November 18, 2013

Simple Minds - New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84) (1982/2003)

Voix and I were at our local record store a little less than a year ago perusing the sundry racks of used LPs.  I was admiring the worn edges of the old Bowie records when he came up to me with a sly grin on his face and something intriguing tucked underneath his arm. He knew he was about to show me something that would dramatically raise all of my previous standards of new wave. He presented to me Simple Mind's New Gold Dream, an original pressing with the limited edition purple and gold marbled wax.  I was fascinated, but my wallet was empty.  Voix would not let me leave without this "Glittering Prize" under my arm.  He paid for the record and placed it in my nearly trembling hands.  We left the store beaming with excitement.  

As soon as we arrived back at my apartment, I dropped the needle on the gorgeous marbled vinyl. Charlie Burchill's opening riff to "Someone Somewhere in Summertime" rang through my speakers and filled the room with mellifluous musical gold.  I sat in front of the record player, and let the rest of the song take me over.  Jim Kerr's vocals bounced around my skull, and Derek Forbes' bass lines rattled my bones.  I was immediately enraptured by New Gold Dream and its transcendent beauty.  Tracks like "Glittering Prize" and the title track "New Gold Dream (81/82/83/84)" illustrate a level of cohesiveness and brilliance that a band can only experience once in a lifetime.   The entire album flows so seamlessly and stunningly. There are so few albums that are able achieve the genius that defines New Gold Dream.   

Simple Minds released this record in September of 1982.  It was their fifth studio album.  Critically acclaimed, and rightly so, it climbed the UK charts to the #3 spot.  The album was produced by a teenage Peter Walsh who had also worked with Heaven 17.  Walsh brought in Herbie Hancock to play a keyboard solo on "Hunter and the Hunted".  What an amazing cameo.  A crowning moment on this momentous record, Hancock takes the listener into a dreamy euphoria.  The album ends with the seven minute dark serenade that is "King is White and in the Crowd".  Kerr's spooky and mercurial vocals accompanied by Mick Macneil's enigmatic keyboards bring the record to a dramatic close.  An absolutely perfect ending to an immaculate album.

Still positioned in front of my record player, with my jaw hung wide open, I lifted the needle. Listening to that album all the way through for the first time was an experience I will never forget.  This record has now made its way into my regular rotation, but I still find myself making the extra effort to really enjoy, and appreciate this masterpiece.  I have spent many nights sitting in the exact same spot in front of the turntable, with a glass of wine in hand, letting New Gold Dream elegantly wash over me.

“I have the most beautiful memories of New Gold Dream. It was made in a time between Spring and Summer and everything we tried worked. 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.” -Jim Kerr

New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84) (1982/2003)
1. Someone Somewhere in Summertime
2. Colours Fly and Catherine Wheel 
3. Promised You a Miracle
4. Big Sleep
5. Somebody Up There Likes You 
6. New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84)
7. Glittering Prize
8. Hunter and the Hunted 
9. King Is White and in the Crowd 

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  2. Indeed Jim Kerr, indeed. We very rarely have periods or even moments in our lives like that, and when we do, it is like trying to hold water in your hands; it just slips away as quickly as it appeared. Beautiful post

  3. One of several albums that were recorded correctly, allowing the listener to put their audio system to work. One of the best high db albums!

    1. scurfie, I completely agree. I put my system to work with the album regularly!

    2. Indeed. The dynamics on this LP are astonishing!

    3. I regularly still use the 1st pressing promo of the US gold version to demo high fi gear. Stunning analogue atbits height.

  4. Transcendental music for the soul. I literally cried the first time I heard the album on release day as a 16 year old teenager. The emotional pull of these 9 beautifully opulent and at times melancholic artistic pieces is nothing short of an epiphany. Nothing more needs to be said. In my top 5 post punk recordings of all time along with Closer, Unknown Pleasures, Technique and The Correct Use of Soap. Walsh's production is astounding - a lusher cocoon of sound I have yet to hear on a pop record. Always try and get hold of an original pressing with Townhouse and Hedgehog in the deadwax in the UK...later pressings are a little less dynamic. The gold marble first pressing limited edition is also the best on A&M in the US. The US mastering and pressings are also bigger on the bass. Its a Yankee thang! And I promise you the only way to listen to this properly is on vinyl. All digital versions are flat, thin and compressed.