CD Review: Instant Karma

Various Artists
Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur
Warner Bros.
By David Chiu

John Lennon’s music and this Amnesty International project is a perfect, worthy fit. Covers or tribute albums are usually a mixed bag, but the music here by these 23 artists showcases Lennon’s passion and activism, which are quite timely in reference to the dire situation in Darfur. Some of the covers vary from the straightforward (R.E.M.’s “#9 Dream,” U2’s “Instant Karma,” Avril Lavigne’s “Imagine,” Regina Spektor’s Real Love) to the inventive (Lenny Kravitz’s funky performance of “Cold Turkey,” Aerosmith and Refugee All Star’s “Give Peace a Chance,” Matisyahu’s reggae treatment on “Watching the Wheels”; and the trippy “(Just Like) Starting Over” by the Flaming Lips). Even Christina Aguilera’s rendition of “Mother” sound surprisingly soars, echoing the power of the original. Yoko Ono was right in her liner notes from the album—“John would have been proud of this album.” (Funds from the sales of the album will help Amnesty International’s campaign of drawing attention to the situation in Darfur).


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