Songs for Japan is actually a fairly important release, by any standards. Ever since Band Aid, the music world has been closely associated with charitable causes - and particularly with a swift response to major disasters.
The events of recent weeks in northern Japan are a shocking reminder of how nature can change the face of a country in a matter of hours - and, in some cases, a matter of seconds. If you can't afford to just hand over cash to the relief effort, Songs for Japan is a perfect compromise. You get the instant benefit of a digitally downloaded album of great music, while also helping people who really, really need a helping hand right now.
My personal high point has to be When Love Takes Over by David Guetta and Kelly Rowland. It's one of the best uplifting dance tracks of the past few months - and to be honest, Born This Way sounds kinda unoriginal in comparison. It's also nice to have plenty of really positive music on this album, even though it's helping raise funds for a tragic event.
Second place probably goes to Katy Perry and Firework. I can see the reasons why people might not like the track - I wasn't hugely enthused when I first heard it - but it's grown on me more as I've become more familiar with the lyrics, and I actually really love KP's spirit of "you're all amazing".
With this kind of thing it actually is pretty important to know what you're getting. So, the songs on Songs for Japan are:
1. John Lennon - Imagine
2. U2 - Walk On
3. Bob Dylan - Shelter from the Storm
4. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Around the World
5. Lady GaGa - Born This Way
6. Beyonce - Irreplaceable
7. Bruno Mars - Talking to the Moon
8. Katy Perry - Firework
9. Rihanna - Only Girl (In the World)
10. Justin Timberlake - Like I Love You
11. Madonna - Miles Away
12. David Guetta feat. Kelly Rowland - When Love Takes Over
13. Eminem feat. Rihanna - Love the Way You Lie
14. Bruce Springsteen - Human Touch
15. Josh Groban - Awake
I'm not criticising the idea behind this album - let's make that perfectly clear. Any of you who read my review of George Michael's reinterpretation of True Faith should be pretty aware of my leniency where charity recordings are concerned. I actually really like the fact that this album was put together quickly with existing tracks - it's a great way of raising money for a genuinely deserving cause.
There are some great songs on here, too - but there are also a couple of songs that are only on here because they're recent. It's a bit strange to have the two together. An entirely recent, or entirely great album would have been better. That aside, it's a good cause and definitely not a bad album for the money - if you wanted any of these songs anyway, you may as well get them here and gain a bit of karma out of it.
Final Score: 78%