Monday, 11 August 2014

Simple Minds 'She's A River'

Chart Peak: 9
The nucleus of Simple Minds is now singer Jim Kerr and guitarist Charlie Burchill. The "sensual and dangerous" 'She's A River' returned them to the Top 10 in January '95.
A hit that is perhaps no less forgotten than 'Independent Love Song', though in this case because it was the last Top 10 hit (and last Now appearance) for an act remembered for other songs. Whilst it's hard to agree entirely with the YouTube commenter who suggested that this was ripped off from 'The Fly' by U2, what it does have in common is that they both seem to have arrived at a juncture in an act's career where they felt they'd need to rethink their approach - U2 at the end of the 80s seemed to realise they were being overwhelmed by their own earnestness, hence the ironic attitude of the Achtung Baby album. Simple Minds, by contrast, seemed to feel they weren't being earnest enough, perhaps still trying to shrug off the reputation they'd got from 'Don't You Forget About Me' and 'Alive And Kicking'. Thus 'She's A River' - first single from their album Good News From The Next World, a title that was just asking for trouble  - feels like the start of their attempt to return to their art-rock roots, whilst still retaining the big stadium rock bombast that made them rich.

Unfortunately for them, even as they plunged deeper into electronics on subsequent recordings they've found it very hard to get that genie back into the bottle. Unfortunately for us, this song doesn't really work on any level - there's certainly nothing dangerous about it, other than the danger of falling asleep through boredom. It just feels like especially pompous AOR with nothing to back it up: cod-Wagnerian, one reviewer called it.

Also appearing on: Now 1, 5, 6, 7, 14, 15, 23
Available on: Celebrate Greatest Hits

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