thu 18/07/2024

CD: Simple Minds - Big Music | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Simple Minds - Big Music

CD: Simple Minds - Big Music

They're serious and hip again, but is that what we want?

Simple Minds: the sound of 1982

These days, it's not just those of a certain age who remember Simple Minds early days. Fans and critics alike have been reappraising the group's New Wave phase. The band too. Jim Kerr recently said to one theartsdesk writer "maybe we shouldn't have cashed in". Which sounds like an appealing sentiment until you realise it would have entailed denying the world "Alive and Kicking" and "Waterfront".

More pertinently, where you stand on the relative stages of the bands career will dictate what you make of Big Music. Like 2005's Black and White 050505, the album plugs straight into the New Gold Dream sound. And, even for diehard fans of The Breakfast Club soundtrack this is not entirely a bad thing. The title track may be full of electronic noises but it's also comprised of big beats, synths and anthemic vocals. “Let the Day Begin” also moves along at quite a groovy pace. Then there are other bits of songs that successfully burrow themselves into your ears: the beginning of “Midnight Walking” is lovely and sad in a Bowie's Low way. The chorus to “Broken Glass Park” is nicely thunderous.

Often, though, the songs feel like they are trying too hard to be cool. As such some seem more like convincing replicas of the band's erstwhile serious side rather than the real thing. “Concrete and Cherry Blossom”, for instance, contains so many Eighties motifs it ends up a jumbled mess. And the minor chords of “Blood Diamonds” don't sound haunting, they just sound like musical indigestion. At least, that is, if you are secretly hankering for some stadium pop. Still, you can only admire the band for moving forward. Even if it is by looking back at 1982.

Overleaf: Watch the video for "Honest Town"

Often, though, the songs feel like they are trying too hard to be cool


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

Explore topics

Share this article


I have to admit that I was a bit nervous when I first listened to the new songs… But, whoa, no need to be! Simple Minds just deliver a great album. Graffiti Soul was ok, Big Music is an artwork and deserves this name! Wow! I must say: Simple Minds at their best! Cool as always, I wonder why they don't fill the big Stadiums any more?!

Trying to be too cool??? What kind of review is this? You can't just say you like something good produced by an older (and better) artist than the mindless pop you gobble up these days. You can prop up Katie Perry and I will listen to the very cool Simple Minds. Later hipster...

Dear Steve, Simple Minds have been filling Stadiums and venues constantly for the last few years! Even the last 12 months.

Add comment

Subscribe to

Thank you for continuing to read our work on For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 15,000 pieces, we're asking for £5 per month or £40 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take a subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a gift subscription?


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters