Why I Love…Criminal World

It’s the beginning. A rare use of keyboards for the period for SM, and percussive cross-stick snare beat.

I find it a mysterious song. Is it already a “Criminal World” and we’re seeking escape? Or is the world “criminal” because we desire answers, light, love? And the trouble you seek from wanting these creates that “Criminal World”?

I really love Jim’s vocal on this. For me, Good News From The Next World sees Jim return to a great vocal style that I felt he lost after Once Upon A Time. My personal opinion, of course…there are exceptions to it, of course…and it was more to do with his vocal performances live during the late 80s/early 90s than anything…I dunno.

Anyway…I slightly digress. But, yes, a return to great vocals from Jim, for me. In particular deliveries of certain lines and words. Maybe I’m silly for being this way, I don’t know? But I like the way he delivers the line “I walk on every highway”…and I don’t understand why. Just the annunciations and stuff. And the way he says “hurts” in the “it screams and it hurts” line. He makes that “hurts” sound like a scream. Bloody hell, he can be a sexy, sexy man! (Can be???! IS!) I just find the nuances in the vocal style captivating. He whispers, spits venom, uses falsetto…a whole range.

Charlie plays some killer guitar. Really love how he plays on this. Proper traditional rock style. Lots of proper wailing, screaming guitar. And great riffs!

There are some Simple Minds fans who get puzzled by SM being referred to as a “rock” band. I don’t see why. They started out that way. Post-punk. Life In A Day is quite a “rocky” album. You can use synths and keyboards and still be a rock band. One listen to Good News From The Next World and you’ll have no doubt how ROCK Simple Minds can be.

It’s my favourite track on the Good News album. There are many stand outs, of course: Hypnotised, 7 Deadly Sins, Night Music, This Time, and to a slightly lesser extent (only because it feels a little “overplayed”) She’s A River.

Checking the musicians that worked on the album I saw, so by what Wikipedia says of it, it was reviewed favourably by the music press in the USA, but not so much here in the UK. It’s a curveball, I suppose – compared to SFY and Real Life…but one UK reviewer, John Harris, pretty much calls it “tuneless”. REALLY?! WTF, mate? Did you hear what else was around at the time?! To each their own, I suppose.

In summary. A fabulously written song by Jim. I mean…I tend to love his more fragmented and darker works. This has more cohesion and structure to it. It shows a honed craftsman…but it has great mystery and depth. A great vocal performance by him too. Love the keyboards…Mr Burchill, you multi-talented sod! Lol. And those screaming, wailing guitars and riffs. Just…5 minutes of great rock. And one of the best fade-outs on a Minds song. Fading out on that fab riff. Brilliant!

And that is why I love…Criminal World.

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