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neapolis : information

JK: "I listened to Neapolis when I was in Italy. It sounded like two records being played at the same time. Charlie had all these ideas when Pro Tools came in, but it needed to be co-ordinated. The melodies were strong - if we had the conviction to see it through, it would have been great. But by that time, we thought, no matter what we do, no one wants to know."

Record Collector Interview
Record Collector #364
July 2009


  • "WHENEVER I HEAR A NEW SONG IT'S USUALLY NOT WHAT THE SONG IS SUPPOSED TO BE ABOUT THAT IS OF IMMEDIATE INTEREST TO ME; no - by far it's whatever emotion conveyed that seems to be of more consequence. This, then, is the thing that grabs me - this is the thing that strikes a chord - and when this happens, any other meaning is surplus to demand - in other words, I don't need it."

    "Presently two pieces of music I choose for continual listening are Tangled Up In Blue by Bob Dylan and Night by Fateh Ali Khan. Now the fact that I find the lyrics of hte former both stunning and puzzling is proof that I need no more meaningful explanation, even if I'm not sure what this classic is actually about, even if I find it all bamboozling - the melodic effect is enough to create this overwhelming sensation that leaves me falling in love with this song, time AND TIME AGAIN. It's just genius at work, simple as that. Moving onto the latter, the fact that this songbird sings in a language both ancient and wholly alien to me, only serves to enhance the living spirit of such incredibly powerful music, a music wholly capable of joyfully reducing me to tears - a music of real wonder."

    "The point being that with music - you either get it! Or you don't! And in my opinion, if you need to ask for an explanation as to what a song is about - well I'm afraid the signs are not so good. The secret is to listen carefully and both your imagination and emotions will tell you what's going on. They're never wrong. For those who could do with some help, here are some of our impressions behind the music of the latest new album. [Click on each song title for those]."

    "Firstly, I'm not so sure that there is an overall lyrical theme to this set of recordings. Sometimes during the creation of an album a concept that seems to focus all the songs under one theme turns up and presents itself; almost as some natural conclusion. Often this concluding theme goes on to be the eventual album title as in both New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) and Street Fighting Years although at no time did we sit down and try to come up with concepts and albums titled thus; in these cases it's just something that we arrived at. On other records there is no binding theme lyrically, the songs are connected only in some sonic sense and I feel pretty confident that this is the case with the current situation. I could be wrong though, maybe there is some theme that I'm too close to recognise. I wouldn't be surprised were that the case."

    "Therefore if this is to be an album without any obvious overall theme, as in other albums like Once Upon A Time, Sparkle In The Rain, Real Life etc, let's try to discover some "impressions" from the songs individually, and who knows we may even find some theme after all. For anyone interested, this is the first time I will have tried to articulate the songs to any extent since their creation, the reason being that we feel you can "talk away a song" at a too early stage and it's so much more interesting to work away at the ideas, following them through and letting the art determine whatever falls rightfully into place. The best ideas both lyrically and muscially seem to happen at random, the skill is how to then elaborate these ideas; but even more crucially perhaps is possessing the ability to be able to spot them when they initially occur."

    "At the risk of making the whole process sound overtly mystical it still has to be said for me at least that the level of concentration involved does indeed border on some kind of meditation; and it's at this point - when you feel so engaged with the music that "it" seems to be "speaking" to you - almost telling you where to go with the musical flow. Poor as it teherefore is, this is only a skeletal description of the "improvisation" involved in the early states of our writing - I am always abel to tell how things "strike" me but please don't be so mundane as to ask what it's all about because it's then that I become truly lost for words" - Jim, e-mail, 11th March 1998

  • The working title for the album was Album 97.

  • Work continued at Olympic Studios in March 1997. Jim once joked that the album sounded like two being played at the same time; the Olympic sessions sounded like three albums being played at once, with the tracks overspilling with ideas and effects.

  • Work continued at PlusXXX in Paris in June 1997. The album was completed in Capri in October 1997.

  • Some rumours persisted of an LP test pressing. There's nothing in the Universal Tape Archive to indicate that any production masters were ever mixed for an LP, so no test pressings were produced.

  • Some copies of the standard CD were sent out as promos. These have promo stickers on the back:

  • Sessions began at Bonny Wee Studios in January 1996 with a reunited Simple Minds in the form of Jim, Charlie, Derek Forbes and Brian McGee. These early recordings included a number of instrumentals, some recognisable as featuring fragments of Lightning and Killing Andy Warhol.

  • Tears Of A Guy was also resurrected after being demoed for both Real Life and Good News From The Next World. Song For The Tribes was even older, originally being a Street Fighting Years demo called Power In The Darkness.

  • These early demos were much darker than previous Simple Minds material, much more experimental, and featured the dense, electronic effects and elaborate rhythms which would later characterise the album itself.

  • One song worked on during the album sessions, and not released, was called Island Life.

  • "In countless conversations the question comes up "So what was your biggest hit?" A far more interesting question I reckon is "So what was your biggest flop?" Tough question. Had many of them and quite proudly so in the case of our album Neapolis. No one except both Charlie and I seemingly have any time for that record and as unfortunate as that may be - we just don't care. Continuing down our merry path all these years later - still liking it, despite its terrible mix and absurd modern weirdness. But you can rest easy. I won't be playing anything from Neapolis tonight during the first of the shows that I present for Absolute Radio. But I might listen to it all the same, on the way back from the studio. Because, well, that is just the kind of mood I am in. Thanks for listening tonight - should you do so!" - Jim, 13th February 2016.

  • The album was remastered in 2002 as part of an extensive Virgin campaign. It was released as a limited edition vinyl replica CD and standard edition CD. As no vinyl edition was released in 1998, this left the designers some leeway, and they chose to present the limited edition mini vinyl version as a gatefold. The standard jewelcased version remains on catalogue.



neapolis : quick reference
MC    Neapolis Chrysalis 7243 4 93712 4 8
1-1. Song For The Tribes(5:37)
1-2. Glitterball(4:55)
1-3. War Babies(5:03)
1-4. Tears Of A Guy(4:47)
1-5. Superman v Supersoul(4:47)
2-1. Lightning(5:34)
2-2. If I Had Wings(4:42)
2-3. Killing Andy Warhol(5:15)
2-4. Androgyny(5:08)


CD    Neapolis Chrysalis 7243 4 93712 2 4
1. Song For The Tribes(5:37)
2. Glitterball(4:55)
3. War Babies(5:03)
4. Tears Of A Guy(4:47)
5. Superman v Supersoul(4:47)
6. Lightning(5:34)
7. If I Had Wings(4:42)
8. Killing Andy Warhol(5:15)
9. Androgyny(5:08)









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Glitterball War Babies