Want List: Simple Minds – Big Music

Universal | UK | CD | 2014

Universal | UK | CD | 2014

Simple Minds: Big Music UK CD [2014]

  1. Blindfolded
  2. Midnight Walking
  3. Honest Town
  4. Big Music
  5. Human
  6. Blood Diamonds
  7. Let The Day Begin
  8. Concrete And Cherry Blossom
  9. Imagination
  10. Kill Or Cure
  11. Broken Glass Park
  12. Spirited Away

After much wailing and gnashing of teeth, the 18th studio album [I’m counting “Sons/Sister” as two and pulling out “Our Secrets Are the Same” from “Silver Box” as a discreet release] from Simple Minds is getting ready to face the world on November 3rd, 2014. It’s been what feels like a looooooong time since their last opus, the excellent “Graffiti Soul” hit my racks in 2009. In that time, however, Jim Kerr released a great solo album [“Lostboy A.K.A.”] immediately following on the heels of “Graffiti Soul,” he also sang guest vocal turns on Paul Statham’s “Dark Flowers” project, well as a band greatest hits package salted with three new tracks. It goes without saying they’ve toured incessantly around the world, even turning up last Fall for a handful of US dates which were well and duly attended! Reading Jim Kerr’s diary entries on Simpleminds.com revealed numerous songs recorded over the years, with Steves Hillage and Osbourne producing various tracks, and with Kerr continuing to write with partners outside of Simple Minds – notably Iain Cook of CHVRCHES.

Now they’ve committed to a release, and notably, they did not shy away from releasing during the xmas crush. Why would they? The band seem like they are on something of a roll the last few years. “Graffiti Soul” managed to crack the UK top 10 for the first time in over 15 years and while some may have followed that up more quickly to capitalize on the momentum, Simple Minds opted instead for touring like their bank accounts depended on it. 2011 saw a ‘Greatest Hits’ tour overseas, but 2012 saw the dramatic ‘5×5′ shows serve to really get the pundits’ tongues wagging. Instead of taking the easy out of playing , let’s say, “New Gold Dream” live, they hit their first five albums instead for an orgy of prime Simple Minds not seen since the glory days of 1982. Their critical stock rose commensurately as this fantastic material reminded some why they liked the band in the first place. That they entered this period riding on an album that met that caliber of material more than halfway didn’t hurt.

Now we are ready to reap the results, and scanning the album tracks reveals some surprises. “Blood Diamonds” and “Broken Glass Park” from the “Greatest Hits” package of 2013 turn up here again, albeit in newly recorded versions. Both songs were fine numbers [though I’ve only heard the John Foxx + The Maths remix of the former and the live version of the latter] but some eyebrows were raised at their appearance. The bigger surprise was their cover of The Call’s “Let The Day Begin” appearing here, since it was on the “Searching For The Lost Boys” bonus cover album from the DLX ED of “Graffiti Soul!” They played the track live when I saw them last year, and who knew at the time that it not only represented their past, but also their future!  Things get even more blurred when DLX ED of “Big Music” is taken into consideration.

Universal | UK | 2xCD + DVD | 2014

Universal | UK | 2xCD + DVD | 2014

Simple Minds: Big Music DLX UK 2x CD + DVD [2014]

CD 1

  1. Blindfolded
  2. Midnight Walking
  3. Honest Town
  4. Big Music
  5. Human
  6. Blood Diamonds
  7. Let The Day Begin
  8. Concrete And Cherry Blossom
  9. Imagination
  10. Kill Or Cure
  11. Broken Glass Park
  12. Spirited Away

CD 2 [Bonus Tracks]

  1. Swimming Towards The Sun
  2. Bittersweet
  3. Liaison
  4. 
Riders On The Storm
  5. Dancing Barefoot
  6. 
Blindfolded [Original]

DVD

  • Full videos of Honest Town and Blindfolded
  • Short video clips of Human, Let The Day Begin, Midnight Walking
  • Behind the scenes film of video and photo shoot
  • Interview with band members about the album.

The DLX ED is fairly priced at £15.99 [$26.12] so hats off to the Scots for appealing to my thrifty side. Think of this disc as the B-sides to the singles that won’t be released on CD or vinyl, but it’s still full of revisited material. “Swimming Towards The Sun” was originally released on their leaked “Our Secrets Are The Same” album. Though it was my least favorite Simple Minds album post 1991, that was one of the better songs on it. I won’t mind hearing their crack current band taking it on now. More shocking is their re-recording of Patti Smith’s bulletproof “Dancing Barefoot” for the second time. It was issued as a single from their “Neon Lights” cover album of 2001 and I would not have expected another shot at this one this late in the day. “Blindfolded” shows up again in the first recording of it that was cut from the album for another take.  And finally, does anyone need to hear “Riders On The Storm” again? I’m puzzled at that one showing up. Simple Minds need to shake this Doors obsession they have. It’s unseemly.

The band’s store at Townsend Records are taking pre-orders now, and that includes a 2xLP vinyl package of the basic album for PVC fetishists. The DLX CD and 2xLP are “limited editions” so act accordingly. I will probably opt for the DLX PKG and when it arrives, it just may be the time for that long-mooted [feared by some] Simple Minds Rock G.P.A. You’ve heard it here first! Non Minds fans would be advised to sit out the blog for a good month when that happens. Be there. Aloha!

– 30 –

About postpunkmonk

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9 Responses to Want List: Simple Minds – Big Music

  1. Simon H says:

    Would love to see a Simple MInds Rock GPA please!

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  2. Echorich says:

    Monk the SM Rock GPA will be a rousing good time on the blog!
    When I think about the appearance of Dancing Barefoot on the DLX version of Big Music it makes me wonder if this might be a much better time to record it than when it was released on Neon Light. Now I love Neon Lights…I brought back hope to this lapsed SM fan that things would get better – and they did. But as much as there were some really amazing SM takes on tracks of their (and my) past, the production on many of the tracks was much more “bright” than I would have preferred. With the current lineup I think there is an opportunity to bring out more of the subtleties of the track. I have to say that Charlie Burchill’s guitar on the Neon Lights version sounds exactly like The Mission’s 80’s version. Another cover I would enjoy hearing the current line up attempt would be Human League’s Being Boiled, which was on the Dancing Barefoot EP.

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      Echorich – They did a good version of “Being Boiled,” but Icehouse [the Oz mirror twins of Simple Minds] recorded a fantastic cover of it on the JPN edition of “The Berlin Tapes.” I once made a mix CD called “All Tomorrow’s Parties vs. Being Boiled” since by the new century I’d amassed numerous versions of those tunes! If not for CDR running time, I could have added “Dancing Barefoot” to that playlist. It’s been years since I’d heard The Mission’s version of that tune. As I recall, it was not an embarrassment. I once saw The Mission in concert, now that I recall. A friend was obsessed with The Wonder Stuff and they were touring together at the time. The Winder Stuff dropped out, but we still trekked to Atlanta for the show. Not bad! I think “Neon Lights” sounded “bright” because it was probably recorded on the cheap, on a PC environment of the era. My guess, any way. I don’t think Eagle had deep pockets.

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      • Echorich says:

        You hit the nail on the head Monk, Eagle handed out contracts, stayed out of the studio as it were, but didn’t ever put up a lot of money. The recording budget certainly had some affect on the recording sound, but Kerr + Co were also experimenting with a bit of a dance beat – hence their heinous version of Love Will Tear Us Apart. I didn’t mean to really degrade either SM or The Mission’s take on Barefoot, but it was quite similar.
        As for CDR’s with just one or two song repeating – I have one with versions of Heroes and All Tomorrow’s Parties…Like minds….

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  3. zoo says:

    Looking forward to this, though I thought there were more original songs in the can that they could have added to a bonus disc rather than covers. Perhaps they’re saving them for the next proper album?

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      zoo – True. But making a cohesive album is a bit of alchemy. What’s on release probably hung together better than some other tracks. SM are thrifty Scots. The tunes will show up at what they deem the right place and time undoubtedly. I would not be shocked at another Lostboy album following this one like last time, though I wish he’d wait another year or two to make the long wait for the next SM album more palatable.

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      • zoo says:

        I’m all for a cohesive album, but I don’t count the bonus disc as part of the album proper. Just saying I’d rather hear original songs than covers.

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        • postpunkmonk says:

          Zoo – I hear you there. I’m all for Simple Minds never doing covers. I can count the great ones on the fingers of one hand. That would be “Christine,” when I think they actually smoked the Banshees [with McGeoch!] and their version of “The Needle + The Damage Done.” The rest range from fair to dire. I can agree that they needed a kick in the pants at the time of “Neon Lights.” Kerr had writer’s block and the producers they worked with added some freshness to the experiments that have paid off going forward. At this stage of the game there is no need for them what so ever.

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