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Young Soul Rebels - 'I Got Soul'

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Fraser McAlpine | 15:29 UK time, Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Young Soul Rebels

Even before I put fingertip to keypad, the feeling of walking a tightrope starts to tingle and fizz in the back of my mind, and here's a quick checklist of reasons why:

'All These Things That I've Done' by the Killers is a great song.
This is a charity cover version, for charity.
It takes phenomenal liberties with the original song.
Most of the people who are singing (or rapping) do not make indie-type rock music.
And indeed, this is not indie-type rock music in any way.
This is a journey outside of The Safety Zone for hardcore indie-type rock fans, that's for sure.
It probably does not count as real music.
Or surreal music, despite Ironik reading his lines from his mobile while rapping.

(Here's the video. Are they singing into a wastepaper basket?)

Therefore, if one is to say that it's rubbish, it has to be rubbish in a way which transcends its charitable status, or you're mocking the noble cause that War Child supports. And if it's great, it has to be so great that it drowns out the tutting of Killers fans who object to someone rapping on one of the key musical experiences of their life.

The full list of contributors is as follows: Tinchy Stryder, Pixie Lott, N-Dubz, Frankmusik, Chipmunk, VV Brown, Ironik, Bashy, MPHO, McLean, Kid British, Egypt, Domino Go and the London Community Gospel Choir.

Most of them spend their time singing that "I've got soul but I'm not a soldier" refrain in bits of the song where it did not originally appear. This, and the modern dance production, will probably be the bitterest pills for Johnny Rocksnob to swallow, once he's got those prickly rap thorns past his epiglottis.

And to be honest, that refrain does outstay its welcome a smidge. By the time they've launched into the a capella ending, which comes after they've put the bit which used to bring the first section of the song to a close - the bit where "I've got soul" used to start - well I was ready to offer War Child extra money to go back in time and ask them to shush up, truth be told.

The people who get to have a go at the singing bits do a good job, by and large. Keep an ear out for Dappy N-Dubz inserting some much-needed grammatical correctness when he sings "all these things that I HAVE done", and Pixie Lott lisping a bit at the beginning. Oh, and VV Brown's bit is good too.

And if we still can't handle a bit of rapping, some 30 years after hip hop started, we're not really evolving quickly enough, culturally speaking.

There again, if you don't like it, but you support the cause, why not donate the cost of the single and then whack the Killers version up dead loud? That's the gentleman's way out.

Four starsDownload: October 19th
CD Released: October 19th
BBC Music page

(Fraser McAlpine)

PS: Of course, the very best thing about this song being released is that it gives me the chance to claim my joke back off Bill Bailey. So we're all winners.


  • Comment number 1.

    I don't see this being an issue for anyone to be honest, most indie/rock snob types are also the kind who are happy enough to see something done for charity. Besides, a lot of them have already passed the Killers by and moved onto new and less successful (so far) acts.

    As for the track, it's harmless enough and very catchy, it will get lots of airplay and is good enough that most people wont turn off. I like it even though I know it will get on my nerves after a few weeks. Shame they couldnt do anything more interestign than a band aid knock off for the video though. Given the refrain they could surely have done something with people laying down arms.

  • Comment number 2.

    Is there an unspoken rule in the music industry that charity songs have to suck? I hope it does well because it's obviously for a good cause, but it is very uninspiring. Some of them are reading the lyrics off their phone as they are singing in the video! How soulless is that.

    I'd be far more inspired to donate money if they sent these people to live in poverty for 6 months. Althought at least its not as bad as the new climate change song

  • Comment number 3.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.


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