You know their name and their song if you were a John Hughes fan (or even just a teenager) in the 80s. Bender walks across the field at the end of The Breakfast Club, throws a fist in the air and then “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” plays as the credits roll. Simple Minds has been doing music for a long time. Their new wave sound is completely identifiable and works. That being said, their newest album, Big Music, doesn’t exactly deliver the big music it promises.
Much like the new wave genre itself, there aren’t heavy songs on the album. There may be a constant and definitive beat, but singer Jim Kerr’s vocals remain raspy and light. The title track, “Big Music,” creates this larger than life atmosphere with said beats and distorted synths but creates the airy feel with some light vocalizations. Before the chorus hits, a light reminder of an acoustic guitar breaks up the chaos until the drum hits and the song mimics its namesake.
“Let The Day Begin” easily reminds the listener of the underlying beat from the sports arena anthem “Rock and Roll Pt. 2”— again, distorted guitar and synth sounds create this chaos that engulfs the entire track.
Strangely enough, Simple Minds doesn’t seem to stay too long with the distortions. The rest of the tracks are lighter and something straight out of the beginning of the MTV era. “Blindfolded,” “Human” and “Spirited Away” all use lighter layering of sounds. “Spirited Away,” the final track of the album, works as the closer because it is the end of the new wave trip.
A glance at the tracklisting makes the album seem heavier than it actually is. “Blood Diamond,” “Kill Or Cure” and “Concrete and Cherry Blossom” are misleading in their titles. While the intention may have been to create Big Music, it ultimately comes off as big chaos with a few throwbacks to a different time.