Thursday, February 04, 2010

Hope for Haiti Now Album

Apple cobbled together a few of its pals to make a music tribute and raise money for the victims of the recent Haiti Earthquake.

The album is definitive 2000's pop + 20th Century classics, some apparently re-worked by the artists especially for this album.

Most tracks have a slightly more down-tempo feel which I suppose is to demonstrate respect but also appeal to a much wider than usual audience. As a result, I find it a bit a heavy on occasion as if its too earnest, too forced. I imagine most rock and pop stars must absolutely dread a world disaster these days! Disasters must mean an expectation that their profession will automatically line up for the fund-raising effort. The charity burn-out factor must be becoming a bit of an issue. Surely? Making and selling a music CD IS an easy way to "raise money" but its getting a bit tired! Where are the big Hollywood movies being donated to "raise money" for example? I might just be naive perhaps.

This album features most of the male and female A-Lister's of modern pop including Madonna, Christina Aguilera, Wyclef Jean, Bono, Justin Timberlake and so on. I am listening intently but did they HAVE to include Beyoncé's vocal theatrics? *sigh*. Might be just me - but her version of Halo on this album grates and comes across as forced and overly theatrical "compassion". It's the most irritating track and I skip it on each listen now.

Stand-out tracks for me are Bruce Springsteen's version "We shall overcome", Taylor Swift's "Breathless" (beautiful pop!) and Dave Matthews and Neil Young's version of "Alone and Forsaken" (brilliant stuff!). Then there's "Lean on me" by Sheryl Crow, Kid Rock and Kieth Urban. The weirdest track is Wyclef Jean trying to do a out-of-sync coolness (not!) version of "River's of Babylon" which is just "meh!".

At AU$13.99 (via direct download from iTunes) its not too bad value though its hardly going to be a memorable album in years to come I reckon. Overall, the album is too chunky, too serious, and feels more like a brick - albeit plated gold - than a feel-good treat and a thank you for my donated funds!

The album is apparently doing well though in sales and has raised a modest amount for the Haiti Appeal. Yes! US$3m + to date is "modest" in this situation. The Haiti crisis is going to take years to mend. It will cost billions to fix and a few sales of a CD aren't going to make too big a dent in that required amount. Truth be told - the money raised doesn't always get to where it is meant to go either! Once the ordinary folk of the world realise this travesty of justice... who knows what will happen to "Charity" then?

The organisations that can clearly demonstrate an ethical distribution of donated funds will prevail. Let's hope so anyway!

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