It’s often been the case with charity records that the cause tends to outweigh the music. But the tracks on this Hope album, contributed to raise money for Iraq’s children, rather blow such preconceptions out of the water. True, there are plenty of cover versions, but without exception these are musically interesting. And they nestle alongside several new pieces, from artists who collectively are little if not diverse.
Poignantly political tracks like Travis‘s original number The Beautiful Occupation and New Order‘s cover of Jimmy Cliff‘s Vietnam say as much as the more touchy-feely efforts from Beverley Knight and Beth Orton. All have a place here.
One of the more surprising contributions is Stand Up As People by Lee Ryan of Blue. Far from the naffness that might have been expected, this is a self-penned and powerful, gospel-tinged effort which simply and ably expresses his views of the world today – and those views are difficult to argue with.
Charidee veteran George Michael makes two appearances on the record – once with the funereal and melodramatic The Grave, and again with Ms Dynamite on a cover of his own song, Faith. This latter effort, first heard at this year’s Brit Awards, features reworked lyrics reflecting the world situation from Dynamite’s viewpoint.
The pace fluctuates wildly too, from Ronan Keating‘s cover of In The Ghetto to Basement Jaxx‘s collaboration with Yellowman, Love Is The Answer, there’s really something for all tastes. For those who prefer chilled consideration of events uncontrollable, Moby‘s Nearer, a new track, does the job.
Even the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens, now called Yusuf Islam, is wheeled out to contribute the near-tribal Peace Train, a vocal a cappella which is his first release in ages.
With a rock-solid cause in helping the innocent victims of war, and some intriguing pieces of music, there’s every justification for adding this record to your collection.