A press conference today confirmed two things: Midge Ure is still a thing and Band Aid will return for a fourth installment this year.
The song, which was originally recorded in 1984 and has taken place twice since, meshes pop idols, rockstars, and whatever daytime radio artist is in need of some PR, and partners them on a charity single. The track - called “Band Aid” or “Feed the World” - is released around Christmas time, and it’s almost always the same. The only thing that changes is the cause it supports – this year it’s #Ebola – the lyrics (which will be edited to reflect the #ebola crisis), and the musicians involved – unless, of course, you’re Bono, who has somehow appeared on all of them.
This year’s line-up reportedly includes: Adele, Ellie Goulding, One Direction, Ed Sheeran, Olly Murs, Emeli Sandé, Chris Martin, Paul Epworth, Jessie Ware, Sam Smith, Elbow, and Fuse ODG. Oh – and Tracy Emin has designed the artwork. Brilliant. This is the perfect line-up, we couldn't think of anyone better to appear on this version. It's a stunning representation of global music in 2014. Well done everyone.
Oh actually, maybe we could just make one or two substitutions, just to keep it fresh. Here are our thoughts:
Out: Ed Sheeran, In: MC Ride
10 years ago, Band Aid tried to reflect changing trends in music by bringing in cool urban flavas from the likes of Dizzee Rascal, Ms Dynamite and Fran Healy to appeal to younger listeners. But these days kids aren’t just happy with some acoustic strumming and a bit of rapping. If they’re going to part with their hard-earned bitcoins, they want to see a terrifying psychopath who promises to jump on top of a mix desk screaming “FEED THE FUCKIN’ WORLD! FEED THE FUCKIN’ WORLD!” and then never actually shows up. Get with the programme Bobby G.
Out: Underworld, In: Scooter
Christmas is the only time of the year when drinking utility-room warm bottles of Stella is socially acceptable so it makes sense that Geldof's got everyone's favourite LAGER LAGER LAGER loving dance louts Underworld involved even though they've not had a hit since Chris Evans dominated Friday nights. But their slightly pervy lead singer and faceless producer combo spirit lives on in everyone's favourite stadium-waltzer-rave group Scooter. Imagine HP Baxxter, aka Dave from Sheffield blaring out the big Bono like it was 4am on Wigan pier. As lurid, sentimental and as weirdly emotionally potent as the song and the season itself.
Out: Paul Epworth, In: Preditah
You get why they would have gone with Epworth, he’s a safe pair of hands that has carefully gilded a slew of albums to the top of the charts by giving artists the breathing space and artistic freedom to realise their vision, then sneaking in the dead of night and re-recording all the parts himself. But fuck me, we really don’t need another christmas song with church bells and a choir. Wouldn’t this be better at 140BPM and full of machine gun hi-hats and the sound of flaccid Mario turning to Super Mario on it? Yes, obviously.
Out: Elbow, In: Turin Brakes
Before they became the Perfect Soundtrack to Every Large Scale Emotion and the kind of band your 6music loving dad and your Robbie rating mum could quietly hold hands to while watching the Glasto highlights on the sofa, Elbow were a bored looking bunch of miserable Mancs lumped in with the NME's sadly stillborn New Acoustic Movement. Now that they presumably earn megabucks and snort county sized quantities of coke between writing the kind of big music with relatable lyrics adored by the sentimental and the thick all over the country, they can afford to ask old Bob to sub a few pals in for a favour. Turin Brakes, possibly the wettest, wussiest, paper-thin duo to ever muster the energy to commit their tepid take on Jackson Browne blandness to CD could probably do with a break from days spent in admin and nights at the bottom of the bill of Berkshire pub open mic nights, which is presumably all they’ve been doing since appearing on Band Aid 20. Oh to hear Olly Knights' querulous, keening voice one last time: the perfect present for us and them alike.
Out: Paloma Faith, In: Lana Del Rey
Why put Paloma Faith and her loose referential grip of golden era music in there when you could just get the queen of shameless retro plagiarism: Lana Del Rey. She’d probably turn up at rehearsals in a floral dress and make a super 8mm selfy-view video about how she fell for Bob Geldof, because he’s way older than her and she can’t resist his passionate experience, wrinkled forehead, stale cigar smell and seductive air of total disinterest. I like to think the accompanying song for her amateur film - titled something like “I Lost My Band Aid Baby” - would then chart higher than the official Band Aid 30 song.
Out: Emile Sande, In: Bip Ling
We get that Band Aid is, primarily, a vehicle promoting charitable relief, rather than a reflection of modern-day culture. Looking at previous line-ups and the way they’re ridden with ennui, the fact Bono has appeared every single fucking time, they grab the most familiar looking musicians and use them as supple, friendly, famous equivalents of the RSPCA workers who stand outside train stations with clipboards. Giving to charity is great, but the producers could shoehorn in some sort of dark under-toned statement while also connecting with a youthful audience. This is a world where tweets are deleted, opinions change daily, and hashtag activism is commonplace, and Bip Ling’s brand of #blogging embodies today's world in a relatable way for every young listener.
Out: Chris Martin, In: Bez
British people like Chris Martin. He represents the sad guy staring into a Fosters alone in the pub that we have all been at some point in our lives - metaphorically if not literally - and that's comforting. He is the Shepherd's Pie of music. But this is Band Aid 4.0, and between Bob Geldof and Thom Yorke we've had enough despondent British male engagement with that track to last a lifetime. The idea is to get people excited about the prospect of improving the world via charity, not push them further into a depressing hole of ambivalence. When was the last time you thought "oh, I need to get pumped, better put on some Chris Martin classics"? Never. Nobody has ever done that. On the other hand, when was the last time you looked at Bez dancing around with a pair of maracas and thought "man, that guy is having a bad time"? That's right. Never. Bez has literally never had a bad time. His entire music career was dedicated to spreading joy to the people and if there's one thing Band Aid has been missing all these years, it's a hype-man with maracas. To sum it up as an acid house t-shirt slogan, Music + Bez = :)
Out: Tracy Emin, In: Jeff Koons
Emin's a weirdly suitable choice: her star's on the wane and she's not been critically relevant in years but she's still got an element of broadsheet magazine respectability clinging to those perpetually dirty sheets - a perfect brown-trainered crowd cool for Chris Martin and co. But still, have you seen her drawings? This is Band Aid. Let's think Big. Let's get a Geldoff sculpted from GPA-priced stainless steel.