Simple Minds Sidebar 2: Recalculating the Rock G.P.A.

simple-minds-ROCK-GPA-alt Here at PPM, we’re nothing if not responsive to comments and suggestions made on the posts. Back on April 14th, zoo asked if I could recalculate the G.P.A. after removing the live, cover, and Lostboy albums for a more rigid, strictly canonical approach. As I suspected, there isn’t too much difference. The first live album was rates a 1.0 and the second a 4.0, so they almost canceled each other out. The cover album was medium low and the Lostboy album was medium high. Again, equilibrium was maintained with their absence. The G.P.A. comes in a tenth of a point higher at 2.7, but the graph marks an even more precipitous plunge from 1984 to 1989. That is some scary falloff. But there are reasons for it that are brought into sharp relief by the creative decisions made during the mid-80s. If only the band had heeded their own words from their 1981 song “Sweat In Bullet,” for they succinctly outlined the peril the band faced having made their decision to see just how popular they could become in the marketplace.

“Grow in size,
Grow in fame,
Grow more,
Take more,
Uncontrollable,
Unworkable.” –  Sweat In Bullet 

Burchill / Forbes / Kerr / MacNeil / McGee © JKMC-Bucks Music Group Ltd / Hornall Music / EMI Music Publishing Ltd.

Indeed. Words to live by. The book is now closed on Simple Minds. It’s been a long journey, but we are to eat, drink, and be merry. For tomorrow [in a manner of speaking], we move on to the larger world that awaits us after this long-term analysis of one of the most beguiling bands of the Post-Punk era, who were singular among their peers for having slogged through their mutable history without ever breaking up [though they came close in 1999].

– 30 –

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | media design • record collector • satire • non-fiction
This entry was posted in Core Collection, Rock GPA, Scots Rock and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Simple Minds Sidebar 2: Recalculating the Rock G.P.A.

  1. Steve says:

    Bravo! Well done! Thank you!

    Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      Steve – It warms the cockles of my heart that someone with a ska-centric blog would enjoy six months of posts on Simple Minds. I would write about ska more but the fact remains; I am woefully deficient in vitamin ska in my Record Cell! I’ve lived off of the three Beat albums for 30+ years now and I only got the great EMI “Two Tone” box curated by Sir Vero in the 90s a few years back! Can you imagine that I’d wanted “Ghost Town” since the day of release until a year or so ago!

      Like

      • Steve says:

        PPM, it blows my mind that the stunning and essential “Ghost Town” wasn’t in your cell all of these years (though, I’m very glad it’s there now!). The Beat albums can sustain one for decades (they’ve done it for me!)–though you should think about picking up the UK re-issues of the three Specials/Special AKA albums (“In the Studio” isn’t really ska, but an ambitious mix of no wave jazz, reggae, and soul that sounds fresh to this very day: http://duffguidetoska.blogspot.com/2014/10/the-last-reissue-special-akas-in-studio.html; The Specials’ incredible debut is one of my desert island discs; and while “More Specials” may be a bit more hit and miss, there are some real gems within, like “Do Nothing” and “Man at C&A”). And if you ever need recommendations for non-2 Tone, but new wave-era ska acts, look me up!

        Like

        • postpunkmonk says:

          Steve – Part of it was down to ska being the “new trend” of ’79-’80 and as such, I reacted against it at the time. It was a retro trend and it dominated the UK charts and attracted attention away from more synth-laden Post-Punk material which I favored. I’d heard The Specials and Madness and much of the seminal material on “The Two Tone Collection: Checkered Past, disc one to no effect. My pal chasinvictoria had all of these records, and that’s how I heard them at the time, apart form the odd pre-MTV music video. Then “I Just Can’t Stop It” dropped and it was just such an instant classic for me, that I got over my resistance to ska [I am even more resistant to reggae]. Then, by the time that I was okay with ska, it was all over. I will say that “Ghost Town” was an astonishing final curtain before all of the bands that still existed megan to mutate. I’ve actually owned “Mor[e] Specials” for a good 20 years or so. Jerry Dammers adding mutant DNA via muzak into the mix was singularly brilliant. What’s surprised me then I got the Two-Tone set was how much that I liked the late in the day material that they released on disc two.

          When the third wave ska thing began in the 90s, I was fine with young punks digging up the sound and taking it elsewhere; sort of like when Punk finally hit the West Coast and became hardcore. It was definitely different than its predecessors. One Florida ska band I enjoyed catching whenever possible were Pork Pie Tribe. When I saw them the first time and they brought out the bagpipes for “Skankin’ In Scotland,” I flipped!

          Like

  2. Brian Ware says:

    I’ve really enjoyed every day of this. Sincere thanks to all of you.

    Like

  3. zoo says:

    So, the recalculated GPA was a wash, but at least we now know how the core albums add up. This has been an epic “Rock GPA.” I look forward to the next one, whenever that may be. (May I suggest Bill Nelson? JUST KIDDING!)

    Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      zoo – I lost the ability to keep up with Bill Nelson somewhere around 1993, when finances went to other things than music for a year. By 1994 when I was ready to get back in the swing of things, I’d been left behind! I think I have everything post- Be-Bop Deluxe up to the triumphant “Blue Moons + Laughing Guitars!” That’s only about a third of his oeuvre, by my estimate!

      One of the few artists bigger in my Record Cell would be David Bowie. He’s a seminal artist, and I own every album and then some. I think the only thing missing is the legal L.A. Ziggy disc and the “Reality” tour set out several years ago [though I had the DVD since say one]. Also Bryan Ferry is no shrinking violet either, though I lack a few of his more recent titles.

      Closer to home, the next, higher step would be to undertake the John Foxx canon, but in all honesty, there are albums missing that I still don’t have. His output since returning in 1997 has been Nelsonic in number! And he has the distinction of being my favorite artist. When/if it happens, it will be quite the rabbit hole to get lost in.

      Like

  4. Echorich says:

    I have to second zoo here – EPIC!! Thanks Monk for all your hard work in preparing this Rock G.P.A. No critique was soft on the band and none was washed over with overblown sentiment. I can only hope that, somewhere down the line, Kerr and Burchill, as well as those who surround them, see this masterwork and get some focus and benefit from your presentation and criticism and the comments and discussions which took flight with each installment.

    Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      Echorich – If they dabble in SoSimpleMinded at all [and I hope that they don’t!] then it’s possible that they could find the trail to this place, so hidden to search engines, but linked to from here and there. In a perfect world, even the constructive criticism we engage in here would be redundant. They have been pointed in the right direction. Save for a few tangents of this latest tour. I may have over-reacted to aspects of the new show, but my greatest concern is that they moved far away from acoustic performing. I can’t stress this enough.

      Almost anyone I like can perform acoustically. Hell, I adore Heaven 17’s moves in this direction. But I don’t have to worry that they will suddenly decide that this is their new direction. With SM, such performances push then in exactly the direction that I hate to see them go. And if they received enough positive feedback from their paying audience when confronted with abominations like “The American” performed acoustically, the threat of it actually becoming their new direction is frighteningly real. We must be ever vigilant! We know that they would debase themselves for fame and money. It has been evident in nearly 40 years of their history.

      Like

      • Echorich says:

        NO ACOUSTIC ABOMINATIONS! NONE! For all their dips in musicality over 35+ years, this would be the one thing that I doubt I would be able to return from.

        Like

        • postpunkmonk says:

          Echorich – I see you are fully on board with this thought! Yes, acoustic music represents the dark side and must be avoided at all costs if this band wants to retain even a shred of their soul.

          Another band that absolutely must not tread this path would be OMD. But I have no worries at all that this would ever occur to Paul and Andy. In fact, I think they’d react like you just did were the idea posed to them!

          Like

          • Simon H says:

            I hate to report that when I saw the band recently the audience did seem to give the thumbs up to the acoustic American…maybe they were just being polite, but it may encourage them sadly!

            Like

            • postpunkmonk says:

              Simon H – Well, I can understand how the audience gets caught up in the moment. In 2013 I applauded for OUAT material that I’d like to see them rely less on… But the fact was that it never sounded better live than it did then. Jim’s singing was better, they had Sarah Brown! Which helped significantly, and Ged is their best bassist since Mr. Forbes. But the acoustic “American” would wring stony silence from me in any circumstances, though I would not be so churlish as to actually boo the band. At least I hope not.

              Like

  5. Simon H says:

    Have loved this epic series, thank you!

    Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      Simon H – Someone cue “This Morning After” a.k.a. “Love Theme From The Poseidon Adventure!” We’re coming up for air, so I’m interested to once again stab randomly in new directions. I don’t plan this blog, you know. It’s never written ahead of publishing. That should be plainly evident!

      Like

  6. nick says:

    ‘Book of Brilliant Things’ Herr Monk….both stunning and fantastic ! You should be very proud to have persevered with this series and i have looked forward to every single episode right to the end. Thank you thank you thank you…..now go and have a lie down….you deserve it.

    Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      nick – I naively thought that we could hammer this out in maybe 4-6 weeks. Hah! There’s only so much I can write during my lunch hour. There have been many insights that I had while listening repeatedly to every album that because I was driving at the time, were probably lost to the four winds. C’est la vie, c’est la guerre! Hopefully what did get down will be enough. Some of these albums were listened to many more times than had occurred in real time, for obvious reasons.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s