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Why Everybody Hurts Is The Last Thing Haiti Needs
Jude Rogers , February 4th, 2010 07:45

Jude Rogers takes issue with the mauling of 'Everybody Hurts' by Simon Cowell and co

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Once upon a time, there was a slip of a song, a soft statement of directness, tucked into the first side of a strange, swampy album. Sitting between a single about snakes and a mournful instrumental, it was written for misty-eyed, miserable teenagers, teaching them a few lessons about the way the world was. It said this: listen, kids. Everybody hurts. Everybody cries. The sentiments were unusually saccharine for REM back then, but Michael Stipe’s reedy voice gave them a peculiar, quiet power. You may feel like a weirdo, he seemed to be saying, but don’t worry about it, brother. I’m a weirdo too.

Now jump forward seventeen years. How did we get from there to here?

The world has whined on, and 'Everybody Hurts' has become a very different creature. Post- Diana boo-hooey, in a world in which pop songs are wrung dry on TV to suggest emotional Everests and oceanic depths of despair, it has become musical shorthand for stadium-sized sorrow – a far cry from the slight, awkward ballad that soothed off-kilter kids, like the 15-year-old me.

And now it is the song for Haiti. This is not a spur-of-the-moment choice by Simon Cowell, plucked from the air in a spirit of altruism and tenderness. He has been mastering the makeover of this song for years, slathering over its subtlety with key changes, powder and paint. X Factor opera death-squad G4 did it first, giving it the constipated walrus treatment in 2004. Britain’s Got Talent winner Paul Potts came next, singing it on his album in ponderous Italian, presumably to give him the tang of an Aldi Pavarotti. Latterly, Diana Vickers, now being repackaged very nicely as a bubblegum pop star, honked it into a vegetative state in 2008.

But this time, the odds are different. A humanitarian disaster of unimaginable proportions has hit a country long buckling from centuries of corruption and poverty. And what is pop’s response? Everybody hurts. It’s not just you, poor, things. We poor creatures hurt too. “When the day is long” – hey, we sympathise, those aftershocks must be a right bitch, especially when you don’t know when they’re going to bury your family home deeper in debris – and “the night is yours alone” – especially when your wife and children are dead, and you haven’t got any food or water, that must be a right bummer – well, “hang on”. That’s what pop says: “hang on”. The temerity of that lyrical twist, its jaw-dropping tastelessness, telling people that have had to hang on already, forever, to just bolster their spirits in the face of devastation – a state unknown to pop stars who wouldn’t piss in a bottle for less than ten grand – makes it pop’s grimmest moment of all time. Not only does it rip the soul out of a song that had something to say, but in the warbly throats of Cowell’s Cabal, it turns 'Everybody Hurts' into a surreal, empty ode to positive thinking, performed by people who’d have a tantrum if their tea wasn’t served in bone china.

It gets worse. The message of 'Everybody Hurts' is now being placed on the same plain as the lyrics to 'Do They Know It’s Christmas?', effectively demoting Bill Berry and Michael Stipe’s subtle skills to the school of Midge Ure – a man who didn’t notice the “clanging chimes of doom” in Bono’s sickening line, “Tonight, thank God it’s them instead of you” . The media have also been happy to comply in this process, asking Rod Stewart and James Morrison if “Simon” had asked them do this personally, as if Cowell was God, deigning to descend from his heavenly Mr Topper’s barber chair. At least Band Aid had Geldof banging the table like a deranged beggar, trying to get across the gravitas of what he was trying to do, and reporters willing to question pop stars about their real motives (with only a few people, like Bowie, addressing the real issues). Now, all that is left is a reporter basking in the light of these stars, telling us to listen to their vocals, and “take comfort in your friends”.

There are many other grim things about Everybody Hurts being the song for Haiti, There’s the idea that it doesn’t matter what the song is, that people should just shut up and buy it, as if that’s the only way we can help. Why not just donate here as many people like I have? Then comes the relentless parade of melismatic vocals, bereft of humility or subtlety or any true soul, that show how the sport of singing has nothing to do with its art. But the worst thing is this: 'Everybody Hurts' is a song that doesn’t offer any answers. It offers sympathy and empathy in the tiniest doses, delivered in this case by musicians that will retire to their manors, and carry on, without blinking, with their extravagant lives. It is a song that used to say, this is the way the world is, deal with it, move on, and it worked because it understood both its audience and its oddness. It stills says this, but now it understands nothing. Now all it says to the people of Haiti, to whom everything is wrong, is that “it’s time to sing along”.

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John Doran
Feb 4, 2010 1:00pm

Quite. The UN is currently trying to feed 2 million poeple in Haiti. Before the earthquake there were an estimated 2 million people who did not have a guaranteed access to food.

They're probably the same people. Donate direct. Ask your MP what's being done in your name. And if you see Simon Cowell, punch that orange-faced freak firmly in the cock.

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Feb 4, 2010 1:03pm

spot on

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Patrick Davidson
Feb 4, 2010 1:09pm

I have heard this song playing on the radio and have been singing along. I had no idea this was anything to do with the disaster in Haiti. That tells me something. I will just donate personally. This song is alaso used however by groups who advocate for people who are suicidal.

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Laura Snapes
Feb 4, 2010 1:41pm

Superb, I couldn't agree more.

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Feb 4, 2010 1:48pm

yes--perfectly put

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Niall
Feb 4, 2010 1:50pm

Good work with this article. Why bother buying this tripe (and lining Cowell's pockets) when you can dontae directly to many more deserving campaigns that are actually based in Haiti?

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Ash
Feb 4, 2010 1:52pm

You should change the link to Oxfam to the DEC appeal. It's a joint effort of the 13 humanitarian agencies involved (including Oxfam): http://www.dec.org.uk/

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Feb 4, 2010 1:57pm

I couldn't have put it better myself. I've been feeling sick ever since I heard the record this morning.

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Chris
Feb 4, 2010 2:00pm

Excellent piece. I have donated because its the right thing to do, not because a bunch of publicity seeking 'celebrities' and self styled demagogues think I should.

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Fraser McAlpine
Feb 4, 2010 2:09pm

I don't think everyone should buy this song, it's horrible. But I do think, given what the song has been made FOR, that carping about it not quite having the right lyrical message to send to the victims is JUST PLAIN MAD.

I don't think anyone is claiming that the SONG is going to do anything to help. And I can't think of a single song that would, lyrically. Even 'Lean On Me' expects payback at the end of the chorus.

I think the money raised will be very useful though. Just as useful as the donation I made without buying the song. No more, no less.

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bras
Feb 4, 2010 2:16pm

haiti is a victim of the last century=s political experiment. a brief check of haitian history could be the key for the actual state of things

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Feb 4, 2010 2:19pm

So what should Cowell have picked then?

Kids and other assorted idiots who wouldn't otherwise have donated will buy the single, so not to have bothered at all would have resulted in less money being raised...

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Ash
Feb 4, 2010 2:27pm

In reply to :

That is a fair point. It's all grist to the mill after all.

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Jonathan
Feb 4, 2010 2:31pm

This was the first thing I thought of when it was announced it was to be this song. "Hey guys, it's alright. Everybody hurts sometimes. It's just your turn!"
I hope no one in Haiti hears this (not that they'd recognise many/any of the artists on here. As far as I can tell their charts are filled with creole and even I needed the bracketed '(from X factor 2007)' subtitles watching the video and I am a pop FIEND.)

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Maria
Feb 4, 2010 2:36pm

I get the point about the emptiness of some of the stars singing the song for its stylings instead of its meaning - and then going home to their mansions (although clearly both of these criticisms cannot relate to Susan Boyle). But remember, personal donations that have already been made by some of the stars.

Regardless, do you really think the kids buying this CD would donate otherwise? Or perhaps some have already donated and will buy this in addition? It's a song to raise money - that's all.

Simon DID arrange it. He DID call people directly. He's NOT getting any money from it, but he managed to get 21 artists to sing, and to get it put together quickly. You don't like the song choice. Okay. Fine. You don't need to buy it. But many, many others will and as a result, the people of Haiti will receive more money to rebuild and buy food.

Everyone I've asked really likes the song - but they didn't really know the original.

If Haiti doesn't need this single, what does it need? Because anyone who was planning on donating likely has. Donations are slowing down drastically. What should be done instead, in the middle of a recession?

Simon had an idea. He acted on it. Millions of dollars will go to Haiti because of it. Rather than criticize him, perhaps we should say thanks.

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John Doran
Feb 4, 2010 2:49pm

In reply to Maria:

It's not down to kids with no fucking money to solve overseas humanitarian disasters for fuck's sake!

Publicity stunts like this do more harm than good.

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Maria
Feb 4, 2010 2:52pm

In reply to John Doran:

How so? You don't think Haiti needs the millions of dollars that will be raised? What's your idea to raise it then? Really, how could this possibly be more harmful than the good of raising millions of dollars? Enlighten me.

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Maria
Feb 4, 2010 2:58pm

Frankly, it seems that a bunch of music snobs would rather see Haitians starve than buy a Simon Cowell single. That's fine. So, come up with another way to keep donations coming (because they're falling). Can't? Then keep your mouth shut about the single.

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Jonathan
Feb 4, 2010 3:01pm

In reply to Maria:

I just had a full-body shudder at the thought that this may be the first time someone hears this song.

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John Doran
Feb 4, 2010 3:11pm

In reply to Jonathan:

No. I don't think I will. And if you think that the best way to solve this humanitarian disaster is by stealing children's pocket money, then you're retarded.

I've just given the price of several copies of this single DIRECT. If you think the best way of helping these people is buying a Simon Cowell single and you're sure this is a rapid way of getting money and aid to people then you're educationally subnormal.

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Tom
Feb 4, 2010 3:22pm

Charity records are problematic partly because since Live Aid they give a public "end" to a narrative of suffering. Song is #1 for weeks - people feel they've done their bit - they switch off, finis. If donations are falling anyway this is better seen as a last squeeze of the public lemon, though.

But nobody's saying "Don't donate to Haiti", they're saying "Don't do it by buying this record." And they're pointing out that donating a line of vocals to a record is shifting the burden of actual financial contribution away from people with an awful lot of money to people with not very much.

The main thing a stunt release does is get rid of the slices of the pie that go to the label, distributors, taxman etc. But those people aren't actually GIVING money either because this is happening on something which would never otherwise have existed.

As for the song, as soon as Peter Buck et al crossed the last t on hurts this was inevitable - it's in the record's DNA, and I'm amazed it's taken this long now I think about it. In the wrong hands "Everybody Hurts" was always going to be a deadly weapon - even in the RIGHT hands it was pretty unendurable, with that messianic walking-on-cars video a fair pointer of what the track could be used for. Just be thankful Cowell's used it for this rather than lining his own pockets, since as the piece says he clearly likes the song.

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grrangel
Feb 4, 2010 3:23pm

Amen, brother.

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LRH
Feb 4, 2010 3:53pm

I doubt anyone will be/is complaining about the money raised.
I think the point is more that Cowell and Co. failed, as usual to understand that songs have meaning other than "this is sad" and "this is happy".
This song was picked because him and his cronies see it as "emotional", they then think that added warbly vocals make it more "emotional".
Thus they see it as an ideal choice.
They miss the subtlety of the song and miss how inappropriate the lyric is.

It's the same as when songs/singers on his shows would be described as having "attitude" or being "funky" ... it means nothing.

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Maria
Feb 4, 2010 4:19pm

In reply to LRH:

That's fine. I understand the issues with the song choice. But, this article suggests the single shouldn't be supported, that people should donate in other ways. But, people buying this CD may not donate another way - that's why donations are flagging. How will you convince them to do so? What other method can be used to raise the millions of dollars that will be raised here. If this is the last thing Haiti needs, what does it need instead?

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Luke Turner
Feb 4, 2010 4:45pm

FYI we'll be donating all the ad rev from this piece to DEC.

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Jude
Feb 4, 2010 5:08pm

In reply to Maria:

Sorry if I offended, Maria, but I think you're reading that headline too literally. Also, my comment about people being told to just shut up and buy it, regardless of the message, was paraphrasing something that DJ Chris Moyles said when the song premiered on Radio 1. I was simply pointing out there are other ways of giving money, although I'm not going to slap anyone who buys it. Nevertheless, I still reserve the right to think that money should be better directed from people who have it – governments, etc – and who can try and put the mechanisms in place to make sure it is being spend properly and with long-term planning behind it, than people that don't.

In this piece, I'm merely pointing out why the choice of song is crass, and how the Band Aid project, remarkably, seemed to have more gravitas behind it. LRH's point about "sad" songs and "happy" songs, and Tom's about charity singles being seen as public end to narratives of suffering, are also important. This isn't about music snobbery at all either – I detest music snobbery with a passion, as my collection of Bananarama seven-inches, sitting very happily next to my Joy Division rarities, can tell you. My piece is about what the musical gesture behind the song believes it is saying, which is nothing.

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Jenn
Feb 4, 2010 9:28pm

In reply to Jude:

"But this time, the odds are different. A humanitarian disaster of unimaginable proportions has hit a country long buckling from centuries of corruption and poverty. And what is pop’s response? Everybody hurts. It’s not just you, poor, things. We poor creatures hurt too. “When the day is long” – hey, we sympathise, those aftershocks must be a right bitch, especially when you don’t know when they’re going to bury your family home deeper in debris – and “the night is yours alone” – especially when your wife and children are dead, and you haven’t got any food or water, that must be a right bummer – well, “hang on”. That’s what pop says: “hang on”. The temerity of that lyrical twist, its jaw-dropping tastelessness, telling people that have had to hang on already, forever, to just bolster their spirits in the face of devastation – a state unknown to pop stars who wouldn’t piss in a bottle for less than ten grand – makes it pop’s grimmest moment of all time. Not only does it rip the soul out of a song that had something to say, but in the warbly throats of Cowell’s Cabal, it turns 'Everybody Hurts' into a surreal, empty ode to positive thinking, performed by people who’d have a tantrum if their tea wasn’t served in bone china."

Amazing. Jude, you're my hero.

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Linda Nugent
Feb 4, 2010 10:31pm

I am an age-old REM fan and detest covers at the best of times, but this is just wrong. Brian Johnston (AC/DC) had a great piece in the 'Mirror' (I know). He said we should donate directly and so should the celebrities, instead of getting publicity. Do it subtley, if they can.

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Brother Grimm
Feb 4, 2010 10:31pm

pfff. i have an ipod red

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jg
Feb 5, 2010 12:16am

I CAN'T UNDERSTAND THE BRITISH PUBLIC WHY ARE WE SO UNGRATEFUL AND DISRESPECTFUL CAN'T U ALL SEE THAT THESE PEOPLE TAKE TIME OUT TO LEND A HELPING HAND ...ITS FULL TIME WE LEARN TO APRRECIATE OTHERS....HOW HAVE U BEEN HELPING HAITI ?....SIMON PLEASE CONTINUE DOING WHAT U DOING.....IM SURE THE PPL OF HAITI WILL APPRECIATE THAT...

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Colin
Feb 5, 2010 12:27am

Nice article, totally agree.

It might be worth adding that it wasn't Cowell and Co.'s idea to make a charity song, although he chose it and chose the artists (Leona Lewis gets to sing the first line, Susan Boyle crops up among others - nice publicity and all that, even though she had never even heard the song before turning up to sing her line).

Actually, don't know if anyone knows this but Cowell was actually approached by Gordon Brown to do it. Just wanted to throw that bit of political grandstanding into the arena.

"Simon Cowell can make a huge amount of money to help the people of Haiti" - Gordon Brown.

Thanks, Gordon. He can also donate a huge amount of money from his own funds, rather than con the public into handing over their recession hit pennies with manipulative sympathy trips, meanwhile Labour pat themselves on the backs for being in tune with the public, in this, an election year. We, Jonny and Jenny public, are obviously too stupid and morally corrupt to donate purely out of the goodness of our hearts, we need more than just news reports to coax a tear of sympathy, we need Simon Cowell to send us a sad song, that's the only way to get through to us. Vote Labour. Buy SuBo.

http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/Showbiz-News/X-Factor-Simon-Cowell-Earthquake-Charity-Single-To-Be-REMs-Everybody-Hurts-Sky-Sources-Say/Article/201001315533091

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Colin
Feb 5, 2010 12:34am

In reply to Maria:

It wasn't his idea, it was the Prime Minister's. Cowell chose the song and the performers. Everybody wins, some times.

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jack
Feb 5, 2010 1:51am

It's a beautiful song with a message of hope that will generate money to help Haiti.

So I think it's just what Haiti needs.

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Jack
Feb 5, 2010 2:00am

In reply to jack:

and the song is a show of compassion.

Simon Cowell is high profile. This song will not only help Haiti. It will also help someone who needs a spot of hope.

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gj
Feb 5, 2010 3:47am

In reply to jg:

IMHO...this is the least they can do for the great lives these celebrities lead on this planet. But actually...in this case I wish they didn't. The reviewer is right. There is absolutely no genuine soul in 98% of the voices in this rendition. The 1st female singer sounds like she's having sex..and with these lyrics she's talking about a different kind of hurt. Then we find out why...Rod Stewart's ugly shoe leather face comes on the screen and his voice sounds like toe jam in a sweaty sock.

I'm sorry to be harsh, but many of these people are just phony. THEY AREN'T DOING THIS FOR THE RIGHT REASONS as much as they want to be SEEN doing something right. I'm fairly sick of most of these celebrities.

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SilianRail .
Feb 5, 2010 1:16pm

In reply to Jude:

So I'll ask again: what should Cowell have chosen instead?

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Luke Turner
Feb 5, 2010 1:27pm

In reply to SilianRail .:

A rifle, muzzle resting underneath his chin pointing upward, butt on the floor, toe curled around the trigger?

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Drunk Country
Feb 5, 2010 2:02pm

Haven't heard the song, don't want to hear the song. Donate to a recognized charity. It's that simple. We don;t need publicly self-appointed guardians telling us how to best focus our emotional responses. Especially if it is directed through the ego channel.

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Tim London
Feb 5, 2010 2:55pm

Complicated, isn't it? Jude's critical piece seems to be divided between the disgust she feels over the treatment of a song she loves and the politics of its release. Once, as with Band Aid, there would have been comments that mentioned the need for a new economic system (that would probably have been called socialism) and that this charity song is purely propaganda against any change that would make a definite difference to the poor people of Haiti, in that it makes us all feel as if we're doing something when the same old shit carries on. But now there's no mention of a finite solution (governments giving money? How much? What will the UK public give up to free up the money? Beer? Second homes? What about all the other places in the world that need money? Darfur? Bangladesh? Shouldn't we give them money, too?) because it's a big, frightening question that nobody likes the answer to. So, it seems, in a world where friendly capitalism is the desired economic system, that a charity record like this is an inevitable response and as valid as a church-sponsored jumble sale. Unless you're calling for a revolution - are you Jude and John? Calling for a socialist revolution? ...so that leaves choice of song, really, to complain about. And I've got to admit, I take great pleasure in the murderation of this sanctimonious, fake spiritual, facile piece of angst by the massed ranks of light entertainment. Take that! REM... Take that! intelligent pop press... witness the great leveling of all pop culture into one amorphous mass and understand: Susan Boyle covering the Rolling Stones and The Clash playing Shea Stadium and Ken Clarke talking about his love for Miles Davis on radio 4 and Steve Jones (not Johnny Rotten) saying 'you dirty rotter' live on TV and Elvis Costello flirting with fascism and Iggy doing insurance commercials are all part of the same industry, one that never fails to disappoint...

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What a bunch of grumps!
Feb 5, 2010 3:21pm

Get over yourselves. Sophomoric analysis is not useful in this situation.

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John Doran
Feb 5, 2010 3:24pm

In reply to What a bunch of grumps!:

Wrong. When the PM of the UK is 'asking' a talent show host to help intervene in a humanitarian disaster and this is now seen as not only the right thing to do but the natural state of affairs; the analysis is needed. And a voice saying 'Wait a second...'

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Greg
Feb 5, 2010 3:59pm

'Jaw dropping tastelessness' is a very apt turn of phrase for this personal rant of an article. It is true that some of the lyrics in this song are ill-advised for the cause. However, I am equally disgusted with your use of the words 'bitch' and 'bummer'. Your need to use words like this shows this 'article' up for what it really is. A bitter music critic crying into his milk because somebody dare cover a REM song! I care not whether you listened to this song as a teenager Jude.

None of these celebs get any fiscal reward from this deal. What you Jude, are too short sighted to see is that some of the people who will buy this song would not have picked up the phone to donate directly. Of that there is NO question! Any extra money raised for Haiti is fine by me. Do you think the people of Haiti would turn this money down? or is some money to dirty for the people of Haiti?

Try a little less self importance and a little more realism Jude.

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SilianRail .
Feb 5, 2010 5:31pm

In reply to John Doran:

Except the article is pretty much all about the particular song chosen for butchery, and the bloodiness of that amateurish hack job, not the state of affairs itself...

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Tim
Feb 5, 2010 5:34pm

In reply to Maria:

What Haiti needs is people stopping into shops like H&M and getting matched donations to the Red Cross.

Take your 99 cents or whatever this shit costs on Itunes and then dig a little deeper, take $20 in and feed 40 people for a day. That's what they need. Not another gang of overfed pop stars accumulating gold stars to their record of humanitarian credibility.

And the message of this song--that "everybody hurts, sometimes"...is just disgustingly inappropriate. Has Simon Cowell ever had his house knocked down by an earthquake, had to fight off looters to keep what food he has left, shit on the ground, and wash his face in runoff from his dilapidated roof?

DIDN'T FUCKING THINK SO! Shut up and shell out, Simon. This disaster is way too far beyond your scope to "sympathize".

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Feb 5, 2010 5:38pm

In reply to Greg:

You can donate in the grocery line, you twat. Anyone who needs Simon Cowell to give them a reason to donate should be down there under the rubble instead of those Haitian kids.

Plus, have you got any idea how much this session cost, what with performance, production, post-production, mixing, and mastering? Not cutting this song probably would have saved enough cash to feed and clothe a couple thousand Haitians.

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Sam Barton
Feb 5, 2010 6:28pm

Think Tim London's hit on the crux of this here. For me charity singles are only the most visible example of how the machinations of modern charity fundraising are all to cock. The truly obvious answer would be to tax everybody on, say, 18k or over a year an extra 2-3% for humanitarian aid. The result would be a far greater sum raised per annum than is currently raised by all charities, and a far fairer distribution of contributions across the wealth spectrum (huge charity events such as Live Aid, Comic Relief and this single tend to receive far greater contributions from the working class and kids). The likelihood of any politician having the courage of their convictions to stand up and suggest this idea is pretty slim, the likelihood of said politician standing the remotest chance of being elected behind such a policy even slimmer, but none of that means it isn't the right answer. Until then are we expected to put up with such tasteless, grandstanding gestures as this single without criticism because the magic word 'charity' renders it impervious? To all those hating on the author of this piece please re-read it. It isn't for a second unsympathetic, mean spirited or patronising, quite the opposite. It is quite simply stating that many people do use charity to further their own careers and standing, and objecting to that fact. Whether you feel that the end justifies this means (and many people who i respect do), I think that people are quite within their rights voice such objections, and to do so is not tantamount to asking people not to give. To suggest this is misleading and inflammatory.

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Jenn
Feb 5, 2010 6:40pm

In reply to jg:

Yeaaaaah, don't think Simon's going to be reading this somehow.

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platikman
Feb 6, 2010 7:49am

In reply to John Doran:

you're my hero

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platikman
Feb 6, 2010 7:59am

In reply to Sam Barton:

I don't think i've ever read a more naive, childish view of the taxation system and worl affairs. pathetic

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Sam Barton
Feb 6, 2010 10:31am

In reply to platikman:

Ok, I'll readily admit naivety in the figures quoted and a certain reductiveness of specifics. However I don't think there's anything pathetic in the basic point, ie that the UK government would be able to do more for charitable causes in a much fairer way through higher taxation than relying on individual donations, purchases etc. I'm fully aware that all registered UK charities are government funded anyway, I just don't think that this goes far enough. Bite me.

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Feb 6, 2010 11:34am

In reply to Sam Barton:

I don't think the song's lyric in this context is exclusively readable as "hey Haitians, we in the developed world hurt too despite our amazing infrastructure and our wealth" - that just seems a bit facetious. It's also a song about empathy, which seems fair enough given that they're trying to get people to donate to a charity after a massive humanitarian crisis like this. So I don't think it matters that much really whether it's a good cover, or whether it's 100% irreproachable in its motives - all that matters is that it gets noticed and serves as a flashpoint for people to donate their money. I do agree that Haiti's long history of being robbed of its natural resources by colonisers and of being plunged into civil war after numerous bloody revolutions points to the need for political change and not just the donation of money by hypocritical "liberal communists" (I mean this in the Zizek sense rather than the Daily Mail sense), especially while the holiday cruises continue in the region. But in lieu of that sort of change coming about what are you going to do? People may buy this mediocre single and use it as a coaster for their tea, it's not about the music really is it? Good article though!

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Ciarán
Feb 6, 2010 11:52am

In reply to Fraser McAlpine:

Spot-on analysis from Fraser up there. If a fair amount of money gets to victims of the earthquake off the back of this mediocre cover, then good luck to Cowell and Co. I doubt many people think this is the ONLY way to donate.

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Feb 6, 2010 2:08pm

In reply to Ciarán:

I didn't say that people thought it was the only way to donate. I was just questioning the attitude of DJs, like Chris Moyles, who argue that we should buy it JUST BECAUSE. The idea that we shouldn't be able to question the grimness that surrounds this project, despite the way it sends money to Haiti, is ridiculous.

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Jude
Feb 6, 2010 2:08pm

In reply to :

(That last comment was from me, by the way.)

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Madam Miaow
Feb 7, 2010 11:30am

Are you sure Alan Partridge isn't behind this? Oh, ker-rist, just got to the 4th para (feeling more like the fifth dimension in a parallel universe) and read the culprit is Cowell. It figures in all its stunning tastelessness.

I've managed to get thus far without knowing anything about this and now you've made me read the above. I'd have appreciated a warning.

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alessibing
Feb 7, 2010 12:29pm

Well done Quietus for saying it how it is. Simon Cowell and altruism are never destined to be bed pals. Lets hope the Independent read your articles as well as the reviews they refer to from time to time to get this truth to a wider audience.

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victoria
Feb 8, 2010 9:40am

its just another of raising money,it is not about whether you like simon cowell or not or even if a good song choice,who out there is gonna say"im sorry i cant eat this food it was brought with money from that simon cowell song"come on get over ya selves.if it raises more money who cares about anything else xx

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Baby Jebus
Feb 8, 2010 11:45am

In reply to victoria:

What? You don't think that celebs exploiting a tragedy to make themselves look good is worth caring about? Cowell and his menagerie should quietly lump up some hard cash and be done with it. To paraphrase Morrissey, it's one thing to recognise the suffering of the Haitian people, but why should the British public suffer too.

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toby
Feb 8, 2010 12:34pm

Instead of this single, why didn't the slebs involved appear in an advert saying "Hi, I'm Leona Lewis [or whoever], I have donated £15,000 to DEC. If you want to donate then here is the URL".

Quicker, more direct, nobody could complain.

On the other hand, if they want to release a cover of a song that has no lyrical relevance whatsoever to the disaster (which you will understand if you've ever listened to it and have half a brain) then why not something we can dance to? I vote for Lip Up Fatty by Bad Manners.

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John
Feb 8, 2010 2:40pm

In reply to toby:

toby - Leona Lewis has been blogging/tweeting URLs showing how people can donate without buying the single from a couple of days after the disaster when the appeals were first launched, and before the charity single reared its ugly head.

It's easy to assume that "stars" do nothing but look for publicity in these sorts of cases when many do a lot of work which isn't picked up on by the media.

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Tim London
Feb 8, 2010 6:46pm

From the article: '...delivered in this case by musicians that will retire to their manors, and carry on, without blinking, with their extravagant lives'. With a career life shorter than most pro footballers, around 15 per cent of profits generated by sales and downloads, (after the rec company deducts its expenses) and attention from some of the scummiest newspapers invented I think the hate could be aimed at a more worthwhile recipient (Cowell will do, although he does seem to have some kind of Teflon coating so I'm not sure if it's worth it) than the transient singers on this single. Added to which, most of the music journos I've met over the years haven't been shy of exploiting the a&r or marketing budget for a toke, a line, a holiday or a taxi - or to enhance their tedious night shifts at, erm, nightclubs, pubs, festivals, video shoots, hotel suites. I'm sure Lester Bangs would have thought these perks were far from extravagant, probably necessary to his job. Everyone's doing their job here: the 'slebs' taking a tune to its natural conclusion, the credible journalists in critical outrage and the business people oiling the wheels with a small dose of charity.

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Mr Bungle
Feb 8, 2010 9:53pm

It did not go un-noticed that the media were full of all the shiny new promo pictures taken at the recording sessions of these odious attention seeking publicity whores . We would do well to remember Live 8 when every artist featured saw their record sales soar through the roof as a consequence of their participation.
I recall Dave Gilmour suggesing that all those appearing should donate a percentage of their future record sales to the cause.
Guess how many artists took him up on that. Yep Sod all !!!
I am sick of hypocrites such as Bono preaching to me about this and that. He is very good at spending other peoples money on his favourite cause. The man pays little tax yet expects Governments around the world to finance his pet projects using tax payers money which he does not contribute to.

Why not contribute directly to a charity working in Haiti, miss out the millionaire middle men !

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5onthe5
Feb 9, 2010 11:41am

It's no worse than the Coors version, in which the line "Don't throw you hand" was inexplicably changed to "Don't blow your hands."

Wha?

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Nick Gold
Feb 9, 2010 1:39pm

Sure it would have been better if someone had come up with an early-Dylanesque protest song that raised billions for Haiti, and I agree with you about the lack of soul, or any sense of anger on the part of the performers. But this will raise money, and awareness, so it's not so bad. It's important to pick the right enemies, Jude, and in this case it's not really Simon Cowell, whatever other crimes he may be guilty of. I dont think he will make money from this venture, at least not directly. If just a few of the buyers of the song start to wonder why the UK Government has pledged £20 million for Haiti when it has spent £1.5 TRILLION on bailing out the banks, then that's a good thing. By the way, I dont think Bowie is particularly on the mark there, or anywhere, really.

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AD's
Feb 10, 2010 2:43pm

Firstly they have murderded that song, secondly if people want to donate they should do it directly. The £3.49 cost of this single will not ALL go to help those in Haiti so if you feel you should be donating then please do it directly. I could really go off on a rant about this but i'll leave it at that.

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robbin itall
Feb 11, 2010 12:46am

Fantastic song and always will be, but a bunch of pops stars asking us to buy the song again.
The proceeds go to crises, good, it would help more if they stopped trying to look like they really care and use some of there fortunes, instead of guilt tripping people who don't have there millions, let alone the money to promote how much the stars and Simon care!

Showing Cowls face, glowing, like sweat, like he'd saved the world by claiming a song and run there to do it "news, here's Simon's song storming up the charts!?

How about Band Aid "feed the world ?" 20years on, its still feed the world, well at least it made some pop stars fat!

Whats it all about man, red carpets and pomp for Haiti next ! The Stars should buy red shoes, not red carpets, click there heels together three times ! and fix the world if they really care....

I give at the shops what little change I get back, from the little I get to spend. The STARS could put the world right with there riches ! What do the poor people of Haiti get, a song by an over rich bunch of people who play the game but really care....?

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Gary Russell
Feb 11, 2010 3:31am

I have already given personally (£640 so far) but I will also download this song as I think anything that raises public awareness can not be bad. My church raised £1000 last week and that has been sent directly to a local charity in Jacmel ( http://opportunitehaiti.org/contact.php ) I will however be playing this song at the end of our prayers this Sunday and encouraging others to download it.
The people of Haiti will be suffering for many years to come and anything that keeps their plight in the public eye is worthwhile.

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anon
Feb 11, 2010 3:33am

In reply to John Doran:

twat!

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nuj
Feb 13, 2010 4:19pm

In reply to Baby Jebus:

well i think your problem is you think you're being robbed by buying this single. and celebs who donated their voice to make this was just there for publicity. well some of them may and some of them may not. but whatever their motives were, the charity single is made to raise money to help the victims in Haiti. at the end of the day, it's your choice to buy it or not. and about the issue of the song choice, i don't think it's an insult to Haitian people. cause it's the truth, everybody hurts and we all just need to hold on.. it's about hope people.. stop hating.

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terr
Feb 14, 2010 5:56pm

In reply to nuj:

I agree with the article and those who think it is splitting hairs by saying its irrelevant (they need the money whatever etc) should ask themselves why people don't donate without this record having to be made. Ironically its probably why Stipe wrote the bloody song in the first place.

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SB
Feb 15, 2010 10:14am

Couldn't agree more. Donate direct or if you want a more fitting musical tribute try French musician Debruit. All profits to Haiti... http://www.boomkat.com/item.cfm?id=264774

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Justin Moore
Feb 20, 2010 8:14pm

Well said. The tragedy was very real, but the use of this song was misjudged. Everybody hurts, yes, but not everyone listens beyond those two words. Cowell, your self promotion disguised as a selfless act of charity is shameless, but as long as the tabloid press love you then it's all good, as they created you in the first place.

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Max
Feb 22, 2010 11:00pm

Well said. As soon as Mariah Carey takes off her stiletto heals and physically goes to Haiti and starts helping, I'll have some respect for her.

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Branimir9000
Feb 27, 2010 4:25pm

Well, crap! I, too, hate it when a song gets co-opted for something for which it was not intended, especially by TMZ-bait grade celebrities.

So, it is a misprision and a misuse of a song with a much more modest melancholic theme. Yes.

But...
if the (significant) money raised goes to Haitian relief and does real good, the sacrifice to the (what? integrity? of a pop song?!) really pales in significance.

The song, any song, will always be whatever you make of it and will always conjure up whatever subjective feelings you have for it as long as you let it. You may even come to hate it for your own reasons, regardless of remakes or commercialization or whatever.)

It could have been worse- what if the song was bought by Dr. Scholls insoles or foot pads or something? ("My blisters hurt!" Cue song---)

(Sidenote: Madonna performed "Like A Prayer" on The Haitian Relief telethon! I was waiting for the burning crosses!!!)

Anyway, what does Michael Stipe, whose picture it was that I clicked onto, to read the article in the first place, think?

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Solist
Mar 4, 2010 11:11am

I absolutely agree with this one. Hypocritical pop stars at their most "humanitarian"...

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Al OVerdrive
Mar 5, 2010 11:43am

In reply to Greg:

The artists on this recording may not get paid for doing it, but I'm pretty sure they get their expenses covered.

The benefits the artist gets from this record in financial terms comes later, with add on sales and the general "nice guy" tage they get from donating their vocal talents. If they really wanted to help they'd donate some of their own money rather than just donate their time, heck, why not do both? Same with Simon C.... why doesnt he make some comment like "I'll donate £1 for every single bought?". A can also assure you, as with most charity, it wil only be the PROFITS from the single donated....... all the running costs of the lables, their middlemen and their admin teams to arrange this PR spectacular will be covered beofre the donations are calculated.

Sad but true.

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Al OVerdrive
Mar 5, 2010 11:50am

In reply to Maria:

Regardless, do you really think the kids buying this CD would donate otherwise? Or perhaps some have already donated and will buy this in addition? It's a song to raise money - that's all.

Simon DID arrange it. He DID call people directly. He's NOT getting any money from it, but he managed to get 21 artists to sing, and to get it put together quickly. You don't like the song choice. Okay. Fine. You don't need to buy it. But many, many others will and as a result, the people of Haiti will receive more money to rebuild and buy food.

========

Sorry to target you, but that's a pretty harsh judgement to say that none of "the kids" would bother to donate to a cause if they didnt get a pop download in return. I'm pretty sure if you did a survey or any fact checking that lots of people in the x factor demographic" (not just kids btw) would also donate to charity without expecting anything in return.

The issue is more than the people with money are donating time to a single instead of donating money. Everyone knows that artists who donate timeot charity records reap the benefits in PR, image and free advertising and goodwill later on. It would be niave to assume that these artists are doing it without being aware that they will be rewarded for it. It would also be harsh to assume this is the only reaosn they are doing it, alas, many are misguided enough to think that this is their way to help. As I said i ntheother post, why not donate money and Sing on on the record?

HOWEVER.. if this does get people to donate who dont care, rather than subvert donations, then I'm for it.

for the record, I couldnt care less what the song it and have no emotional connection to it. However to think this is an entirly selfless act by the people involved is foolish. It keeps Simon in the headlines and brings him kudos.

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Laura S
Mar 8, 2010 5:08pm

Hideously inappropriate. Have a listen and download for free our charity song - Fey-O - a traditional Haitian folksong about suffering and relief performed by a group of 100+ singers in Oxford. See www.haitisinging.com

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Jack
Apr 19, 2010 11:29am

the point of the song was to raise as much money as possible from people who wouldn't otherwise donate to charity. So it has to be as commercial, cheesy and obvious as possible, because that's the pount of it. Why do you lot always have to turn your noses up at everything? Pull your head out of your own arse

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Sam
May 10, 2010 2:52am

I'm with Doran on this one. On one hand, yes, I'm sure it did raise some money. On the other hand, when you factor in the costs of getting everyone into the studio, the recording time, the production... it's wasted money. All money that could've gone to Haiti instead. Besides, look at this lot:

-Leona Lewis (she can sing, but at present she's looking like a 15 minutes person. Besides, Simon is her mentor; no bias there, giving her publicity?)
-Rod Stewart (listen to him on Jeff Beck's "Truth" album; incredible. Now his time has long expired.)
-Mariah Carey (I'd be a fool to deny she has talent, but her voice has no soul to it. Her part sounded emotionless.)
-Cheryl Cole (No bias there, huh, Simon? When she manages to have a hit without outside help, someone let me know.)
-Mika (who?)
The rest is Jon Bon Jovi (I like some of his music), Westlife (who?), Susan Boyle, JLS (who?), James Morrison (who?), Michael Buble (who?), Miley Cyrus, Take That (I was very young when they were big, so I don't really know them), Robbie Williams, Alexandra Burke (who?), James Blunt (yuck.)

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Sam
May 10, 2010 3:01am

In reply to Linda Nugent:

Excellent point Linda. I'm a 20 year old long-time R.E.M. fan (moving back to Northamptonshire from the US this summer to get back to school), and as I indicated this cover is beyond bland. I just listened to it again, and had to start playing New Order to wipe it from my mind. What they should've done was not recorded this, and instead given massive donations themselves (including Simon.) More money donated, more money saved. I liked Radiohead's method; a gig in LA (I think?) with all profits going to Haiti, with extra expensive tickets. Plus the band probably donated themselves. And some people like Kristen Stewart and Sandra Bullock quietly donated (I know Sandra and Jesse James also helped after Katrina) without being obnoxious about it. While I don't think Haitians are thinking about the message in the song, they probably agree with me that there's a better way to do things. And nice Brian Johnson reference; he ripped Bono in the press for apparently being preachy during concerts, and yes, said he makes his charitable contributions in private (and I'm both an AC/DC and U2 fan.)

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