The 50 Worst Songs of the ’00s, F2K No. 2: Artists Against AIDS Worldwide, “What’s Goin’ On (Fred Durst’s Reality Check Mix)”


super lame songs by charity “supergroups” have been the most expensive form of self-parody ever since Bob Geldof scribbled the word “Do” in “Do They Know It’s Christmas.” Since its mid-’80s “We Are The World… Again” heyday, this blustery tradition has been the target of like a dozen Saturday Night Live sketches and at least two winky-winky parody all-“star” indie rock viral events, in 2005 and 2009. So yeah, it’s almost hack of me to bag on these cornball Artists Against Obscurity clusterfucks. Fortunately the expiration date on bagging on Fred Durst still has a couple of months left.

In 2001, Bono and Jermaine Dupri joined forces to have an all-star back-patting contest to raise money for AIDS charities. Dubbing themselves Artists Against AIDS Worldwide (or AAAW, as in “AWWW yeah, Fred Durst up in this bitch!”), they cobbled a pan-genre collection of superstars really good at sounding concerned. With the most drecky stars of pop, rock, hip-hop, and whatever the fuck Staind was, they collectively butchered Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On,” pretty much solidifying the exact moment the monoculture fell to shit. A “worst moment” in this All-Star Shit Salad Bar would be hard to pinpoint: Bono overdoing a super-sincere whisper on what must be his 200th charity single appearance? Staind dude Aaron Whatever blasting out his hyperbolic wheeze? The Backstreet Boys celebrating their last public appearance before tragically falling off the face of the earth? Nelly Furtado doing her abrasive chatterboxing? Puffy adding his pointless Puffyisms? Christina Aguilera doing that thing with her voice where you imagine she’s moving her hand up and down and then you watch the video and see that she was actually in the studio moving her hand up and down?

Oh, no, it’s definitely Fred Durst, coming in with his whiny bray: “Somebody tell me what’s going on? We got human beings using humans for a bomb! But everybody wanna live! Don’t nobody really wanna die. You feelin’ me right?” I mean, everyone already figured Durst was somewhere between “Rappin’ Granny” and “armpit farts into a microphone” in the rhyme skills territory. But fuck me, if someone told me I was gonna follow Nas on a charity single, I’d at least get a 12th grader to ghostwrite me something that didn’t sound like Kevin Federline screeching out “The 9-11 Rap, Y’alls” inside a crowded elevator.

So after pretty much ruining that for everyone, Artists Against AIDS gave old Dursty his own track to bungle. “Fred Durst’s Reality Check Mix” takes Gaye’s chilling, evocative, timeless-beyond-timeless “What’s Going On” and gives it the stomping, moshing Lowest Common Denominator mook-metal makeover that even kids in wallet chains and XXXXL “Female Body Inspector” T-shirts thought was tasteless. The track is like crowd surfing Marvin Gaye’s coffin over the crowd at Woodstock ’99 and then dropping it into the mud. First up: Scott Weiland–who was well into his “over-emoting because I got to jam with the Doors” phase, which likely overlapped with one of his “DRUGS ARE FUCKIN AWESOME” phase–totally thinking he’s god’s gift to the microphone because he had a career longer than a bunch of post-rap-rock frownbags. Perry Ferrell shows up and is just completely tuneless. I don’t even know who the fuck is doing the falsetto whine on the background of the chorus, but it’s hilarious and unfortunate. Elijah Blue of Deadsy does something, but I couldn’t tell you what because I have no idea what Elijah Blue of Deadsy’s voice sounds like.

Bono is simply hilarious. He’s like an old nerd stumbling into a party where a bunch of young kids are setting a cat on fire and doesn’t have a clue what do. He adds some moans that seem to say, “I approve of this existing, but I’m not going to co-sign on it to the point of saying actual words. Good luck with your future, guy from Puddle Of Mudd, who I will shake hands with for the first and last time in my life.”

The 50 Worst Songs of the ’00s: The Complete List

The 50 Worst Songs of the ’00s: The Complete List

50. brokeNCYDE, “Bree Bree”
49. LL Cool J feat. Jennifer Lopez, “Control Myself”
48. The Moldy Peaches, “Who’s Got The Crack”
47. Akon, “Sorry, Blame It On Me”
46. Dynamite Hack, “Boyz-N-The-Hood”
45. James Blunt, “You’re Beautiful”
44. Aaron Carter, “America A O”
43. Basshunter, “Please Don’t Go”
42. 3 Doors Down, “Kryptonite”
41. Vanessa Hudgens, “Sneakernight”
40. Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, and the Wu-Tang Clan, “For Heaven’s Sake 2000”
39. Aubrey O’Day feat. Roscoe Umali, “Never Fallin'”
38. Say Anything, “Got Your Money”
37. Satellite Party feat. Jim Morrison, “Woman In The Window”
36. Lady Sovereign, “Food Play”
35. Hampton The Hamster, “The Hampsterdance Song”
34. Happy Mondays, “Jelly Bean”
33. Heidi Montag, “Higher”
32. Smash Mouth, “I Wan’na Be Like You (The Monkey Song)”
31. 50 Cent, “Amusement Park”
30. Swizz Beatz with Ja Rule and Metallica, “We Did It Again”
29. John Mayer, “Your Body Is A Wonderland”
28. Xiu Xiu, “Support Our Troops OH (Black Angels OH)”
27. Kelly Osbourne and Ozzy Osbourne, “Changes”
26. Beastie Boys, “In A World Gone Mad”
25. Weezer, “Heart Songs”
24. Gummibar, “I Am Your Gummy Bear (The Gummy Bear Song)”
23. Santana feat. Chad Kroeger, “Into The Night”
22. The Notorious B.I.G. ft. Bob Marley, “Hold Ya Head”
21. Crazy Frog, “Last Christmas”
20. Gym Class Heroes, “Taxi Driver”
19. Nickelback, “Something In Your Mouth”
18. Toby Keith, “Courtesy of the Red, White, & Blue (The Angry American)”
17. Simple Plan, “Perfect”
16. William Hung, “O Come All Ye Faithful”
15. Hinder, “Born To Be Wild”
14. Korn, “Ya’ll Want A Single?”
13. Sugababes Vs. Girls Aloud, “Walk This Way”
12. Disturbed, “Land of Confusion”
11. Darryl Worley, “Have You Forgotten?”
10. Fieldy’s Dreams, “Baby Hugh Hef”
9. Ashlee Simpson, “La La”
8. Limp Bizkit and Johnny Rzeznik, “Wish You Were Here”
7. Nicole Scherzinger, “Puakenikeni”
6. Hot Action Cop, “Fever For The Flava”
5. Alvin & The Chipmunks, “Get Munk’d”
4. Blue October, “Jump Rope”
3. Tila Tequila, “I Love U”
2. Artists Against AIDS Worldwide, “What’s Goin’ On (Fred Durst’s Reality Check Mix)”
1. Counting Crows ft. Vanessa Carlton, “Big Yellow Taxi”

50 – 31 were originally published on

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