Every Mother Counts

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It’s May, and although personally I find it absurd that mothers get only a single official day of recognition, it does happen to take place this month – this Sunday, to be exact. Like it or not, commercialized as though it may have become over the years, it’s still very important to take the time to give special thanks to those who gave us life. Women of the world, here’s looking at you.

Having recently become a mother myself, I have an even greater appreciation for the meaning and importance of this day, and I implore every child out there to remember that, as much as she might bug you sometimes, your mom is the most important person in the world. Without her, you would not exist. I wish I could remind every sexist man of that often overlooked fact when they treat women as their inferiors. Um, hello? That “lesser” person MADE you. So get over yourself.

Anyway, I digress. The point of this post is to call to your attention to a project in honor of mothers that I recently came across… it’s a musical compilation entitled “Every Mother Counts” and I was admittedly standing in line at Starbucks when it caught my eye. Now, there’s a lot about Starbucks that I deplore (does my coffee really have to cost $5? would it kill them to switch to fair trade coffee?) but every once in a while, they put their excessive powers towards the betterment of the world, at least in some small way. The compilation features a wide range of artists including Bono, Eddie Vedder, Alanis Morissette and Lauren Hill, and its purpose is to help raise funds for maternal health-relief efforts worldwide. The project is heralded by former supermodel Christy Turlington Burns who, for the second year in a row, gathered together a wealth of talent to make her vision a reality. Some of the artists recorded exclusive songs for the CD, and as a huge fan of the aforementioned musicians, I didn’t hesitate one second to purchase the album to a) contribute to the relief efforts and b) hear the new recordings from the artists I know and love.

Obviously I was not surprised to fully enjoy the first track on the album entitled “Original of the Species” by Bono and the Edge. It’s not a new song, but this particular acoustic recording is beautifully moving in its simplicity. Everything that Bono touches turns to gold, in my opinion. Then comes Eddie Vedder’s “Skipping” which had me literally skipping home with delight from the Starbucks in anticipation of hearing it. You don’t understand – as a massive Pearl Jam fan since the age of 16, I can honestly say Eddie Vedder is one of the few artists I practically venerate. And this is not your typical mosh-pit fare, nor one of his ukulele jams… it’s a previously recorded but unreleased find, Eddie Vedder at his most vulnerable – just him and his guitar – which makes me swoon even more. It’s a tearjerking tribute to his children and his apparent unadulterated joy of being a father. It even features his daughter Olivia’s adorable voice in an endearing “Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder kind of way – she calls “Check, Check, Check… Daddy, Daddy!” It’s beyond endearing and I guarantee that you will not be disappointed.

I won’t walk you through all 19 tracks, and not to skip over gems from the likes of Faith Hill (while I’m not a country fan, I cannot deny that woman’s talent and ability to give me chills, and “Wish for You” is no exception) and Lauren Hill who contributes a sweet little live acoustic recording of “I Remember” where her voice cracks half way through the song and makes you love her even more (who would be comfortable enough with themselves to contribute a track with an obvious vocal blunder?) but I must jump ahead to track 12 which is Alanis Morissette’s “Magical Child.” It’s an entirely new song and folks, may I just say, “Wow.” It’s the first release of her new collection of songs coming out in August – her first studio album in 8 years, entitled Havoc and Bright Lights – and if the rest of her songs are anything like this one, I can say without a doubt that I will be listening to the album on repeat for long after its release. Man oh man. She has teamed up with some new producers who have really reinvented her sound, yet without abandoning the Alanis we know and love, to bring us a new electronica infused transcendent little treasure that I have already listened to about 15 times. And what’s most interesting about it is that, based on the lyrics, I think the “Magical Child” she is referring to might be the baby Jesus. Just conjecture on my part, but intriguing nonetheless. Anyway, if for no other reason (although I’ve already given you plenty) you must go get this album and hear this song, or at the very least download this track. You simply cannot and should not wait until her album comes out in August.

Not to be overlooked, the album also includes some beautiful contributions including Sade’s “The Sweetest Gift” which could not be more appropriate for this compilation; an unexpected yet delightful duet by Paul Simon and Edie Brickell entitled “Pretty Day”; a cover of Barbara Lewis’ “Baby I’m Yours” by Rita Wilson (yes, that Rita Wilson – she sings now!); Diana Krall doing her thang on a lovely tune called “Don’t Fence Me In”; the oh-so-poignant “Secret” by Seal; a live rendition of “Sister” – one of my favorites by the Dave Matthews Band (what sister doesn’t wish their brother felt that way about them?); the Spanish version of “Fragile” by Sting (who knew? it was recorded back in 1988!); a great jam called “Mother” by Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros; the eternally pleasing “Everyone Says Hi” by David Bowie; a refreshing new recording of “Get Up Stand Up” by Cedalla Marley, daughter of the great Bob Marley (he would be proud); a folksy/bluesy “Corrina, Corrina” by Beck; a haunting “Instead of the Dead” by Rufus Wainwright; a touching tribute to “Somalia” by the great Patti Smith; and last but not least, an acoustic “Yellow” by Coldplay that is somehow even more moving than all the versions that came before it.

So, while you’re checking out at Starbucks, pick up a copy for yourself (and your mom!) and be sure to remember that Every Mother Counts, this Sunday and every day.

For more information about Christy Turlington Burns’ project, please visit: http://www.everymothercounts.com

Now voice your choice in today’s featured poll and tell us which of these rock artists featured on Every Mother Counts, a compilation to raise funds for maternal health-relief efforts worldwide, is your favorite?

Bono and the Edge
Dave Matthews Band
Eddie Vedder

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