Album review

Various : 1 Love

Various : 1 LoveThe only question surrounding 1 Love is why did it take so long? 1995's record-breaking Help album took five days from recording to retail . . . that was seven years ago.
    As beneficiaries War Child's aims have expanded - now helping victims of war in other parts of the world, in addition to Bosnia - the recording artists' remit has contracted; all the contributors were asked to cover a UK number one single. The results? Well, read on . . .

Long-time counterculture readers may have grasped that I'm not the biggest Starsailor fan, so when they start 1 Love with a soulless rendition of the Small Faces' All Or Nothing, it isn't quite the opener I was hoping for. The Dogs D'Amour did a cool version a few years back. Maybe Starsailor should have picked up some pointers . . .
    Feeder obviously have valid reasons not to be the happiest bunnies on the planet, and their acoustic guitar led version of Frankie Goes To Hollywood's The Power Of Love sounds deeply scarred. A really strong version, but not an easy listen.
    The first of 1 Love's killer tracks arrives in the form of Sugababes' interpretation of the song that gave introduced the world to Seal - Adamski's Killer. If your tastes have stretched to the girls' excellent Angels With Dirty Faces album then Killer will come as no surprise; slick R'n'B with an icy new wave coating.
    A wounded sounding Sinead O'Connor took Prince's Nothing Compares 2 U to the top of the charts in the UK, so why Kelly Jones' cracked rock vocals work so well on this track is something I still haven't worked out. I love O'Connor's version, Prince's own attempt ain't shabby, and Stereophonics don't insult the lineage at all.

Maxi Jazz's always entertaining rapping carries Dub Be Good To Good To Me for Faithless & Dido, Elbow remind everyone how good they are on Thunderclap Newman's Something In The Air and Oasis tackle Slade's Merry Xmas Everybody in an ironically Liam free fashion before Badly Drawn Boy and Jools Holland try their hands at Dexy's Come On Eileen. Jools and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra hold up their end of the bargain in a characteristically professional fashion, but Damon Gough's flat vocals make me realise just how impressive Kevin Rowland was in the original. When flat vocals start going out of tune it's time to go . . .
    The Prodigy big-ska version of The Specials' Ghost Town - possibly one the best number ones ever - is very cool. Liam must have known he couldn't top the original, so he's just had a bit of fun with it. So when Jimmy Eat World turned Firestarter into a haunting acoustic track, you just know he got the point.
    Garage muppets More Fire Crew butcher Gabrielle's Dreams, before the helium-filled tones of McAlmont & Butler end proceedings on a high with Take That's Back For Good.

Should you buy a copy? Of course you should. Proceeds go to innocent victims of war, and you get to laugh at Badly Drawn Boy's singing. What more do you want?

:: Rowan Shaeffer

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