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'Yes We Can: Voices of a Grassroots Movement,' Various Artists

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'Yes We Can: Voices of a Grassroots Movement,' Various Artists
© Hidden Beach Recordings.

The Bottom Line

Barack Obama's rise in U.S. politics to become the 44th President of the United States is the feel-good story of 2008. And every feel good story has a soundtrack, and Obama's is Yes We Can: Voices of a Grassroots Movement, a compilation featuring new and previously released message-oriented/feel-good songs by a range of artists, including R&B acts Stevie Wonder, Jill Scott and John Legend. Until now, Yes We Can had only been available though barackobama.com, but on Nov. 11, 2008 a collector's edition of the CD was released to traditional outlets like Best Buy and Amazon.com. And it's a must-own for Obama fans.

Pros

  • Messages of hope, unity.
  • Feel-good songs.
  • Snippets of Martin Luther King Jr. speeches.
  • Excerpts of speeches by Obama.

Cons

  • None.

Description

  • 18-song compilation.
  • Release Date: Nov. 11, 2008.
  • Record Label: Hidden Beach Recordings.

Guide Review - 'Yes We Can: Voices of a Grassroots Movement,' Various Artists

The initial edition of this collection was downloadable, which may be more convenient, but the collector's edition lives up to its name via deluxe packaging, including a 52-page book with campaign and promotional photos, text of speeches by Obama and song lyrics and credits. But although the packaging is classy, it's obviously the music that's the important thing. And fortunately, it lives up to the expectations. The album kicks off with an inspiring new song by Lionel Richie called "Eternity" and continues with Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours," the the 1970s hit which Obama used a lot after speeches while on the campaign trail. But the song that perhaps most exemplifies what the album - and Obama's campaign - are about is Jon Mayer's 2006 protest song, "Waiting On the World to Change." The song is a call to action for the youth of the world to right the wrongs of the ruling generation of leaders once they advance to positions of power.

Other great songs include a brand-new cover of U2's "Pride in the Name of Love" by John Legend; Jill Scott's "One is the Magic #;" Yolanda Adams' "Hold On;" and "Battle Cry," by Barbados native Shontelle, whose debut album was due out a week after Yes We Can.

But the most stirring thing about the album isn't the songs, but the snippets of speeches by Obama and the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that are interwoven into a dozen of the album's songs. Particularly motivating is the "Fired Up! Ready to Go!" call-and-response that Obama used during the 2004 Democratic National Convention, which is tacked onto the end of the Jill Scott song. Obama and his team must have had supreme confidence that he would win the election, because if he hadn't, this album would have been a monument to failure. But instead, its a tribute to his - and America's - historic victory.

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