Together, for a good cause: rock's most insufferable frontmen
By MATT ASHARE  |  February 14, 2006

NOT SITTNG IDLY BY Stipe rocks solo for a good causeMichael Stipe’s not the kind to sit around and let a hurricane destroy the Gulf Coast without calling some friends and putting together a fundraiser. His “In the Sun Foundation” is named for the Joseph Arthur song he’s recorded in several variations as an iTunes exclusive (available for sampling at credited to Michael Stipe & Special Guests . . . bring on the rumors of R.E.M.’s demise.

Michael Stipe,“In the Sun (Gulf Coast Relief) (Feat. Chris Martin)” | This is the nice strummy folk-rock version, as straight as they come, with Coldplay’s Chris Martin doing his best not to be rude and out-emote Mr. Stipe.

Michael Stipe,“In the Sun (JAW Breakers Remix) (Feat. Chris Martin, Mix by Justin Timberlake and” | The groovier mix, and probably the coolest thing Timberlake’s ever been associated with. And is that a Coldplay electric guitar lead I hear creeping into the backdrop?

Michael Stipe, “In the Sun (Feat. Joseph Arthur)” | Third track same as the first, only Arthur brings some welcome grit, or maybe I’m just sick of Martin’s voice after the first two takes.

Michael Stipe,“In the Sun” | For those who likes their Stipe straight up, no chaser, and only one second shorter than the take with Martin.

Michael Stipe with Coldplay,“In the Sun (Live at Austin City Limits)” | They pick up the pace, put a solid backbeat behind it, and, damn if Stipe and Martin don’t sound better harmonizing live than in the studio . . . or maybe the song’s just growing on me.

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