Embracing The “Minds Music Monday” Suck

As I have said in the past, there are few Simple Minds songs that I can’t really warm to. When I tried to put it in mathematical terms from the number of songs I overtly avoid and skip and just can’t listen to as opposed to the rest of the SM catalogue, it was about a 7% to 93% ratio. So, you know…7% of over 300 songs means there are only about 20 songs in their whole catalogue I am like that with. I’d say that is a pretty healthy ratio and not in any way disrespectful or conversely overtly sycophantic.

I don’t really talk about these songs much. I did recently mention the repelling reaction I have to the LITCOL version of Promised You A Miracle. I can listen to (and adore!) the original 1982 New Gold Dream version of it (and its various remixes) until the cows come home. Also plethora of other live versions. A favourite live version is on 5×5 Live – hearing Jim break out into a giggle within the first verse always brings a smile to my face. But the 1987 live version? No can do. It really is a VERY strong aversion and I refuse to listen to it.

But this post isn’t about that particular Minds song. It is about me waking up with the TRUE meaning of an earworm. An annoying song that you can’t shake, that constantly plays in your head. Of course, an earwarm is great if it is a song you love. “All hail to the earwarm!”, we think when that happens. But when the opposite happens one tends to think, “Brain, why must you treat me this way?! This is torture. Please stop!”

This morning I woke up with an earworm. What, for me, is a bad earworm. To begin with, I have quite a love/hate relationship with the album Cry. I love certain songs on it. One of my absolute favourite songs in the entire Simple Minds catalogue – Spaceface – is on it. And for many fans, and I guess even to Jim himself (and perhaps Charlie also), the album marks a kind of “renaissance” of the band. So, for that alone I give it due reverence. Do I listen to it? Erm…not as a whole album, no. Not from start to finish. Certain songs sit uncomfortably for me. I’m not sure why.

An example of this is New Sunshine Morning. I see those that love it get an uplifting buzz from it. My friend, Yvonne, adores it. I think she actually likes the acoustic version, New Sunrise, even more again. She couldn’t make it to the Walk Between Worlds signing in Glasgow in 2018 so I asked her would she like me to try and get something signed by Jim and Charlie. Her choice was the New Sunshine Morning single. That’s what the song means to her. And I guess for quite a few others that like it.

I am not saying I hate it! I don’t dislike it. I just wish I felt the uplifting aspect of it that those that like it seem to. All I hear is a lament. It sounds sad to me. And painful. And some of the lyrics unsettle me. I actually find it hard to listen to. The music definitely sounds uplifting and positive, but the lyrics jar with that. I don’t know. Music and its effects, like all things in art, is subjective.

But, enough of examples. Let’s get to the crux of the matter.

Last night I went straight into sleep mode. Settled down without listening to any podcasts or music. My iPod Touch stayed stowed away in my top bedside drawer. I slept wonderfully soundly but awoke with a quite unexpected earworm. A Simple Minds earworm. That in itself is not unusual, but the choice of song certainly was. It was a track off the Cry album. Not only that, it is the track I like least on said album. I took an almost instant aversion to this song, and I’ll try and elaborate as to why.

One: it just doesn’t sound like them! There has always been a signature sound to Simple Minds – be it Mick’s keys, or Charlie’s guitar, Derek’s bass, or Mel’s drumming. Jim’s voice! There’s always been a pretty noticeable marker. Perhaps not VERY early on when they were finding their feet and their own signature sound…but even within that. Even when they were finding their feet, there was something in their sound that marked them out. This song gives them NO identity.

Two: It’s 2002 (perhaps maybe 2001 as the song is being recorded?) but it sounds like a 1990s throwback! I mean, there isn’t anything inherently wrong with that other than – the 90s have barely ended and it isn’t time for a nostalgia-tripped throwback! As a result of it sounding like that, it just makes them sound like every other band in the 90s – but it’s noughties!

Three: Jim’s vocal. On this song it really, REALLY grates on me. It’s just…I dunno…it’s not usually the way he would sing.

Four: The lyrics. You know…I had to look them up because Jim’s vocal actually doesn’t make some of them clear. And then I see it’s one of lil’ bro’s songs! Having read them, I can’t say I am warming to them any more. And I do really like other compositions of Mark’s. I love Happy Is The Man and Angel Underneath My Skin was a fab addition to the WBW deluxe edition.

And while I was pleading with my head to “switch that bloody thing off!!” this morning. Lol. In an exercise in “embracing the suck”, may I present to you…

Kerrfect!

He is just too beautiful…

I miss all my photos from Virginia. My shrine. I know how absolutely pathetic I sound! I’m not going to apologise.

Hate me all you like, Sir… but I love you 💕

This was the only way I had available to me to copyright protect it and share. My iPad Mini was taken from the rental van and that’s all my photo editing stuff gone ☹️

rptnb

In Praise Of “Our Secrets Are The Same”


Of the more “modern” Simple Minds albums, this one really does come around for regular play from me.

I get something from EVERY track on this album. The beauty I find most beguiling with Simple Minds is this ability to shine a light out from the darkness. They are not afraid to step into the dark, because, as I say, they can shoot beams of light from it.

The album’s opening track, Swimming Towards The Sun, is a prime example. “And it would be easy to become somebody else / but at this particular point in time I’ll hang on to myself” – I’d like to think that’s a little Bowie nod there from Mr Kevin Hunter (Hang On To Yourself being a track on The Rise And Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars). Heavy, moody, but shines a light “I, I, I, I, I’m swimming towards the sun / and I, I, I, I, I’m not the only one”. I can see why the guys wanted it.

Jeweller To The Stars – more glimmering light. Wonderfully cosmic. Lovely guitar work from Charlie. Would love to know what that advert Jim saw looked like…if it gave him inspiration to write a song! Blooming heck…wish I could do that (be an artistic inspiration for a song, I mean)! I don’t care if the inspiration derives from Jim thinking it was “ridiculous”!

Space – every time I feel I have “done my dash” with Sir…that I’ve pissed him off…he’s bored of me…that I am ready for the Kerr “scrap heap” (how I’ve not actually been put there yet, who knows? Maybe it is now time? It feels as such) … this is the song I reach for. All the lines resonate when I feel that way…

“I’ll hurt you if you say I will / take you down when you’re alone
Imagination wears you out / crying brings you down again
The dream is over / the feeling’s gone
And we were something / you were dreaming all along

Has anybody cut you? / Has anybody let you down?
You’re praying for someone to lay beside you now

You were saying that where you’d take me / and that’s where I’d be found
But you were sleeping, talking, dreaming / whispered “take me now”

The dream is over / party’s over
I’m still waiting / nothing falling
No confusion / no suspicion
If you’re talking / I will listen”

This last verse the most. These last lines especially. There’s an understanding in those lines. And it is what I always hope for. Probably too personal for me to share it here but…sometimes you just need to be heard.

And that chorus is so beautiful…playing on that child’s lullaby…

“Star light, star bright / I’m the star you tonight
And I wish I may / I wish I might
Be in your dreams tonight”

When Jim sings the line “catch me in a dream” in Glittering Prize…for me it’s an optimistic wish/hope/expression – as if to say “If you’re a VERY lucky girl, you might dream about me one night” – whereas with Space, it sounds almost apologetic, regretful, yearning – “Hey girl, I know you’re hurting and I’m sorry. Perhaps I’ll appear in your dreams tonight to comfort you?”
That’s how I interpret it anyway…and how I take comfort from it.
Yes, I know. I am a silly girl.
But I’m a real person with feelings, a heart and a soul. It’s a beautiful song and I love it.

Death By Chocolate – well, Jim got me reading The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With The Sea due to the Mishima reference. And it’s a fabulous book. And a fabulous song. Another set of lines from this song has me wishing “I will fall with you / like a sinner falls to the sea / I will fall with you / when you fall for me”. Wish, wish, wish! Just…clever and fun and wonderfully sung. (Oops, poetry!)

Waiting At The End Of The World – those opening lines have you thinking…erm, hello! “Her working name was Venus / real name Kate McGill”…OH, she’s a clairvoyant?! (a tarot card reader) Phew! Such groovy and searing guitar work from Charlie. Playful, a little sensual…a bit melancholic…the implication that Venus/Kate is “up all night waiting for the end of the world”. Did she predict it in those tarot cards? Well, some time elapsed from 1983…so she had a long wait.

Neon Cowboys – from the very first time I heard it, I loved it. It really is like no other Simple Minds song. I bring it up occasionally, Jim’s always saying “ooh, I forgot that one?” (He always ends it with a question mark, for some reason – when he says he’s forgotten a particular Minds track) One time he told me that Eddy Duffy had alternative lyrics for it…he’s never shared them. I’d love to know what they are! (He said they were quite rude…didn’t stop him saying “fuck” and “cunt” at several Acoustic gigs though…dirty boy!)
Again…it is just all that “Don’t walk away / I need you to stay with me tonight” and that final “stay with me”…the way Jim delivers it..so softly, with a slight falsetto…it’s just beautiful. It’s just…too tender.
It’s ambiguous otherwise. Littered with lines Jim had not written like for some time…fragmented, ambiguous. Maybe it is why I like it so? Like no other Minds song, musically…but harks back to a writing style Jim perfected in the early 80s “like Muslims in the car wash / like computers in our hands / the neon city cowboys / navigate our land with no plan” – okay…I don’t really know what it all means, but. I love it. It’s classic Kerr. It’s Bowie protégé…except the man is now mentor to others. (Well, he bloody SHOULD be anyways!)

She Knows – Wow, that is one sensual start…that guitar is SEXY! Can I be “she”, please?! Hellfire! Just…I really do find this song so sexy. Not much more I can say on it, really. Love, sex, desire…all there…all summed up by Jim in four minutes. That guitar at the end as well as the start?! Hmmm. Good.

Hello – yeah, that’s the perfect title. Actually, it should always be in capitals like…HELLO! With an exclamation mark! Bang! That opening line “Hello / I can hear the whole world breathing when you sigh” – and Jim’s voice…***melts into a puddle*** and…the end…the end…I mean all of it…but the end lines “Hello / I think I know your name” (you bloody well should…don’t think you know anyone else called Larelle) “Hello / Let’s try to meet again” (Okay, I’m ready for that Tantrum Doughnuts date whenever you are, buddy!)…a few repetitions of the word “hello” – then “Cause I’ m sure our fantasies are quite the same” – SOMEHOW I THINK NOT, MR KERR!!!! I would bloody wish eternally that they WERE…but, no. Sadly not.

Happy Is The Man – the track listing for this album has this bang in the middle of some of the most sensual and downright SEXY songs Simple Minds have ever written. It’s a strange placement…but I love it. Jim fully admits to “nicking it” from brother Mark…and wow, those Kerr brothers singing together have good harmonies. Mark has an incredible falsetto! Not really entirely sure what the song is about…I’m assuming it’s akin to Here Comes The Fool – kind of what it reminds me of in lyrical terms – but it’s bloody cool and I can see why big bro wanted to nick it.

Sleeping – sensual as f*** musically. I love how….meandering it is. “Thought I should come past your door / try to get trusted / initiate more” – is it me, or is it hot in here?

Again, there’s a melancholia…

“Some thieves can rob back their time / but I’m sleeping, sleeping / I escape some more
Some time I’m listening / I can’t hear a thing / Some time I’m up on a cloud
I’m only wishing / I can’t do nothing / reasons to stay underground”

“Sometimes I reach out at the wrong kind of things” – TELL ME ABOUT IT, Jim!

Don’t fight it…better to just sleep it off? Is that the gist of this song? Perhaps not…

“But it’ll take much more.
‘Cause when I’m conscious / I can’t hear a sound”

As you may be able to decipher from this…I get fully immersed…fully absorbed into this album. I absolutely love it. And I find it just SHAMEFUL no record company wanted to touch it, so it was left to Virgin to cash in on it and release it as part of Silver Box.

I do hope in the future it gets a re-release and maybe even a vinyl pressing. It deserves so much to stand alone and not be overlooked.

All hail to Our Secrets Are The Same!

Nostalgia Strikes

I am being nostalgic for things I wasn’t even around for! Lol. But…this is still one of my favouritest things, ever, because of that big, beautiful, cheesy smile. Maybe *this* was Virginia Turbett’s best work? Oh, she took some doozies of him :-))) Wonder what happened to her?