The 2014 version of Do They Know It’s Christmas?, the song Bob Geldof believes can help fund the fight against Ebola, has been given its international premiere. The track’s liner notes might read like a who’s who of the pop world, but not everyone is sure the single is an effective type of charity.
The newly-recorded Do They Know It’s Christmas? (below) is a cover of the 1984 original, and features some of the UK’s biggest names, including Bono, Chris Martin, One Direction, Ed Sheeran, Sinead O’Connor and Sam Smith. The song debuted during an episode of Britain’s The X Factor.
As the BBC have noted, Geldof has described the new song as a “little bit of pop history”, but some people have challenged its effectiveness.
Blur frontman and Gorillaz mastermind Damon Albarn has criticised the project in an interview with Channel 4 News, during which he claimed that Africa is being framed as a place in need of constant assistance.
Albarn suggested the world’s view of Africa has meshed into a homogenous one. “Having been to many countries and gotten to know many people, it always seems that we have only one view of it,” Albarn said. “There’s also this assumption that in Africa everyone knows what’s going on.”
Albarn, who doesn’t appear on the new recording, also said that money alone should not form the basis of charity. “Our perspective and our idea of what helps and our idea what’s wrong and right are not necessarily shared by other cultures,” he said.
“There are problems with our idea of charity, especially these things that suddenly balloon out of nothing and then create a media frenzy where some of that essential communication is lost and it starts to feel like it’s a process where if you give money you solve the problem, and really sometimes giving money creates another problem.”
Albarn suggested that the artists taking part in Band Aid 30 spend some time in Africa to see if the experience changes their mindset. He did add, though, that he’s sure the money raised “will be going to the right place”.
It has also been revealed that singer Adele rejected an invitation from Geldof to appear on his new Band Aid recording. Geldof told The Mirror, “I got through to someone, not her, but she’s not doing anything at all at the moment. It’s fine, I understand it’s not for everybody and other people support in different ways.”
The lyrics of the new Do They Know It’s Christmas? have been criticised by some for being patronising and offensive. Some of the lyrics of the original have been altered, however. Bono’s original line, “Well tonight thank God it’s them instead of you,” is now, “Well tonight we’re reaching out and touching you.” Glad someone picked up on that one.
Band Aid 30’s Do They Know It’s Christmas? is set for release via iTunes in Australia tomorrow, 18th November, with a physical release in December.