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Neon Lights is Simple Minds' covers album. Frankly, these projects often serve little purpose beyond announcing that the artists concerned have run out of original ideas. With the Simple Minds' new album of freshly composed material, Our Secrets Are the Same, now shelved due to legal complications, the Minds have opted to doff their caps in the direction of the heroes of their youth, such as David Bowie, Lou Reed, and the Doors. This is the material the band performed when they were scrawny Glaswegian punks called Johnny & the Self-Abusers. The arrangements here are slightly dated techno-rock efforts, albeit without the expansive pomp and bluster of their stadium-straddling 1980s heyday. Even so, Neon Lights is probably too respectful. Many of these numbers--Echo & the Bunnymen's "Bring on the Dancing Horses," Bowie's "The Man Who Sold the World"--are identikit presentations, while electro-rock assaults on Them's "Gloria" and the Doors "Hello I Love You" are monotonous and misguided. A very interesting revision of Pete Shelley's "Homosapien" and a faithful, powerful reading of the Velvet Underground's "All Tomorrow's Parties" are much better. --Kevin Maidment
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This is a fantastic collection of covers of really popular songs from the 1970's and onward from really popular bands including the Doors, Echo & the Bunnymen, the Velvet Underground, Roxy Music...Have I said enough??? If you love these bands and like SM, get this album. You would be missing out on a lot if you do own this.
With that said, how's the album? Reasonably good. The highlights are mostly tucked away in the second half, namely renditions of Neil Young's "The Needle & The Damage Done," Velvet Underground's "All Tomorrow's Parties," and Human League's "Being Boiled." Each is interpreted in an interesting manner, while challenging preconceptions about Simple Minds' sound. Pete Shelly's "Homosapien," while close to the original, is such a great track it's a treat to hear anyone do it.
As for the rest of the album, some of the covers are rather pedestrian; The Doors' "Hello I Love You" tries to evoke a 'modern' sound, but really sounds more like a couple of soccer dads fooling around with Casio keyboards. Others songs seem chosen - predictably and pretentiously - for their snob/cool factor - i.e. material from critic's darlings like Bowie/Lou Reed/Patti Smith, etc. Simple Minds were big fans of early Genesis, so why not "out themselves" and do a cover of "Watcher of the Skies" or "Cinema Show?" That would be more interesting, and more revealing.
Thankfully, after this album Simple Minds turned out another great album of originals, 2002's "Cry." The band is one of the few that can consistently turn out good new material, so they should stick to that.
Most recent customer reviews
The fact that this cd is Simple Minds doing covers is enough to buy it .Read more
Cover albums are a mixed breed.Read more
At first, I am a huge SM fan since 1988..Read more