Last month, the world lost Bill Withers. And, despite this, organizers at ArtistsCAN, an artists initiative raising funds for COVID-19 relief in Canada, thought it would be a good idea (Canadians always have the best of intentions) to stage a virtual performance, pulling together some Canadian singers––many of whom couldn’t hold a fucking candle to Bill––and get them to croak out his signature song, “Lean On Me”. In a spectacle that literally nobody asked for, people like Justin Bieber, Avril Lavigne and Michael Buble, shat all over Bill’s legacy with their warbling, auto-tuned renditions, albeit all for a good cause. And, like any respectable group of narcissists, insisted on filming the whole thing. Your move, Gal Gadot.
The Canadian artists who make up ArtistsCAN were put together by singers Fefe Dobson and Tyler Shaw, who had this to say about what sparked the idea of for this particular charity single:
“I was on the internet going through all [of Bill Withers’] accomplishments and his musical legacy,” he recalled. The lyrics struck a chord.
“This is the perfect message for what the world needs to hear right now, dealing with COVID-19” said Shaw. “Such a unifying message for what the world is going through.”
In addition to those mentioned above, other artists who contributed vocals (some better than others) include Canadian legends and icons like Bryan Adams, Sarah McLachlan, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Geddy Lee, Jann Arden, and Serena Ryder.
Justin, however, having learned nothing from his previous attempts at appearing relatable to others during a pandemic, tackled his segment by adopting his usual pained look (although not as pained as the people forced to listen to him), lip-synching his section of the song while clutching a pillow and concealing what appears to be menstrual cramps. But I am surprised that Hailey Bieber wasn’t in the background, twirling her hair and looking sad while “reading” a magazine.
And if that wasn’t enough, Candian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau concludes the video with another heartfelt message about strength and unity and love, etc.
For the last six weeks I have been drowning in positive messages from every direction. My e-mail is full of notes––from my bank, Urban Outfitters, a pot dispensary I must have subscribed to years ago––all telling me that “they’re here for me”. I can’t handle any more corporate niceness! And it’s hard to imagine that these Canadian celebrities didn’t learn anything from Imagine!