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X5 Box set

32 customer reviews

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Amazon's Simple Minds Store


Image of album by Simple Minds


Image of Simple Minds



"Their best album in 30 years." 4/5 Mojo
"Simple Minds at their ideal fighting weight." 4/5 Q Magazine
"A brave new phase of their career." 8/10, Vive Le Rock
"A vibrant return to founding principles." Uncut

SPRING 2015 UK ... Read more in Amazon's Simple Minds Store

Visit Amazon's Simple Minds Store
for 103 albums, 17 photos, discussions, and more.

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Product details

  • Audio CD (20 Feb. 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 6
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: Virgin Catalogue
  • ASIN: B006GX3ONK
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 56,711 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Product Description

Product Description

Simple Minds were a hugely influential band in the 80s and the biggest rock band to hail from Scotland. This box features all five of the band's albums over six discs - with Sons and Fascination and Sister Feelings Call as separate discs in a gatefold sleeve – as well as bonus material on each disc including rare and previously unavailable B-sides and remixes.

Disc 1: Life in a Day
Disc 2: Real to Real Cacophony
Disc 3: Empires and Dance
Disc 4: Sons and Fascination
Disc 5: Sister Feelings Call
Disc 6: New Gold Dream

BBC Review

To anyone bemoaning Simple Minds' second life as U2's little stadium-rock brothers, the aficionado would point to their early albums when they were experimentalists, their heads unturned by the US dollar. Now as recent releases like The Horrors' Skying are compared favourably with formative Minds efforts, there's a chance for everyone to appreciate the fuss. X5 is a box set of their first five albums, plus remixes and live tracks, nominally issued to commemorate the 30th anniversary of New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84) but, more pertinently, to tie in with a set of gigs that will draw exclusively on the material.

And it's a fascinating study of one band's evolution, as they quickly find their feet, take them in unexpected directions then plant them firmly in the 80s rock soil. Immediately, there's no real indication of the Glaswegians' past as punks Johnny and the Self Abusers. Life in a Day – Simple Minds' 1979 debut – owes an undeniable debt to Roxy Music and the David Bowie of Station to Station and Low, mixing curt piano lines and glam rock but also hinting at a sense of fun that would later be wiped clear. Chelsea Girl even sounds like the hit that would nevertheless elude them for three years.

Real to Real Cacophony, released just a few months later, is more stripped back but seethes with ideas from the jumbled snare flashes of Citizen (Dance of Youth) to the oompah synths of Film Theme. Empires and Dance in 1980 – is there anyone so prolific these days? Rihanna, maybe – is more out-there still, its adventure epitomised by the convulsive Twist/Run/Repulsion, with Jim Kerr still finding his voice but guitarist Charlie Burchill carving perfect geometric shapes. There are shared patterns with chronological peers Talking Heads but Simple Minds are already looking closer to home, to Sheffield perhaps (or further up the tree, to Düsseldorf), embracing electronics.

Moving along, jewels abound on 1981's Sons and Fascination in the scratchy Sweat In Bullet and a title-track where Kerr begins to nail his baritone, but bolt-on album Sister Feelings Call really shines. The headlong drive and waterfall synths of Theme for Great Cities would become a bed for late-80s techno monsters, and the Minds at last discover a killer chorus on The American.

Finally – one breathless year later – there's New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84), the stepping stone. Burchill's guitar is seeking out riffs now, Kerr is the rabble-rousing frontman – and there are hits. The glorious hooks of Glittering Prize still sound great and Promised You a Miracle is an unavoidable breakthrough; but that questing, quirky spirit is gone, replaced by a big bold music that will fatten the wallet. For the rest of us it was worth it for the journey.

--Matthew Horton

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By S. D. Nunn on 29 Feb. 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I can completely understand why a few people are having problems with this reissue.

I admit I hadn't intended to buy it. I was at the gig on Friday, having a few ecstatic tearful moments, and even then I didn't think I'd be getting hold of this. Then I read a couple of reviews that mentioned the audio quality ...

Well, even though I am definitely a fan, I haven't bothered to replace my Simple Minds CD collection for years. Truth is, I've never felt it was worth doing given that no genuine attempt at remastering has taken place.

And I'm pretty certain this release might not wholly address potential sound quality issues, but it is infinitely better than the old discs. Maybe it's just because what amounts to the current bog standard equipment is so much better than it was a few years back. Or maybe someone has actually had a go at sorting out the sound ... anyway, these discs are so much punchier, wider, brighter (but not at all brittle at the top end), much more and much tighter bass and some seriously big drums ... they sound absolutely freekin' fantastic!

At worst I figured I could justify this purchase with the usual 'it'll be handy for the car' or the classic 'it costs less than a round' ... but no, I don't need those lame justifications.

Sure, it would have been interesting to get to wade through a few demo tracks and/or obscurities, but at this price I'm not bothered, and let's face it, there are bound to be future releases that undertake exactly that.

As for the lack of a decent booklet - or any booklet at all - that does seem pretty odd. But hardly critical, given that anyone who really wants to do some nominal research will only take 30 seconds to arm themselves with online resources.

All in all this turns out to be one of the best reissue packages I've seen.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By JC on 19 Mar. 2012
Format: Audio CD
Simple Minds were my favourite band when I was a teenager. The interesting thing is I reached their early recordings from
the much more mainstream "Once Upon a time" and "In the City of Light" era. I was really fortunate, as I found there everything: punk, new wave, glam rock, after punk, kraut-rock, avant-garde...all mixed up with an enormous amount of inspiration and talent. They prepared my ears for other great stuff. Even when I found some too bizarre-to-my-ear things, I knew there was something really good in those albums. Some years later I listen to them again and I find them as fresh and powerful as ever, or even better, as they sound great. Also, I learn a little bit about the departure of drummer Brian McGee and bassist Derek Forbes, which in fact meant a new and different band was born. From my point of view, the chemistry of those 5 guys was so great that no other record from Kerr & Burchill would be near as good, though i really love "Sparkle in the Rain", it is just another band. The incredible thing is they made all this fantastic pop music in less than 5 years! Now, I think Virgin has made a fair good job with this box: the sound is great and no another awful over remastering job has been made. The sleeves are very careful printed, and although some kind of credits or information is missed, a booklet or something, the pretty low price of the box makes it very enjoyable. I really think you will find here truly fantastic pop music which somehow has been underrated because of the much less inspired stuff Kerr and Burchill wrote after these albums. It's a great thing that's been rediscovered. There are not many bands which reach this level of inventive and energy and we have to give that credit to them.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michael Patriksson on 12 Oct. 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This phase of their now quite long career I find to be without any doubt their most enduring, although I would also have been able to fully embrace a 5-in-a-row with Life In A Day replaced by Sparkle in the Rain. The former is a shade too uneven and derivative, while the latter is the first one of theirs that speaks stadium volume, for better and worse. My favorites among these are the triple Empires and Dance - Sons and Fascination - Sister Feelings Call, which range from Kraftwerkian tones to really great period dance music. The latter two has been paired on one disc on more than one occasion, and I cannot decide between these three which one is the best. Have a go and decide yourself. Its Kraftwerk/Roxy Music textures make them quite European, and especially Empires and Dance is filled with references to traveling, language differences, and past WWII-European city life. You can feel a bit intellectual about it, while you dance. You can't that about much music produced these days. Another very important factor, of course, is that this collection is an absolute, freaking bargain.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By DJ Control TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 12 April 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
It's a bit of a misnomer to call this 6 disc set X5. Let me explain. For the first time since their initial release way back in 1981, "Sons And Fascination" & "Sister Feelings Call" appear in this set as two separate discs, mainly to add the bonus tracks to each album. The first digital release of "Sons..(CDV 2207)", was augmented with only five of the seven tracks from "Sisters.." due to time restrictions on early cd releases. When the entire Simple Minds Virgin catalogue was remastered ten years ago, these two albums, with tech advances in disc writing and increased storage capacity were released with all tracks present as a single combined album, "Sons and Fascination/Sister Feelings Call(SIMCDX4)". They are now considered as one title in the Simple Minds discography even though originally released as two separate records hence the X5 title for this box. The remasters from 2002 were excellent and have also been used for this box set for the most part. Only the bonus tracks were newly mastered in 2012.

When I was tossing up whether to purchase this box set or not I investigated that download store whose name starts with iT and did the sums. It worked out being cheaper to buy the physical release, even though I own the bulk of the tracks included in this six disc set as opposed to buying the 19 bonus tracks individually so it's a no brainer really. Even if, like me, you already own these early albums from the 2002 remaster series, it's worth it for the extra content. The packaging, as other reviewers have written is a bit of a let down. There are no inserts, booklets or additional info apart from what was printed on the original vinyl sleeves. A booklet/content sheet would've been nice but would've added to the cost.
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