Songs for Japan gives frustrated altruists avenue to help Japan, pad out iPod

Care-worn armchair humanitarians with no clue how to help those suffering from the effects of the Japanese earthquake and subsequent tsunami, were finally put out of their fortnight of misery over the weekend, as ‘Songs for Japan’, a rag-bag of random rehashed pop was released on iTunes last Friday specifically for them.

Just two weeks after the nation gathered round screens showing shocking footage of a full-on tsunami and muttered a collective and genuine ‘holy shit’, 38 tracks by performers so diverse you wonder who could possibly want to listen all the way through have been thrown together for 7.99, allowing some outlet for iPod owners’ pent-up concern, and a few moments of confusion months from now when ‘Fragile’ by Sting comes up on shuffle.

‘I wanted to do something, but until this charity mix-tape came out, I had to bottle up all my empathy for the Japanese people,’ said one iTunes user, who despite having unbroken broadband internet access for the entire two week period since the quake, was unable to identify any other way to donate to the Japanese Red Cross.

Acts such as Eminem, Bob Dylan and Justin Bieber have allowed tracks to be attached to the project, and deeply affecting though the images and stories coming out of Japan are, it is thought that a live version of ‘Man on the Moon’ by REM, Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way’ and another chance to pick up the ubiquitous ‘Firework’ by Katy Perry could tip the balance for many of those who weren’t sure how to react.

Organizers, Universal Music Group say they have chosen tracks that have already sold multi-million units like ‘Only Girl in the World’ by Rihanna and ‘Like I Love You’ by Justin Timberlake over, for example, Japanese artists, to maximise exposure. For the charity.

‘The recording artists, their management and legal people have been so generous with their clients’ back-catalogue content,’ said a source close to the organizers. ‘Having them lend their names might also raise awareness for this disaster, for those who missed it on the news.’

Tristan Shout

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Posted: Mar 28th, 2011 by

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