Written by Michael Carr on 12th March, 2009
Put together by The National’s twin brothers Aaron and Bryce Dressner and featuring original compositions from a wide range of artists including The Arcade Fire, David Byrne, Sufjan Stevens and many more, this compilation in aid of AIDS (no pun intended) is easily one of the most interesting releases of this year so far.
Every song on the album is gold, there’s not a shred of filler, but still there are a few moments that shine out from the splendorous musical jamboree that is this compilation.
The Books, those perennial folktronica innovators, team up with Sweden’s Jose Gonzalez to give a haunting cover of Nick Drakes Cello Song, while Feist and Ben Gibbard from Death Cab For Cutie delight us with a soulful duet rendition of Train Song.
Antony Hegarty from Antony & The Johnstons teams up with Bryce Dressner to apply his unique vocal stylings to Bob Dylan’s I Was Young When I Left Home and Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings to their thing all over their track Inspiration Information.
However the real high point of the album for me was the inclusion of The Arcade Fire’s Lenin, a song initially intended for inclusion on their first album Funeral. Actually the track almost didn’t make it on, coming in a day before the deadline for completion, but thank god it made it and it is the cherry on top of the musical fudge laded sonic Sunday that is this compilation.
But aside from all this, every song on this album has it’s time and place, and let me tell you these times and places are all gorgeous and unforgettable. So, go out and buy it, because it’s friggin awesome, and if you download it you may as well go and mug and AIDS victim.