Various Artists: ‘Occupy This Album’

Occupy This Album is composed of 78 tracks on four disks (99 plus one hidden track on the digital download) and benefits those who are participating in the partyless, leaderless movement up on Wall Street and around the world. Organized with tracks from the well known (Joan Baez, Willie Nelson, Yoko Ono, Tom Morello) to the lesser known (Matt Pless, who opens the album, was residing at Zucotti Park when producer Jason Samel approached him), the album works as a whole — with a few minor glitches. Filmmaker Michael Moore lends his ho-hum vocals to Dylan’s ’60s “The Times They Are-A Changin,'” and Debbie Harry’s glitch-pop track “Safety in Numbers” next to Richard Barone’s couch surfer’s lament “Hey, Can I Sleep on Your Futon?” seems forced. Yet, throughout the chaos unity survives, which is just what Occupy is all about. The album provides an additional platform for voices of the movement: Nickodemus’s rap in “A New York Minute” speaks to the frustration of NYC’s inflating economy while “Occupy Wall Street” acts as Occupy’s hip-hop mantra. While Occupy moves into its ninth month, the album acts as a testimony of the times and amplifies a unified message from a diverse ensemble. Although the chorus here is sometimes jumbled and confusing, so is the democratic process when at its best — even more so in the midst of a would-be revolution.

★★★ ½ (out of 5 stars)