Sorry, But the Jay-Z, Bono & Rihanna Charity Song Sucks
The outpouring of support for the people of Haiti is at once so inspiring and so frustrating. The star power that turned out for last night’s Hope For Haiti Now was truly blinding, full of generous A-listers doing anything they could to raise money for the victims of disaster. But why must George Clooney wink in the TV’s direction to inspire everyday people to do what they can to help? And Bono, King of the World, makes everything nigh insufferable. Sure, Beyoncé has grace for days, but the whole thing just reeks of shallow first world guilt and schmaltz.
(‘’)Still, it happened and certainly raised money for a worthy cause — but what about that Bono and Jay-Z collaboration? It sounded like a piss poor idea from the get-go — a needless mashing of two of the world’s biggest artists that would almost certainly sound bad. There’s only room for one Jehovah per track, usually. But when the moment came for the song’s debut last night, it was worse than we imagined — and that’s just as a song, cultural context excluded.
Of course, it’s just like the internet to rail on something with only the purest of intentions, and that said, you can purchase the track for 99 cents here. But we’re talking about the music, and in that case, take this as a recommendation to save the space on your hard drive and donate directly to Partners in Health, or even through BlackBook.
“Stranded (Haiti Mon Amour)” begins with a somber Hov hook over sad, tinkering keys, with the lyrics a clear rush job: “The sky falls/ And the earth quakes/ We’re gonna put this back together/ We won’t break.” The verses are similarly sad and vague, dropping empty pleas for solidarity in a grave tone, but amounting to little substance. Rihanna and Bono sound like struggling lounge singers, or performers at a county fair, and the necessarily morose subject matter sounds sappy instead of moving. Tepid jabs at government response fall flatter than the vocal notes in the bridge, with the whole thing begging the question: Why?
Their hearts are in the right place, but as music, it’s just not easy on the ears. In fact, it kind of hurts, and not in the heart like it should. See the performance below, if you must, but donate because you want to donate, not for this godawful slapdash anthem.