Album Reviews of the 80s

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Simple Minds, "Empires And Dance" / 1980 Review by: Ying Mak
One of the forgotten albums from the beginning of the decade, Empires And Dance remains the most disturbing piece of work from Simple Minds(a band that still has interesting things to say in the '90s). Empires And Dance seems to inhabit some post-apocalyptic world where no hope exists; instead there is paranoia and dread, bundled and delivered with plenty of black humour in songs such as the eerie "Today I Died Again", or the very sardonic "Celebrate". The album is so uncompromisingly bleak that it's a little surprising their record label agreed to release it. It's not an easy album to listen to, nor very comprehensible at first, but it sure stands out from conventional, mainstream pop.

So where does this album fit in? Empires And Dance is a work relevant to its time: released as the '70s ended and the '80s began, it captures that period's atmosphere of unease, particularly in the European sphere. The songs came out of the band's experiences while touring Europe at a time of escalating Cold War tension;they speak of the hostility of that environment as well as the prevalent feeling of moral/social decay. There is irony in the title Empires And Dance: in the face of world calamity and political intransigence, people just keep partying 'til the bitter end.

We also have pages on this topic devoted to the 70s and 90s

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