A couple of reviews of the SFY box set have been printed in both Mojo and Uncut magazines this week. The Mojo one is particularly scathing but the “fortune cookie wisdom” in regards to Jim’s lyrics in the Uncut review isn’t exactly complimentary, either! Although overall, it is a kinder review.
It’s the one a lot of fans have been waiting for and well…it’s fairly disappointing, insomuch as there’s nothing to surprise. No previously unreleased material. Well the Verona audio is deemed “previously unissued” – whatever the fuck THAT’S meant to mean. Not previously in audio only format, I’m assuming?
This new push for “edits” continues with a disc that contains both edits and full versions of songs and some remixes. Why edits? Especially within a product that appeals most to the ardent fan rather than the casual fair weather fan? I just about understood it with “40: The Best of 1979-2019”. It was to appeal to the casual fan, not the ardent one.
If you want true fans … “real” fans to continue to invest in this output, you’re going to have to up your game. Sorry, but it’s the truth. You can’t just keep on relying on us being pulled in by the aesthetics of the packaging. It’ll start to have a tone of “nice legs, shame about the face” with it. “Nice packaging, shame about the content.”
It’s a big investment for some pretty imagery.
The only thing that genuinely appeals about it now is the booklet and Trevor Horn interview.
But don’t let me put you off! Available to pre-order – the best price I’ve seen for it is via the Townsend Music store, currently listed as £43 for the 4CD Boxset. You can view more details on the contents of the boxset HERE (which also contains info on the 2CD and 2LP versions of the album).
I’ll wait to invest. I’m guessing that by the time this year’s Verona gig swings by, the price will have dropped and I’ll grab a copy then. I did similar with Sparkle In The Rain and Once Upon A Time. I bought them both several months down the line at discounted cost.
Now…had this been a Sons And Fascination/Sister Feelings Call boxset….
Lighting the political touchpaper in 1989 with words of angst and hope, Soul Crying Out has to be one of Simple Minds’ most beautiful, heartfelt pieces on the current state of the world (of then…as it is now) as you are ever likely to hear.
Starting with a soft, jangly guitar riff from Charlie Burchill and wonderful whispering vocal from Jim Kerr…the pair immediately pull you in to the quiet plea of the track. The world is in turmoil. People are hurting.
It’s a tome on what became – for the suffering working classes – Thatcher’s “legacy”. Of course, she was still in power when the song was written and released…but thankfully her time was running out.
But the damage had pretty much all been done by 1989. She’d been in power for 10 years, and in those years, mines closed, shipyards closed, unemployment reached record highs. And there was the disgusting “guinea pig” experiment of testing out the Poll Tax in Scotland. A policy, that if put forward by a Labour government might have been seen as fair, just and egalitarian. It certainly sounds Communist in its ideal – a single same rate tax for all. Everyone is equal. That’s the Communist philosophy, right? But let’s be honest, the world really is Animal Farm Orwellian, “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.”
Those lines “And the government says you’re gonna pay, pay, pay!”, driven home by Jim with rising tones in his voice, only to soften again…nailing it in with sorrow “and you pay / still you pay”.
“And I say / I don’t know
Maybe I don’t care”
Apathy – a disease. Jim talked about it in an interview with Billy Sloan in 1984, saying he felt that apathy was the biggest disease hitting the UK then. I can see his point…but to try and drag yourself out of that state when you are being oppressed by your government, you can’t find a job, no one in your family has a job, what do you do?
The disease wasn’t so much the apathy…but her. Maggie. That’s definitely how I see it.
Jim, you were lucky not to suffer the apathy. To be strong-willed enough not to let it consume you. Many others were not so lucky. Try not to be too judgemental. Not everyone is blessed with your willpower, resolve and self-belief. That goes beyond optimism.
But it gave him the opportunity to twist the song into hope and aspiration.
“All I know is / I gotta get out of here
And I’m going / going any way
Do you know some place to go?
I’m getting out of here.”
By 1990, Thatcher was gone, but there was still seven years of Conservative power to endure. John Major tried his best to lessen some of the worst effects of the previous 11 years of government. He will most likely be the Conservative government’s last “centre-right” leader for some time to come.
For today, those highest in office within the Conservative Party are all “Maggie’s children”. Dominic Raab, Michael Gove, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Jeremy Hunt, and Boris Johnson all err on the side of the Fascist side of right-wing politics.
Anyway, enough of the political talk and the potential for apathy.
Let’s listen to what may be Simple Minds’ best political statement they ever produced.
And that is (some way into trying to explain eloquently) why I love Soul Crying Out.
(P.S. I definitely need to do a new piece of art for this! The one above is well old!)
Dang! Okay, so it was a SFY shirt…and well, it isn’t looking too dissimilar in concept to the Grandslam Summer design, to be honest.
I know Stuart is the current designer. And he’s fabulous…oh, but to just DREAM of something like that! One break! One special one off. And not even for monetary gain or anything, but just to be able to say “Frigging wow! What an honour! The band I love are allowing me to design a shirt!” It would be unreal.
But there we are. That’s not how the world works.
Still, one could argue I’ve had my five minutes.
Damn! I hate when my green-eyed monster rears its ugly head. But, god…it would just be so amazing.
Today is the 30th anniversary of the release of Street Fighting Years…and I think I just ended up exhausting myself with having interviews for Life In A Day to try with more.
I couldn’t bring myself to ask Bruce for more time. As it was he started to worry I wanted to go though every single Simple Minds album with him. Lol. So…I just couldn’t bring myself to ask for one last interview session for a SFY retrospective.
The only others really relevant to it are Mick, Jim and Charlie…Mel too, I guess…and there are a few others. Trevor Horn…
And on that note! Minus any post Jim may do about the anniversary of SFY (I’ve got to say, I am actually STUNNED there is no box set release to coincide with the anniversary….but perhaps along with the Rejuvenation sets and RSD ltd ed. Graffiti Soul release, it was all deemed too much?) – I would DREAM of a reveal of he and Charlie being Trevor Horn’s special guests at the “Reimagines” gigs in July. At least the Glasgow one.