Charity Begins At Bono

By Rob Last edited 172 months ago
Charity Begins At Bono

Londonist got its first listen of the Band Aid 20 record this morning when the XFM breakfast show played Do They Know It'sChristmas? as we arose from our overly-central-heated slumber.

We were not helped in our efforts to make the transition from asleep to awake when the record started with a Coldplay-esque piano 'riff' (ironically, it later transpired that it was Thom Yorke of Radiohead on the old Joanna).

Indeed we were nearly pushed straight back into a near comatose state when the - how can Londonist say this politely? - mellifluous tones of Chris Martin and Dido appeared singing the first few lines.

The song seems as if it's about to get bored of itself before thankfully moving up a gear. Actually, it seems to do more than that, as it demonstrates a change of pace Crystal Palace's Andrew Johnson would be proud of. The song proceeds as you expect: different artists straining to inject the most soul into their different lines. (Londonist's winner is, predictably, Bono, who flew in specially to re-record his line, after grumbles about the sound quality of the part he had recorded remotely.)

The song inexplicably stalls as it begins the 'Feeeeed the wooooooorld' outro and that annoying piano riff makes itself heard again. It does pick up the pace but the essential 'sing-a-long-ability' of the original is nowhere near matched.

The most memorable part of Band Aid 20 for Londonist is the one that departs most from the original: Dizzee Rascal's astonishing intervention which would have got him arrested had he been around to attempt it on the original record, but which injects some welcome difference, as opposed to just tweaking.

Ask us again in a few weeks how welcome this bit is though, as Dizzee Rascal records have a habit of annoying us in the end

Londonist doesn't kid itself that any reviews of Band Aid 20 matter. The song is secondary to the cause but it is at least a record that would bear repeated listens. This is in marked contrast to Girls Aloud's anaemic cover of The Pretenders' I'll Stand By You on behalf of Children in Need.

Londonist suggests that if you like I'll Stand By You you download the original version which is available on iTunes and donate the rest of the cash directly to charity.

Last Updated 16 November 2004