About a month ago, I saw Coldplay on Austin City Limits
. Chris Martin delivered a sub-par performance, however, Michael Stipe
came in and saved the show with a haunting rendition of Joseph Arthur's
"In the Sun
." So, I went online, on iTunes, and everywhere else to find the song. Of course, iTunes didn't allow the song to be purchased as a single, forcing me to buy the only album iTunes had with the song included, The 'L' Word
. Or, I could go to Amazon and purchase Arthur's Come to Where I'm From
album, which includes the song. At this point, I was mad at iTunes, at Joseph Arthur and at Coldplay
(simply because Chris Martin is a default scapegoat).
OK. So, in my anger, I download the guitar tablature and learn how to play the song myself. If I can't listen to it, I'll sing it. Then, Coldplay's performance (generous) on ACL showed up in video format on iTunes. Rock on - maybe Stipe's incredible performance is included. Nope. ANGER!
I'd given up hope and resigned to buying Come to Where I'm From
, then heard the song on Grey's Anatomy last night. Amazing. Leave it to GA's song choreographers to light the fire under Stipe's cover. I knew song soon would be public - iTunes (and Stipe - a seasoned cross-promoter) couldn't let this go.
Not only did they not let this opportunity go, they were in front of it
I purchased Stipe's 4-song EP on iTunes this morning. It's amazing. Includes duets with Martin (the version on GA), Arthur and a remix from Justin Timberlake and Will.I.am (don't laugh - it's good). Now, I was still sneering at the orchestrated commercialism of this process, until I found that this was in fact a very impressive launch for Michael Stipe's In the Sun Foundation
- a foundation dedicated to the Gulf Coast victims of Hurricane Katrina. Very cool. I enjoy when my cynicism is unwarranted.
So now, I eat crow. What I deemed simple inconvenience to my ears was in fact a brilliant preparation for launching a profound project. The path to a launch doesn't get much bigger than this:
Hurricane Katrina>Austin City Limits appearance with Coldplay>final soundtrack slot on post-Super Bowl Grey's Anatomy>featured iTunes EP.
Brilliant. Since downloading the EP in my pajamas this morning, I've had the EP on repeat. It was worth the wait, not because I can now play the song while strumming away, but because the wait encompassed purpose. And the four dollars I spent prior to knowing where those dollars would go, now are helping a worthy cause.
The world needs more Michael Stipes. And I need a little more confidence in the world.