Band Aid 30 ditched the only good line it had

A limp selection of pop stars have created the blandest version of 'Do They Know It's Christmas' yet

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The Independent Online

Band Aid's annual slog through "Do They Know It's Christmas" was revamped this week, with a half-hearted new set of lyrics reflecting the Ebola crisis.

Until Chris Martin rips off his shirt and bellows "AFRICAAAAAA!" or Little Mix do a rap about how foreign aid is tied up in politics, the best part of the song is generally considered to be Bono's line: "Well, tonight thank God it's them instead of you."

Executed with more gusto than whatever line is sung by the Xtra Factor co-host or transient boy band that precedes it, the lyric is about the only one that doesn't sound phoned in. Though often misread as callous and selfish and "loathed" by Bono himself, it repeats a stance that the West too often takes when looking fearfully across the oceans at tragedies unfolding abroad.

But now it's gone. Presumably because there are people out there who might not detect the intent behind it and send an angry tweet, which in 2014 is solid justification for banning anything.

In its place comes "Well tonight we're reaching out and touching you", a line that at best sounds like it was written in the back of the One Direction tour bus and at worst is "very nearly Gary Glitter-ish", as the Guardian put it yesterday.

Band Aid 30 is a noble cause and probably more worthy of your 99p download than whatever bilge Ed Sheeran is peddling (he'll actually be competing with the charity single he features on this year), but given the size and seriousness of the campaign it's amazing no-one tried harder with the lyrics.

Elsewhere in the re-working is "How can they know it's Christmas time at all?", a feeble attempt to address the 'You realise Africans know when Christmas is right?' argument that just makes it less catchy and a nightmare to sing, and the poetically bankrupt couplet: "No peace and joy this Christmas in West Africa / The only hope they'll have is being alive".

I'll stop over-analysing a charity pop song though, and leave you with this GIF of Olly Murs vibing out in the Band Aid booth.