For Just One Moment In Time

This is a song I keep going back to at the moment, listening and then skipping back to the start, the opener to Simple Minds’ 1981 album Sons And Fascination. Never was there I band for whom the phrase ‘I prefer their early stuff’ is so appropriate. Their early stuff is among the best music of the era (and their later stuff really isn’t). Empires And Dance and New Gold Dream are both superb too but this one is the one for me.

In Trance As Mission starts with a Derek Forbes bassline, one of many on the album that personify post-punk bass playing, along with a rigid drumbeat. The synths are central not merely providing colour or filling the sound out. Guitarist Charlie Burchill plays one note throughout, ringing with feedback. A long way to start an album, nearly seven minutes, Jim Kerr singing about moments, the holy back beat, trance as mission, trans American, white rocks, dreams, a new type of light, all the post-punk poetics. Religion maybe. The combined effect is thrilling, dramatic, forward thinking. Top stuff from a band who later on went for the money over the art but certainly paid their dues as far as art is concerned

In Trance As Mission

Sons And Fascination is a great album and a curious one too, packaged with a second disc of songs called Sister Feelings Call (which includes Theme For Great Cities, a song which most bands would kill to have written and which Kerr showed admirable restraint in deciding it didn’t need vocals). Not a traditional double album, an album with an extra disc of songs. Ideas galore, loads of ambition and songs to spare.

Theme For Great Cities

I have long held a dislike of Simple Minds, since the 1980s now I come to think of it. I think this is based on the bombastic, U2-lite material they released, the wind in the hair videos and the awful baggy grey suits they all seemed to wear.  I still think these are good reasons to dislike Simple  Minds by the way, I’m not going completely soft in middle age.

People have often, especially in recent years, tried to convince me that there is merit in their works and I can see that there is a charm to some of their mid-80s pop material. Don’t You Forget About Me is one of the components that makes The Breakfast Club an enjoyable film. However it would be stupid of me, really stupid and churlish, to deny that this song from 1980 is a bold and innovative piece of electronic pop music.

Theme For Great Cities