A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this multi-artist compilation was recorded to promote awareness of the conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan and net proceeds from CD sales go to Amnesty International. Every track is a cover of a John Lennon song (during his solo career) by modern-day artists such as Green Day, U2, Black Eyed Peas, Christina Aguilera, Snow Patrol, and more. Some talk about safe themes like world peace, love, fatherhood, and second chances; others deal with more grown-up ones like alienation, abandonment, disdain for religion, getting off drugs, and political conflict. One song features the word "f--ing" twice.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
INSTANT KARMA: THE AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN TO SAVE DARFUR is quite a musical buffet -- a 23-track double-album covering John Lennon's solo work. Artists range from Grammy winners, to indie rock favorites and young songstresses. And where there's an album for a cause, there is Bono; Disc 1 opens with U2's high-energy cover of "Instant Karma." Other standouts: REM does an excellent cover of "#9 Dream" and The Flaming Lips do justice to "(Just Like) Starting Over." Ben Harper's rendition of "Beautiful Boy" is heart-wrenching, with Lennon lyrics about his young son Sean: "I can hardly wait to see you come of age."
Is it any good?
With so many tracks, there are bound to be a few weak interpretations, such as Corinne Bailey Rae's "I'm Losing You," mostly because she sounds a little bored. Yet even if you find the notion of Christina Aguilera covering "Mother" or a reggae interpretation of "Give Peace a Chance" utterly horrifying, give this CD a chance. It's a good album for a good cause, and a perfect way to introduce kids to the music and lyrics of a legendary musician who had a social conscience.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what's happening in Darfur. Why should individuals, families, and communities in other countries get involved with the conflict and genocide in Darfur, and what they can do to help? Families can also talk about music's role in healing. Why is John Lennon's music so relevant to Amnesty International's cause? Although most of the songs on the album were originally recorded in the '70s, how do they fit in with what's going on in the world today? Also, some songs on the album appear multiple times, covered by different bands. Which band's version do you like the best? Why?