Seven years ago the charity War Child released the Help album. The proceeds were donated to the War Child charity. The album itself drew on an idea which couldn’t help but produce inspired results: a group of contemporary artists donated one day of their schedules to go into the studio and record a cover version. Each band recorded and delivered their song on the same day, and the album was released one week later. The album went on to raise �1.25 million for War Child.
1 Love – the sequel to Help – was completed on September 4, exactly seven years to the day for the delivery of all the tracks for the first album. The concept for 1 Love is very much the same as for Help – this time, a bunch of number one artists choose to cover a number one track from the last 50 years.
Essentially, 1 Love is no different to Help. When listening to the album it becomes patently obvious that the more ‘traditional’ bands featured appear dated and uninteresting. Manic Street Preachers are back again with their unlikely version of Out Of Time which, while quirky, is rather uninspired, and Feeder‘s take on The Power Of Love is just uninspired. Help was released during Britpop’s Golden Age but times have changed. House, garage and R&B have overtaken indie’s once dominant space in the charts, and it is the “urban” artists featured here that make 1 Love a worthwhile record.
Sugarbabes‘ energetic version of Killer is the pick of the bunch, taking the original and turning it into a dirty breakbeat track. This should have been their second single and is right up there with Freak Like Me. In the same vein is the much darker, edgier rework of Back To Life by The Reelists Featuring Ms Dynamite.
Faithless and Dido turn out an original rendering of Dub Be Good To Me, making more of the dub element and featuring a rap from Maxi Jazz. Even old favourites Prodigy, who seemed to have gone off the boil with their latest single, offer up a radically different rework of Ghost Town, losing the vocals, keeping the trademark horns and sirens, and slamming in one huge techno bassline. Immediately after this track, Jimmy Eat World turn in their version of Prodigy’s Firestarter, keeping only the lyrics and adding their own backdrop of emotionally charged, melancholy rock.
What were the highlights from Help have now become the mediocre parts of 1 Love. A covers album featuring 16 different artists was never going to be without its less thrilling tracks, and there are none which are truly terrible; it’s just that many of the more traditionally indie band’s offerings go by unnoticed because they sound old-fashioned and add nothing to the original. This album just proves that More Fire Crew are more exciting than Starsailor and even the inclusion of Darius seems like a good idea when placed next to the Stereophonics‘ rendition of Nothing Compares 2 U.