Song Lists: Simple Minds

‘We’ve got, FIVE YEARS’ yelled David Bowie in his song of the same name. And it’s that time frame exactly that’s led to Big Music, their first album since 2009’s Graffiti Soul. Yet, when they were wonderful in their young lives this was enough time to get them from ‘Empires and Dance’ through to ‘Once Upon A Time’ a period during which the band traversed artful prose to breakthrough rock and saw lead singer Jim Kerr doing plenty of his own impassioned yelling. But what about the colour of these songs? Here I show how during their early days they were not just producing innovative grooves and sonic atmospheres but were also charting some unusual hues with it. Once again, the colours here aren’t as comprehensive as my original doc, however I hope it’s informative to those of you out there still enlightened by all things SM and may perhaps offer an alternative perspective of their catalogue. Notably there are those tricky to pigeon-hole such as their second album and those between 1998 and 2002 i.e. Neapolis, Secrets and Cry albums, where noise, style and wandering chords take more of a central theme, however I have included what I can from those albums. And so to the final part of my St Andrew’s Day and Minds trilogies. Coincidentally Charlie Burchill’s birthday is around the corner too (is there a better time to be born a Scotsman?) Anyway, let’s begin…

WHITE

KING IS WHITE AND IN THE CROWD (definitely an air of pale pink in this, more so in the keys and in the bridge, if indeed it is a bridge)
SONG FOR THE TRIBES
LIGHTNING
BLINDFOLDED
HONEST TOWN

MINT GREEN

CELEBRATE
SWEAT IN BULLET
C MOON CRY LIKE A BABY
ALL THE THINGS SHE SAID (chorus and ending in red, middle part in teal green)
STAY VISIBLE
ROCKETS
STARS WILL LEAD THE WAY (middle part in dark green)
LIGHT TRAVELS (chorus yellow)
GRAFFITI SOUL (intro and middle part in maroon)

GREEN

SONS AND FASCINATION (this period of the band is indeed fascinating for colour, particularly the final three on what was originally side 2 of the vinyl as you can see from this list, the moods conveyed are so unique, I felt it necessary to introduce specific colour bands. In this case, the title track really is the bridge between Earth and Angel. As with the latter, I’d say the green during the verses was more dominant but there is something else there, possibly a darker green coming from Mac’s synth-line. And as you’ll see throughout this list, their talent for cross referencing themselves is very common; I Travel/Ghostdancing, Real Life/Band Played On etc. So ‘Sons..’ is not a million miles away from Celebrate)
SEEING OUT THE ANGEL (chorus in brown)

PALE YELLOW

SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES YOU (parts in deep pink)

YELLOW

CHELSEA GIRL
SOMEONE SOMEWHERE IN SUMMERTIME
DOLPHINS (definitely a borderline track this one, between yellow and its dark blue/yellow variation – see below – created by certain notes or nuances in the music)

APRICOT

ROOM
TODAY I DIED AGAIN
CHANGELING (almost a precursor to both Room and Don’t You, the chorus alternates between white and the apricot of the riff, also has a dark blue break after the choruses)
DON’T YOU FORGET ABOUT ME (rain keeps falling.. part in pale yellow)

ORANGE

BOYS FROM BRAZIL
LOVE SONG
THE AMERICAN (as with the dark blue/orange couplet below, it is possible to have a brighter blue/orange couplet, this one would certainly suit that and in turn support the bright blue of the Sister Feeling’s Call cover in much the same way that Malcolm Garrett got it right with the pink/crimson hues of the New Gold Dream cover, more on all of that below)
NEW GOLD DREAM
COME A LONG WAY

RED (varying shades)

IN TRANCE AS MISSION
70 CITIES AS LOVE BRINGS THE FALL
SHAKE OFF THE GHOSTS/A BRASS BAND IN AFRICAN CHIMES
STREET FIGHTING YEARS (is it possible to have 2 bridges? If it is, then the first is yellow at regular intervals beginning on 0.45 and again at 1.33, the second bridge and latter part are in green)
THIS IS YOUR LAND
KICK IT IN (intro in light green)
BANGING ON THE DOOR (intro is mostly white but there is a key shift to yellow in the middle. In the middle of the main song is a shift toward green returning to white for the end)
ONE STEP CLOSER (some white in the intro and chorus as the track drifts in and out of focus so to speak but most in red)
SHADOWS AND LIGHT

LIGHT BLUE

LET THERE BE LOVE (middle part bright blue)

BRIGHT BLUE

THE AMERICAN (see above note)

MID BLUE

WOMAN
CRIMINAL WORLD

DARK BLUE

THIS FEAR OF GODS
KISS THE GROUND (chorus in dark blue/orange)

DARK BLUE/ORANGE

REAL LIFE
AND THE BAND PLAYED ON (the part prior to the final minute recalls Real Life’s orange)
THIS TIME (middle in blue)

DARK BLUE/YELLOW

DOLPHINS (see yellow above)

LIGHT GREEN

EAST AT EASTER
AFRICAN SKIES (some yellow right at the end which brings me to..)
BROKEN GLASS PARK (this is another common musical trick of the light traversing pale yellow in keeping with Somebody Up There Likes You, only this time with light green)

GREEN/MAROON

YEAR OF THE DRAGON
A LIFE SHOT IN BLACK AND WHITE
BLOOD TYPE O (intro and chorus in crimson/maroon)

DARK GREEN

OH JUNGLELAND (chorus pink)
SHE’S A RIVER
GLITTERBALL
DEATH BY CHOCOLATE
MOSCOW UNDERGROUND

PALE PINK

LEAGUE OF NATIONS (the keyboard again pushes this to a slightly darker pink below, however the mainframe grooves along in a paler hue)

PINK

SATURDAY GIRL
STAND BY LOVE
NIGHT MUSIC (bridge grey)
HYPNOTISED
THIS IS IT
KILL OR CURE (chorus crimson)

ROSE

ALIVE AND KICKING (Mac’s electric piano part coming out of the chorus in white)
NEW SUNSHINE MORNING

BURGUNDY

NEW WARM SKIN (latter part in blue grey)
GLITTERING PRIZE
HUMAN

CRIMSON

BIG SLEEP (intro and chorus deep pink)
BIG MUSIC (bridge apricot)

MAROON

LIFE IN A DAY (also a moderate shift to yellow in its chord sequence and ending in white)
PLEASANTLY DISTURBED (middle ‘streetlight’ part in rose – not too dissimilar from Blood Diamonds below)
PREMONITION (chorus is crimson)
I TRAVEL (again the chorus is crimson)
COLOURS FLY AND CATHERINE WHEEL
WATERFRONT
GHOSTDANCING
BLOOD DIAMONDS (One of my recent faves but one of the most difficult to discuss. As with the Blue/Orange, Blue/Yellow and Green/Maroon, Green/Grey couplets this one is again equal measures; the intro is maroon but the verses are white, the bridge and chorus could be classed as both in that the bass is playing in maroon but Charlie’s guitar is in white)

VIOLET

SAD AFFAIR

PURPLE

GREY BLUE

SEE THE LIGHTS

GREY GREEN

THIS EARTH THAT YOU WALK UPON (see above note about SONS AND FASCINATION)
BOOK OF BRILLIANT THINGS (intro/outro darker grey)

GREY BEIGE

CRY

GREY (varying shades)

TWIST/RUN/REPULSION
THEME FOR GREAT CITIES
PROMISED YOU A MIRACLE
HUNTER AND THE HUNTED
SOUL CRYING OUT
7 DEADLY SINS
MY LIFE (middle part in teal green)
KILLING ANDY WARHOL
JEWELLER TO THE STARS
DIFFERENT WORLD
MIDNIGHT WALKING

BROWN (varying shades)

SANCTIFY YOURSELF (this is one of their more tricky pieces. Technically it could be listed under rose as per its verse and chorus parts however, the intro and bridge are so strong in their colouration that I thought it apt to list it here. Likewise Charlie’s guitar solo here shifts between the taupe colouring of said intro, the brown of the bridge and the verse/chorus in rose)
MANDELA DAY

BLACK

20TH CENTURY PROMISED LAND

 

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