Daily Duranie Review – Vertigo

It is time for a review!  As you know, we are reviewing the album, Notorious, track-by-track.  This week, we take a look at the 6th song on the album, Vertigo.  For many fans, this one seems to be a favorite off this album.  Is it worthy? Pay attention, Duranies, because this week, we have finally found a song where Amanda and Rhonda disagree….

Rhonda:

Musicality/Instrumentation of Vertigo:

From the first drumbeat, Vertigo has a sultry, slow, slinky feel that gives the song a very slight jazz touch, which is far different from other artists are doing during this period of time. The guitar, while present, takes on more of a rhythmic angle as opposed to lead. Even in the middle 8, you can hear the guitar but it is muted as an undertone to the synthesizer, making the synthesizer incredibly prominent. It’s a shame because you can hear real brilliance in the guitar track, but it’s not given a chance to shine whatsoever – it only serves as background texture to a much bolder synthesizer. For me, having the synthesizer and everything else muted gives a schmaltzy flavor to the song and disguises the potential for a much brighter and bolder song underneath.

Vocals on Vertigo:

The vocals for this song really don’t strike me one way or another, with the exception that in the chorus, Simon is almost completely lost in the background. The backup vocal track is very loud and nearly overtakes him.  Another section where this happens is the “maybe maybe maybe!!” section before the second chorus, although in that instance, the effect works much better, providing forcefulness rather than just covering up the lead. Having the backup singers loud and present definitely goes along with R&B flavor of the record, but I think it is a bit of a miss for me overall because rather than support Simon, they really tend to overshadow, and I don’t think that’s necessarily good for the song.

Lyrics on Vertigo:

I think the lyrics here are very interesting. On one hand, you might assume they are sexual given the first verse, “Hey guys, turn it up to get sleazy. Twist it in a vice.” But keep listening…”Don’t you feel edgy? Bite your lips and bleed. Conversation is empty; abandoned in the freeze.”  Or “Just need a little hit tonight”.  I kind of think the song has far more to do about drug abuse or hiding one’s true self in order to deal with fame. “Do the dance, do the demolition. Don’t lose the chance to hear when you don’t listen.”  Seems to me as though Simon is pleading with this person not to lose their real self completely. (I know you’re all probably saying the song is about John’s drug use. Perhaps…I don’t know)  As lyrics go, their meaning is not entirely obvious to me, but I like some of the lines throughout the song.

Overall on Vertigo:

This is a song that feels produced to within inches of its original life and intention. I can hear a fabulous guitar riff that is so masked and/or muted in parts it’s criminal, and a very heavy-handed synthesizer that doesn’t even create tension with the guitar – it completely monopolizes. In many ways, I feel this album and song was the start of where the band really seems to be in near-constant identity crisis mode, however well-loved it may be by fans. The background singing was over the top in parts, making Simon sound more like just another voice than the lead singer which really took away from the song for me.

2.5 cocktailsTwo and half cocktails

Amanda’s:

Musicality/Instrumentation on Vertigo:

I have to admit that this is my favorite song off of the album.  It wasn’t always but over the years this song has really grown on me.  My task here then is to figure out why.  What do I like about this song?  Like every other track on this album, it is instantly recognizable as being off the Notorious album.  There isn’t quite the battle between instrumentation like the first album or the layers upon layers of sounds/instruments/extras like Seven and the Ragged Tiger.  No, in this case, the instrumentation can be clearly heard.  It isn’t so much a situation of battling as it is a situation of working together for the most part.  For example, both keyboards and guitars are clearly heard and seem to be working together.  When the song begins, keyboards take bit more of the spotlight but it doesn’t last long as guitars are very clear by the time the vocals begin.  This isn’t to say that drums and bass aren’t present because they are.  In many ways, it seems like this song is very standard as each of the instruments do what they are supposed to do and when the chorus comes on, the tempo increases.  That said, there are some moments when one instrument is more obvious but it is way more subtle than what was done in say the first album.  The one thing this song does not have, unlike many of the other tracks on the album, is horns.

Vocals on Vertigo:

I admit that I love Simon’s vocals on this song.  They sound incredibly smooth and the moments that could bug me (“maybe maybe maybe”) don’t bother me as much as they could.  The chorus obviously has some backing vocals, which work really well with Simon’s voice.  It adds to the chorus rather than distracting from it.  In fact, I would say that the chorus presents a strong feeling that matches very well with sort of desperation found in the lyrics.  Both the vocals and the lyrics sound like they are pleading with whomever the song is directed towards.

Lyrics on Vertigo:

After doing these reviews of Duran Duran songs for so long, I have gotten to the point that I believe that all, or at least most,songs are about them, that they are all autobiographical in some way.  I doubt that is true but it seems like so many songs have been about their experiences that I start with the assumption that it is about them.  Does the assumption work for Vertigo?  The thing about these lyrics that have always struck me is the chorus:  “Where’s the real life in your illusion?  On the dark side of power’s in confusion.  Do the dance.  Do the demolition.  And lose the chance to hear when you don’t listen.”  Is fame the illusion?  Is being popular an illusion?  Is someone hiding something else?  Is the dancing, figurative or literal?  If someone is hiding something, they might have to “dance” around various things, right?  Does that lead to confusion to demolition?  Of course, the song also makes reference to needing a “hit tonight”.  Should I assume that is about John?  My favorite line, though, definitely is the one about losing “the chance to hear when you don’t listen”.  Don’t we all do that in our lives?  We don’t really listen or we don’t really pay attention to what we should do when we should.  Maybe it is about lying to ourselves.  Clearly, these lyrics make me think.  For that reason alone, I like them.

Overall:

I know that this song works for me.  Why is it?  I love how the lyrics make me think and I love how Simon’s vocals sound on this one.  More than that, though, I feel like what it seemed like they were trying to do on this album really worked here.  They stripped down the extras to allow the real instrumentation to shine through.  It wasn’t about cute little effects unless it enhanced the song.  It was a more mature Duran.  This song shows it.  The instrumentation blends well.  It feels more natural than some of the other tracks off the album.  If you look at a song like Skin Trade, to me, it feels like they were checking off boxes of what to include rather than what felt right.  This song just feels natural to me.
Cocktail Rating:  4 cocktails!
4 cocktails rating

Duran Duran History: Jacksonville 2005

Today’s Duran Duran history takes us back 10 years to 2005 (Really???  That was 10 years ago?!?), when Duran Duran played in Jacksonville, Florida.   They played at the Jacksonville VM Arena as part of their Astronaut Tour.

DuranDuranMusic has the following setlist posted for this show:

SUNRISE
HUNGRY LIKE THE WOLF
HOLD BACK THE RAIN
UNION OF THE SNAKE
ASTRONAUT
COME UNDONE
I DON’T WANT YOUR LOVE
CHAINS
WHAT HAPPENS TOMORROW
PLANET EARTH
TIGER TIGER
THE CHAUFFEUR
ORIDNARY WOLRD
SAVE A PRAYER
NICE
NOTORIOUS
THE REFLEX
CARELESS MEMORIES
THE WILD BOYS
WHITE LINES (DON’T DON’T DO IT)
GIRLS ON FILM
RIO

Anyone at this show?  Any special memories from it?

-A

Bestival 2015 with Duran Duran!

Bestival-line-up

Just announced today, Duran Duran will be performing at Bestival 2015 on the Isle of Wight in the UK.  Performing alongside The Chemical Brothers, The Underworld and many others,  Bestival 2015 takes place September 10-13 2015. As seems to be typical, tickets go on sale – yep, you guessed it – today!  (I don’t think the short notice is fault of DDHQ but instead on the shoulders of Bestival 2015 organizers and promoters – meaning, it’s by design.)

Those who surmised that the band would likely play some scattered festival dates this summer in the EU/UK seem to be on the right track!  Daily Duranie guesses that by this point, if not by summer – new music from #DD14 should likely be featured in the set list! It is wonderful to see new shows being announced, with what I am sure will be plenty more announcements to come.

-R

Back on the bike ride to ticket sales desperation

There is nothing like a last-minute show announcement or  Duran Duran concert ticket sales to get the blood pumping.

This morning, I trudged to my computer, ready to get my day going, when almost immediately I was met with notifications that I’d been tagged on Facebook posts. My jaw dropped when, out of nowhere, I read that Duran Duran was announcing a show in Los Angeles in conjunction with a Lynch Foundation event at the Ace Hotel.  I blinked (because obviously I was seeing things), shook my head a bit, re-read the post again, and then realized that DDHQ had once again outdone themselves with advance notice.

Ticket sales were to begin in AN HOUR.

Listen, I’m all for reacting quickly to news. I’m a parent. My entire life is spent reacting to things I’d tried to prepare for in advance.  Quickly, I did the math in my head, knowing that Spring Break for my kids was the week after the event (Is anyone else chuckling that the event is on April Fools Day? Irony. A-mazing.), but what did that mean for Amanda? Would she want to fly out? Would she be willing to go for the cheap seats? Would the show even be worth my time? (Wait. Stop right there. Worth my time?!? This is Duran Duran, right? Right??)

I email Amanda with our special “you’d better check this immediately” code.  What is THAT, you ask?

This is an Official Duranie Alert!

(that’s the code!)

I wait. Fifteen minutes and several of my nails later…I text her, knowing that yes, she’s probably in class, and yes, she’s almost certainly working.  It’s Duran Duran, dammit!  Would she ignore a text from John Taylor? I think not!

In the meantime, I shuttle the youngest to school, come home and realize that the ticket sales link isn’t working. Stop the presses…the  link isn’t working? For ticket sales that begin in an hour…scratch that…in twenty minutes??  I check Twitter, no one is saying much other than the couple of other people who are looking for tickets. I go to Facebook, hoping some kind soul has found the golden link and is willing to hand out such intel. No dice…in fact, oddly enough, on a post about a show in Los Angeles with sales that begin that very morning, there are oddly few posts. Less than twenty when I post for the first time…and most of those are people begging for shows in other places. I post my comment that the link doesn’t work, and only a few respond. Weird. I start wondering if I’m in an alternate universe. Maybe I dropped into a black hole last night while I slept! (I KNEW our mattress was wearing out!!) 

Finally, the phone rings. At first I’m annoyed. Don’t people realize I’m  about to buy Duran Duran tickets?  Then I recognize that it’s Amanda. AMANDA! I grab the phone, announce that I hate the band (Standard operating procedure here at Daily Duranie – and I think it’s become a bit of our password to one another. When we greet one another that way, we know we’re talking to the right person.) and then launch into a very animated retelling of the morning’s events thus far.  Even though Amanda cannot see me, my hands are moving at lightning speed, because I am Sicilian, and in my family – that means we talk with our hands. It’s a sight to behold.

After I calm down, we notice the link is finally working, and triumphantly wait to see that…wait a second…ONLY VIP tickets are being sold. Huh? Listen, I love Duran Duran. No one should probably assume otherwise despite my avid name calling…but there is no way on this Planet Earth that I am paying $1000 for tickets to see the band. No way. Especially not since they are one of about 15 other fine folks scheduled to perform or “interpret” that night. (I am secretly nervous about what that might mean at this point…)

“For a show that price, I’d have to be sitting on stage, with the band…in a recliner. :D” – Rhonda on Twitter

So it was quickly established that nothing other than VIP was being sold. As Amanda and I vented on the phone, she and I would try to pull tickets every so often, and I almost continuously pulled up the same two pairs of VIP tickets, telling me that either no one was buying, or there were only two pairs of VIP tickets available.  Odd. Still no one saying much on Facebook or Twitter. Am I the only Duran Duran fan left, or do all other LA fans have the inside track to ticket sales??

Not minding that Amanda is at work and should probably be spending her time doing a thousand other things than talking to me on the phone, we agree that if we can get tickets, she’s coming out here for Spring Break (something that, the longer we talk on the phone, the more I realize I desperately need).

Why stress now when you can stress now AND later?

As we continue chatting, another friend spots that the ticket sale has now moved to 11am and communicates this intel. Because you know…why stress now when you can stress again in an hour?  So we have a game plan, and once again, we find ourselves in the desperate act of hoping for tickets to a show.  Have we not learned a SINGLE, SOLITARY thing in the past several years??

Actually we have, which is why we’re going for the cheap seats. 🙂

“It’s like riding a bike, Rhonda, you don’t forget!” – Amanda, on fandom and ticket sales.

I need therapy. Group therapy.

-R

BTW – we ended up with a little more expensive than “cheap seats” (I’m addicted and obviously in need of rehab. More rehab.)  Love you, Duran Duran.