New benefit project to include tracks by U2, Pearl Jam, David Bowie, Paul Simon, Sting, others

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A new benefit project for model Christy Turlington Burn’s Every Mother Counts program will include tracks from a bevy of big names in rock. Among those featured are U2’s Bono and the Edge, Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, Paul Simon and Edie Brickell, Dave Matthews Band, Sting, David Bowie, Beck, Rufus Wainwright and Coldplay, among others.

Highlights include an acoustic version of Coldplay’s early hit “Yellow,” an acoustic take on “Original of the Species” by Bono and the Edge, and Vedder’s “Skipping.” Also participating: Sade, Faith Hill, Diana Krall, Seal, Alanis Morissette and Patti Smith, among others.

Starbucks is co-sponsoring the project, which will be called Every Mother Counts, Volume 2. Turlington Burn’s charity seeks to raise awareness in reducing the maternal mortality rate. The compilation will be available from May 1-29 in America; release dates in the UK have not yet been set.

“Bono and (Coldplay’s) Chris Martin were great supporters of the project the first time around,” Turlington Burns told Rolling Stone magazine, “and when I knew I wanted to include men on this album, they were obvious choices. They are also both fathers to daughters. I generally wanted a diverse group of artists who were parents.”

The complete track listing for Every Mother Counts, Volume 2 is below.

Here’s a look back at our recent thoughts on Paul Simon, U2, Sade, David Bowie, Pearl Jam and Rufus Wainwright. Click through the titles for complete reviews …

PAUL SIMON – SO BEAUTIFUL OR SO WHAT (2011): A career-spanning, sometimes duskily ruminative, quirk-splashed triumph — simultaneously bold in its constructions and timeless in its themes. Simon has, with this long-awaited effort, found a way to combine the subtlety and directness of his early work with the complexity — both musical and emotional — of subsequent exotic sideroads like Graceland and Rhythm of the Saints. Yet the album was more than an interesting interpolation. There was a growing sense of mystery and of forebearance, away from the thrilling din of music. Simon, in his quietest moments, seemed to be engaged in a desperate fight against the gloaming. And not always winning.

ONE TRACK MIND: U2, “NEW YEARS DAY” (1983): “Old Lang Syne,” this will never be. It doesn’t have the required sentimentality. No, U2?s “New Year’s Day” is a political song, but a special one in that — like the best political songs — it started out as a love song. Then lead singer Bono heard that the Polish government’s brutal early 1980s-era martial law was to be lifted on New Year’s Day. The lyrics — amended to refer to the Soviet bloc’s first independent trade union, led by Lech Walesa — appear to take a hopeful turn, but instead with each pause reveal a bubbling sense of cynicism about real change.

ONE TRACK MIND: SADE, “I NEVER WOULD HAVE GUESSED” (2011): A new offering from Sade’s 28-track two-disc hits package The Ultimate Collection, “I Would Never Have Guessed” turns every candle-lit romantic notion about Sade’s music on its ear. Instead of pulling in close, she is turning her back on a lover — despite the conflicting emotions that it stirs up. After a lonely piano intro, Sade takes the lyrics into a twilight shadow that’s unhinted at in the urbane silken grooves of “Smooth Operator” or “The Sweetest Taboo.” In keeping with this nervy new attitude, Sade’s also shed the lithe island rhythms that defined her initial sound. In fact, they almost seem like a busy artifice within this new, bluntly honest context. Anything louder than a whisper would be too showy.

DAVID BOWIE – REALITY (2003): Just over a year after Heathen hit stores, David Bowie was back with another dose of his recently — once again — re-invented self. (Hey, at least we got a few albums in a row from this persona.) Having successfully shed his largely unsuccessful “industrial” leanings with the dark and introspective, but stilted, Hours …, Bowie put out his best work in two decades with 2002?s Heathen, so hopes were high that Reality would continue in this vein. It ended up as another great album that — as I once read on the Bowie newsgroup — fans ran out to buy the minute the stores opened, listened to three times, then put on the shelf so they could continue obsessing about early-70s Bowie.

ON SECOND THOUGHT: PEARL JAM – TEN (1991): When Pearl Jam appeared on the scene, like the other big names that came to represent grunge, they seemed so drastically different. Listening to the album with fresh ears, it’s a little harder to hear why this was so shocking. Today, the music on Ten sounds like what it is — less showy hard rock. The solos that many decried grunge for doing away with are still there in abundance, they’re just not as technical. Instead, they’re simply emotive. The lyrics are still filled with the kind of thing everyone latches onto — angst, mainly, feeling lost in the world, etc. Classic stuff.

RUFUS WAINWRIGHT – RELEASE THE STARS (2007): I am convinced that Wainwright is this generation’s finest melodist. I can’t think of a single young artist who so beautifully crafts vocals in such a way that it simply doesn’t matter what he’s singing about: You just want to hear the melody he’s singing. And there is a lot of Broadway in his vocal style, but he uses it for good, not evil, turning out stunning performances in material that would normally have a nasal-voiced singer like him kicked out of every open audition he tried out for. Wainwright’s vocals simply stretch beyond the normal. There’s power and emotion that so few honestly display in modern rock.

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Here’s the full track listing for ‘Every Mother Counts Volume 2’:

U2’s Bono And The Edge – ‘Original Of The Species’
Eddie Vedder – ‘Skipping’
Paul Simon And Edie Brickell – ‘Pretty Day’
Faith Hill – ‘Wish For You’
Sade – ‘The Sweetest Gift”
Lauryn Hill – ‘I Remember’
Rita Wilson – ‘Baby I’m Yours’
Diana Krall – ‘Don’t Fence Me In’
Seal – ‘Secret’
Dave Matthews Band – ‘Sister’
Sting – ‘Fragilidad’
Alanis Morissette – ‘Magical Child’
Edward Sharpe And The Magnetic Zeros – ‘Mother’
David Bowie – ‘Everyone Says ‘Hi’
Cedella Marley – ‘Get Up Stand Up’
Beck – ‘Corrina, Corrina’
Rufus Wainwright – ‘Instead Of The Dead’
Patti Smith – ‘Somalia’
Coldplay – ‘Yellow’

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