"America's Song"

by will.i.am, David Foster, Bono, Mary J. Blige, Faith Hill, Seal

(will.i.am/Interscope/Warner Bros./143)

It's always a little curious when behind-the-scenes music people decide that enough is enough, they too deserve their names in lights, damn it. Take songwriter, producer, and schlockmeister extraordinaire David Foster, who published his memoirs last November. For sheer reptilian allure, the book's title is hard to beat, Hit Man: Forty Years Making Music, Topping Charts & Winning Grammys. Making music, you say? Sure, I look at Billboard once in a while—I've heard of you. Topping the charts—hey, watch where you aim that champagne cork, there, guy. Winning Grammys—my face was doing fine, sir, without your dick waving in it.

The oblivious-cake-eating-bizzer routine continues on the Hit Man Amazon.com product description, which promises surefire page-turners such as "the making of Unison, Celine Dion's English-language debut... [Foster's] award-winning contribution to Unforgettable: With Love, Natalie Cole's comeback album... and the incredible chain of events that spawned Whitney Houston's historic blockbuster 'I Will Always Love You.'" I can hear you canceling your weekend plans in favor of reading this book already.

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The page is not the only place Foster has decided not to take a backseat anymore. Hit Man comes with its own CD/DVD, which chronicles a tribute show in Foster's honor featuring many of his most special showbiz friends, including, for an eight-and-a-half-minute medley of his biggest, most mawkish hits, with Chicago and solo, the one, the only: Peter Cetera. No, I haven't heard it, any more than I've actually read Foster's book. Isn't knowing about it bad enough?

I wish I could say the same for "America's Song," which a friend sent me via AIM the other week. I happened to be stoned out of my gourd at the time, which is the only way to hear the recording properly—not that hearing it stone-cold sober wouldn't give you uncontrollable giggles anyway. "My America! Your America! America is beautiful!"—in the exact grave cadence you'd expect from an SNL or Simpsons or South Park parody of an all-star, save-the-children Obama tribute number. That such obvious mockery is indistinguishable from the real item is, of course, proof that not even will.i.am's name—much less the track's multiplatinum guests, none of whom come close to redeeming it—could guarantee such a gigantic turd as this one. For that, you need a behind-the-scenes guy who insists on his name in lights. Isn't America beautiful? recommended

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