By Various Artists
It's a harsh reviewer who criticises a charity album, you look like a complete git if you say anything honest that might be damaging to sales. Ricky Gervais once said publicly that he hated TV telefons such as Children in Need and that if those stars wanted the publicity they should just contribute money from their own pocket rather than making us suffer a night of shit TV. In some ways comparisons can be drawn to the 1 Love album which highlights the good and bad from the current crop of industry talent. A pound from each of their individual record sales would probably raise a considerable amount more for such a worthwhile cause. So before we begin I would like to say that if you can, you should donate some money to the War Child charity and not feel compelled, if you don't want to, to buy this album.
Like most compilations it's directionless but that matters not. What makes it more interesting is that you get your heroes covering tunes by people they admire. Recipes for great musical moments and ones that make you want to stick your head in a lit oven. So here in a lazy list are the opinions of this reviewer:
* Starsailor - "All Or Nothing": a good cover of a good song by a distinctly bland band.
* Feeder - "The Power Of Love": (that's the Frankie Goes to Hollywood one) nowhere near the passion of the original.
* Sugababes - "Killer": reasonable cover of a dance classic by current dirty faced darlings.
* Muse - "House Of The Rising Sun": a different, very Muse sounding, take on the classic.
* Stereophonics - "Nothing Compares 2 U": I've just lit the oven if you want to join me?
* Faithless & Dido - "Dub Be Good To Me": a real missed opportunity to do something excellent, ends up in dull 4th B-side remix territory.
* Oasis - "Merry Xmas Everybody": there's room for a couple more in the oven if you hurry up!
* Elbow - "Something In The Air": at last the rescue party are here and things are back on track.
* The Reelists featuring Ms Dynamite - "Back to life": strangely bad effort from mercury prize winner and with a great song as well?
* Manic Street Preachers - "Out Of Time": upbeat and jolly...the Manics? yes the Manics?
* Badly Drawn Boy & Jools Holland plus band - "Come On Eileen": top prize for an unexpected extremely good retake of the wedding disco classic.
* Prodigy - "Ghost Town": more missed opportunities for something really good, just generally dull.
* Jimmy Eat World - "Firestarter": prize for the most original version but it does drag after 5 minutes and counting.
* Darius - "Pretty Flamingo" - was there any need?
* More Fire Crew feat. Gabrielle - "Dreams": singer covers her own song badly - who'd have thought it!
* McAlmont & Butler - "Back for Good": an awkward moment as you realise how bad a songs lyrics sound in the hands of someone decent. Not a bad closing effort.
There you go something for everyone and a couple of things for your enemies as well. It's interesting that NME (co-compilers) didn't review the finished work as that would have been biased and it also conveniently saved one of their reviewers having to lie through his teeth about how great Kelly Jones sounds whining "Nothing compares toooo yoouuuoouuoowoooo!"