I’ve talked about my love for Boys From Brazil in passing several times now. On the Simple Minds FB page too, telling Jim how much I would love to meet Brian McGee and thank him…KISS HIM…for those amazing drums. Yes, Jim says Mel Gaynor is the best drummer in world…and he might be right. He certainly is stellar and gifted. But Brian’s role in the Simple Minds story, no matter how brief it was, should NOT be underplayed. He was there for four albums…five, if you count Sons And Fascination and Sister Feelings Call as separate entities. His work on those albums alone deserves endless accolades.
So, yes. Those drums. I find the beat of this song hypnotic. And it is down to these drums. It’s almost like you actually get transported to the Brazilian rainforest itself. Subtle synths slide in from Mick and then Charlie’s gleaming guitar comes in, high and proud in the mix.
Then Jim comes in with that title…just in case you weren’t sure where we were. Of course, the line isn’t meant to be taken literally…but with those drums (the drums, the drums!), how can you NOT feel as though you are in Brazil?
That Scots accent in his singing voice, that emphasis on the word “Brazil” – I never tire of it. “Champagne / Desert shore” – (he’ll hate me for saying this, probably…if he ever reads it…or I have the gall to share it some time) those lines conjure up imagery for me…like an art rock version of Copacabana. Young men, rich, snobby, handsome, yet full of scorn. Languishing poolside, as if not a care in the world.
“Eyes of the world on you”, yeah, we’d better watch out for these young nobs! They’ll be our leaders one day. It’s like the bloody Bullingdon Club!
I now have a very weird association attached to this song. This has happened to me quite a bit with songs in my life. This one now being no exception. Songs can take you back to a place. A few do for me. Some take me back to car journeys taken. ELO’s Hold On Tight transports me back to a car journey home from my siblings grandmother’s house (we have different fathers, me, from the rest of siblings. It was their paternal grandmother.). REM’s Losing My Religion…another car journey with my sister and brother-in-law. Tin Tin Out’s Here’s Where The Story Ends…yet another car journey, to Leicester Nuffield Hospital. And now Boys From Brazil, a coach journey home, having just been to see Nana Mouskouri at the Royal Albert Hall. Yes! My brain is weird!! Lol. But it was the early days of my Simple Minds fandom. The Other Half had fallen asleep (it was a late night!) and so I decided to amuse myself, listening to music. It was the night I really, REALLY fell in love with the song. The dark, lonely stretch of motorway (M1) from London. The coach had a camera onboard, showing the road ahead…those visuals and the boys in my ears…it was magic.
But, I WILDLY digress…
Derek’s bass in quite understated on this. As are Mick’s keyboards. They are just subtly there, just underneath. It’s all drums and guitar. Fans ask each other all the time, their fave guitar pieces from Charlie. Jim has asked us too. I have several. I love Woman, and 70 Cities As Love Brings The Fall…but “Boys” has to be right up there! He and Brian make the musicality of the song.
And Jim’s vocal is outstanding. The emphasis of the words…the lyrics themselves. The sparsity in which he uses them.
And then, the second time he delivers those lines…
“What can you say about anything lost now?
What can you say about stolen things too?
Anything’s stolen, something is lost now,
What can you say and how fast can things move?”
He is sssooo front of the mix…when listening with headphones on, it’s like he’s singing it right in your lugholes.
I love all the words and I love the way he sings them. It is my favourite vocal performance of his on record, I reckon.
And I really don’t know much about production AT ALL…but, blow me…Steve Hillage did a mighty fine job in my eyes (and ears!). No wonder they wanted to work with him again for Big Music!
I think this somewhat makes up for the lack of articulation for Life In Oils! Lol.
This song is Brian’s, Charlie’s and Jim’s.
Not only is this song in my Top 50…but it’s in my Top 5! There are only two songs in the Simple Minds catalogue that I have to repeat (and repeat) after I listen to it. This is one. Spirited Away is the other.
And THAT is why I love Boys From Brazil.