My partner always sings “Big Science” over the top of it (it drives me endlessly nuts – but I suppose she’s allowed a little vengeance for being a “Mindow” – that’s a Simple Minds widow. Lol. I only just made that up there and then on the spot!) . I can’t say I hear that much of a similarity myself.
I love that quiet percussive intro and the little plaintive wails of guitar…then those shining, gleaming synths.
Super sparse lyrics from Jim. Though sparse, they needed to fill the space. I don’t know why exactly. I don’t really feel this way about other Minds instrumentals but feel it’s missing something without Jim’s words. Hence, it was never meant to be an instrumental, but the instrumental version is on the X5 box set. I tend to skip it to be honest. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE the musicality of it…but it just needs that vocal for me. Jim’s voice is like an extra instrument for me on this…esp. with those little breathy notes as the song begins and in between verses. It just adds more.
Charlie’s solo in the middle, I think, is my favourite of his. I just find it haunting! It reminds me of the George Harrison song “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” – not in any way musically…just, to me, it sounds like Charlie’s guitar is weeping. It’s a beautiful solo. It’s so…haunting and almost melancholy, yet full of joy and brightness.
And then Jim comes back in with:
Screaming edge of light,
Shines so, shines so hard.
That’s the sound of Charlie’s guitar, right there, in his words. That part of the song makes me want to cry it’s so glorious.
People think their music is cold and unemotional at this point. I’ve even been reading stuff recently where Jim said that (several years later, around the late 80s) he was pissed off and embarrassed by the way he sang on I Travel because he sang on it in “the most affectedly unaffected way”.
But I don’t hear their music as cold and detached then. It’s obvious things affected him. You don’t write lyrics like that without being affected (I would think)! Just because he performs that way doesn’t make it soulless. I suppose that’s the point he was trying to make back in the late 80s with his statement? That perhaps it sounded soulless? But it really doesn’t to me.
There is darkness to the songs, sure. And you know I love that darkness! But there is always also light, and optimism.
I mean, look at those words! Few could sound more glorious and gleaming than those ones at the end of This Earth That You Walk Upon. And Jim certainly doesn’t deliver them in an unemotional or unaffected way to me.
I hope he ended up having a change of heart. I suppose the people who are going to be the most critical of their work are the artists themselves. But if there are Minds fans that feel the same way with their early work, I am definitely NOT one of them. I definitely find more than enough emotion in the early songs. Maybe it’s just me and how I work? But there are songs that I am sure for other people seem too dark and heartless that I find have HUGE emotional depth. Careful In Career, for example. Here is my take on that: Why I Love…Careful In Career
Anyway, I digress.
In summary…the synths, Charlie’s beautiful bittersweet solo and those simplistic but epic lyrics, combining to make one haunting, shining meld of a Minds song!
And that is why I love This Earth That You Walk Upon.