Simple Minds New Gold Dream (81, 82, 83, 84)

By HWS 11th March 2022.

An influential album of ours here at Holywell Towers.  Personally at a push the best album of all time, it is a mood piece; timeless and certainly has a ‘dream’ to it.  It is one of those albums you can lose yourself in what was an exciting time in the 80’s post punk era.  Simple Minds are also a Scottish band much like Altered Images.  They all came from the Southside of Glasgow.

Released in September 1982, the album generated a handful of singles: “Promised You a Miracle” (released in April 1982), “Glittering Prize” (August 1982) and “Someone Somewhere in Summertime” (November 1982).  This was the fifth some say ‘sixth’ studio album.

The title track New Gold Dream (or New Gold Dream 81-82-83-84 if you’re being pedantic) is far and away a lyrical genius.

New gold dream

She is the one in front of me, the siren and the ecstasy
New gold dream
Crashing beats and fantasy, setting sun in front of me
New gold dream
And the world goes hot
And the cities take
And the beat goes crashing
All along the way

In a 2012 interview, singer Jim Kerr recalled the production of the album as a wonderful time during the late spring and early summer of 1982 in which “everything we tried worked,” adding: “There were no arguments.  We were in love with what we were doing, playing it, listening to it. You don’t get many periods in your life when it all goes your way.”

I’ve since heard it be said that this is the last decent Simple Minds album.  They had reached their peak some might say, in this much maligned decade that was the 80s.  If so, that is interesting, because while you can already see the traits that soon made the band unbearable – overblown melodies, a yearning for pop success, the essential absurdity of Jim Kerr – on this occasion the result is transcendent beauty.  Majestic and Triumphant.

The equal best on the album with Someone, Somewhere in Summertime.  As well as deeply cryptic lyrics, both songs are underpinned by the band’s then-trademark metronomic-yet-fluid rhythm.

The tracks, Big Sleep and Hunter and the Hunted are anthems to the 80s generation.  Simple Minds ultimately performed at Live Aid in front of 100,000 people in the USA in 1985; to raise funds for the Ethiopian famine disaster.  Broadcast across the world via one of the largest satellite link-ups of all time.  Not bad for a band from Glasgow.  At which point one of our Angie HWS staff (aged 14) didn’t mind staying at home to watch this given she had been at the Kelvingrove Park Festival the night before and got a wee bit drunk!

The album also related to our beloved Celtic Football Club in the 80’s.  I’ve always found that difficult to explain.  Perhaps we know where the groups allegiances lie and I take references to Glasgow’s streets in a lot of the tracks.  I’m sure they wouldn’t mind us saying it’s an ‘80s Celtic theme tune album.  Celtic, music and threads all tie in together for us.


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