Number 703 - Simple Minds
"Promised You A Miracle"
After Bryan Ferry rejected the opportunity to sing "Don't You (Forget About Me)," Simple Minds almost did so as well; Jim Kerr was dissatisfied with the song's lyrics, which he regarded as formulaic. His change of heart gave Simple Minds their only American chart-topper, and the song later became an international hit as well; however, Jim Kerr's feelings about the song remained ambivalent, and it did not appear on the follow-up album, Once Upon a Time. This album went gold and reached the U.S. Top Ten, in spite of criticism for its bombastic, over-the-top approach. A live album and the uncompromisingly political Street Fighting Years squandered Simple Minds' commercial momentum, however. By the time the group returned to more personal themes and its straightforward, anthemic rock on 1991's Real Life, personnel changes and audience loss left the group's future viability in doubt.
But they weren't totally deterred, however. Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill trudged on, releasing Good News From the Next World in 1995 while the single "She's a River" received moderate airplay. A short tour of North America soon followed, but Simple Minds' direction also quickly faded. They needed a break to clarify their own personal stance in music. Derek Forbes returned for 1998's Néapolis, but that, too, wasn't strong enough to sustain Simple Minds' newfound creativity. Their famed pop songs had diluted a bit; however, the new millennium proved poignant. Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill signed to Eagle Records in early 2001 and constructed their first covers album, Neon Lights, later that fall, paying tribute to Patti Smith, Neil Young, David Bowie, and others. In summer 2002, Kerr and Charlie Burchill issued Cry, Simple Minds' first batch of new material since 1995's Good News From the Next World. Our Secrets Are the Same, an album that was intended for release in 2000, saw official release in 2003. ~ [Steve Huey]
For Neil Young see Number 938
What does Rolling Stone think about Simple Minds
From their late-Seventies origins as ambitious, artsy punks, Simple Minds have evolved into stylish conjurers of a new synthesized romanticism. While they still rely heavily on such recent electropop clichés as ticktock rhythms and superflanged bass, the Scottish group's sound is seductive in its liquid keyboard grace and rich, pillowy production grandeur. In fact, the only problem with New Gold Dream, Simple Minds' second U.S. release, is that it's often too seductive, with the band writing atmospheres for dreaming instead of real songs. In "Big Sleep," for example, Charles Burchill's distant siren-like guitar and the gently tumbling rhythm fail to compensate for the lack of a sharp melody. The same is true of the quiet contrast of disco thump with the soft lyricism of guest Herbie Hancock's keyboard solo in "Hunter and the Hunted." But the erotic hook in singer Jim Kerr's beckoning croon during the lush "Someone Somewhere in Summertime" and the sultry ascending curves of "Promised You a Miracle" highlight the Minds' talent for turning clever tuneful phrases. (RS 393)
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