Happy 40th Anniversary – Life In A Day!

Someone:
It’s quite manic the way it starts then sounds traditional rock. Almost pub rock. Post punk. But “poppy”. I love that little “doo wop” bit too. The magic of a song that sounds catchy and upbeat, but if you take note of the lyrics…there’s a slightly different story going on. But we’re looking for life beyond those potentially boring “teen angst” years. Adulthood has dawned. “You’re running home before the morning light. There is a new age that has just begun.” Leave the angst behind, Ruby.

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Life In A Day:
Synth washed opening but still steeped in post punk. It does wear its influences boldly this song. Already those more industrial sounds are there. It’s in the atmosphere conjured up by Jim’s lyrics. I always say that Factory is like a lyrical LS Lowry painting – Life In A Day is its predecessor. Some days I really enjoy listening to Life In A Day…other times it leaves me feeling a little despondent, and I am unsure as to why that is.

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Sad Affair:
This has always been the weakest track on the album, for me. I’ve never really taken to it. This to me is the track that sounds most “Boomtown Rats”. The one I think of first when I am reminded of Jim’s feelings when he first heard the album being played back once they got their hands on the final cut. That feeling of “Oh, we’ve fucked up with this. This isn’t us! This is the Boomtown Rats!”

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All For You:
In 2014, when I started my exploration of the Simple Minds back catalogue, this song really made me sit up and take notice. The first one on the album that I truly went “ooh, now…THIS is interesting!” over. I know Jim has a soft spot for Someone, but I do for All For You. Had this track not piqued my interest when exploring the SM back catalogue a second time over, then…well, I would probably NOT be doing this post, or even running this blog!

Pleasantly Disturbed:
The title could not be more aptly applied to a song. I mean, that title sells it perfectly. Starting with a quiet yet low rumbling slow drum beat and cracked jagged guitar riff…it’s wonderfully atmospheric and moody. It conjures up a similar feeling in mood to one gets from Riders On The Storm. A dark, oppressive and gloomy rain-washed street. The genius of adding violin to it…I mean, who came up with that? Charlie? Well, if he did, he cursed it subsequently through the years from having to continue to play it when performing the song, while never feeling he had the true virtuosity for it. From the moment it starts, it just feels on a different level to any of the other songs on the album. And unlike most other tracks on the album in which they didn’t quite capture their live sound right, or John Leckie didn’t quite capture their essence – it worked for Pleasantly Disturbed. If anyone you meet ever dismisses early Simple Minds as a serious musical force of nature, play them Pleasantly Disturbed. And if they’re still not convinced, then they are beyond salvation. Pity them.

No Cure:
I suffered such a love/hate thing with this song. I used to abhor it! For a long time I would skip it entirely. Then when out in Oz and getting into the habit of listening to SM on shuffle mode each night, it played a few times and I was roused to semi-consciousness to listen to it. Too tired to grab the iPod and find the skip button, but awake enough for the song to filter through, a change of heart started to happen. Things actually ended up turning on its head and I went from utter intolerance of the track to absolutely falling head over heels for it! I couldn’t get enough of it! It became a constant earworm. It was stuck in my head for WEEKS. And I played it over and over! Lol. The title of it, once again, became so apt. Jim is a master at this stuff, he really is. For of course, the song had been previously known by the title Cocteau Twins, until Jim decided to tweak the lyrics and retitle it. Having read up about Cocteau Twins and its beginnings…Les Enfant Terribles… oh how it makes some weird sense of why I had this love/hate grapple. Knowing its history, I find the song strangely alluring and ever so sexy. It may have been “tidied up” but the words pertaining to “the game” are still there.

Chelsea Girl:
What a riff. So simple but so full of intent. Speaking of songs that are sexy. I do find this sexy too. Seriously, if I had been of their age, I’d have fancied Jim from day one. I’m still not quite sure exactly what I am meant to make of the “Chelsea Girl”. Is she a prick tease? Or a floozy? Answers on a postcard…

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Wasteland:
I find Wasteland a wonderfully obscure Kerr lyric. A song I am not really sure I know much of what it’s actually about. Looking at the lyrics I have no real clue. God I love you, Jim Kerr. You are a puzzle! The songs may feel like puzzles to solve to you…sometimes I think you pass them directly on to us! “Solve that one, peeps! Try and work out what I’m telling you here.”

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Destiny:
Also a curious one. Seems as if it was a much meatier thing when it was called Sweet Things. I am going to assume by how the lyrics read, it is a look at the life one has laid out for them and a defiant rejection of it. “Can you hear me, can you see. I don’t want this destiny.”

Murder Story:
After All For You and Pleasantly Disturbed, this is a song I really fell in love with quite quickly. I love the drama of it and despite the title and the tone of this song, there’s an element of fun to it. And I just love the way it ends. All the layers of Jim’s vocals clashing and sounding cacophonous and him singing alternates of “it wasn’t me/it was me”…then with that final trio of shouts of “IT WAS ME” and then it just comes to a halt.

 

 

A LITTLE NOD TO THE B SIDES

Over all as an album, it’s a good debut. It’s solid. And yes, I somewhat played Devil’s advocate asking Bruce Findlay if he felt that some songs were “too old”. It doesn’t quite hit the mark in some elements. And they probably weren’t captured quite at their full potential the first time round with John Leckie, but they and he quickly made up for it. And Real To Real Cacophony is by no means faultless either, but it improves upon a good stepping stone.

The album certainly has a maturity to it. I mean, heck, the average age of the band at this point is 20. TWENTY! They’re babies! Jim and Charlie are actually still only 19 upon its release. If I do that “compare them to U2” baloney and compare Life In A Day to Boy – the maturity of Jim’s songwriting over Bono’s is just chalk and cheese for me. While on Boy (even just the album titles reveal all you need to know!), Bono is writing about The Electric Co and Stories For Boys, Jim’s writing about the daily grind of city life, murder, drug use, mind games between young adults, conquests (or lack thereof). It’s young men, not boys.

Don’t get me wrong! I’m not dissing Boy. I love Boy. You can’t knock I Will Follow, and I love An Cat Dubh and Into The Heart, A Day Without Me and Shadows And Tall Trees contains my favourite line in the entire album “Mrs Brown’s washing is always the same”. Boy will always have a soft spot in my heart, because I grew up with it. My brother had a copy from 1980, so it has been with me since I was 10 years old.

Life In A Day never bowled me over completely, but there are gems contained within it. It probably didn’t feel that way at the time, and thank god Simple Minds came into being at a time that they did and with Bruce as their mentor and ultimately manager because he was never going to abandon them. They were given the time to evolve artistically and become truly great. They held such promise and it was there for all to see. Life In A Day, though not perfect, showcases, with a bit of “hit and miss” what Simple Minds were capable of. Their tender and tenuous beginnings. It’s an album strong enough to enjoy from start to finish. The only track I used to skip was No Cure, and I ended up falling in love with it.

Give it a listen today. Have a bit of a nostalgia trip and say “Happy Anniversary Life In A Day!”

Celebrate Life In A Day – But Not Yet

People be jumping the gun re: Life In A Day 40th anniversary. Lots of celebrating today…but there is an official Zoom press release from the time on the Dream Giver Redux site showing the release date to be April 13th…so I will be holding my horses until then.

BUT…in preparation for it, you can read (and hear parts of) my interviews with Jaine Henderson and Bruce Findlay and also see my review of Life In A Day as a single right here on the blog!

In the meantime, here’s the link to Dream Giver showing the press release and its transcript. See you back here on April 13th, Life In A Day fans 👍🏻😁

Billy Drops A Bomb!

So, I am listening into the Billy Sloan Show earlier (still listening now as I type this out) and he read out some listener comments about the best gig, album and single of 2018. After he read some words about Simple Minds, he went onto say “they are bringing out a new album and will be on tour again. I can’t say too much now but all will be revealed in due course. Simple Minds are set for a very busy year in 2019.”

WOAH! HOLD THE PHONE!

STAYED TUNED FOLKS!

UPDATE: Next morning: okay, well…I’m not sure where the “tour” bit came from that I heard. I suppose I had jst been talking “tour” wth a friend just a few minutes before and it stuck in my mind and stayed there. I hadn’t been well, so that’ll be my excuse. But, to reiterate, Billy did say that a new album s coming and that Simple Minds will have a busy year ahead. But…we’ll see! My eyes will be kept peeled and my ears will be kepyt to the ground.

What The Phunk? It’s A Rap From Mr Kerr!

Well, he has to have a suitable name if he’s turning to rap. How about Prip W? Lol. Pripton returns as a rapper?! Lol. Punk will eat itself 😉

What am I on about? Well, news is Phunk Investigation (Planet Phunk + other associates) have a new album of remixes coming out in February next year.

Jim has done a track with them with the title “Four Letter Word”. Now…I was innocently thinking…”it could be love, or hate…but it’s probably fuck” never considering for a SECOND it could be c***! 😱

You dirty bugger, Mr Kerr! I LIKE IT!!!!! Lol! You being dirty, that is…I’ve never partaken in…erm…yeah, anyway! Here are a few saucy samples….enjoy!

 

 

 

Ragtime Bry

A new release from Bryan Ferry at the end of November…inspired by his soundtrack work for the Netflix series Berlin Babylon. It sounds like it could be a goodun. I wonder if next year’s world tour will be airing this kind of vibe too?

Would really love to hear how Sea Breezes sounds. Only about five weeks to wait…

click the album image for more details

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Love Is Magic – John Grant (Review-ish)

I’ve not bought the album yet and had my first listen to it proper on Spotify last night. This won’t be a strict review, just a general mulling over of my first impressions.

I was already familiar with three tracks, the title track, He’s Got His Mother’s Hips and Is He Strange.

At last week’s talk about the album, John said his favourite track was Metamorphosis so I was intrigued to hear it. He seemed to suggest others thought it an unusual album opener. I don’t have any judgement on that…no experience of setting tracklists so I wouldn’t know. It certainly feels like a juxtaposing “two songs in one” affair, with those almost “stream of consciousness” verses jarring against that middle refrain. I like the way it works.

The title track took a while to grow on me. The thing I am loving, along with the overall assult of synths, is the drum sounds coming from Budgie. I may have this info wrong – I can’t double check it, but I am going to assume he plays drums on some tracks. I can’t find personnel info about the record. Budgie really does have a style of playing I like. He’s certainly going to be playing with John live, so I’m looking forward to that.

Tempest I think may just about be my fave track on the album. There’s a kind of simplicity to it I like. There’s not so much an assult to the senses going on…which makes it seem more epic…contradictorily.

Preppy Boy’s fun.

Smug Cunt…well, the title sounds kinda Carry On…but once you get past the sniggering of him using the most explosive of expletives…it really is a rather cutting and vitriolic track. Smug Cunt is NOT meant to be taken lightly. Not by how it sounds to my ears anyway.

He’s Got His Mother’s Hips on the other hand is pure funkadelic Grant. Diet Gum continues that sarcastic playfulness he’s so good at.

Is He Strange sounds like it could have been off Pale Green Ghosts, really. A proper ballad, and possibly the most “synth light” song on the album as he has actually reverted back to piano for it. On first listen with the track, I liked it to begin with and then the track just lost me about half way through. It kind of just…meanders. I dunno.

The Common Snipe…well, any song that is referencing birds is going to reel me in.

Touch And Go I have little recollection of, to be honest. I can’t really make any comment on that.

Overall…I’m liking it. I had seen some not favourable reviews of it…but equally some very good ones. It’s dividing opinion.

On first listen…I don’t think the album is as strong, lyrically, as previous albums have been.

And I said this wasn’t going to be a review? Lol. Well, it has kind of ended up one. But it’s all down to personal taste. And that is the absolute beauty of music streaming services now. You can listen to things, check them out before you decide to commit or not.

At the moment, I think I’ll be buying the album. It works as a cohesive unit. It can be jarring at times, sonically…but I like that. I like to feel on guard. It does fall away at the end for me though…well, upon first listen anyway.

I’m gonna give it a few more listens and come back to this…what is now a review and see how things change, or IF they change.

I shall leave you with track three, Tempest…