Ruby Tuesday: Simple Minds, “Stranger”

It’s August 2005, and a press release lands in my inbox about an upcoming Simple Minds album, Black & White 050505. I’m rightfully skeptical, since the last album I had bought from the band, the 2001 covers album Neon Lights, was up there (down there?) with Duran Duran’s Thank You as one of the worst covers albums (worst albums?) of all time. But my love for the holy trinity of New Gold Dream, Sparkle in the Rain and Once Upon a Time ruled out, and I requested a copy, hoping against hope that they would not disappoint me yet again.

And holy smokes, was I glad I did. The album is amazing, easily their best work since Once Upon a Time and quite possibly better. Suddenly, I can’t wait for this album to come out so I can set up an interview with Jim Kerr, even though I knew that even if I were able to score such an interview coup, there’d be no way in hell I would be able to translate it. Seriously, have you ever heard him speak? For as crystal-clear as he sings, his speaking voice is a riddle wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a drowning Scotsman.

Alas, my hopes were dashed when the album was bumped to January of the following year, and when January arrived…it was removed from the schedule altogether. Dude, not cool. To date, the album has yet to grace US shores, and that is nothing short of tragic. Witness today’s Ruby Tuesday selection “Stranger,” which combines the present-day ideas of a couple aging divas (Madonna’s song, Cher’s vocoder) and gives them an old-school Simple Minds once-over. Sha la la la, indeed.

Simple Minds – Stranger.mp3