I wish I was too frigging proud to cry! Then again, maybe not. Being “too proud to cry” sounds like the most dire emotional detachment to me…
I literally don’t know what else to do.
I was pretty much a U2 fan from the get go. My brother, Quince, is only a few weeks younger than Bono…so U2’s debut release was as about as contemporary as it could get for him!
I was half the age, only just coming up to my 10th birthday, but the album spoke volumes to me too. Possibly more so because I feel, in retrospect, Boy was a VERY aptly titled album. It denotes all those elements of the first U2 release. Bourgeoning, adolescent, insular, self-absorbed, centred on school and friends and the opposite sex…grappling with the things we all go through in adolescence. Trying to make sense of our place in the world and what we’re here for.
I listened to Boy last night. Has it aged well? I’m not sure. It has an immaturity about it. It mostly looks inward and hardly projects outwards. And I can still hear it with the ears of my early teenage self. I was very aware of U2 in 1980 but it wasn’t until 1983/4 that I really got into them myself. And that is when I got heavily buried into the early albums. Boy is very much my early teenage album. And it takes me back to all those things I was feeling then. All those hang ups and stuff. Thinking that Bono was the best thing I’d ever seen – but he was just one on a list.
It is a good album. I can see why they got early plaudits for it, but I can also see why it was just an early stepping stone and not an absolute breakthrough. I feel it is age-defining and age specific. It is very much rooted in the feeling of 1980 and one’s teenage years.
Alert: I am about to make THE “comparison”. It can’t be helped.
Compare it to say, Simple Minds’ Empires And Dance and well…there is no comparison! Compare I Travel to I Will Follow:
I Travel – European dance. Pulsing energy. Dazzling with lights of cars, planes, trains. Cities cruising by in a head of haze. Exposing you to the dilapidation of the east and the extravagance of the west.
I Will Follow – a boy grappling with becoming a man “a boy tries hard to be a man, his mother takes him by his hand / if he stops to think, he starts to cry – oh, why”. Chalk and cheese! And barely a year in age difference between the lyricists.
What would I have listened to more then – Empires And Dance or Boy? Well, it’s easy to say that Boy won out as I only vaguely knew who Simple Minds were in 1983/4 and I certainly didn’t know of them at all in 1980!
What do I listen to more now? The most rhetorical of questions! We all know! This blog isn’t “Larry-elle’s U2 Space” that ‘may contain a heavy dose of Paul Hewson’ after all now, is it?!
For me, Boy is now definitely “of its time”. A nostalgia trip. There were obviously hints of the maturity of the band there. I hear it in different songs now to what I used to. Songs that I probably didn’t like as much or felt a little more indifferent to back then. I have always loved An Cat Dubh (it took YEARS for me to find out it meant “The Black Cat”. You gotta love pre-Internet days. Lol) and its segue to Into The Heart. Into The Heart these days makes me cry. It’s so tender! It has hidden maturity because it is an adolescent mind already feeling nostalgic for the innocence of childhood. Probably a marker on Bono thinking of his mum. That yearning of her still being present.
The last time I was a bit harsh on Shadows And Tall Trees – I guess because that line of “Mrs Brown’s washing is always the same” is the most dominant line in the song for me – because of the way Bono delivers it. But it is a rarer one on the album as it projects outwards rather than looking as much inwardly to the self. But when it does look inwardly, it’s more about how is one going to face up to life and what to do about it “do you feel in me anything redeeming, any worthwhile feeling / is life like a tightrope, hanging from the ceiling.”
The musicality of it is barebones, and raw. Like skinny kids that are slightly malnourished and thirsty for water, food – knowledge. Experience. “Songs of innocence.” It’s very sparse but very bright. There can be darker elements too. There has always been a dark mood to The Ocean. And there is darkness or at least dullness and greyness to Shadows And Tall Trees.
I enjoyed listening to Boy again last night. I don’t visit U2 often these days, but when I do, I still have an “experience”.
Happy Anniversary, Boy. You make a girl feel old! Lol
I’m reckoning that I work in chronological order. Choose absolute favourite tracks from each album then once they are all collated, streamline and narrow down using certain other criteria until only 50 remain.
These start the long list. My “must haves” from Life In A Day.
It’s been “Sycophancy Nancy”s turn to make “art” today. She finished off what Prip started last night. During the font layout and wording, she looked at some pre-made phrases and saw the option in the second piece (the cake reference). She initially thought better of it, then decided – half in jest – to add it on at the end.
Silly Nancy! You ain’t fooling anyone!
I’m not sure what’s worse for her right now – Jim or the cake…
What a beautiful thing! A comment from a SM fan that I don’t know on SMOG in regards to a post I put up of the “the light shines brightest in the darkest places” fan art.
Restores my faith in humanity. Just when you feel the world is at its worst – there are still beautiful people here.
I feel so much better than I did this time last week. So much better.
And as much as I still wish for Jim’s love, friendship and acceptance. The person I really need to feel love from more than anyone else is…me.
That’s the crux of it.
Acceptance. Self-love. Recovery.
Thank you to this person. I didn’t feel it was right for me to share your identity here, but I wanted to thank you here all the same.
Today has been a very good and very positive day.
Someone dropped THIS bombshell this morning as I was preparing my punk themed post…
You guys know where to get all the info from. You don’t need me to update you. This blog would be surplus to requirements if its purpose was to report Simple Minds news! Lol.
The band have that one covered on their social media. Anyways!
Well, wherever he and Charlie may be…it’s bearing fruit.
There they are, offering that “black light” to us. In the heart of darkness, they shine!
It has been a little over 10 years since Catherine Anne Davies and Bernard Butler first decided to team up with each other and work on producing music together. They quickly felt they had the makings of an album together. Little by little things came together, building on their work together when time allowed. A few years down the track with Catherine working on her on solo career as The Anchoress, and then being part of the touring band with Simple Minds and in between those things juggling with continuing work with Butler on what would become In Memory Of My Feelings. Talk about multi-tasking!
The album was all but completed for a number of years. Davies and Butler suffered knock backs. Record companies would show an interest and then inexplicably go cold on the idea. But both Catherine and Bernard knew they had a diamond here! They just needed someone else to see, feel and hear it! Enter Pete Paphides and his newly established record label, Needle Mythology. He knew the gem that was before him. And so, with one last little hiccup along the way (the test pressing of the album causing a problem which meant a one month delay from the initial release date of September 18th), Friday – at last – saw the release of In Memory Of My Feelings, on vinyl, CD and in digital format and through streaming services.
Was it worth the wait? My opinion – a resounding YES!
The Breakdown: It’s beautiful melancholia. Catherine has a knack for that. Its sparse chords and mirrored vocal harmonies exude fear and regret but…there is light. The best melancholic songs always bring a hope with them. There is hope. It ends in hope. There is love. Strength. And the offering of courage.
Ten Good Reasons: It has been my earwarm all day! There is sass and sensuality and sultriness. Relationships when they hit the rocks and flatline. Do we push on? Is there any sense in doing so? That’s what I hear in this song. Again, impeccable harmonies and fabulous guitar work from Butler. The final 30 seconds of the song is just…perfection. That repetition of “what a mess we’re in” and then the ending piano chords. Geez…I know that is something. Or is a nod to something familiar but I can’t put my finger on it! (Catherine might tell me if she sees this?)
Sabotage (Looks So Easy): Rocking. Just – pow – straight in! Intelligent lyrics. Just punchy and ballsy. Again full of sass and attitude. We’re not gonna take deceit lying down.
In Memory Of My Feelings: It’s like three songs in one! What a break up song! Just, the musical weaving and blending, ducking and diving. The harmonies! My god, the harmonies on this album are flawless! Delivery on the lyrics “because you can’t take it back / you’ve done it now / and that is that” during the bridge breaks (right term?) are just beautiful. This could be my favourite track on the album. It just has such layers to it. And the dark and light of it. It interplays with mood and colour. Light and shade. It’s fabulous!
I Know: Or is THIS my favourite track? THE HARMONIES! I want to die! And with Butler’s guitar riding it all underneath…geez! It really is a beauty this one. Tenderness. Such tenderness to it! A love that is blossoming yet already faltering? Everything is all tentative. It’s beautiful, this. Just really beautiful.
Judas: LET’S ROCK! Just to dry up those tears shed from the beauty of the previous track. It’s a rollercoaster, this album! A rollercoaster of gems! Just absorb the sensuality and sultriness of this one. And just eat up that jangling guitar. Sell it to me, brother! (I don’t know what I’m saying anymore. Lol)
No More Tears To Cry: It’s almost a gospel tune. What fabulous lines “here in my mouth / here in my heart / is the place where the hunger starts”. And fabulous guitar work for BB. Esp. on this track. His guitar work is strongest on this. Great middle solo. Oh, it’s SSOOO good!
The Waiting Game: I don’t usually hear much of Manic Street Preachers influence on Catherine, but I hear it really strongly on this track. Abandonment? It’s the worst! It’s the daisy petal game, this song. “He loves me. He loves me not.” We’ve all done it, even if just metaphorically most times…picking them petals off the daisy. Life is a waiting game…for buses, trains, planes, people to tell you they love you and want to be with you. This song is catchy AF.
The Patron Saint Of The Last Cause: When you don’t feel you are worthy of anyone’s attention or interest or kindness. Melancholic again, but delivered to sound lighthearted. “Hey, I’m a fuck up. Don’t be bothering yourself with me” to an upbeat tune.
F.O.H.: Again, those bloody harmonies. Hell! And then…
To be honest…this is the only track I am kinda grappling with. I don’t know what to make of it still. I am not saying I don’t like it. I just don’t find it so easy to express how I feel about it/what I’m getting from it. The jury’s out a little…but that’s okay. If we say this is one only song I am really not gelling with that well with then, that gives this album a massive 9/10!
The Bonus tracks:
Live To Tell is a stellar version of the Madonna original. Much more emotional to me. Catherine’s vocal performance utterly perfect. Lovely space left on the track too. Excellently executed. Better than the original.
The Patron Saint Of The Lost Cause (Harmonium Version) the air of lightheartedness on the album version is diminished somewhat by the barebones harmonium sound. It isn’t a bad thing. I really like both versions.
Why this album was such a long push to get to be released is truly perplexing having listened to it several times now. The rejecting record company’s loss and Needle Mythology’s gain. Congratulations to Catherine and Bernard. And well done to the both of you for having the courage of your convictions to know that what you had produced here deserved to have an audience because you were both SSOO right!
In Memory Of My Feelings is a very strong album. Great lyrics, fabulous harmonies, musically “on point”. Everything just fits.
I can’t recommend this album enough!
It’s near faultless.
It has to be a 9/10!
Over the past week, I feel the word “punk” has been sullied by a couple of people. One retrospectively. Let me explain:
In a previous post here on the blog, I talked about a letter that John Foxx had shared on his FB page. The letter was from David Bowie to Tony Visconti of a shopping list of new singles and albums DB was keen to get his hands on. Within it he talked about punk and flippantly used the words “pink, peak poak, pan” and then said “Oh, yes. PUNK” in brackets referring to the shop that Visconti may find the records that were on said shopping list. I felt DB’s flippancy was about the stupid labels and pigeonholes we place upon things – but I could be wrong? Perhaps by this time for Bowie “punk” was indeed a dirty word?
The other has been in recent days. A fan on SMOG talking about the influence punk had on early Simple Minds. He seemed to talk about it with much disdain. Saying stuff like “thank God you guys moved away from punk.” I didn’t get involved in it because, well…to each their own what they think about particular genres of music. I thought their ideas and opinions were rather misguided but…it’s not my place to educate anyone on anything. He ruffled enough feathers to even have Jim himself (? It’s a bone of contention, actually. I was led to believe by a certain source that this account *is* genuinely Jim but…I dunno. Who knows? I’m trying to get myself away from all this “hanging on his every word and feeling like my life isn’t worth living if he doesn’t speak to me” bullshit that I keep cycling through endlessly and doing my own fucking head in with!) reply to him.
The guy followed it up with a further post about the hypothesis of what/where/how things would have panned out for SM had they stuck with punk. This was when I came in on things.
For one, punk started much earlier than its deemed apex in 1977. I definitely hear and feel and get a sense of punk from Velvet Underground recordings. Listen to the album with Nico – the Warhol banana covered one. Where is the maestro musicianship on that? Tell me! No one plays THAT well on it. Lou Reed is not exactly the best singer in the world. Nico does that kind of – and there is an actual German word for this that eludes me right now – “speak singing” she does. The only one that sounds like he tries to hold a note when singing is John Cale. The Velvet Underground is DEFINITELY punk. In its truest context. That the music, the story, the telling of the tale is MORE important than the musicianship. Or that…it’s okay not to be perfect, if the message is conveyed right.
Because, Lou might not be the best singer in the world – but he’s a poet and a realist and an orator for the time. And, a damn incredible songwriter. A filter. A channel for the message to be projected through.
Likewise, Nico may not have the voice of an angel, as such – but she certainly conveys emotion and she makes you take notice.
The Stooges were formed in the late sixties. Iggy Pop by much touted definition is deemed the “Godfather of punk.”
The New York Dolls were punk. Well, perhaps straddled punk with aspects of glam. I mean, nobody ever sees Slade as glam in terms of their musical output compared to their wardrobe. Well, for me it’s the same with New York Dolls. To me they are 100% punk. They just didn’t dress punk.
The Ramones – punk all the way. But there is sssoooo much rockabilly in their sound too. Listen to Rock n’ Roll High School, FFS. It’s far more 50s throwback rockabilly to my ears than what the UK brings forward as punk.
And as I said to Philip – there is so much more to the word “punk” than a strict musical styling. It’s a culture. A mindset. An ethos. An attitude. A banner. A proclamation.
And there’s also one of its earlier exponents too! MC5 – Kick Out The Jams! Released in 1969, my friends. NINETEEN SIXTY NINE!
When I saw Alice Cooper last year, they were on the bill of support acts as (as they are called these days) MC50. They still have it.
Punk, as a word that became a touchstone, is ssooo much more than music. Look at all that it gave to a generation of the UK as a result! An attitude, a mindset that said “I have creativity inside of me. I don’t need a fine arts degree to be told I am good at this. I’ll get ahead and make my own way!” It gave the working classes freedom to believe they could express their creativity and pursue a future in the arts without – one: feeling they needed a financial foundation – because frankly – there was NOTHING to lose and two: that they should suppress what they feel they want to express due to their background.
Vivienne Westwood is punk.
John Cooper Clarke is punk.
Smash Hits magazine is punk.
Postcard Records is punk.
Factory Records is punk.
The Hacienda is (was) punk.
Anything that you can think of…not just in music…all if it that comes out from the late 1970s, it’s all rooted in that punk spirit.
As Jim said in his reply to Philip: “without the punk ethic we would never have begun and evolved into Simple Minds. That is a fact!”
Punk was a gateway to so much more.
Is it a dirty word? It seems to be for Philip. Why? I’m not quite sure. I just don’t think he sees the fluidity in the word itself. To him, I am guessing “punk” is this awful style of music that he doesn’t like very much and that’s that.
Oh, but it is ssssooomuch more than that! It is all of the above! And – it is Simple Minds! Even their name is rooted in punk. Yes, it may have come from a David Bowie song but…just listen to it. Really take in what the name sounds like.
I’m not sure I have put this post across as I wanted to. SOMEONE came along throwing a spanner in the works this morning – distracting me with a post just as I was getting my brain cogs in motion and piecing together this post – making bullet points to it and giving myself a bit of dictation on my phone so I would stick with how I wanted this post to go.
Oh, well. He can disturb and distract me whenever he likes! I shouldn’t be bloody complaining that he distracted me now, should I? Geez! Lol. Cry out for the man’s attention and then when I got something from him, I’m there saying “Fuck off, Jim! I’m busy. Do you mind, pal?!” Lol. Hilarious!
And hey, I just remembered – I’M “Punk”! Lol. This silly nickname my brother David gave me many moons ago. When he wanted to antagonise me. Wind me up. He’d call me “punk”. With a kind of spit of disdain he’d say it to me. “Go away, punk”, when I was annoying him. Lol. Oh, god I loved him! ❤️
“Don’t you have enough images of Jim?” I hear you ask? Erm…NO! Obviously not! Lol
And with the number of images Virginia Turbett has of Jim ALONE, that is unlikely to change soon. I have only a few on my STRICT “shopping list” to go. Which will then have brought my collection of Virginia Turbett prints to (I think) 150.
Again, if money was no object, I’d keep going. I’m sure I will still buy one here and there, when funds allow. I love them all too much!
I think we can safely say that I have the biggest collection of Virginia Turbett Simple Minds/Jim Kerr photos in the entire universe now. Well, apart from Virginia herself, that is.
The one that is in the middle of the three? It accompanies the old “fiddle merchant” one that you guys know is a favourite. Now “fiddle merchant” gets joined with “holy shit! If I had been Virginia taking this photo I’d have MELTED/ sultry, brooding, down-the-camera-lens/excuse me while I rock back and forth on the spot while cradling myself/he’s just so goddamn fucking beautiful!“ photo sitting on the chair…with the boots and the white t-shirt and the jeans and the slick back hair.
Imma gonna die! Or my eyes are gonna fall out. One or the other.
Three more for the collection.