutes in – “You know, so my kids can listen!”
13 minutes in – Let us reflect on the fact that we live in a world where L.L. Cool J has recorded a song that involved him singing, “Tralalalala.”
15 minutes in – I like how they aren’t even trying to connect the songs to their original context anymore.
17 minutes in – It amazes me how “Bear Necessities” is one of the most-covered Disney songs when it makes zero sense out of context. Note that Harry Connick Jr. doesn’t sing about eating ants in this version, which is too bad.
19 minutes in – Oh, that sucks.
21 minutes in – Now, if you didn’t think this video was much of an early-90’s artifact, here is Bobby McFerrin.
24 minutes in – And if you STILL didn’t think this video was much of an early-90’s artifact, here is Soul II Soul.
25 minutes in – KEYTAR!!!
28 minutes in – Brace yourselves for the Bolton…
29 minutes in –
31 minutes in – AUGH, the KEY CHANGE!!!
The Best Parts of “Voices That Care“:
2 minutes in – Brooke Shield’s America Sweater is AWESOME!!!
6 minutes in – Interesting. This session singer version of the song sounds a lot more honest and meaningful.
8 minutes in – Scrunchie AND “Simpsons” shirt. Wow.
10 minutes in – Aww, mini-New Edition reunion! And look at Will Smith as a lad!!! 😄
14 minutes in – What does it say about this song when the guy in the Bugs Bunny suit is the least surreal person in the room?
16 minutes in – And thank you Kenny G, for pushing this over the edge of surrealism.
(And then a second later…)
And thank you Jean-Claude Van Damme, for digging a deep hole at the bottom of Surreal Cliff, so that this would fall even further into surrealism.
19 minutes in – Try not to sing “We’re Sending Our Love Down the Well” during the chorus.
21 minutes in – I wonder if they figured we wouldn’t recognize Mark Knopfler if they didn’t do this?
23 minutes in – Aww. Ladies and gentlemen, the late Warren Wiebe. <:.(
Things I Learned from this Movie:
* – The early 90’s were very strange times.
* – Rick Ocasik’s face is not something you want to be confronted with unexpectedly.
* – I have no idea why Michael Bolton was so popular.
Things That Can Save Any Movie:
Cool Creatures? In the Disney clips, yeah.
Good Soundtrack? Given that they are both musicals, I suppose so.
Hot Guys? LL Cool J – though it’s really weird seeing him rap about the Three Little Pigs.
Pretty Scenery? In the Disney clips.
Nifty Animation/Effects/Art Direction? Yes in the Disney clips. Big fat no to the new animation in “Mouse”.
Drinking Game Potential? For “Mouse”, drink when they use that one special effect where it looks like the singer’s big giant head is attacking. For “Voices”, drink when you recognize someone.
Head Movie Potential? “Mouse” gets pretty trippy at times.
Jordan for both. They’re both amazing time capsules.
“Simply Mad About the Mouse” – A Garen Entertainment film distributed by Buena Vista Home Video in 1991. Directed by Scot Garen. Album distributed by Columbia Records.
“Voices That Care” – A Propaganda Films production released in 1991. Written by David Jackson and directed by Jackson and James Yukich. Song written by David Foster, Linda Thompson, and Peter Cetera.
Wikipedia page – For “Simply Mad About the Mouse”
Wikipedia page – For “Voices That Care”
IMDB page – For “Voices That Care”