I’m sure you all get into an artist kick now and again. I know I do. And somehow it just happens that you hear a song on the radio, or just miss a band, or even, have a song just POP in there. The next thing you realize is that you’re going through all the music that you own, or the ones that you favor of any band or artist. Sometimes, all it takes is just a snippet of a tune to set you off.
Today, it’s Simple Minds for me. I happen to be searching through my meager digital collection on my laptop, and saw a track from the band. The song crept in my mind until I had to go and get the albums to play.
Now it should be known that I’m a huge Simple Minds fan. From their first album, Life In A Day (1979), I was hooked. And I was more than thrilled to see them getting more recognition after The Breakfast Club launched their “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” song, a non-album track that did very well.
However, I do have favorites. Oddly enough, Once Upon A Time is not one of them even though it is the band’s best-selling album, generating three high-charting singles (“Sanctify Yourself”, “All The Things She Said”, “Alive and Kicking”, and in the UK, “Ghost Dancing”). Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the album. But it had to follow two exemplary and incredible works, 1982’s New Gold Dreams (81-82-83-84), and 1984’s Sparkle In The Rain.
The following years also produced great albums although not to most people’s taste. I thought that Street Fighting Years (1989), Real Life (1991), and Good News From the Next World (1995) were not to be missed, and I’m glad I stuck with them. The albums that followed were also good.
But, if I’m going to pull Simple Minds out for a run, it’s going to be New Gold Dreams, and Sparkle In The Rain. The others get played as the mood strikes.
All this little aside got me to wondering what your choices might be if you fell into a Simple Minds mood (if you were a SM fan). OR…if you so choose, perhaps you have a band that you like a few albums from despite a larger catalog of good albums.
In any case, have a great weekend.
11 thoughts on “Poll: Which Simple Minds Is Best?”
I am a fan of Simple Minds too, but my least favourite album is New Gold Dream. Mine is Reel to Real Cacophony followed by Empires and Dance and Sons and Fascination/Sister Feelings Call. I love the first album too, and I think it can go head-to-head with U2’s first any day. Taken as a body of work, they explored an intense and unique mix of electronica, dance, punk and new wave, and always, to me, sounded very garage-like. New Gold Dream gave way to good songs, I grant that, but something was missing for me – the edge as it were. I think Sparkle got it back. I’ve not heard anything from them since Sparkle. I guess I should rectify that. Just a note, the British releases are all remasters and sound way better than the domestics here.
is Simple Minds even worthy of a poll?
LOL… It isn’t an accident that I didn’t vote. I’d say the lack of responses speaks for itself.
BIG ouch, Bill! I do have to ask, what has been your listening experience of Simple Minds? AS Bob Metcalf stated earlier, the early releases of SM have been punkish, and energetic. New Gold Dreams, and Sparkle In The Rain have led to the Pop/Rock of Once Upon A Time. But the following albums by them, the ones no one listened to, I think have been their most expressive albums, ably reflecting what the band may have desired to be all along. The Scottish flavor of the band is there in more degrees than before. Just my thing I’m throwing out there just in case you have only investigated the obvious stuff, not so much the music you may really like.
I’ve never really listened to any of their albums. My impression of them was that they were one of the many banal pop bands that were being pushed by MTV in the mid-80s. I was a heavy metal guy in the 80’s and hated those pop bands. They were everything wrong with music.
Don’t get me wrong some of those banal 80’s pop songs have become beloved to me with the distance of 30 years and the time of my life they invoke. But to be honest the only one I can name off the top of my head is the one I’ve heard repeatedly watching the breakfast club.
Maybe they have some great tunes. Maybe their studio albums are hard rock and not pop. I wouldn’t know because I’ve never listened to them. So all I was really saying with my original comment was that I had nothing to add and I wasn’t about to go out and listen to a bunch of their albums real quick so I could have an opinion.
Have you ever visited the website: http://www.slicingupeyeballs.com/
If you like a lot of those MTV new wave pop bands you might want to check it out.
I think Bill B’s comments reflect what a lot of people think of Simple Minds and other bands that were doing 80s Pop, which I am not generally a fan of either. However, the albums SM released before their big “break” with The Breakfast Club were adventurous and interesting – not at all what they later became. I personally had a lot of trouble with the Punk and New Wave invasion of the late 70s and early 80s. To me, so many of those bands got contracts because they were being snapped up by trendoids with musical ability low on their priority list. Simple Minds were one of the few that had a different side to them before they fell before the temptation of making it. But this discussion brought up another struggle I have had in my head since Punk began: how much “non-musicianship” do you accept? In other words, if the musicians in a particular band either don’t display their technical abilities, either because they choose not to or they can’t, do we dismiss them? Do we like some bands for the tunes and others because they throw down with their instruments? Do we listen only to bands that have the whole package? What is the criteria we use to discard some and welcome others?
I place musicianship very high on the list. I define musicianship as the ability to play one’s instruments very well.
This is one of the reasons I’ve never been a fan of many of the punk and rap bands. They seem to place more emphasis on attitude and fashion than songwriting and musicianship.
Obviously I prefer bands/artist that have the whole package – great songwriting and superb musicianship. If I have to give one up, I usually opt for less accessible songwriting. A good example might be Yngwie Malmsteen. The guy can shred on the guitar but his songs aren’t very catchy. Still, I have most of his albums even though I rarely listen to them.
The other part of the equation for me is that, for the most part, I am a guitar guy. Not that there aren’t a lot of exceptions in my collection (you could argue that Elton John and Billy Joel are keyboard driven but no one can question their musicianship or song writing abilities). Some of those 80’s MTV pop bands were so synth driven (Human League, Flock Of Seagulls, etc.) that I didn’t even want to hear their album. I was so turned off by what MTV was showing that they were immediately dismissed.
Having grown up in the 1980’s, I couldn’t help but know about Simple Minds, but although I really did enjoy their american radio singles, the only thing I had by them was “Once Upon A Time.”
Earlier this year when their three-disc greatest hits came out, I bought it just so i could have their singles. I loved almost every song on those three discs and in a few months, I added all of their albums to my collection.
For an “over the hill” 80s band, I can’t believe how incredible albums like “Black amp; White” and “Graffiti Soul” are! I wish there was still an outlet for them to get the word out about their music because these guys are still pretty incredible!!
I have been going through all these CDs over the last month and listening to TONS of Simple Minds. I think my favorite is probably “Black and White” or maybe “New Gold Dream.” I return to the former more than the latter though. The only record I don’t like very much is “Street Fighting Years.”
I heard a rumor that they are going to be returning to American this fall. Have you heard anything about that?
Glad to read this. I haven’t heard anything. I’d see them, too!
I swear that last Friday, Larry the Duck, the morning DJ on 1st Wave on XM radio, said Simple Minds were touring america this fall. Looking at their tour schedule on their website, they have nothing scheduled for the entire month of october, so they could. Also, they sent an email out two weeks ago saying that their NEXT email would contain very big news. I think it is going to happen; I just hope they will play somewhere near me.
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