1001 Albums You Must Die Before You Hear – Heaven by Baby Kaely

Start

1001 Albums You Must Die Before You Hear
#85: Baby Kaely – Heaven (2013)

MATT KELLY reviews a record prompted by a tragedy that was probably created with good intentions but is, in fact, abysmal.

Warning: Potentially distressing content

1) The 2012 Sandy Hook massacre was a terrible thing and isn’t funny. My subject here is this song, not the incident itself.
2) Baby Kaely was literally seven years old when this was recorded. They are not to blame, but the adults behind it are.

And speaking of those adults, who would the one behind this be but producer Will I Am, mastermind of Blackeyed Peas, a band no doubt destined for one of the coveted 1001 Albums You Must Die Before You Hear special presentation full discography features due on the centennial numbers. If you remember songs like ‘Umma Be’ or ‘Rock That Body’, you’ll recall his distinctive wit and sensitivity-free approach to dumb, repetitive hooks.

 

Support Witchdoctor’s ongoing mission to bring a wealth of new and historic music interviews, features and reviews to you this month (and all year round) as well as coverage of quality brand new, contemporary NZ and international music. Witchdoctor, entertainment for grownups. Your one-off (or monthly) $5 or $10 donation will support Witchdoctor.co.nz. and help us keep producing quality content. It’s really easy to donate, just click the ‘Become a supporter’ button below.

 

But surely he would take a different approach when working on a song that is a tribute to the victims of Sandy Hook. He’d have to reach deep into his heart for something nuanced and poignant. Or he could present a chorus the entirety of which goes, and I am not joking:

Now they’re up in heaven
Now they’re up in heaven
Now they’re up in heaven
Now they’re up in heaven
Now they’re up in heaven
Now they’re up in heaven
Now they’re up in heaven
Now they’re up in heaven heaven heaven
Now they’re up in heaven
Now they’re up in heaven
Now they’re up in heaven
Now they’re up in heaven
Now they’re up in heaven
Now they’re up in heaven
Now they’re up in heaven heaven heaven

This is repeated multiple times across the song, it’s awful and monotonous and Kaely deserved better. The production is cheap and generic, a goofy bass synth in particular right out of place. I could write an extended savaging of Kaely’s lyrics because they aren’t good but I won’t because she was seven and sounds like she was being sincere. Even a very skilled adult could hardly write lyrics sufficient to bear the weight of this tragedy and asking a child to do such a tricky job in such a visible way was unwise and almost certainly doomed to failure.

Even if you go for the point of view that Kaely’s lack of technical or writing ability here is immaterial and that it’s simply a young child pouring their heart out, I don’t think it saves the song. In fact, I think that makes it more uncomfortable, like a child shouldn’t be grieving like this in the spotlight. I could be wrong but I can’t imagine this awkward and tone-deaf affair helped anyone feel better.

It is redeemed somewhat by the fact that proceeds from it were used to build playgrounds in schools, but revisiting it 10 years later purely as a song, it feels like something which should not have been. A prime example of an artist (Will I Am, not Kaely) taking on a project with good intentions that they did not have the ability to execute.

Avatar photo

Matthew Kelly is the most important person in the music industry – the type of obsessive nerd without whom it would have no reason to produce box sets and nine-hour long documentaries.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Support Witchdoctor!

Give a little to support Witchdoctor’s quest to save high quality independent journalism. It’s easy and painless!

Just donate $5 or $10 to our PressPatron account by clicking on the button below.

Witchdoctor straight to your inbox every 2nd week

Authors

Previous Story

My affair with Brenda

Next Story

Eversolo DAC-Z8: an astounding DAC, preamp and headphone amp in one

Latest from 1001 albums you must die before you hear

Go toTop