They’re all saying give peace a chance
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.