Pictorial Passion – Musical Years In Review – 2021 and 1982

Last night Spotify revealed my yearly listening stats to me. There was no real surprise to find Simple Minds at the top of the tree yet again! And that Boys From Brazil was my top track for seventh year running. All the SM tracks in my Top 5 played tracks of 2021 all came from Sons And Fascination and given it was the 40th anniversary of the album, that would be of no surprise to anyone.

My latter love for Jonathan Richman shows itself in him being at number five of my Top 5 played artists.

My top podcast showed how much I have been enjoying Frank Gallagher’s Soundman Confidential this year. I love the bit about that yes, it’s okay for you to consider the host a member of your family now. Lol. Never in a million hears did I ever think I’d be having little online exchanges with Frank! I felt that Jim always made him sound intimidating as fuck, but he’s brilliant and is always wonderful. And even comments on my FB posts sometimes…which I find amazing that he’s sitting there in Flagstaff, AZ, reading my complete pap! Just last week he responded to one of my posts about enrolling in the OU for my Higher Ed. English diploma and my endless self-doubt. His response was “drive til they take the keys away”. I responded by asking him to “spread some gallus my way”. He replied back, “you don’t need anyone’s permission to be yourself”. He’s lovely. Just lovely.

Of course there is much more music I listen to outside of Spotify so it isn’t 100% everything I listen to. I have been listening to SM live bootlegs and gigs much more this year and that won’t be reflected on Spotify stats, just as one example.

Here’s the breakdown of it in full visual splendour.

Lastly, today sees the release of Classic Pop magazine’s retro look back to all things 1982 in a dedicated special issue. In amongst the artists and bands discussed is a piece on the art side of music which features Malcolm Garrett. And of course the main feature to do with Simple Minds is a look through New Gold Dream. There’s a part of it that covers the official videos released. They mention the Promised You A Miracle and Glittering Prize videos. Someone Somewhere In Summertime was the third single from the album and therefore should have had a video released but one was never made. Instead the magazine talked about this one (below). I love what is said about Jim’s moves. Lol. You’ll not be surprised to learn that I adore this video and quite a bit of art from me has come from it. I will leave my favourite example of that at the end of the post.

Click to play Someone Somewhere In Summertime video.

A Little Night Music – Marc, Lou And Jim Too

I’m still doing a little toe-dip into Bolan and T Rex at the moment. Just a couple of tracks per night. Nothing too taxing or deeply absorbing. I’m not fully immersing myself into the whole thing. Not like I have done in recent times with other musical explorations – Roxy Music, Talking Heads, Magazine – nothing quite of that ilk. But I might end up doing that.

Last night I played 20th Century Boy. I am just really loving the whole vibe of that song. How it starts with that kind of false start. Like, someone trying to kickstart a motorbike and the engine stalling, not ticking over on the first and second pedal pushes. And then it begins and there’s that fabulous gospel choir soul backing vocal wall of sound and such a fabulous rocking guitar riff.

Earlier in the evening before bed, the OH mentioned The Slider. It wasn’t one of his songs I knew at all, so I played it next. It’s quite a slow funk for him. Quite different to what I had expected to get from Bolan. Esp. the singing of it, and the pace. Still a very sexy thing. I have to say the thing I am coming away with from listening to T Rex these past few nights is just how sexy the songs are. Yeah, they may not have the deepest lyrical content, but by word they are sexy!

Towards the end of the song I’m thinking “Oh, I could imagine SM covering this now. Jim, the way his voice is these days…this would be sssoooo frigging sexy!” And then I was like, you know…actually…this is Prince! I hear Prince’s sound all over this track! I’m sure Bolan must have been an influence on The Purple One. I could just hear it SO CLEARLY on The Slider. I could sssooo imagine Prince covering it.

After those couple of tracks, I decided to move on to something else. But..what to listen to? I just never know where I want to go these days. All I know is right now, I have very particular tastes and feelings about Simple Minds. I don’t want to play this mix. And right now, as much as I absolutely ADORE the albums, I am avoiding going to Sons/Sister or Empires and Dance, or New Gold Dream. I play the song itself – New Gold Dream…the German Mix or the Alternate Mix, but I hardly play anything else right now.

I decided on Lou Reed. I didn’t want to go the Velvets route. The previous night I had listened to Nico’s Chelsea Girl album, so I didn’t want to go back to any Velvets stuff. I wanted Lou solo. But not Transformer. I love Transformer…but I know it fairly well. I didn’t want Berlin. No “Oh, Jim” tonight. What had I not played? Moving along chronologically, I’d never listened to Sally Can’t Dance – so that’s what I decided on. I got to Kill Your Sons and started to drift off to sleep. Spotify then did its usual thing of playing a mix of other contemporary artists of Reed’s. I can’t remember too much of who else it was playing but in my semi-conscious state I was enjoying what was being played. I was driven awake by a song that started to play called Range Life by a band called Pavement. I’d never heard of it (the song) or them (the band) before but I really liked it. I thought it was a track from the 70s until towards the end of the song, they started namedropping bands like Smashing Pumpkins in the song.

The next song that played was a track of Lou’s. It was called Vanishing Act. I was really loving how sparse and low it was. I put the screen back on to see the album it came off. It’s off The Raven. An album of Lou’s from 2002. All inspired by Edgar Allan Poe if the tracklisting of the album is anything to go by. It’s a long album – some two hours long! By this time it was already 3am, so I wasn’t going to switch listening to the album.

I actually wanted some Minds. I wanted Jim’s voice. But what? I look through all the SM content on Spotify. The only thing that is kind of pulling me in is Silver Box. I think about playing it. Skipping the first two tracks and just going in from Here Comes The Fool. Actually…live. Live is what I want. Then a brief internal dialogue “Oh, yeah…Art & Talk has put up another bootleg today. The one from Werchter, 1984. The bit that I played of it earlier today, sampling a snippet of Up On The Catwalk, it sounded damn good. Let’s give that a listen!” So off I went to YouTube.

I was really enjoying it. I was particularly enjoying the original arrangement of Book Of Brilliant Things and hearing all the lyrics that no longer get sung on the current version of it. I don’t get why it has changed so much from how it was…but hey, it isn’t up to me, is it. And plenty of other fans love that old “5 to 1” version of it. And I do appreciate all that Mick added to it with that opening of it on the OUAT tour. There was just such lovely things with this version from Werchter. Jim’s intro of it, “We grew up last year. Let’s grow up together.” Aawww! And just him singing “my heart beats like the wheels of a fast train”. I just feel sometimes the way the song got rearranged that it lost some of its beautiful sentiment. But Kerr would no doubt tell me to “do one” and “stoap talking keech”. Lol. Sorry, Sir!

Anyway…the night got later and as much as I was really enjoying it, I started to drift off during Waterfront. I cannae BELIEVE I didn’t hear New Gold Dream! Lol. I shall listen to it again later on. In the meantime, here it is linked below.

The Kerrsed – August Playlist

For want of a better title – I went with this. It seemed most appropriate.

Running Up That Hill – Kate Bush

Teen years. I bought it as a single. I think it just made me wish for different things. For me, it has always been a downbeat song. Melancholic. Something sounds regretful about it. And it sounded like the desire for escape – “If I only could, I’d make a deal with God and I’d get him to swap our places. I’d be running up that road, I’d be running up that hill, I’d be running up that building.” And always something yearning and longing in it. I feel like I’ve gone a lifetime of just wishing, hoping and praying for things. For things to change. To experience relationships. Etc, etc. “If I only could.”

Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses – U2

That distorted guitar riff with (on the right version of the song, with the correct sound system, volume, etc) that soft strings under and some tambourine is just somehow powerful, yet delicate. And those opening lines… “You’re dangerous, ‘cause you’re honest. You’re dangerous, you don’t know what you want.” Bono’s pretty good at selling a song right from the opening line. The mid song breakdown… “aaaah, the deeper I swim. Aaaah, the hunter will sin for your ivory skin. Took a drive in the dirty rain. To a place where the wind calls your name. Under the tree the river laughing at you and me.” Just…beautiful…

So Cruel – U2

As the previous song is ending “who’s gonna taste your salt water kisses? Who’s gonna take the place of me?” …. we come into soft piano followed by soft drums and “We crossed the line. Who pushed who over? It doesn’t matter to you. It matters to me.” So many words in this song just….yeah. I think it is one Bono’s stronger vocal performances too.

Ultra Violet (Light My Way) – U2

When the other two have melancholia and are about relationship failures and break-ups, there is something I find SSSOOOO uplifting about Ultra Violet. And I really love The Edge BVs on this. Again – Bono sells it with opening lines “Sometimes I feel like I don’t know” – very Velvet’s ‘Heroin’ (And I feel like I just don’t know.), “sometimes I feel like checking out. I want to get it wrong, can’t always be strong. And love it won’t be long.”
It has a great rhythm and Adam does some really fine bass work on this track. And then before it gets to this crescendo of this uplifting chant of the chorus, Bono delivers some of my favourite lines of any U2 song “I remember when we could sleep on stones, now we lie together in whispers and moans. When I was all messed up and I had opera in my head, your love was a lightbulb hanging over my bed.”

At this point I am thinking – “Fuck it. Lol. Just play ALL of Achtung Baby.” The album is class. And my favourite U2 album. It is always the one I return to, again and again.

Love Like Blood – Killing Joke

I think I am just crazing really fab basslines and catchy guitar riffs right now. This one played while I was listening to Spotify late one night. I have Spotify set for continuous playback, so if I start a specific album or playlist and it ends, then Spotify just continues to play a mixed selection of music in keeping with the genre just played. It went on into a continuous mode one night recently and it played Love Like Blood. I was roused from the slumber I had fallen into and I was enjoying it in my dwam state and then…it just got stuck there! It was an earworm for probably a week. Especially the chorus “Til the feelings come and the act is done. A love like blood, a love like blood.” Well…I thought he was saying “feelings” but he actually says “fearless”. Justified misheard lyrics there, I think. Still a great song. It has a great atmosphere.

Games Without Frontiers – Peter Gabriel

Last month, Uncut Magazine had Peter Gabriel on their cover. He was heavily featured within its pages. He had an interview with them as well as them doing a feature on the 40 anniversary of the release of ‘Melt’. All of his solo albums were eponymous but to distinguish which album was being discussed amongst fans, there were usually alternatives given. This release due to the appearance of Gabriel on the cover has for many a time been otherwise known as ‘Melt’. Like with other bands and artists, I wouldn’t describe myself as a “fan”, but I have always liked the things I have heard. Again, never felt much of a desire to really explore the Gabriel back catalogue, but I have had a few favourite songs from him over the years. games Without Frontiers being one. I bloody loved watching It’s A Knockout as a kid. Lol. I REALLY hope there is a deeper thought and undercurrent to the song than it just being about the bloody game show! If not, then it really does put it on a par with Thotch’s “Succulent Chinese Meal”.

O Superman – Laurie Anderson

That minimalist, repetitive pulse to it. The mesmerising video. I think it took me during the Rage years (weekends in the late 1980s and early 1990s in which I would sit up all night watching all the video clips on ABC music video programme, Rage – with a remix of the extended Speed Your Love To Me as part of its closing credits) – seeing the video a few times to really…get it and be taken in by it.
And it has just…been in my head lately because it was (what would have been) my mum’s 82nd birthday on August 12th.

It’s the words….

“‘Cause when love is gone, there’s always justice.
And when justice is gone, there’s always force.
And when force is gone, there’s always Mom. Hi, Mom!

So hold me, Mom, in your long arms.
So hold me, Mom, in your long arms.
In your automatic arms. Your electronic arms. In your arms.

And with that pendulum swaying hand on the arm…backwards and forwards. I dunno. I have always found it super, super (excuse the pun!) emotional. I miss her. It had been a long time since she held me in her (long) arms. The last time…April 21st, 2016.

Es – Hideyuki Hashimoto

As mentioned in a previous post about it, it was due to a Spotify music genre playback shuffle that ai got exposed to this track. It’s just a really beautiful melody. And it’s short and succinct. Just a soft, mellow little gem.

I Love You You Big Dummy – Magazine

Deemed a cover of a Captain Beefheart song – but Howard Devoto adds so much more to it. Well, the whole band does, but Devoto does lyrically and with delivery. If the playlist is played in order, we go from something melodic and delicate…perhaps slightly melancholic and sweet to…well…something brash and raucous and celebratory and fucking awesome. Geez I fell in love the Magazine when I got into them a while back. Sometimes the comparisons to Simple Minds still perplex me but in other ways it’s very overt and obvious. I would love to go back in time and see both bands live, at the time Magazine were touring promoting Second Hand Daylight – which I do favour above Real Life and The Correct Use Of Soap (as much as I love them too).

Those opening lines: “You think I’m a lame duck” – yes, Jim. I know you do. I don’t blame you. “I don’t give a blue fuck” – I wish that was true! Lol. I’m trying to make it be.

But…I do “love you, you dummy!” Lol. I guess I always will now.

P.S. Barry Adamson’s bass work ROCKS!

Link to Spotify playlist:

Chilled Tunes

I was listening to some stuff on Spotify last night. Started listening to things labelled “Neo-classical” on shuffle mode – just to help keep me calm as the storms stirred outside.

Anything that particularly strikes a chord with me when I play random shuffle mode I just take a quick screengrab of so I can see them and record the titles and look into them better when I’m awake and able to search, etc.

These two tracks that played last night both struck a chord. Nostalgia, eh? Has a song ever been more aptly titled?! It certainly conjures up that feeling! It’s lovely.

But this one was even more beautiful. Such a short piece but just…so fragile and delicate. Ephemeral – I love that word! Beautiful. Even more so than Nostalgia.

Jim’s August Spotify Playlist

I haven’t listened to it myself, yet. That will wait until later tonight as I settle to bed (it is usually when I do my listening to music. Haven’t been listening to much lately, in all honesty. I may just play one or two songs in a whole day). Some songs are unfamiliar to me and will be debut hearings for me personally. It’s great when someone can expose you to something entirely new to you. My friend, Michelle, has done that with a couple of songs of late. And great songs they have been too! I’m sure Jim’s will be great as well. It is rare for me not to like something he likes and recommends.

So, tonight I will listen and perhaps tomorrow I will share my responses. Adios.

(Jim’s reasons for his choices can be viewed via the various Simple Minds social media. Facebook is the best place to view it.)