Various Artists - Hope

It's been called a "non-political" album by the mainstream media, but here at Designer Magazine were saying f**k that - Tony Blair and George W Bush choosing to bomb thousand of innocent civilians without even the backing of the people they're supposed to represent is a political statement which ever way you look at it. So is the fact that despite their Anti-War calling Card this album's very own sponsors the Daily Mirror have yet to mention the small matter of Joint Vision 2020 - the new economic system coming into power which the American Military have estimated 3 billion people dying as result of their fight for "full spectrum dominance". When you take this into account it's easy to see why the US control of Iraqi oil is at the heart of the war on terrorism and yet it all seems small scale to what will happen in the years leading up to 2020. "Hope" is an album that will go a small way to help the children of the Iraq, but you can't escape the fact that we've all had our tax money stolen by Blair to pay for the cost of bombing hospitals, killing these children's parents in cold blood and leaving many more people with severe disabilities - it's our money that put them in the situation unfortunately.

As a musical statement much of "Hope" truly misses the point. It's only really Billy Bragg, predictable I know, that actually sends out a meaningful message on "The Wolf Covers Its Tracks". In a unpredictable moment Lee Ryan from Blue actually writes a strong anthem in "Stand Up As People" which he originally planned to record as a Band Aid style charity single but instead recorded it solo exclusively for this album. Although he's probably the most lacking man in pop there was a degree of honesty when he recently said "I hope Blair's kids suffer 70% burns" when asked about the children of Iraq. Avril Lavigne's cover of "Knocking On Heaven's Door" makes up for a strictly average interpretation with a touching video which is currently being aired on most cable channels to push the point home that here in the Western World we've built our riches of the backs of other nations and this is the result. The Charlatans prove they're one of the most underrated bands out of Manchester by covering Curtis Mayfield's "We Gotta Have Peace" and pushing the funk to the fore.

The rest of the artists contributions are a mixed bunch with New Order, David Bowie and Travis amongst the better efforts and Moby, Ronan Keating and Tom McCae simply offering fillers which is nothing short of atrocious considering the ultimate aim of this record. While the proceeds of this record will change the lives of the children of Iraq immensely it was Blair and Bush who pushed so hard for this war so ultimately it should be their personal fortunes that are put forward as aid.

Alex McCann

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