Discussing the blog, what to do with and also the desire to revise the “Why I Love…” Simple Minds Top 50 songs.
Discussing the blog, what to do with and also the desire to revise the “Why I Love…” Simple Minds Top 50 songs.
Glasgow is now a city I am longing to live in. The first time I visited Glasgow was in November, 2016. I felt an instant affiliation with the place. It had been many years I had wanted to visit Scotland’s most populous city. My first (and subsequently ONLY one up until that point) visit to Scotland had been a 16 hour whirlwind visit to Edinburgh and, to be honest, Edinburgh really didn’t do much for me at the time, and so I had always wished to see Glasgow to compare and contrast.
Well, it only took me another 15 years to get to Glasgow! It was a “freebie”. I had auditioned and secured a place on quiz show Fifteen To One, so my trip was all expenses paid. I arrived on the evening of November 5th – Bonfire Night. I was up on the 11th floor of the Jurys Inn on Jamaica Street. I may not be a “kid called hope” and the only reason I was holding out my hand was to film the view of the Clyde from “this highrise land”. And I wasn’t seeing the Northern Lights, but I was seeing fireworks being fired off all over the south and east sides of the city. It was beautiful.
Obviously my soundtrack for that night WASN’T Oh Jungleland but Colours Fly And Catherine Wheel.
The first thing I did when I arrived in Glasgow was to get a cab to the Old Dumbarton Road and to Tantrum Doughnuts. I bought three of them to go so I could enjoy them once I got to the Jurys Inn. As I waited for the taxi to come and collect me and get me to the hotel, I was offered a cigarette by a very dishevelled (in all likelihood homeless) but kindly gent. “No, I’m sorry. I don’t smoke, but thanks for offering anyway.” Even a Weegie that hard on his luck would offer a complete stranger a cigarette. Was I a little scared? I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t. That section of Old Dumbarton Road at that time was not exactly teeming with people and it was already dark and I was alone. Despite feeling a little vulnerable, I felt a huge sense of being welcomed.
Anyway…on to the song itself!
Uplifting from the get go with a fun little keyboard melody and a great guitar riff from Mr Burchill. Subtle yet perfect basslines from Mr Giblin and immaculate Gaynor drumbeat.
Only Jim could make a bleak and cold winter in Glasgow sound romantic “you’ve got the long nights” – put a parentheses of lines around it “you’ve got the love drugs” and “you got the heartbeat that spirals to heaven” and you have an irresistible romantic image of the city.
It has been a favourite Simple Minds song since I first heard it back in 1985. The only album I ever had of Simple Minds’ for many years was Once Upon A Time. I played the whole album regularly once I had it…but I never really kept up the momentum of being a Simple Minds fan. Never felt compelled to explore the back catalogue. Lost touch with them after a year or so after OUAT was released. Remember liking Belfast Child a few years later…but that was it.
Oh Jungleland to me is much more a homage to Glasgow as a whole. Waterfront concentrates more on the Clyde to me. Mr Kerr may tell me otherwise.
It’s uplifting and gives a sense of belonging. It feels like it says within the context of the lyrics…“This is my city. My people. It’s the city that made me.” The place has a beauty all its own. I see it every time I’m there. And that phrase…the city’s moto has never been a truer symbol of a city I have ver seen “people make Glasgow”. They do.
They place I grew up in is an area of south-western Sydney called Busby. On a street called Ayrshire Street. The family surname is McInnes (that’s the Scottish version of the spelling, either this or Mac). I have a mixture of Irish, English, German and Aborigine (the Scots blood is in my siblings – I should have actually been a Lawson, but took the McInnes name for convenience – well, more had it foisted on me). I can’t tell you what kind of annoying hell that was growing up – having the name Larelle – which NOBODY in Australia seems able to pronounce properly! – combine that with McInnes – then put Ayrshire Street, Busby into the mix and I DREADED being asked for my name and address over the phone! At least in person I could just ask for a pen and spell it all. Phone calls that I knew I needed to make where these questions would be asked became ritual “Larelle = L – A – R – E – double L – E. McInnes = M – C – I – double N – E – S. Fifteen – ONE FIVE Aryshire Street: A – Y – R – S – H – I – R – E street. Busby = B – U – S – B – Y. I DO NOT miss those days! And, yes, I still do have to do spelling of my name and address, but now in the days of the Internet, not so much. Phew!
Back then I would have NEVER foreseen the notion that one day I would be moving to Scotland. It was never really something on my radar. There was always more of an allure to the UK, culturally. The music in particular. I think I would have described myself as (erroneously) as an Anglophile. But I suppose the pull was stronger to England, initially. But the pull to Scotland gained more force. And over the past 10 years became a pipe dream of getting out of England and moving to. But it never seemed something remotely tangible until about 12 months ago.
So soon, somewhere in Scotland will be home. And with any luck, “Oh Jungleland” will be the place I call “home sweet home” – or as a little plaque I saw in the market stalls in Merchant City on my most recent trip up had said “Hame Sweet Hame”. I was SO tempted to buy it, but I didn’t. Hopefully the market seller will be there in several months time when there is a wall to hang the plaque on.
And that is a rather personal account of why I love Oh Jungleland.
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!)
The dancefloor. Frigging hell! Did Simple Minds know how to fill it back in the day. I guess they still do to be fair.
But let us rewind back to 1979. Rockfield Studios in the Welsh countryside. Five young men from Glasgow are in the studio making the followup to their debut album. An album that really couldn’t be more different to the first. They are still just babies, with the average age of them being just 20. They are still very much learning their craft. Recording in the studio next door are none other than Iggy Pop and David Bowie. Could life get any sweeter?
Yes it could. These five young men band together and make one of the best dance tracks of the late 1970’s as you are ever likely to hear.
OKAY! I’ll be the first to admit that…given all the changes in lyrics that Jim Kerr has made in SM songs over the years…esp. early on (he would rewrite songs entirely from demo to album recording), it’s quite a thing that there wasn’t a change made to the opening line to Changeling. I suppose that was the curse of there being no demos for Real To Real Cacophony. They went straight into recording.
The sticking point, lyrically, is that horrible propensity for snidey shits to take the mickey out of the opening line and continue to sing along to Wombling Free, which I’ve got to say…I don’t know what it does to Jim…but to me, it fucking pisses me off no end!
Perhaps we should concentrate on the musical structure of the song for now? Synths and bass opening with an instant dance hook. Drum grooves quickly follow and then a simplistic yet fab guitar riff. Industrial dance grooves. Fuck these boys were good at them! There’s nothing quite like this on Life In A Day. They hadn’t made a sound quite like this, yet…but boy does it signal the start of a very identifiable early “Simple Minds” signature sound. An aural “watermark”, if you will.
I really don’t know anyone who could listen to this track and not tap their feet or their hands and just get hooked in by the groove.
In spite of what the Arista execs hear at the UK HQ with Real To Real Cacophony in which they appear utterly dumbfounded, they do seem to make the right choice in having Changeling as the lead (but unfortunately subsequently ONLY) single off the album. How they didn’t then follow it up with Factory and Premonition is anyone’s guess. One can only assume they were already becoming concerned that SM was going to leak money hand over fist.
Changeling has no chart success, so one assumes that is why there are no other singles released from the Real To Real Cacophony album.
The failure of the single to chart can’t be down to it being deemed “not good enough” by the music consumer of the time? Just listen to it! Was it just overlooked from a then pretty flooded market? Singles at this point sold in their THOUSANDS every week. Albums had their importance then too, but the single was still king at this point. To the point where single picture sleeves were at their height. A single was packaged with as much of a visual selling point as an album was at this point in time. Every Simple Minds single released so far had been in a picture sleeve…Changeling being no exception. Did the picture sleeve “sell” the single? Hmmm…I’m unsure it did much. Life In A Day was certainly simplistic in its design, but it made an impact nonetheless. As for Chelsea Girl? She was on the mark. Jim was on the mark for wanting that Jean Shrimpton painting as the cover.
But for Changeling…I don’t know what a greyscale image of some hosepipe really tells you about the song. There’s a kind of industrial look to the cover, yes…but where I think the texture and simplicity of the Real To Real Cacophony album cover works to sell it (luring you in wondering what the hell this album is about as the cover actually gives NOTHING away by design) – that same simplistic approach falls flat for the Changeling single.
Back to the song itself. Let’s get back to those lyrics. Young Mr Kerr, what you on about, boy? Lol. For me, I gotta say that Changeling is a very rare beast in that it is all about the tune, the groove and not much about The Boy’s songwriting…for a change. I still love the words…but they mean fuck all. Lol. But hey….some of my absolute favourite Bowie songs are pure gobbledegook. The Burroughs technique has a lot to answer for, sometimes. I couldn’t write a song that means SOMETHING…let alone one that doesn’t really mean anything at all but sounds like it does anyway. And to me…that’s master craftsmanship.
In summary? In the simplest terms, it’s a dancefloor filler. Possibly Simple Minds’ first. At least one of the first, blazing a trail for more killers that follow…I Travel, Celebrate, This Fear Of Gods, Love Song, The American…the list goes on (and on and on 😜).
And that is why I love Changeling.
(PS: Jim can’t mime to save his life….but I bloody love him anyway!)
I cannot reiterate how great a lot of Simple Minds B sides are. Most of them became an “also ran” at the expense of a song that makes it onto an album. I would easily swap Special View for Sad Affair, for example. Others would swap Veldt for Kaleidoscope (as although the song wasn’t released until the I Travel single – as a special flexi disc bonus – it had been formed during the Life In A day tour, so could have easily been recorded during the Real To Real Cacophony sessions).
But when it comes to NWS, it’s difficult to shelf something from Empires And Dance to make way for it. This time, they did make the right choice leaving it for the B side to I Travel.
The drummer girl here loves that intro. It hasn’t got the usual synth sound we get from Mick. And there really isn’t much of Charlie’s guitar over it. Just brief little riffs and licks.
It is a different beast to what else is on Empires And Dance. Musically the tone is much lighter. And there is…for its time, a very traditional “verse/chorus/verse/chorus” structure to Jim’s songwriting on this. Most unusual compared to most everything else of the period.
There is a demo version. Recorded during early EAD sessions. I’m sure after the R2RC fiasco, Arista INSISTED upon demos. I bet they still didn’t know what to do with them. I mean…seriously!? How can you have acts like Lou Reed, Iggy Pop and Patti Smith on your label, yet Simple Minds leave you dumbfounded? HOW?! It makes no sense!
Lines from the demo alter to the studio version. Instead the skin being “expensive to touch” for being “novocaine skin” – it’s “expensive to touch” for being “American skin”. And what was once “ugly as sin” is now “transparent and thin”. The third verse in the demo is pretty much a repetition of the first, whereas in the studio version it has been refined and expanded. “…Contorted dreams of the beauticians that pray / crawling out of this heat and drifting this way…”.
I have always been most intrigued by those lines that end each verse, “Is this a war? Is this a god?” A war on what exactly? The natural beauty of the human face? A god? A new god…one that has refined and “perfected” how the human face should be?
Of course, many years later, Lostboy! AKA Jim Kerr revisits those lines and reuses them in the track Nail Through My Heart, with a musicality to the track not a million miles away from New Warm Skin. Defeated in “war” by the superficial, perhaps? “You put a nail through my heart / nail through my heart / then you discarded me. Corrupt from the start / you pushed it too far / then you discarded me. You put a mark on my skin / let yourself in / no escape for me.”
Musically, NWS has more of a “new wave” tone to it than what else is on Empires And Dance. The album is a Euro-centric dance, trance, travelogue…definitely still rooted in post punk and not quite yet new wave – well not as I differentiate new wave to be.
I mean those three/four albums from 1979 to 1981 – Real To Real Cacophony/Empires And Dance/Sons And Fascination/Sister Feelings Call – progress yet bridge together so amazingly well. Each a stepping stone to the next and the next. Then…the big leap! The huge curve ball. The stand-alone. The “nothing before it or after”. The freak. The beast that is New Gold Dream.
I hear similarities in the synths of New Warn Skin to what’s on Are Friend’s Electric? and Cars. Simple Minds were very much getting away from wearing their influences on their sleeve by that point, so NWS is a slight hark back in that respect. But I am sure that by this point in the game any similarities in sound were purely subliminal or coincidental.
How deeply we should dissect the track I am unsure. I mean, what is it after all? A parable on the the pursuit for human “perfection”? Superficiality – the ultimate cost of vanity? Is that such a heavy subject? I suppose even still in 1980, plastic surgery was in its infancy – in terms of it deemed as a “standard” procedure. Nobody bats an eyelid over facelifts now – mostly because nobody CAN…if you get my gist?
In musical tone there’s a cool and a heat to it. I like the pace of the chorus…the layers of the backing vocals.
There’s more electronica to come with the sound of Simple Minds. New Warm Skin leads on to Love Song, This Earth That You Walk Upon, Seeing Out The Angel and Theme For Great Cities…and most other tracks on the Sons and Sister albums.
I’d hazard a guess we weren’t meant to take New Warm Skin TOO seriously. I’m pretty sure the younger Jim would not have relished his lyrics being dissected like this. I’m not much sure the older Jim sees much point in it, either.
But it’s what I like to do. It deepens meaning, emphasis, musical enjoyment. I just like to exercise a curious mind. See if I can derive a meaning from the songs, musically and lyrically. “What did Jim mean by that? Does it mean anything? Is my interpretation of things what others’ hear too? Am I the only one that hears this, this and this?”, and so forth. It keeps me happy and occupied (“Not bloody occupied ENOUGH!” shouts Mr Kerr from his Glasgow panic room. Lol).
It’s just a little electronic gem with catchy lyrics.
And that is why I love New Warm Skin. (Demo and studio versions follow.)
It’s that … cold war Europe sensibility and style it has. Actually, it’s more post-war (The Great War), 1930’s, really. It’s Christopher Isherwood Berlin. Not flappers and sharp-suited men…later…early 1930s….now more the time of “austerity” (and how relevant does it make this song now?!), mass unemployment – post Wall Street Crash and the Hoover Dam project and, In America, Roosevelt’s New Deal.
There’s an “austerity” to the song. The musicality of it. It starts slow and sparse. A very slow dum beat – echoey, long bending bass notes. And a very dreary, dour synth. There’s a bleakness to it. Lyrically, Jim sets up the scene, “the human drum beats a rhythm of life / the clothes he wears date back to the war”. Which war? In my mind, the Great War (WWI) – but most likely he means WWII – they are some mighty old clothes to be had for 1980, either way!
Moving on from those opening lines…the lyrics printed in the album’s sleeve have the next line as being “he talks a lot / often to himself” but it isn’t what Jim sings on the album. The line alters slightly…and brings you in more as a listener “you talk a lot / often to yourself”. Talking to oneself always deemed a sign of mental illness. “What’s the first sign of madness? You talk to yourself. What’s the second sign? You answer back!” So…who’s mad? The protagonist in the song? Or you, the listener?
With the imagery I get from early Simple Minds songs, in particular, it’s very prescient that Jim should use the line “paint me a picture” because it is exactly what his lyrics do for me. They paint me a picture. They create a whole scene, in fact. A whole little play. It varies from still images as a slideshow, an actual painting on its own, or a short movie.
He goes on “America can fall”. The love of Capitalism its fall? The Wall Street Crash? Was he prophesying the second crash that is to come in 1987?
The title itself…and the lines expressing it are the most curious. There’s really a strong expression of nihilism and even oppression in it…with little recourse of showing a way out – as the most optimistic of Simple Minds songs will convey. And as much as I draw strength from the upbeat and optimistic SM tracks…I can draw, if not out and out positivity from the more “dour” of SM tracks, I can gain a strength and a resolve from them all the same.
There’s a nostalgic look back to “better days” within the lyrics too. “Back to a year / back to a youth. Of men in church and drug cabarets” hence my feeling of the setting of the song, time wise, as being the 1930s. Namecheck for the album “is this the age of empires and dance? Oh, what a world…”
There is so much of this album that is “film noir”. I don’t think I will ever fall out of love with it.
The last 90 seconds of the song is just the culmination of all of its components. Jim’s title of the song hauntingly just bending and weaving and echoing. The instruments building on a crescendo…and that final 30 seconds in which Brian increases the pace of the beat with added lovely cymbal splashes. Just … mwah! Perfection.
And then we fade away and on into Celebrate (which I have previously tried to put into words as to why I love without using just the single word “PHWOAR!” to suffice. Lol)
If Today I Died Again was represented by a painting, it would be this (for me)…
It is titled “Self-Portrait with Model” (1916) painted by Erich Heckel. The very same artist whose work inspired cover art for the albums “Heroes” by David Bowie and The Idiot by Iggy Pop.
And that is why I love Today I Died Again.
That start. The bass and clang…something gritty and industrial about it. Almost like it’s going to turn into a Einstürzende Neubauten track!
Then a wonderfully buzzing style of synth that comes in. The pace of it is awesome.
I absolutely adore these lyrics! On the Dream Giver web site (simpleminds.org), Jim talks about the song being about a boy that grows up to be an arms dealer and the lyrics certainly imply that…but they can also be interpreted as…lust, desire, wanting an affair with someone.
I want to see what you see
I want to touch, let me play
I want to try every poison in sight
I want to lie where you lay
— — — — — — — — — — — —
Let me touch, let me touch
Let me feel what you feel
I want to know how certain this is
I want to know this is real
But it’s all an internal dialogue that this “arms dealer” is having with himself. The man about to leave all that destruction in his path, telling the boy of his youth that “we’ve” done it for the greater good. And that is how people justify heinous acts like that to themselves. Their god wants them to it. It filters out those “infidels”. To murder for your god is good and worthy.
And, the words in the verses to me can have duel meaning. The way Jim is singing…breathy, whispering at times. I find it a really, really sensual song. But in actual fact the song has very heavy subject matter.
As I say…before I ventured to the Dream Giver site to look it up, to confirm the lyrics for an art piece on the song…I assumed it was about the lust and desire for another person.
And then there is a melodically sweet musical breakdown as Jim delivers the lines “I long to be where you are”, contained in this part of the verse:
“I want to touch what you touch
I long to be where you are
I’ll always know – you’ll let me know all this gets too far”
It’s like the sprinkle of rain, the cascade of a waterfall…the ashen shards from hand grenade? The descending sparks from a bomb?
I had started on this “Why I Love” in the middle of September, and couldn’t rightly articulate what I wanted to say about the song at the time, so I moved on to doing one for Space, and left it until tonight.
Now it seems more eerily apt to touch upon. A metaphor for much going on for the band right now. And curious too that within the band’s history that, at this point, both Derek and Mel have come back to the fold…and Pete Walsh is once again being used as producer for the Neapolis album that Lightning is a track from.
And given what Jim said a number of days ago about the (Simple Minds) bus only moving forward, with fixed steering and no reverse gear. And that he’d said those words in 1977 as a young, headstrong kid who was “unbearable in many ways, not so bad in others” and that “I’m still that kid”.
Perhaps HE is now the “arms dealer”? Doing some detrimental damage for what appears to be “the greater good”?
It was just an observation. It’s hard not to get drawn into it. It is just a concern for the future. I’m not passing judgements, laying blame, etc. I just fear, much like of the subject matter of this song…it’ll all implode. Sometimes a reverse gear is good…when you’re careering to a cliff and there is no other way out.
But enough of metaphors. And I will not be pressed to talk anymore…so don’t ask.
As for the song itself? Musically, the pace of it, the synths, crashing guitars, that fabulous breakdown of waterfall/shards.
Jim’s lyrics are just…crazy f***ing sexy. Seriously…I really do find this song so, so sexy lyrically…even with knowing what this song is about and all. His vocal on it is just….honey…
And that is why I love…Lightning.
A rare beast in the Simple Minds canon, in that there is almost no musical intro before Jim starts to sing. (As far as the version on Our Secrets Are The Same goes. More on that later…)
“I’ll hurt you if you say I did”. (ie: if you wish it to be, it’ll come to fruition.) It’s not a threat…but a statement. You almost need to read the sentence backwards. If you believe I’ve hurt you, then I have…as far as you are concerned.
“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.”
This part of the song always speaks to me on a personal level. I always feel it when….I feel that my “time in the sun” is gone. That Jim is…no longer interested. That I have pushed things too far. Made myself far too emotionally attached, etc, etc. These lines are what will play.
Space feels really personal because of it.
This “why I love” will be stupid, personal, oversharing as a result. This song…breaks my heart, but I love it too.
The past three years of my “uber” fandom has been such a whirlwind. And it *is* like one massive rollercoaster. Loads of highs and some lows. I could…go through it all…but, well, just take a look at this blog. It explains it all.
And so when the Minds fandom rollercoaster is on a low (like about now), when I feel “the dream is over” and “the feeling’s gone”. When I feel I need to brace myself to be “dumped”. When the emotional investment is too high. When the stick dangling that carrot gets pulled away from me with short shrift…this is when this song has its potency and poignancy.
It’s the lines aforementioned that make me feel all…melancholy. “Oh, this time I’ve done it! I’ve hacked him off. I’m sharing too much of the art. Of myself. If I piss him off, I wish he’d just tell me to fuck off instead of being quiet!” The silence kills.
And then…it comes back again. He’ll interact with me. Reply to a comment with a big old blurb. Suddenly, randomly share a piece of art.
And then the last verse is there in the mind.
“The dream is over, party’s over,
I’m still waiting, nothing falling.
No confusion, no suspicion,
If you’re talking, I will listen.”
And the ever hopeful chorus…just like that little child’s nursery rhyme…
“Star light, star bright,
I’m the star you see tonight.
And I wish I may, I wish I might,
Be in your dreams tonight.”
And so do I, Jim. So do I. Nearly every single night I fall asleep…when sleep actually takes hold. Except, I hardly ever dream of the ones I…love. (See? What did I say about oversharing?!)
Charlie’s guitar (unless I am mistaken and it is Gordy playing? He once told me that one riff I really loved that I assumed was Charlie’s, was in actual fact Gordy Goudie’s) is just SSOO bittersweet. Along with my favourite of This Earth That You Walk Upon, I find a proper “weeping” guitar moment. Just…yearning, and beautiful.
There are two versions to Space. The original studio recording done for Our Secrets Are The Same, and a re-recording placed on the Celebrate compilation. I love both versions equally. There’s an extra vulnerability with the first version…as well as the way Jim’s voice has been distorted. The latter version, I love the protracted ending, with the vocal repetition of “be in your dreams tonight”….it seems like it’ll never end…yet it does, rather suddenly too! The latter version has much more of the lullaby quality to it.
The vulnerability is in the rawness of the former….the sensibility of the latter is in its subtlety. It’s much sweeter, musically.
As with just about every Simple Minds song I can think of, there is ultimately a hope.
Mine is…never to stuff up. Never to fall “out of favour”. Never to feel that “the dream is over” and that “the feeling’s gone”. And that Jim will wish to be in my dreams, because I wish him to be in my dreams…always.
And that is why I love…Space.
Enjoy the latter Celebrate compilation version.
I’m trying to keep the site fresh and appealing (even though it *is* a personal blog, and Kerr rich/heavy).
I’m pretty broke at the mo. Spending is at a minimum. I can’t spend out to source rare material from magazines, etc.
The art keeps going…but, well, there’s only so much SM themed art I can do…and I am worried that trying to do another 100 Simple Minds themed lyric pieces will be….too much (as much as it pains me to say that!).
I still have some “why I love” pieces to write up.
Kerrsday Thursday is pretty much “no more” (see above for at least one reason).
I love the weekend whirliGIG concept…but it’s just once a week. And then there’s Minds Music Monday.
Jim is really quiet. No news is forthcoming. I’m assuming due to the date of the formation of the band, no album release is happening until November. Perhaps we only just have a few short weeks to wait before we start getting news and momentum will build up again in the next few weeks?
I really, REALLY hope so! The wait is now getting quite agonising.
*taps fingers on tabletop*
I want to inject more LIFE into this site…band news in the form of album release and future tour details would REALLY help inject some life into the place.
In the meantime, if you guys have any ideas for the blog. Subjects you’d like to see, etc…gizza buzz!
A fabulous synth intro from Mick, then a fabulous classic rock riff from Charlie.
And then….like the crashing elevator within the chorus, in comes Jim with such stilted and stark lyrics…getting straight to the point of it! It’s bleak. It’s dystopia! Industrial. Gritty. In a pea-soup fog. It’s a Lowry painting. It’s Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. (I love that film!)
But…we have a protagonist. The “man with a plan to escape”. He wants out! That’s not his future!
I hear this as semi-autobiographical. Jim was going to make damn sure, by hook or by crook, that his future did not see him in a 9-5 job, settled and married off by 21. He wanted so much more for himself than that (objective well and truly achieved, it is safe to say)!
As with the best Simple Minds songs, there is light and hope. The “black light” strikes again. These are the Minds songs I love the most. Because they carry that message of hope within them. The exterior is dark with a heavy subject matter. That opening verse and chorus are indeed, to me, like a Lowry painting. The “factory” in my mind is vivid…and obviously several floors high (it has at least one elevator after all).
“Factory / we all go out to lunch”…
There can be recurring themes in Kerr lyrics. An example: rain “Walking in the soft rain” – Someone Somewhere In Summertime. “Come/Get/Step in/out of the rain” – Waterfront. “The metal rains pour, pour, raining, raining down on me” – Premonition. “Oh I believe one great day the rain will come and wash this mess away” – Wall Of Love.
In this case, the use of the term “glittering prize” is used within the lyrics.
But…looking again. One could interpret the “man with a plan to escape” as…a plan for suicide. “A certain ratio we know has left us unaware / someone else has taken leave /someone who did care”. So, is the “plan to escape” escaping the tedium of working-class life? Or is it to TAKE one’s life?
Would Jim write something that Nihilistic? I very much doubt it. But…having started to write this, I can definitely see how some could interpret the lyrics from that angle.
Of course now it gives me the excuse of sharing one of my favourite snippets of David Bowie. He and Iggy Pop being interviewed by Dinah Shaw in 1977 (to those not familiar, Iggy’s real name is James Osterberg and he is Jim/Jimmy to his friends, hence the use of the name in the interview). David has such a wicked sense of humour. I love and miss this man so.
David Bowie…I love you, I really do. You enriched my life in so many ways that you will never know, and you are an amazingly gifted song-writer. But…I really, really love your little protege. (I hope Sir dosn’t get pissed at me for describing him so…because in fact, for me, as a song-writer, he surpassed David in my eyes long ago. Maybe not absolutely outright…but very definitely within certain elements of the craft and at certain stages in both their careers. He is certainly, most definitely on an equal parring, if not actually surpassing.)
And that is why I love Factory.