Glittering Prize 81/92 Articles & Reviews

Life In A Day
Real To Real Cacophony
Empires & Dance
Sons & Fascination
New Gold Dream
Sparkle In The Rain
Once Upon A Time
Live In The City Of Light
Hollywood Rock Festival
Nelson Mandela Concert
Street Fighting Years
Themes (Volumes 1-4)
Real Life
Glittering Prize 81/92
Good News The Next World
Neon Lights
The Best Of Simple Minds
Early Gold
Alive & Kicking Tour 2003
Summer Tour 2004
Silver Box
Black & White 050505
46664 Concert
30 Years Live Tour
Graffiti Soul

Glittering Prize 1981/92

John Aizlewood - 'Q' Magazine (UK)


In 1981, three albums into what was becoming a rapidly stagnating career, Simple Minds left Arista-foregoing all future back catalogue royalties-and signed to Virgin after catching Peter Gabriel's eye. Before the year was out they'd released two Steve Hillage-produced albums simultaneously, Sister Feelings Call and Sons And Fascination, which stabilised a potentially dumper-bound band and paved the way for the future success. Simple Minds evolved quickly.

The mascara'd young things of their debut, Life In A Day, had already given way to a more adult approach by the time they swapped labels. This album's The American conjures up sad memories of students hollering A-merree, A-merree, A-merree, A-merr-ee-cahan on dancefloors across the nation, but it also represented the beginnings of a sea-change. 1982's New Gold Dream (81, 82, 83, 84) was the big breakthrough in Britain and the start of a flirtation with America.

Promised You A Miracle, Glittering Prize and Someone Somewhere (In Summertime) were big, swooning epics, as at home live in the stadium as older material was in nightclubs. Recently deposed from U2's production stool, Steve Lillywhite took over Simple Minds' reins for 1984's Sparkle In The Rain, a treading water exercise, with hindsight. Waterfront's clodhopping rhythm was bereft of subtlety yet somehow it managed to move by sheer force of clump. Speed Your Love To Me plodded nicely, the album stayed on the chart for over a year, but they still hadn't had a British Top 10 single or an American Top 50 album. One song, Don't You (Forget About Me), changed everything. From the film The Breakfast Club, it charted four times in Britain and reached Number 1 in America. Ungraciously, Kerr disowned it, most likely because he couldn't make such a concise statement himself. No matter, for although Don't You wasn't on the next album, Once Upon A Time, Simple Minds were now big news.

New hits abounded: Alive And Kicking, Sanctify Yourself and All The Things She Said graced Britain's Top 10 and did well in America too. The world was Simple Minds' for the taking. Somewhere, after years of constant touring, the momentum evaporated-the four-year gap until Street Fighting Years was probably too long. Kerr's long-standing Amnesty International involvement led to lyrics about issues-he'd even written Mandela Day(included here) and premiered it at a sparsely attended Hyde Park rally, for added kudos. America, though, was not ready for a concerned Simple Minds and lost interest. Britain too is having doubts.

Still, there was much to commend on Street Fighting Years and its follow-up, Real Life, although See The Lights and Let There Be Love are hopelessly stodgy compared with much else here. Glittering Prize -Simple Minds -'81-'92, mercifully without new tracks or remixes, is a holding operation, no more, no less. It's hard to know which way Jim Kerr can turn now.



Glittering Prize 1981/92

David Stubbs - (UK)


This compilation album is fascinating in that it tracks the dramatic artistic decline (and parallel commercial rise) of one the most successful groups of the post-punk era. "Love Song", "Promised You A Miracle" and "Someone, Somewhere In Summertime" see Jim Kerr and co. teetering like a cat poised on a fence, their sound a skittering, graceful interplay of glittering keyboards and adrenaline guitars, with Kerr's lyrics epic yet ambivalent on top. Then around the mid-1980s, Simple Minds fell from the fence into lumbering stadium rock rifferama. "Alive And Kicking" and "Sanctify Yourself" were big scarf-waving anthems but lacked the tantalising panache of their earlier work. As Jim Kerr sank further into megastardom, the music suffered further as he indulged in piously cumbersome ballads like "Belfast Child" and "Mandela Day". But while critics sighed, the Minds' audience swelled regardless--their "New Gold Dream" had come true.



Glittering Prize 1981/92 (UK)


Hey, admit it. You, like myself, probably remember Simple Minds mainly for "that song from The Breakfast Club - right? Sure, we all do! You'll be pleased to know that Don't You Forget About Me is included, as are other frequent airplay fliers Sanctify Yourself and Alive and Kicking, the latter of which has always bugged me because of the way Jim Kerr sings "aaaaaaah-live and kicking." It's a weird hangup, yes, but it's also an awkward emphasis on an unusual syllable! Overall, it's a good collection, including a lot of songs that casual listeners will find less familiar, but that's compilation albums for you.



Glittering Prize 1981/92

Stephen Thomas Erlewine - CMJ New Music (US)


Glittering Prize falls short of being a true anthology of Simple Minds, eliminating many key tracks (not even "Glittering Prize," the song the album is named after, is included) and giving too much weight to the band's later years (an inexplicable three tracks from 1991's Real Life are included). Still, all the mid-'80s hits are here, including "(Don't You) Forget About Me," making its first appearance on a Simple Minds album, which will be enough for most casual fans.



Glittering Prize 1981/92



Simple Minds gave us the soundtrack to the 80's. With more albums you can poke a stick at, they filled our radios with nothing but, pure rock magic! Simple minds bounced to life with their first rhythm driving classic "love song", Reaching #17 in January 1982. They followed through with "Promised you a miracle", "Glittering prize", and "Someone, somewhere in summertime". And all that in 1982. With their impact on early eighties pop firmly consolidated, they continued with "Waterfront" in the Spring of 1983. In 1985 their chart blazing ride continued with "Don't You Forget About Me", and "Alive and kicking". In 1986 they had another three hits, "sanctify yourself", "All the things she said", and "Ghostdancing". By the end of 1991, they notched up more hits including "Belfast child", "Let there be love", and "See the lights". That reverberating Synth sound, unique to Simple Minds, gives their music that airy kind of feel. I love all these songs, and there all on this one great album.

(RATING 100%+)



Glittering Prize 1981/92 (UK)


Simple Minds, they always wanted to be U2, but never quite managed it. That's how the story goes, isn't it? These days, when Simple Minds are about as un-cool as you can get outside of Limp Bizkit ( who are laughably un-cool ), it's easy to forget the fact they actually wrote a handful of damn good tunes, especially earlier on in their career before the arm waving and bombast took over.

So, let's get the good out of the way first of all. 'Promised You A Miracle'. One of the greatest pop songs written in the Eighties! Yeah, it is! Forget that dreary crap that is 'Don't You ( forget about me ) which just happened to be their biggest hit and the song that broke them in America! Forget about it! FORGET!! They've got a bunch ( ok, a palmful ) of stuff more entertaining than that! Especially 'Promised You A Miracle', by the way. Lots of great New Romantic keyboard lines. Even a good guitar solo in amidst a fast paced pop song with a ton of melody that shows Jim Kerr and company at least knew Punk existed, even if they failed miserably to sound like that musical form. They were initially a 'punk' band in a former life, in case you didn't know.

My other favourite song here is the pretty 'Someone, Somewhere In Summertime' which matches all the glory of 'Promised You A Miracle' but in a tender, almost haunting ballad performance when Simple Minds didn't realise you had to be very loud to perform in stadiums. A bad thing, when they realised that. 'Waterfront' is one of the groups stadium anthems, and not at all irritating, unlike the mind-numbingly repetitive 'Alive And Kicking', which certainly is. 'See The Lights' is a rather pleasant latter day Simple Minds tune, soft melodies rather than shouting and guitars trying to unsuccessfully beat you about the head. 'Belfast Child' is terribly overblown for a single, being nearly seven minutes long. 'All The Things She Said' however is a mighty fine song with more interesting keyboard sounds, and funky little bass and guitar lines. 'Ghostdancing' is also a highlight, lots of energy and pace when such things weren't considered bad commercial moves. 'Glittering Prize' is a lovely little ballad, 'Mandela Day' an extremely boring one.

So, how to sum up 'the best of' Simple Minds? Well, I want to listen more to albums certain tracks came from, so it works in that respect. I want to avoid listening too much to certain other songs, but that's easily done. The surprising thing, listening to this years after Simple Minds had any sort of appeal, is that how good certain songs actually are.

(8 out of 10)


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