Renowned producer, philanthropist and all round legend Quincy Jones – the man behind Michael Jackson’s best-selling-album-ever Thriller, as well as stints with Frank Sinatra and Miles Davis – has now turned his attentions to the Arab world. Billed as the biggest charity record the region has ever seen, this collaboration brings together 24 Arabic stars for a reworking of Jones’s 1985 single ‘Tomorrow’, with fresh Arabic lyrics and a syrupy video montage of grinning kids and back-slapping Quincy-love. The song runs to six-and-a-half minutes, with ‘Perfect Day’-style line-trading giving way to repeats of the mega-chorus every 30 seconds or so. At times genuinely uplifting, we can’t knock the good intentions.
Of course, no one buys singles any more, so the package is rounded out with a schizophrenic collection of 14 other seemingly random tunes. The painful balladry of Leona Lewis and Kelly Clarkson rubs shoulders with the urban grooves of Chris Brown and Usher. Soft rock comes from John Mayer and The Script, while the Arabic connection comes from Kadim Al Sahir and Tamer Hosny. Even teenage angst gets a look-in courtesy of Avril Lavigne. But nothing stands against the other Quincy-produced tune on the collection, MJ’s ‘Man in the Mirror’. A not unpleasing package, like a Now… album for nowadays, it’s the perfect gift for someone who hasn’t bought an album since the original ‘Tomorrow’ came out.