Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Simple Minds

  • Themes for Great Cities [Stiff, 1982] C-
  • New Gold Dreams (81-82-83-84) [A&M, 1983] C+
  • Once Upon a Time [A&M, 1985] B-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Themes for Great Cities [Stiff, 1982]
Dance sources assure me that I heard all or most of this "Definitive Collection 79-81" in clubs during the years indicated, and it must be, since even today it makes me want to sit down on the spot. English DOR at its intricately ambient Eurodisco-cum-art-rock nadir, replete with steps for subtle metronomes and computerized sound effects that avoid vulgar sensationalism at all costs. Somebody take a good look at that singer's eyes and ask him whether he loves his mother. C-

New Gold Dreams (81-82-83-84) [A&M, 1983]
With more effort than hedonism should ever require, I make out three or maybe four full-fledged melodies on this self-important, mysteriously prestigious essay in romantic escape. Though the textures are richer than in ordinary Anglodisco, they arouse nary a spiritual frisson in your faithful synesthetician. Auteur Jim Kerr is Bowie sans stance, Ferry sans pop, Morrison sans rock and roll. He says simple, I say empty and we both go home. C+

Once Upon a Time [A&M, 1985]
Pittsburgh DJ in Billboard: "The term `superstar' is used too loosely. Simple Minds are a superstar to [A&M's] Charlie Minor, but a lot of my listeners have never heard of them." That's how bad things are, and that's not the half of it. Because you know damn well Charlie Minor thinks Simple Minds are "artists," too. B-