Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Simple Minds - Acoustic (2016)

NEW MUSIC WEEK 2016 (NOVEMBER 14-20, 2016)

German Import

So what happens when an eighties post-punk turned New Wave turned arena rock band scales back their sound? Let's find out. First off, these tracks aren't acoustic so I call shenanigans on the album title (Mojo magazine labeled this "the least unplugged Unplugged album ever"). However, there's more acoustic than electric guitar and the synths are mixed way down so there's that. But let's be honest, what would Simple Minds be without synth pads and production effects? You can tell that time has taken a toll on Jim Kerr's voice, but to his credit, he's still singing the songs in the same keys. Not surprisingly, the band picks songs from their heyday; don't expect cuts from 2014's Big Music (which is a great album, FWIW). KT Tunstall duets on Promised You A Miracle and guess what chicken butt? It ends up sounding exactly like a KT Tunstall song. Other than that, it's exactly what you'd expect from such a venture.

Metacritic currently has this new release listed at 59, a rating I can endorse. Not bad, but leaves you scrambling for the originals.

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: to be determined

  1. The American from Sons and Fascination/Sister Feelings Call (1981)
  2. Promised You A Miracle from New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84) (1982)
  3. Glittering Prize from New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84) (1982)
  4. See the Lights from Real Life (1991)
  5. New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84) from New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84) (1982)
  6. Someone Somewhere in Summertime from New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84) (1982)
  7. Waterfront from Sparkle In The Rain (1984)
  8. Sanctify Yourself from Once Upon a Time (1985)
  9. Chelsea Girl from Life In A Day (1979)
  10. Alive And Kicking from Once Upon A Time (1985)
  11. Don't You (Forget About Me) from The Breakfast Club soundtrack (1985)
  12. Long Black Train (Richard Hawley cover)
Tracks that work: 1, 4, 5, 8, 10, 11, 12
Not quite: 2, 3, 6
Tracks to be skipped: 7 (but you could have guessed this bombastic masterpiece wouldn't translate well to this sort of setting, no?), 9

Songs I wished had been on the album: Love Song, All The Things She Said, Belfast Child, Up On The Catwalk, Speed Your Love To Me, Let There Be Love. Some of these were released on the 15 track vinyl version of the release to which I cry, "Vinyl only bonus tracks?? WTF???" as I pull out what little hair I have left. What's with the anti-CD bias I'm picking up lately??

Say it ain't so.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: None.

Previously revisited for the blog:
Glittering Prize (1992)
Real Life (1991)
Once Upon a Time (1985)
New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84) (1982)
Sons and Fascination/Sister Feelings Call (1981)

1 comment:

  1. The anticipation I felt when you shared the announcement of this album was dimmed when the first single, the KT Tunstall-assisted "Promised You A Miracle", was released a short time later on Spotify.

    The following week, "The American" was released and my hopes dimmed a bit further.

    "Alive and Kicking" and "Don't You (Forget About Me)" followed on successive weeks and then the album appeared. It was last on my Albums To Listen To list that week and I need not ever hear it again.

    I read somewhere that the test of a great song is how well it sounds when played on an acoustic guitar or on piano. More than half of the songs collected here are great songs in my opinion though they fail that acid test.

    To get over my disappointment with Acoustic, I turned to the five discs of the massive New Gold Dream (81/82/83/84) boxed set released earlier this year. Worked like a charm.