First of all...great project for Darfur.
Now, the music. I was (and probably still am) an obsessed Lennon fanatic, and I am VERY picky about covers. So when I first listened to this, I thought, okay, not too bad, but probably won't listen to this much....
It's absolutely true that many of these artists can't, and probably never could, get close to the quality of Lennon's originals. This is especaily evident when you hear the tiny snippets of orginals that have been included...at the end of Working Class Hero, for instance, the end of John's version comes on, and, as good as Green Day's cover is (in fact, it's a GREAT cover), the haunting intensity of those few seconds of the orginal takes away some of my enthusiasm for this new version. Probably would have been better to leave that off.
Bottom line, this is a benefit album. One can only speculate why certain artists were included...why some donated their time and talents and why others didn't. But the music is very good. And now that I've lived with it a couple of days, I think there are moments that are not just good, but great.
I absolutely love Aerosmith's Give Peace a Chance. It's full of energy and passion and LOVE the reggae take on it. Corinne Bailey Rae's I'm Losing You is exquisite (as anything she sings is). Jakob Dylan singing Gimme Some Truth, although solid, lacks a lot of the passion of the orginal (but then, who could be as angry as John Lennon was in the early 70s?). But OH MY GOD totally worth a few listens for Dhani Harrison's guitar playing; he's definitely channeling his father, while still making it all his own. Big and Rich's take on Nobody Told Me adds some finishing touches on a song John never really got to fully polish. And you gotta love Youssou N'Dour's Jealous Guy, which he sings partly in what I'm guessing is a West African language.
On disk 2, stand outs include Green Day's Working Class Hero, Black Eyed Peas' Power to the People and Regina Spektor's Real Love, another unfinished Lennon song that warrants some revisiting.
(PS One of the other customer reviews mentioned Ozzie covering How?, which I do not seem to have on my copy of this album, but I would love to hear it! It doesn't seem to be included on the list of itunes extra tracks, either... Was it a stand-alone single? Here I am, flaunting my ignorance in public...).