The Sun Came Out
7 Worlds Collide is like an alt-folk “We Are The World” with admittedly fewer people of color. Headed up by Crowded House frontman Neil Finn, the second release from this international supergroup is an OxFam benefit double album featuring completely new material. After the success of the group’s first outing in April 2001, this newly reconvened and reassembled motley crew of performers has created a mellow collection of rock tunes for a laid-back audience that would rather nod heads and tap feet than mosh and scream.
The question is, inevitably: should I be purchasing this album because I like to pretend my supposedly conscious consumerism aids poor children, or am I really so taken with Kiwi musicians that I cannot pass this up? Do I really believe that Finn is capable of more than penning “Don’t Dream It’s Over?”
The success of this project falls equally on its collaborators. Some of the fellas are Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, Pat Sansone, John Stirratt, Mikael Jorgensen, and Glenn Kotche, and Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien and Phil Selway. The ladies represent with KT Tunstall, Bic Runga, Lisa Germano, and Sharon Finn. These gendered ratios seem inevitably weighted in favor of the men, regardless of the producer’s plans or desires. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
I once unexpectedly met Jeff Tweedy in a record store. This was during the time in my life when driving twelve hours to a Wilco concert was standard operating procedure, and suddenly faced with my idol in my own city, I burst into tears when I attempted to speak to him. Try to imagine our collective horror. I am quite sure you cannot.
Though my enduring obsession with all things Wilco has given way to a larger array of musical fixations, the songs on this album that do it for me are the Tweedy ones. Another high point is the Tunstall/Runga collaboration. These two beautiful voices have too few opportunities to publicly harmonize.
The rumor is that the recording sessions for The Sun Came Out were a family-friendly affair. It’s important to keep the ideals and message consistent from conception to delivery. If these talented musicians interrupted holidays and honeymoons to collaborate, knowing they were able to bring along their loved ones is reassuring.
You can always send money directly to charity, but if a tangible return on your gift propels you toward philanthropy, consider sampling this indie rock collection. There’s a little something here for everyone.