Minds Music Monday – Waterfront Extended Version – Happy St Andrew’s Day

One year ago from today (yesterday) we “moved on to up to the Waterfront” and arrived in our new home, and to Scotland, and Glasgow. And on that beautiful, crisp, clear morning – despite feeling so incredibly tired and a little violated, having been robbed for the first time in my life – I already within minutes of arriving had the overwhelming feeling that it was the right move and that this is where I’ll be for the rest of my days.

As tired and drained as I was that morning, I squealed with excitement as we crossed the Clyde, just knowing this place was now going to be home and I could spend time at the banks of this river any time I wanted to.

And I’m sure I’d have had Waterfront playing in my head. Or Speed Your Love To Me…or any plethora of Simple Minds songs.

Today is also St Andrew’s Day and although Waterfront is more specifically about Glasgow, it could easily apply to most of Scotland. It is such an anthemic piece. And it gets the blood pumping.

I do remember being turned on by it back in the day. Oh, the things that could have been had I become a “real” fan of SM back then. I’ll always have regrets.

A few days ago when I had Spotify on in the wee hours, this version of Waterfront played and I lost myself for six minutes…filled with amazement that I actually LIVE in this city now.

Only yesterday was I thinking that had someone told the 13 year old girl listening to that opening bassline in the summer months (in Australia) of early 1984 that, in years to come, she’d be living in the city the song was about. And not only that, but she’d OWN the house she was living in…she’d have scoffed! “No fucking way”!

But…here we are.

Happy St Andrew’s Day, everyone! GIE IT LALDY AND GAUN YERSEL!

Minds Music Monday – TMWSTW – Birthdays and Anniversaries

For this week’s Minds Music Monday, I thought I would combine some things. Firstly, it is Charlie Burchill’s birthday at the end of this week. Happy birthday, Charlie!

Also, just a week or so ago, we saw the re-release of the Man Who Sold The world – or as it was originally MEANT to be called, Metrobolist. The re-release was to mark its 50th anniversary of release in the USA (Yes! The album was strangely released in the USA first, several months before it was released in the UK).

So, in light of this double – Charlie’s birthday, and the recent release of the 50th anniversary issue of Metrobolist, let’s have Simple Minds covering The Man Who Sold The World – and Charlie’s stellar guitar work, emulating his hero Mick Ronson. Sounding rather braw in the process he is too!

Minds Music Monday – In Every Heaven (Early Version)

I fell in love with this version IMMEDIATELY on first play when I got the New Gold Dream box set in the summer of 2016.

I find it wonderful when we are allowed to hear demos and early versions of songs. I love being exposed to that “work-in-progress’ – even if it takes many years to do so.

It always feels just ever so slightly darker and maudlin the early version. I guess because it is a slower pace. It’s more sparse as well. The synth is just beautiful though. So melodic. And even if Jim is just searching for lyrics and a tune with his vocal, it’s haunting and beautiful.

In its early life, In Every Heaven feels much more akin to Seeing Out The Angel in its structure, but it eventually gets its guitar parts, becomes more up tempo and says such beautiful sentiment to its lyrics.

I’ll never QUITE understand what “kissing yourself goodbye” is meant to imply but I guess it doesn’t really matter. Not everything in life makes sense.

My favourite lines?
“Radio plays
Static of love
Stand over by my side
Heaven it bumps
Heaven it grinds
Get over by my side”

He writes such romantic words.

Anyway, they are not on this version. And despite its more…deeper feel, it’s still heavenly.

The photo was taken from my bedroom window a few days ago. It just looked splendid.

Minds Music Monday – Past Present – Magic

Thinking about choosing a track for this week’s MMM, it’s really easy to trawl through their extensive back catalogue to the long past. But as the proposed songs to highlight fluttered through my mind…invariably harking back to the long past, I tutted at myself. “Hey, what about the recent past? What about Walk Between Worlds?”

And with a new album ready to appear on the horizon, I was thinking about the crazy, exciting anticipation I was filled with when we first heard little snippets of WBW and were told of its release date. We are just coming to three years since that flush of info.

On September 29th, 2017, Jim posted about being “busy in rehearsals” and there was news of things to come that he was excited about sharing with us. I usually take those kinds of things with a pinch of salt because…well, promises can be broken, or things…circumstances can change so…

I allowed myself a small flutter of excitement, but that was that.

As November started, he started writing posts about certain songs from the Simple Minds back catalogue and how they came to be. It was all slowly ramping up. And then mid November, the major clues of a release of the new album being imminent started to come through. And then, a week before Charlie’s birthday – BAM! Details of Walk Between Worlds was revealed. But even more exciting was the way the tour was revealed. It was a real tease and got the fans in an absolute FRENZY. It was a masterstroke how it was done.

I remember hearing Magic for the first time and I loved it from the get go. It was so uplifting and such a wonderful piece on how the amazing concoction of self-belief, ambition, determination…and with a little dash of luck – amazing things can happen. That it can, indeed, produce MAGIC.

It was panned by many a fan. Some very noticeably. I will say nothing more than that – because that is all the air certain “oxygen suckers” will get from me! But the lyrics are lovely! They DO tell a story. Okay, nobody loves the old Jim Kerr writing style more than me. The “fragments and ambiguities” that he said he liked to deal in, in an interview for Belgian TV in 1983. But I love Jim the storyteller too. And there is a wonderful story to Magic. That young, disillusioned man, kicking about the big city, wondering what his life was going to amount to. And then, with all those ingredients mentioned earlier all coming into play and alignment…adding some hard work as the final ingredient and…there’s your Simple Minds story right there!

I love Magic. I have done from the first listen and I still do. I see that poor disillusioned young man walking down the street on his tod, looking downcast… “As I walk through the city with my wounded pride and everybody is too busy and you’re wondering why, there’s a hole inside. I need a pill not an alibi.” But it all comes good in the end, young Jim! Keep the faith, beautiful man.

The song just has an indelible spirit and heart. And it lifts me every time I hear it. I will never understand why it has its detractors. But, hey. To each their own. If they don’t hear and feel the magic in it then…

Perhaps it *is* the weakest song on WBW? Well, if it is, then it is testament to what a wonderful album Walk Between Worlds is!

I also thought the video was braw.

Minds Music Monday – Factory

Yesterday saw the anniversary of the release of Real To Real Cacophony. In celebration, here is my favourite video of them performing Factory on Belgian music show, Folllies (yes! It has three L’s – just like me!).

I love Jim in this performance sssooo much! I mean…yes…he’s obviously had a “helping hand” but hey, whatever. I don’t care. He’s beautiful and mesmerising. I bloody love him!

Belated happy anniversary Real To Real Cacophony. We love you! #teamveldt

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…