Minds Music Monday – Criminal World

There’s always a bone of contention in the fandom about Good News From The Next World…well, I suppose that whole “wilderness” period for Simple Minds fans that seems to go anywhere from 1992 to 2005…depending upon your taste.

The “low” period, for my personal taste, happens much earlier. My personal “wilderness” period is when they are, seemingly, at the height of their power…from 1987 til 1992.

At least they have never, ever been afraid to experiment and try things. The mark of great artistry, surely?

Look at Bowie as a prime example of trying just about every genre of music.

It can be a scary process for an artist, I’m sure. You need to have cojones the size of watermelons – but, if you have that much needed self-belief in what you’re doing, you must have faith that the vast majority of your fanbase will see it too. And if not…if you lose some, you’ll gain others. The “swings and roundabouts” of life.

I’ve always been a fan of Good News since first listen. And Criminal World is my favourite track from the album. Sure, I love Hypnotised too…and She’s A River…though I got quickly fatigued with it. It’s weird how some songs just end up feeling overplayed and a weariness creeps in, where others you just never, ever tire of them (for me…Boys From Brazil, Wonderful In Young Life, New Gold Dream, Love Song, The American, Hunter And The Hunted…among others all fit that bill).

I kind of wish, due to being a Johnny Come Lately that other songs from Good News would get a live airing….but we’re at a point now that if any songs from it get an airing, it is most likely only going to be the singles from the album.

Jim continues to promise diversity in the set lists…but is it diverse enough, still? Again…it just has me mourning missing the 5×5 Live tour. What a complete stroke of genius that was. No one would be more pleased than me if there was a “hey, for all you Johnny Come Lately’s – here’s another 5×5 tour!” In my eternal dreams. I would sell my kidneys…MYSELF (lol) to be at every gig possible. But…it isnae gonna happen.

Anyway, this has turned into a bit of a diatribe…so…anyways…Criminal World. Enjoy!

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.