Global Poverty Project Inc.
Release Date: April 19th 2020
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- Smile (Lady Gaga)
- Lean On Me / Love’s In Need Of Love Today (Stevie Wonder)
- Lady Madonna (Paul McCartney)
- Rainbow (Kacey Musgraves)
- I’m Still Standing (Elton John)
- Safety Dance (Jimmy Fallon And The Roots)
- Carnaval (Maluma)
- What A Wonderful World (Camilla Cabello & Shawn Mendes)
- River Cross (Eddie Vedder)
- A Change Is Gonna Come (Lizzo)
- You Can’t Always Get What You Want (The Rolling Stones)
- Higher Love (Keith Urban)
- African Giant / Hallelujah (Burna Boy)
- People (Jennifer Lopez)
- Stand By Me (John Legend & Sam Smith)
- Wake Me Up When September Ends (Billie Joe Armstrong)
- Sunny (Billie Eilish)
- Soon You’ll Get Better (Taylor Swift)
- The Prayer (Andrea Bocelli, Celine Dion, John Legend, Lady Gaga & Lang Lang)
- Rise Up (Andra Day)
- Black And White (Niall Horan)
- Aaj Bhi (Vishal Mishra)
- Purple Hat (Sofi Tukker)
- The Bones (Hozier & Maren Morris)
- Mad World (Adam Lambert)
- I Will Never Let You Down (Rita Ora)
- Rainbow (Kesha)
- Nocturne in B Flat Minor, Op. 9, No. 1 (Lang Lang & Gina Alice Redlinger)
- No Me Doy Por Vencido (Luis Fonsi)
- Memory (Jennifer Hudson)
- Drive (Black Coffee & Delilah Montagu)
- Mr Brightside (The Killers)
- Sajna Ve (Lisa Mishra)
- Stolen Dance (Milky Chance)
- See You Again (Charlie Puth)
- Coffin (Jessie Reyez)
- Troublemaker (Picture This)
- Flashlight (Jessie J)
- The Light (Common)
- Robarte Un Beso (Sebastian Yatra)
- I Want To Hold Your Hand (Ben Platt)
- Together We Are One (Delta Goodrem)
- I Save The World Today (Annie Lennox)
- I Shall Believe (Sheryl Crow)
- Mas Futuro Que Pasado (Juanes)
- Love Me Like You Do (Ellie Goulding)
- People, I’ve Been Sad (Christine and the Queens)
- Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime (Zucchero)
- Better Together (Jack Johnson)
- Praying (Kesha)
- Malome (Cassper Nyovest)
- Super Power (Adam Lambert)
- Drinkee (Sofi Tukker)
- Let’s Fall In Love For The Night (FINNEAS)
- Caution (The Killers)
- I’ll Be There (Jess Glynne)
- Good Over Here (Sho Madjozi)
- For You (Rita Ora & Lian Payne)
- God Is Love (Common)
- Mountains (Christina and the Queens)
- Bad Habit (Ben Platt)
- Winona Ryder (Picture This)
- Es Por Ti (Juanes)
- Attention (Charlie Puth)
- Brown Skin Girl (Leslie Odom Jr)
- Sunshine Girl (Billy Ray Cyrus)
- Burn (Ellie Goulding)
- Everyday Is A Winding Road (Sheryl Crow)
- Take Me To Church (Hozier)
- Balance Ton Quoi (Angele)
- Un Ano (Sebastian Yatra)
- With You (SuperM)
- Despacito (Luis Fonsi)
- Bang Bang (Jessie J)
- What I’m Leaving For (Lady Antebellum)
- There Must Be An Angel (Annie Lennox and Lola Lennox)
- Slow Hands (Niall Horan)
- Bigger Love (John Legend)
- Hallelujah (Jennifer Hudson)
What do you think the world will remember when the year 2020 rolls around to a close? What will be the defining moment of the year that people will look back on- and say ‘this was the year in one word, or one phrase or one sentence’? Would it be the raging bushfires that tore through Australia, dismantling houses and homes, bringing us all to our knees as we felt what the land down under felt? Would it be the various announcements of new movies and TV shows, ranging from Mulan, Trolls World Tour, I Still Believe, Onward and The Way Back; to Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, Messiah, Awkwafina is Nora from Queens, Star Trek Picard, Council Of Dads, and Defending Jacob? Would one of the defining moments of the year be the upcoming Twenty20 Cricket World Cup, scheduled to play in Australia and New Zealand in October and November this year? Or how about the reboots of Party Of Five, High Fidelity, The Baby Sitters Club, Lizzie McGuire, Saved By The Bell, Gossip Girl and many more already aired/slated to air in the future on TV? No, no, no, no and no. None of what I said will ever be remembered come the end of this year. Because also in 2020, a debilitating, cruel and harrowing virus swept the globe. Coronavirus, or COVID-19 for short, needs no explanation. It is the one thing that will be long remembered past the last day of 2020- as well as its effects on TV, movies, sport, and every other facet imaginable. We don’t need to go into the nitty-gritty of this global pandemic (for that there is Wikipedia), but the long and short of it is that by February/March, almost every single country in the world was in a lockdown- each country of varying degrees. Some countries are still in lockdown, and the upcoming 2020/2021 TV season is in limbo at the moment.
For Australia- where I live- we never fully went into lockdown. As in ‘cut the country off and live in isolation for however long’! Yet back in March (which some would say was too late of a time to start making proactive decisions!), many places were closed (such as pubs, clubs, cinemas, gyms, outdoor gatherings for a large amount, restaurants and cafes limited to takeaway only), and others remained open- such as schools, supermarkets such as Woolworths, medical centres, pharmacists, and other ‘essential service’ roles. The result was me having a six week break at home from the beginning of April to the middle of May- just a few weeks ago, whereby I relaxed, helped clean out the garage, powered through with some more company work that I was behind in, as well as renew this site for 3 more years and steadily progressed through reviews. I also binge watched a few TV shows… simply because. Yet more than ever throughout my time at home- and beyond; I clung onto music and the power of God speaking through any type of music and any genre as well. It’s because I truly believe that God can use anything (and I do mean anything!) to draw us closer to Him- and thus it was throughout the past couple of months or so that my love for mainstream music, and all of the subtle nuances and hidden meanings that could be interpreted to be about God, excelled and exponentially grew.
Even so far back as a year ago, I was quite hesitant to listen to much mainstream music, having grown up in a Christian home and being immersed in CCM almost all the time. In fact I somewhat expressed doubts of the longevity of Jon’s Momentous Mondays blog post series considering that the bulk of artists being discussed probably weren’t even believers at all- Jon’s faith could’ve been on shaky ground when listening to artists who would lead him astray. Yet throughout the past year, I’ve been listening to Jon’s week-to-week artists (as well as the artists I’m talking about for my own blog series about future music influencers!), and my view has changed dramatically. No longer do I think that mainstream music is the enemy. Rather, God can use both CCM and mainstream music to further His kingdom and to help us all grow as people. Artists like Avril Lavigne, Josh Groban, U2, Train, Rascal Flatts, Lady Antebellum, Jess Glynne, Rachel Platten, Little Mix, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, Echosmith, Martina McBride, OneRepublic, Daughtry, Faith Hill, Evanescence, Ed Sheeran, Michael Buble… the list goes on- of all of the artists who have shown me that music can be inspiring no matter the belief or lack of belief… and we’re not finished yet in terms of number of blogs!
But Christian music still holds a place in my heart- as we are singing about our salvation and certainty of our eternal home in heaven because of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Throughout the six weeks at home, I listened to Christian music… but there was something that occurred in April that I reckon is one of the most history-defining moments in recent times. And it was this. An 8 hour live stream- a fundraiser to help celebrate the essential workers and to help alleviate some of our pain and suffering with joy and togetherness. I know, I know, this event in April seemed wishy-washy… however you all can make up your own mind- as you read of the synopsis of the event here on Wikipedia, or below for what is officially the description and also recap of the night according to TV Line.
Three broadcast networks are setting aside their rivalries for a good cause: ABC, CBS and NBC are all set to air One World: Together at Home, a fundraiser that will celebrate those fighting to end the coronavirus pandemic. Airing Saturday, April 18 at 8/7c on all three networks, the benefit event — which is not a telethon, per the official announcement — aims to educate and inform viewers on the coronavirus risks and prevention efforts. It will feature interviews with World Health Organization experts, as well as stories from health care workers on the front lines.
One World will also be quite a star-studded event, hosted by late-night personalities Jimmy Fallon, Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel. Also set to appear at the benefit: Alanis Morissette, Andrea Bocelli, Billie Eilish and Finneas, Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong, Coldplay’s Chris Martin, David Beckham, Eddie Vedder, Elton John, Idris Elba (who recently tested positive for the coronavirus), John Legend, Kacey Musgraves, Keith Urban, Kerry Washington, Lizzo, Paul McCartney, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Sesame Street friends and Stevie Wonder, among others. Donations made during the fundraiser will go to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund (to support and equip health care workers around the world) and to carefully vetted local charities that provide food, shelter and health care to communities impacted by COVID-19.
Stars from music, sports and comedy joined together for an unprecedented night of entertainment with Saturday’s One World: Together at Home. The two-hour special celebrated healthcare workersand educated the masses on COVID-19 risks and prevention, in addition to entertaining us non-essentials with performances by some of music’s biggest names.
Hosts Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel opened the show, reporting that the event was not a fundraiser; in fact, $50 million has already been raised in support of the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. Produced by Global Citizen, One World (which aired Saturday on ABC, CBS, NBC and a slew of cable channels and streamers) featured real-life stories from frontline doctors, nurses and families around the world, plus expert advice from WHO and various disease specialists. In between songs, actors, comedians and other celebrities grabbed the mic to speak in support of medical workers fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, including Oprah Winfrey, David and Victoria Beckham, Ellen DeGeneres, Kerry Washington, Amy Poehler, LL COOL J and Lupita Nyong’o. So who took the #TogetherAtHome “stage”? Curated in collaboration with Lady Gaga, the broadcast featured a jam-packed line-up of Billie Eilish, Billie Joe Armstrong, Chris Martin, Eddie Vedder, Elton John, John Legend, Kacey Musgraves, Keith Urban, Lizzo, Maluma, Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, Camila Cabello, Celine Dion, Jennifer Lopez, Sam Smith, Shawn Mendes, Taylor Swift and Mother Monster, herself.
Unity and positivity emerged as the night’s running themes. Lady Gaga opened the show with a cover of the Charlie Chaplin/Nat King Cole classic, “Smile,” while Stevie Wonder followed with an empowered medley that started with Bill Withers’ “Lean On Me.” And the legendary artists just kept on coming. The Beatles’ Paul McCartney served up the band’s “Lady Madonna,” before Elton John delivered a rousing rendition of “I’m Still Standing.” Fallon and The Roots’ “Safety Dance” cover (performed on classroom instruments, of course) provided much levity, spliced together with videos of doctors and nurses dancing in hospital hallways. Even The Rolling Stones lent their talent with a stripped down version of their 1969 hit, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”
For me, one of the defining moments over the past six weeks was that my family and I watched more live streams and online concerts than probably any other period in my whole life. And I’ve found out that they’re actually pretty enjoyable. From Easter Across America and Gather 2020, to Hope Rising 2020 and various other Passion Live streams; I’ve now officially become someone who will continue to watch live streams with a passion and an eagerness like never before. Now you all may not be big on live streams. Sometimes it’s like a telethon. It’s like a fundraiser. It’s like a ‘call the number on the screen and we’ll guilt trip you every 2 minutes and asking you why you’re not ringing the phone number and we’ll keep hammering home this message until you’re sick of it’ kind of thing. Or it’s like a concert with artists at home in their pj’s looking like they’re going through the motions. And maybe the quality of such material isn’t that great overall- live streams can indeed cut in and out. But kudos and my congratulations need to go out to Global Citizen, the WHO and also to Lady Gaga who organised this event and made it happen. For the 6 hour live stream on Facebook and Youtube, and for the 2 hour live stream (also on digital platforms, but on international TV channels as well!). Even though I do not listen to any of Lady Gaga’s music, how prowess as an event organiser and passion in her songs on the night could not and cannot be denied. Yet at times while I was watching the show (because… it’s a once in a lifetime experience, even though it was borne out of a terrible time!), I kept thinking- an 8-hour live stream full of mainstream artists? Uniting for a cause of…. togetherness? Solidarity? Some of these guys could be Christians, but uniting with everyone around the world who may not be of the same faith as you simply because we’re all affected by this pandemic? Some would say that this live stream, though somewhat engaging, is in fact overkill- that 8 hours is too much! However for someone who has watched almost every musical performance of the night, as well as seen almost every inspiring message from the night as well- I reckon this show is vital to rewatch again (on Facebook and also on the Youtube links below!). if not for the speaking, then certainly for the music.
Because just over a month ago, the album One World: Together at Home released everywhere, featuring 79 songs from the night. As they were recorded. Not as redone studio versions. But raw, unfiltered, personal, emotional, honest and vulnerable. Now if you’re a hard core fan of these artists (like Jessie J, Niall Horan, Common, Ben Platt, Rita Ora, Ellie Goulding, The Killers, Luis Fonsi, Kesha, Kacey Musgraves, Billie Eilish, Adam Lambert, Jennifer Hudson and Jennifer Lopez to name a few), then One World: Together at Home is the perfect album for you to revisit your favourite performances of the night, to rediscover the feeling of togetherness and comradery, and to maybe find some new artists to enjoy. However if you’re like me and was only semi-excited for the night, only saw the performances not that intensely, and have only been interested in mainstream music for a little while… then this album isn’t the album for you to download fully… but maybe a few songs will inspire and encourage you. Certainly tracks like “Hallelujah”, “The Prayer”, “I’ll Be There”, “What I’m Leaving For”, “Praying”, “I Shall Believe”, “Flashlight”, “Higher Love” and “See You Again” to name a few- are compelling and impacting no matter the artist- these are the tracks that are/will be timeless, and they’ve certainly impacted and encouraged me when I listened to them on the night.
So I guess if you didn’t have the chance to be impacted on April 18th, then the album/youtube playlist is for you to cherry pick songs here and there. It’s inconceivable to think that every song will strike a chord with you all the time. Yet a dive into this unique project is a must. You may find some new favourite melodies for this season of quarantine that we are still in, and maybe an album to listen to beyond this time. So as I end this review (and let you know that I overall loved these performances, even though some of you may not!), let me leave you with some of my thoughts about quarantine and COVID-19, and how God is working and showing us glory in the grind. How God is using the worst situation ever to shine a light on Himself. And let me also remind you all that despite the chaos and the madness that God is faithful. And let me remind you all that anything can be used by God to give us comfort and peace- so for that reason alone, let us dive back into One World: Together At Home. Second time around or third time around- you may be amazed by what you find.
Do you often wonder why you’re in the valley sometimes? Why you’re in the same valley that you reckon, or maybe even believe, you’ve been there since the dawn of time; and the same valley that you’re certain and convinced that you’ll stay there until the day you pass? Do you often wonder why life isn’t going the way you thought it would be at this very moment, or why the whole world seems against you? You get the sense that fate, or destiny, or whatever deity or higher power that is up there (that you probably know for a fact is up there in the heavens floating about, but don’t really give the time of day, except for at Christmas or at Easter or at Ramadan or Hannukah or any other token religious festival and occasion) doesn’t care at all about you and your problems and your situations and your relationships with others, or your needs, or your wants and desires… otherwise he, or she, would be actively doing something, anything to create a positive change in your life. For the past umpteen years, it has seemed like you’re on your own, in the valley for eternity, with no one around you to keep you safe, or make you feel good, or make life worth living. So do you wonder why you’re seemingly stuck in the valley with no way out?
I mean, I have that very scary, questioning thought from time to time recently, especially right now in the middle of this unforeseen pandemic and this virus sweeping the globe- COVID-19 isn’t going to go away any time soon. For me I’m a Christian- I’m a believer in Jesus and I believe that God is going to mould the consequences of the pandemic for His glory and my good (and for all of our good!); so my world view and morals and values have been (and are and will continue to be) shaped by the very essence of who Jesus Christ and God are to me, and what the death and resurrection mean for me and how I navigate the plans that I believe Jesus has for me in this life. Yet I’m human just the same as you. So I don’t look at life through glasses that project sunshine and rainbows and horses and fluffy white bunny rabbits all the time. I’m a realist, and I see a pandemic grip so many countries, I see a global outbreak cripple so many economies, kill so many people, and force us all into a lockdown where jobs are lost and the only place where you can go for solace and normalcy is the big stores like Woolworths, Coles, Aldi and IGA (similar to stores like Walmart in the U.S.), as well as pharmacies and convenience stores- and even then there’s a part of going to the shops, that doesn’t feel like ‘normal’.
It’s really a situation where we have no control over, a situation where our comfort and our very way of life is shaken to our very core, and a situation where it really could go on for…a few more months and even a few more years, shudder to think, or at least until we have a vaccine ready to go. So when I see all of that happen within the span of a few months…I become worried, quite naturally. As humans we like to think that we’re kind and we’re caring and we are considerate to others…but when push comes to shove, in a time of famine and sickness- really the only people we think about is ourselves and our immediate family. Friends…not so much. And that’s not a bad thing, it’s just how we are wired. Because in times of extreme stress, most likely the only thing we do in order to get through, is via self-preservation. I’d like to think that it is in these times that we act more neighbourly and be the hands and feet of Jesus; however I look around, and lo and behold I see others doing things for themselves and limiting our interaction with others until it is safe to do so. Surviving through each day, making it through to next week, struggling through life as much as we can til we get through to the other side, and then we can meet up with friends and have a life as normal as possible. But herein lies my point, which was further backed up by a sermon I saw last week online from Louie Giglio, one of my favourite preachers/inspirational speakers ever.
The sermon was the start of a new series called “The Glory In The Grind”, and what the essence of it was that in the midst of a pandemic, sometimes all we want to do is to want to get back to ‘normal’ and long for the days where we can do what we used to. Yet what Louie was highlighting to me about this very unique and delicate situation that we now find ourselves in, is that in the midst of suffering, in the midst of the ‘grind’, in the midst of the mundane and this upside down quarantine life that we have now found our way into- we can also find a silver lining, and things can be used to further God’s glory. There is indeed a way for God to be magnified in the madness, for our faith to shine through in the darkness, and for light to break through in the valley. What Louie was saying is that sometimes the valley is necessary for refinement of character and for the developing of our spiritual selves, and while we may not understand why we’re in the valley for so long, we do have a finite view of time, while God’s view is infinite. We do have a Saviour who is sovereign who knows all, while we don’t know all of the moving pieces of the puzzle called life. We may not know why we’re in the valley for a long time. But adversity and struggles- embracing them for what they are, knowing that yes we didn’t choose these circumstances, but nevertheless we’re in them and we need to know what we can learn from them; and finding a way with God through them will indeed make us stronger and better for the next crisis. That may need to be our mindset going forward as God makes a way for us out of this crisis. Just simply- surrender to God.
[yet] while we are in quarantine the bulk of us may be drawn to Neltflix, Disney +, Amazon, Apple TV and other streaming services so that we can binge watch out favourite TV shows, and escape into a fabricated reality that fuels our escapism and our dreaming and just generally fuels our inability to connect on a soul level with real life human beings. Sad to say- but that’s what TV is at the moment if I were to describe it bluntly. Yet during quarantine I guess all rules about how we as people should act are thrown out the window- and if you want to binge on a particular show that you haven’t caught up on…well fine- you can definitely act that way. It’s a free country, it’s a free world, and by no means will I stop you from conducting in anything that you have your heart set to- just know that there are indeed consequences to your actions. Still some of us are the outdoors-y type, and can’t stand being cooped up in the house. Maybe we would want to just put on a mask and gloves, and go jogging (keeping our distance of course!), lost in our thoughts as we over analyse and over plan our future to the minute detail. And that’s ok too. A hedonistic lifestyle, though normally frowned upon in society, is quite permissible under these extenuating and unprecedented circumstances, yet so is a more proactive, future-looking type of lifestyle, full of planning and organising down to every second of every day.
When the very fabric and foundation of what we build our lives upon (and I do mean human connection and the ability to connect on a soul level with other people face to face) is taken away from us…well people do crazy and out-of-the-ordinary things. I don’t blame them. Some would say that one could act like a crazy person in this time, and I’d agree with you. I totally don’t understand why people would flock to the beach or the shopping centre once restrictions are lifted a bit- with no regard for social distancing- particularly when there’s no readily available human-tested vaccine for COVID-19 at the moment; but in one sense, if I am to believe that these guys are shopping fanatics and beach gurus, then I totally get wanting to go back to ‘normal’, to gain some control of the situation, and to feel like the world hasn’t just been flipped on its head, upended and turned inside out, even though it has. If I were these people I’d do anything in my power to make life as bearable as it can be, and if I’m not a homebody, if I’m an extrovert and craving the touch or presence of another- of course I’d try to be as close to someone as I could. If that means rushing to the beach or the shops just to feel like the world is back to the way that it was- well I’d do that.
But as Louie was saying the other week, there is a reason why we’re in these times- and as much as we want to rush out of the tunnel and back out there into the light, into community, and back to our mundane lives, we need to ask this question. We need to ask our Maker and our Father if the purpose of us being in the pit, of us being in the valley, is fulfilled and recognised. We’re an impatient bunch, us humans, aren’t we? We long for things to be finished, delivered, solutions recognised at the click of our finger- and when things take longer than expected, we seem to lash out. Not because we are angry at the other person who seemingly was in control of the situation- but we are indeed angry that the situation that we’re in is taking longer than our expected. And in effect we’re not even angry or frustrated at the time delay. We’re more concerned about our plan being derailed and not able to be ‘back on track’. I know I am frustrated sometimes, maybe when I planned to post a review one day, and then the internet is down, or I don’t get to it for whatever reason. And I’m sure you are frustrated and angry too- given that you may have plans involving going outside to have dinner or to hang out with your friends or whatever else- and because of COVID-19 they’re derailed, possible for forever. Blame and anger rise up, and while some hate and finger pointing gets put onto the government, some is placed onto God. Yep, the big man in the sky- He shoulders the blame when things go wrong, but hardly receives the praise when things go right. However- and I really believe that you should watch the sermon from Louie from a few weeks ago, as I’m really paraphrasing here and Louie’s a phenomenal speaker!- instead of being angry and confused and asking God why doesn’t He do something to help us get back to normal; maybe we should ask him something like this.
And mind you this is a ‘prayer’ of sorts that Louie himself thought up on the spot, so I’m just paraphrasing here and all credit goes to Louie- ‘God I know that I didn’t choose this situation, but nonetheless I’m in it. I know that for me personally I want to get out of this situation as quickly as possible. God you know that I’ve had enough of these days. I want to get back to as normal as can be in spite of these days. But knowing You God and how your will is for Your glory and my good, I want to know if your will right now is to keep me in ‘these days’ so that ‘these days’ make me into a better person and into Your vessel to do Your will, and to change the world that way’. Sometimes being in the midst of adversity, especially something so intense as a lockdown and an invisible virus, can indeed make us mad and lose sanity. But I’m willing to bet that by the end of this ordeal, we will be stronger people, and God would have instilled a resilience and a tenacity and a determination to rise above such future adversities, than if we had not gone through the worst of the worst and what we thought was avoidable. What if influence, impact, popularity, determination, poise, grace, confidence, just a general sense of identity, self, command, authority, and how you carry yourself; was all forged in adversity and the most challenging of situations like the one we’re in right now? If all we have are the best of times, how can we ever grow into the people that God wants for us to be, and that we want to be in order to change the world? How could we ever be bold, brave, daring, men and women of strength, power and respect- when we’re not willing to walk through the fire and we’re always wanting the easy way out?
10 songs to listen to: Hallelujah, The Prayer, I’ll Be There, What I’m Leaving For, Praying, I Shall Believe, Flashlight, Higher Love, The Bones, See You Again
RIYL: OneRepublic, Selena Gomez, Switchfoot, Needtobreathe, Jars Of Clay, Andrew Peterson, Martina McBride, Kelly Clarkson, Sara Bareilles, Ronan Keating, Rachel Platten