Critics grade charitable records on a huge fucking curve. That's understandable to some degree, because it's relatively laudable that musicians give their inferior B-sides and ill-advised covers to benefit albums, much as it's mildly generous of me to give a scratched copy of Nirvana Unplugged and T-shirts that no longer cover my burgeoning gut to the thrift store rather than chucking them in the trash. But when U2 garners five-star reviews for crap due to humanitarian immunity and patriotic hero Kip Winger receives a pardon for his misspent life, it's clear that free passes for philanthropic artists have gone too far.
I admire the people who organized these compilations. I purchased physical copies, which I plan to keep forever because I'm afraid that if I sell them someone might buy them used, thus tragically diverting funds from war orphans. I've also written provisions in my will detailing the specific way they must be auctioned at my funeral. The proceeds from those sales, as well as the profits from my proposed "Corpse Raffle," will go directly to these organizations.
I suppose I could have buried the discs in the yard without listening to them, but I couldn't resist the lure of sampling various-artists collections populated with terrible performers. So, while I whole-heartedly urge all of you to order multiple copies, preferably in person so that you might barter the price upward, I must also confess these discs don't contain the "great music for a great cause!!!" you've been led to believe. Because I can't feel real malice toward good Samaritans, I'm sentencing the albums' worst offenders to unflattering haikus, the gentlest form of mockery.
Take Action Volume 8
Founded by Hopeless Records in 1999, the Take Action group generates at least one album and tour each year, provoking twinges of guilt for people who justifiably despise acts like Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Anti-Flag and Rise Against based on musical merit. Take Action supports different charities with each endeavor, and this album donates 5 percent of its profits to DoSomething.org, a multi-purpose volunteerism site for young people. I will gladly pay 5 percent more for every future album I purchase if this contribution effectively funnels youth toward community service and away from ruinous pursuits - such as forming or supporting the kind of bands included on this album. Most of these tracks appeared on earlier releases, so if you've inexplicably befriended someone who desires Breathe Carolina and All Time Low records, give them Take Action Volume 8 instead and bask in the knowledge that your apparent lapse in taste is paying unseen dividends.
Cute Is What We Aim For, "Doctor"
"I'll be your doctor"
Got anything for nausea, doc?
Your band sickens me.
Forever The Sickest Kids, "The Party Song"
Soft acoustic guitars
Delicate harmonic whines
Great, emo unplugged.
Party at your place
Wanna sleep? Play this, just watch
Guests clear the fuck out.
Breathe Carolina, "Diamonds"
Auto-Tune, dumb screams
Who knew fucking Brokencyde
Had a nice-guy twin.
War Child Presents Heroes
War Child directs profits from every album sold to protective services for children in combat zones such as Darfur, Afghanistan and Uganda. Honestly, this cause justifies the impossible - my financial backing of a recording that includes The Kooks. But Heroes didn't just randomly collect rock-star scraps, like so many previous charitable records. Instead, War Child approached the likes of Bob Dylan and Paul McCartney, asked them to pick out a song, then allowed them to suggest an artist to cover their selection. Some of the legends chose irresponsibly, leading to horrible renditions, but given that they freely handed their pets to butchers, they can't complain that the tunes got chopped into bloody meat. It's a victimless crime, as long as you don't anthropomorphize compositions.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs perform The Ramones' "Sheena Is A Punk Rocker"
Straight Ramones cover
Yeah Yeahs trace a child's drawing,
color outside lines.
Sheena is a punk
Karen is an alley cat
Such shrill, tortured yowls.
Duffy performs Paul McCartney's "Live and Let Die"
Duffy's no Axl
Sounds like lounge-singing infant
Let die, God, let die.
World which we live in." Slight change.
Still not fixed, moron.
Peaches performs Iggy Pop's "Search and Destroy"
Look out honey, cuz
She's using technology
Man, electroclash sucks.
Peaches strips during shows
Like Pop, but he looks better
He's fucking 60.
Estelle performs Stevie Wonder's "Superstition"
Flat vocals, lame funk
"Superstition ain't the way"
Not for you, Estelle.
Ghost of Wonder's eyes
Joins spirit of Stevie Ray Vaughan