With the DATA project gaining mass support in Christian music to support the fight against the AIDS epidemic in Africa, it's no surprise such high profile artists have gathered together to put an album like this together. Boasting names like Sixpence None the Richer, Jars Of Clay, Toby McKeehan (aka tobyMac), Nichole Nordeman, Pillar, and others, this is a U2 tribute with a lineup like few tributes in CCM get.
In the Name of Love: Artists United for Africa, opens with Pillar's rendition of "Sunday Bloody Sunday" in more of a toned-down approach from this hard rock act's usual style. Sanctus Real follows them up with a dead-on "Beautiful Day" that - dare I say - improves upon the original. Little known act Starfield offers an unimpressive version of "40," a song that was covered much more effectively by dcTalk a couple of years ago. Sixpence, Jars, Nordeman, and Audio Adrenaline all offer wonderful takes on some classic U2 songs, but its tobyMac's track that really was a surprise gem. While Toby usually relies heavily on his hip-hop roots and has turned in some less impressive new spins on songs like "O Come All Ye Faithful," McKeehan offers a refreshed update to the 1991 hit "Mysterious Ways." McKeehan forsakes his normal raps and seeks to emulate U2's frontman Bono and succeeds. Delirious?, always known for having a sound reminiscent of U2, do a worthy cover of "Pride (In The Name Of Love)," although I must admit that Guardian did a much more impacting tribute to the song about Martin Luther King on their 2000 live recording. Tait leaves a memorable mark on the passionate "One" while putting a signature spin to the track, straying from typical covers that just try to duplicate the original perfectly.
The only major disappointment on In The Name of Love happens to be a cover of one of my favorite U2 songs. Sadly enough, Grits desecrates 'With Or Without You', filling it with cliche gibberish & cluttering up what was originally a beautifully simplistic & haunting love song. U2's original stuck with the listener long after the song had ended while this rendition is one you'll just want to forget. Todd Agnew's voice works well for the bluesy "When Love Comes To Town," however the song feels somewhat misplaced on the project. Finally, Chris Tomlin offers what is arguably his best recording yet with a worthy rendition of the worshipful "Where The Streets Have No Name."
In The Name of Love is easily one of the best tribute albums of some of the best pop recordings in music to come along in many years. If you're a fan of U2 or especially any of the many talented artists on this project, you'll most certainly want to pick up In the Name of Love: Artists United for Africa. And I'm impressed to see Sparrow Records is taking action by donating 50 cents of each record sold (hey, that adds up fast) to World Vision. So don't burn or download this record guys. Help the artists support the war against AIDS in Africa.- Review date: 1/25/04, written by John DiBiase
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