20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
When Simple Minds had the world at their feet..., 19 Dec 2003
Okay, so a few years later they blew it (largely due to Mick McNeil leaving the band and depriving them of the musical alchemy shared between himself and Mr.Burchill) but at this time in their career, Simple Minds had reached their peak. I disagree with anyone who slags this album off for being too "big" or "pompous". Yes it was, but so were Queen and so can U2 be, but isn't that why people love them???
I'm not taking anything away from the earlier albums "Life In Day", etc , "Sons and Fascination" had some great ideas and, arguable "New Gold Dream" is more subtle and mysterious and "Sparkle..." a some cracking tunes, but "Once Upon A Time" had greater ambitions and wanted to take this one step further.
Jimmy Iovine was an excellent choice of producer, and let's not forget, this was the mid 80s and it was the right choice of record for this time. As for the tunes. I would defend the beautiful symphonic melodies of the title track, "All The Things She Said" for its uplifting middle coda, "Alive and Kickings" fantastic singalong moments, "Sanctify Yourself" for it's sheer power, "Wish You Were Here's" old style Mind's subtlety and "Come Along Way" for it's sheer haunting playout (Mr.Gaynor's drums never sounded so good!). The lyrics are more direct and politically motivated, but so what, it was largely due to their campaigning that Nelson Mandela got out when he did - is this such a bad thing? And, come on, they couldn't carry on being a cross between Depeche Mode and Roxy Music forever, they'd already done that and bought the t-shirt! Yes, "Ghostdancing" was a new "I Travel" in sheep's clothing but give me "the car pulled up" middle eight anyday! "Oh Jungleland" is the weakest for me, but only because the others are so strong and works well live was an impassioned homage to lads hometown of Glasgow.
Obviously, I'm a fan of this album, but I simply love it for the years of, "hair on the back of the neck" moments it's given me. Sorry as I'm just rambling now! ...Don't let us forget about them in a hurry!!!