The recent development in Haiti would appear that more than 200,000 have been killed due to the earthquake in Haiti. I write this because it is all the more imperative why I write this article.
Over the years I have sat and listened to countless R.E.M. bootlegs. Countless moments where Michael Stipe would tell the audience that as they were leaving to visit the booths that were set up on the way out of the venue. These “Booths” were set up as a means for the public to become proactive and be informed.
Now, I never thought that the band did this to improve their shtick among fans. It was never a public relations gesture, a moment where you could just say, ‘Wow, those guys in R.E.M. are awesome because they support such great things as the environment, old buildings, progressive causes. Hot, damn, I think I will go and buy their album.”
To be honest they genuinely care about the issues they support and by putting their name around a project they are supporting that cause as well. Of course they are quite aware that having a fanbase they can promote those causes, both directly and indirectly.
As fans, we should not just blindly support causes cause Michael Stipe says to. But I do not think that the cause is the issue here. The question has never been about not giving money to Haiti but rather ruining a song.
Of course, if you read my rant earlier, R.E.M. lent ‘Everybody Hurts’ to Simon Cowell, so that they could record a charity single for the people of Haiti. I was initially upset at the number of critical opinions and still feel this way.
200,000 people dead = Ruining a Song
I checked the math to the above equation and I just find this to be messed up math, sorta like Creationism.
That being said, the song has been released. You can check it out here on Youtube.
Maybe, ‘Everybody Hurts’ is not your thing. Hell, it isn’t mine all the time either. I surely would not put it in my R.E.M. Desert Island disc but that’s not the point.
It’s like buying cookies for a charity bake sale and complaining to the person who made them afterward that they didn’t taste good.
There is, what I believe, a basic social circumstance, that we forego the idea of being a critic and bite our tongue, especially in a situation like the one above. To the critic, I would argue, what is YOUR point?
If Mariah Carey covers this on some multi-platinum album then there is a place to be cynical.
And honestly, if you liked the original this one is very similar musically. It would appear that the backing track sounds very similar to the original. For what it is, I think it’s alright. Some of the charm of the original still seeps onto this version and if it raises some money then people should be happy.