They’re all say­ing give peace a chance

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music - Iain Shed­den

THE first thing to fo­cus on here is the good cause. Pro­ceeds from the sale of this dou­ble CD will aid Amnesty In­ter­na­tional in bring­ing much- needed as­sis­tance to the war- rav­aged Dar­fur re­gion of Su­dan. In his day John Len­non was about as high profile as an artist can get as a hu­man rights ac­tivist, so the idea of get­ting big- name acts such as U2, Green Day and Christina Aguil­era to per­form the best of the Len­non song­book should guar­an­tee that AI is rea­son­ably suc­cess­ful in its mis­sion. Still, as ever in th­ese trib­ute projects, the re­sults, purely in mu­si­cal terms, are mixed. It be­gins well. CD1 opens with U2’ s treat­ment of In­stant Karma , which doesn’t stray too far from the orig­i­nal ex­cept that it’s a lit­tle more stri­dent and Bono’s read­ing of it is slightly, and ef­fec­tively, un­der­stated. REM do an equally vi­brant job on # 9 Dream. Aguil­era sticks rigidly to Len­non’s ar­range­ment while adding a sur­pris­ingly gutsy, if slightly over- emo­tional, vo­cal to Mother . Other fe­male vo­cal­ists mak­ing an ap­pear­ance in­clude Avril Lav­i­gne ( Imag­ine , fair), flavour- of- the- month wacky Ca­role King- type Regina Spek­tor ( Real Love , lots of angst and trem­bling pi­ano) and Cor­rine Bai­ley Rae, who gives an en­joy­ably funky live ac­count of I’mLos­ing You . The best of the sec­ond disc in­cludes a haunt­ing, hyp­notic cover of Iso­la­tion by Snow Pa­trol and the Flam­ing Lips’ over­wrought Just Like ( Start­ing Over) . Less suc­cess­ful are the lumpy, plod­ding rock of Green Day on Work­ing Class Hero . The Cure stamp their goth- pop aes­thetic on to Love, but it’s still the Cure. The most orig­i­nal treat­ment comes from the un­likely com­bi­na­tion of Aero­smith and Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars, who be­tween them con­jure up a glo­ri­ous few min­utes of reg­gae- tinged pop on Give Peace a Chance . A wor­thy project that just gets over the line.

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