The Bottom Line
On Wed. April 29, Barack Obama celebrated his 100th day in office as the 44th President of the United States of America. And one day before that, Hidden Beach Recordings released a CD/DVD package to commemorate the event. Change Is Now: Renewing America's Promise is a compilation of brand-new and not-so-new songs by artists like Stevie Wonder, India.Arie, Usher, Jennifer Hudson and others that share some common traits: optimism, hope for the future and a strong belief in positive change. Also included is a DVD with eight of Mr. Obama's speeches that encapsulate the man's message and magnetism as a public speaker.
- A strong lineup of feel-good music.
- A good variety of talented artists.
- Jennifer Hudson's magnificent "Star Spangled Banner."
- Maroon 5's eerie, disconcerting new version of "Pure Imagination."
- Some speeches on the DVD are superfluous.
- A compilation of new and previously released-songs, plus a DVD with eight Barack Obama speeches.
- Previously unreleased songs by will.i.am, Stevie Wonder, Lenny Kravitz and others.
- Non-offensive, feel-good R&B and pop music with themes of hope and change.
Guide Review - 'Change Is Now: Renewing America's Promise,' Various Artists
Most of the time creative people in the creative arts - singers, actors, TV show hosts, etc., don't like to publicly delve into politics because they don't want to alienate a portion of their fans. And most of the 18 songs on this compilation don't outright endorse Obama as much as they do the ideals that he stood for during the 2008 presidential election. For instance, the peppy India.Arie song "There's Hope" might sound like a tailor-made commercial for the Obama campaign, but the track was actually originally on India's 2006 album Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationship
. Likewise, Robin Thicke's wistful, melancholy "Dreamworld," a song about wanting to live in a Utopian society, isn't brand-new; it's from his 2008 album, Something Else
. But there are
a handful of Obama-specific songs, most notably the cheery, pop-rock ditty "It's A New Day," by longtime Obama supporter will.i.am; and the album's first single, "All About the Love Again," a Stevie Wonder-written, sung and produced cut that's most notable for Stevie's heavy use of Auto-Tune, the same device that gives T-Pain his highly-electronic sounding vocals.
In addition to the music CD, there's also a DVD of eight of Mr. Obama's best speeches, beginning with his 20-minute announcement for president speech on Feb. 10, 2007; and ending with a 15-minute Election Night victory speech on Nov. 4, 2008. The speeches are all magnificent and vividly display Mr. Obama's ability to inspire, motivate and electrify crowds. The only drawback is that in watching all eight speeches back-to-back over the course of about 90 minutes, the words begin to lose their impact. But on the whole, this is an excellent package of music and video and is the perfect companion to Yes We Can: Voices of a Grassroots Movement, a similar uplifting Obama-themed compilation that was released just after Election Day.