A massive number of pop musicians from all genres have teamed up with Interscope records and GLAAD (formerly known as the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) to release Hands, a new single dedicated to victims of the recent Orlando shooting.
The song features Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, Mary J. Blige, Gwen Stefani, Selena Gomez, Jason Derulo, Kacey Musgraves, Pink, Imagine Dragons, Juanes, Prince Royce, Adam Lambert, Halsey, Troye Sivan, Megan Trainor, MNEK, Nate Ruess, Ty Herndon, Tyler Glenn, Alex Newell, Jussie Smollett, RuPaul, and the Trans Chorus of Los Angeles.
Hands was co-written by Semi Precious Weapons frontman Justin Trantor, Justin Bieber songwriter BloodPop, and pop songwriter Julia Michaels, who has previous experience writing for Gomez and Spears. The song was produced by Mark Ronson, BloodPop, and Trantor.
As far as celebrity collaborations go, this one is actually quite good. It’s a slow, bass-drum-driven ballad that does well in showcasing each contributor’s voice in the most natural way possible. The song gives the opening verses to the instantly-recognizable Spears, saving more change-demanding verses for the politically-charged voice of country star Kacey Musgraves, and so on.
The single embraces its ensemble cast on the choruses, layering various vocal runs with more straightforward versions from its myriad celebrity voices. At about four-and-a-half minutes, the tune clocks in a bit long, but given all the interludes from famous lyricists, it’s actually impressive that the songwriters and producers were able to fit the cast into such a tight space.
Who knows what sort of licensing Interscope and the songwriters have in place for the new single, but it wouldn’t be surprising if we end up seeing a rendition of Hands at an awards show or other star-studded gathering in the near future.