Glittering Prize 1981-1992

Simple Minds

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Glittering Prize 1981-1992 Review

by Dave Thompson

At first glance this seems a particularly silly compilation, not least of all because "Glittering Prize" isn't actually on it, and neither are any of Simple Minds' releases from 1981 or 1992. So forget the misleading title. And forget, too, that a lot of your other favorite songs aren't here. How could they be? This compilation only contains a measly 12 tracks. Back in 1992, Virgin released a 16-track compilation entitled Glittering Prize 81/92; it was a U.K. chart-topper, and permutations of this set, with slightly altered track listings, have appeared across the globe ever since. This truncated version, however, might well be the best of the batch. Apparently put together by a serious fan and experienced DJ, not only does it brilliantly showcase the band's oeuvre, it also beautifully captures the feel of their music and the core of their sound. But what makes this set stand apart is the sequencing, which is phenomenal. "Alive and Kicking" is an inspired choice to open, as it highlights both the band's dreamy, yearning quality and their dramatic flair. Six years separate that song from 1991's "See the Light," but the pair are wed by U2, whose ubiquitous chiming sound provided inspiration for both. Simple Minds own epic qualities were in a more understated vein, as "Don't You (Forget About Me)" beautifully illustrates. Kicking it up a notch comes "Sanctify Yourself," followed by the emotive "Belfast Child," its Irish air echoed on the celebratory "Stand by Love," whose own driving rhythm offers a perfect link into "Up on the Catwalk." "Let There Be Love" here is a bit of a misstep, the set's only one, and probably should have followed "Belfast," but it does mold nicely with "All the Things She Said," which itself melts perfectly into "Someone Somewhere (In Summertime)." If this was recorded live, "Waterfront" would be the encore; in a club set, this is the point where the crowd mass rush the dancefloor with excitement. As a greatest-hits album, this Glittering Prize is not one, but as a one-disc set that captures the band's soul, it can't be beat.

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