This week I will be somewhat cheating, as I did a lengthy post about this song for MMM barely six months ago. I wanted to post about it last week, as the song was my earworm over the previous weekend and I was just feeling a lot of love for it. But Empires That Dance had just brought out their version of Someone Somewhere In Summertime and what with it being Valentine’s Day and all….
So here I am this week, still thinking about and loving Careful In Career.
One thing I will say is that during my choosing of the six tracks that I chose for the Son/Sister anniversary celebration on Pulse 98.4 with Ronnie McGhie, Careful In Career only just missed the cut.
Also, the piece of “fan art” I did for the song is still one of my most favourite pieces.
Sorry it’s so short and sweet this week. Uni study and the excitement of the tour recommencing and the imminent trip to Paris are all dominating my thoughts at the moment. I hope to do a more substantial post next week – no promises though!
God…that opening synth! It could go on for minutes! I’d be very happy if it did.
What a FAB drum and bass groove come in! Then…wow, such screeching awesome guitar from Charlie. Quite a nod to hero Mick Ronson, actually.
Lyric wise, it’s all Kerr ambiguity and abstraction. The lines denote ANYTHING BUT a “Love Song”. Take, for example, the second verse…
Flesh of heart
HEART OF STEEL
So well, so well
I cut my hair
Paint my face
BREAK A FINGER
TELL A LIE
So well, so well
Not exactly romantic lines there…from a “Love Song”. If anything…this song is the ANTITHESIS to a love song. Well, not the absolute antithesis (as the antithesis to “love” is “hate”)…but it is dark, and slightly menacing…and sinister. Moody! Enigmatic. I think it does a VERY fine job at summing up aspects I see (as a mere observer) of Jim’s personality.
It has that juxtaposition down pat! That “Dark light” I refer to with Simple Minds songs of their early period (in particular). Such a fabulous groove! It makes you want to dance your butt off….and that is joyous! But woven into the fabric is unnerving synth sounds, screeching guitar chords and those oh-so-dark lyrics.
And instead of making it romantic as the title would suggest…it makes it (forgive my language) fucking SEXY AS FUCK! Love Song? No. Sex Song?! Fuck Song?! Hell yes!!!
Many fans diss Simple Minds for their output of music videos…but, genuinely…this song could NOT have been storyboarded BETTER for that music video.
Jim recently, when sharing his notes he has for his musical queues said Love Song was triggered by “Hellfire Club”. Unbeknown to me, he was obviously referring to a Glasgow night club that existed at the time (possibly where the music video was recorded? This I must check for “swotting” purposes!) – but because I was unaware, I wondered if he’d meant the rather notorious “society” clubs (where debauchery beckoned) of the 18th century.
The music video certainly shows…loutish behaviour. Boys, on the lash, out to make a ruckus and menace of themselves. Well, you can watch it for yourselves…
The biggest irony of the clip? Jim is removed from the chaos ensuing around him. But, as the boys all leave, he’s the first to bust through that invisible barrier blocking the patrons’ exit. Before that, he gives a final cursory glance around to those patrons cowering in fear by the seemingly blocked exit with a look that says “Yeah…see you plebs later. I’m off for some better fun elsewhere.” And that final look from those two woman, as if to say “what a mysterious man he was. I would! Wouldn’t you?” Yes, ladies! I would! In a heartbeat! (We can but dream, eh girls? Although I bet you two “had a go”! Lucky ladies!)
I digress! A little.
On Silver Box there is a demo version. That all-familiar synth intro isn’t there yet…and there are other, almost…jungle sounds on it. The lyrics are mixed round to how they end up on the Sons And Fascination cut…and Jim ad libs other vocal bits in that version (I do find something exceedingly sexy about those “ba ba ooooh” lines) – but for a demo version, it’s flipping good! I listen to it just as much as the final studio cut.
Another favourite version is the remix done for the Glittering Prize “best of” compilation in 1992. So much so, I tracked down a vinyl 12″ single copy of it…and I was in seventh heaven listening to it! Now a much prized possession…as nearly all my Minds Vinyl is. (Sadly, I could not find a video clip on YouTube or elsewhere of the full 1992 Gregg Jackman mix, so you’ll just have to put up with my snippet of the subtle musical difference.)
In summary…it’s the groove of the thing! The sex and menace of it. That so wonderfully storyboarded video to it. The screeching guitar…those sexy, aloof, cool, ambiguous, abstract lyrics (Jim Kerr, I could kiss you for those lyrics. I could kiss you FULL STOP! “Get arf me, woman!” he says. Lol).
That opening percussive beat. Such a a hook! A drum machine, I’m assuming? A “motorik” beat. Some hear elements of Kraftwerk’s Autobahn within it…but I hear more of Neu’s Wave Mother and La Dusseldorf’s Rheinita. Because I find elements of their music more…emotional. Kraftwerk certainly have an emotional element to their music they never get credited for (well, never by many). There’s this falsehood that that style of music…the badly titled “Krautrock” genre had no emotional depth, no soul, no heart. One word – crap!
But I digress.
So, that motorik drive. That beginning…starting from a fade-in intro point. Then those scintillating keyboards from Mick MacNeil, accompanied by that fabulous bass hook from Derek Forbes.
Others will choose other things, I’m sure…and if you had asked me years ago (before mega Minds fandom kicked in) what Mick’s “magnum opus” would have been, I’d have probably said Alive And Kicking, but not now! By a COUNTRY MILE it is NGD.
And Jim’s best “la la la”s? Forget Don’t You (and that pun was unintentional, but f*** it! Lol) – NGD AGAIN!
It is LITERALLY golden! That motorik beat, like a dawn breaking over the horizon. Just slowly, (sonically) making itself visible…just within sight! Just audible…and then – the rays of sun hit you! MacNeil’s fingers splayed along the keyboard, spider-like, like those bright, shining rays of the sun bursting over the horizon!
It’s gleaming! It IS gold. And then…the wordsmith helps to paint that picture in front of us.
“New Gold Dream / she’s the one in front of me / the siren and the ecstasy”.
Jim gives us the final touches of visual “cinemascope”. He puts it within the lyric itself!
“Sun is set in front of me / worldwide on the widest screen”.
(For me the song starts with a sunrise…but it has a sunset too. In full visual splendour…it has BOTH!)
A celebration of life. Of nature. The beauty of things! Of dreams and chasing them. Grabbing them with both hands!
“She” is obviously a metaphor. “She” is the dream!
“She is your friend until the bitter end” = KEEP THE DREAM ALIVE!
“She is your friend until the ocean breaks” = UNTIL YOU REACH THAT DREAM AND IT’S YOURS!
When I read the Adam Sweeting biography on Simple Minds, he wrote about the struggle Jim was having to write the lyric for New Gold Dream. Nothing was coming to him. Recording time was running out and he had nothing. There was literally a day left! They were on tour in Sweden (if memory serves…the book is not to hand, but I’m sure it was Sweden). They would be due back in the studio the following day for the final recording sessions. In his hotel room, Jim was listening to the mix, trying to get something to click. He takes a bath (already this is sounding WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY too dreamy!) and the lyrics slowly start to come to him.
I just cannot stop but visualise this kind of “Eureka!” moment he has. He’s in the bath…and just like Archimedes, leaps up in the bath and dashes out to grab his notebook! (I’ll be most upset if the notebook was beside him the whole time – or he just…finished bathing and leisurely stepped out and dried off. But either way…) Oh my God! The imagery I can conjure up with this! Seriously. When I read that in the book…it added an extra element of…”PHWOAR” to it. I must admit that…just for a few seconds, my mind will wander to that place. That scene. That bath. EUREKA!!!! (Sorry, Jim. I’m only human!)
And, of course, there is that very special element of my reply from Sir Kerr in regards to the end portion of the song. I’m still unsure as to what the sound actually is. Well, Jim explained it to me…but he was being wonderfully…playful…about it and it was the most awesome of replies. But, realistically, I think it is Charlie’s guitar…probably through several pedal effects. It sounds like…cars careering to a stop or something. I’ve never quite been able to explain the sound, and when I was asking Jim, I took a snippet of the sound to single it out.
It has…just, always given me goosebumps. Makes my spine tingle. Makes the hairs on my arms and the back of my neck stand on end.
The whole thing is just shining, glorious and powerful. Such a fabulous motorik drive, rumbling bass, such a wash of amazing keyboards, gleaming, bright, high guitars. The most optimistic and cinematic of lyrics. The future is ours for the taking! Let’s grab it with everything we have!
And that is why I love New Gold Dream.
(And the best of the versions…the German (MOTORIK!) 12″ Mix)