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In the name of Africa

Rebecca Saunders | Wednesday, February 18, 2004

There are not many musical groups brave enough to cover a classic U2 song-not in the name of money, music or success, anyway. Bands and performers seem to think differently, however, when the cover is done In the Name of Love. Sparrow Records has just released an album composed of hit U2 songs performed by various Christian recording artists, showcasing all of the sides of U2, with rock bands, gospel singers, musically middle-of-the-road Christian bands and singers, and even a little rap thrown into the mix. In the Name of the Love, by Artists United for Africa, was recorded to raise money and awareness for issues in Africa. Part of the proceeds from every album sold will go to World Vision and Sparrow Records, and then directly to the Mwakankomba village in the African nation of Zambia. The village has a total of 246 children and 55 orphans and is just a miniscule part of the whole continent, but the artists reason that every bit helps. U2, especially its lead singer, Bono, have always been strong advocates for Africa, so the album focus is very appropriate. While it is initially hard to hear anyone but Bono and the Edge singing, the album overall is very successful. The best song renditions are “Beautiful Day” by Sanctus Real, “Grace” by Nichole Nordeman, and “Pride (In the Name of Love)” by Delirious?. Sanctus Real’s “Beautiful Day” features a harder and dirtier sound, changing up the melody a bit, but it ends up being a great interpretation of the song. Though not quite as powerful as the original, this album’s “Beautiful Day” is a terrific track. Nichole Nordeman’s rendition of “Grace” makes the song sound as if it had been written for her to sing. The lyrics and feeling of the song are very fitting for a female voice, and Nordeman does an incredible job making a musically and lyrically similar cover sound (the instrumentals begin to seem a bit drawn out in Nordeman’s version) unique from the original. Delirious? sounds similar to U2 as it is, so it is no surprise that “Pride (In the Name of Love)” sounds like the original; sounding like U2, however, especially while singing one of their songs, can never be a negative thing, and the song sounds terrific.Other highlights are a more folksy and acoustic version of “All I Want is You” by Jars of Clay and a slower, different but beautiful version of “One” by Tait. “Where the Streets Have No Name” by Chris Tomlin, “Sunday Bloody Sunday” by Pillar, “Mysterious Ways” by Toby Mac and “Gloria” by Audio Adrenaline are overall successfully done as well. “40,” by Starfield, sounds like a great worship song, and “When Love Comes to Town” by Chris Tomlin and “Love is Blindness” by Sixpence None the Richer are both mediocre, but not at all bad.Any hardcore U2 fan will appreciate this album for the most part, although it is possible to simply feel offended when “With or Without You,” one of the greatest rock ballads in history, is remixed (think P-Diddy remixing The Police’s “Missing You”) and backed with rap. However, beyond that one seemingly serious offense, the rest of the album is interesting, different and overall a good project. Beyond the great music and great idea, there is a great cause. In the Name of Love is an album to own in exactly that: the name of love.

Contact Rebecca Saunders at rsaunder@nd.edu