Themes, Vol. 1: March 79-April 82

Simple Minds

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Themes, Vol. 1: March 79-April 82 Review

by Andy Kellman

In 1990, as Simple Minds continued to rampage full-steam into a downward slide of overwrought albums and evaporating relevance, Virgin U.K. began repackaging the group's singles as CD5s through the Themes series. These 20 releases were then shoehorned into five boxed sets, which were separated by chronological periods. As several die-hard fans no doubt observed by the title, the first box, Themes, Vol. 1: March 79-April 82, ignores the singles -- "Chelsea Girl," "Life in a Day," "Changeling" -- from the group's first two albums. The singles included here came off the Empires and Dance, Sons and Fascination, Sister Feelings Call, and New Gold Dream albums. They don't function as straight reissues of the original 12" releases, but they provide a wealth of material, though there's nothing in the way of previously unissued scraps to bait completists. The majority of the A-sides are extended versions, while the B-sides are predominantly album cuts. Though the period covered here was part of Simple Minds' era of greatness, this first box is almost as inessential as the ones that followed.

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