For my final pick of a blog from the past to showcase, I aimed for a blog that was connected to the release of Paper Gods. After all, there is a lot of news and hype that happens before an album’s release so there would be much to pick from. Likewise, I wanted to acknowledge that we are coming up on the two year anniversary of Paper Gods release. TWO YEARS! The blog post I picked isn’t one of excitement on my part. No, it is one that I am expressing a lot of frustration. My annoyance isn’t towards the band. On the contrary, I am ticked in this post that while the band got some well-deserved press, the article itself was one that ignores the band’s talents for talking about their personal lives and flaws. This is one of my pet peeves–that Duran does not get the credit they deserve.
Interestingly enough, after I posted this blog, the reaction I got from other fans was not what I had expected. I thought many people would agree with my frustration. For me, getting the cover of a magazine isn’t good enough–I want the writing to show the greatness that is Duran. Yet, a lot of people who read the blog disagreed. They thought I should just be happy that Duran was getting press. Later that summer, John and Roger participated in a tumblr question and answer session in which I got to ask if they were as frustrated by the article as I was. The short answer was yes, they were.
This weekend, my timeline and news feed has been filled with pictures, articles and videos from Billboard.com! What was the big occasion? Duran Duran, not only appeared in the latest edition, but they were on the cover!!! Obviously, fans were excited by this as they love seeing Duran Duran get the attention they deserve. Of course, many fans expressed the idea that Duran Duran should ALWAYS be featured in the musically focused press! We definitely agree! So, how was this coverage? What specifically was shared and what were the reactions to it?
Before I dive into the meat of what billboard.com shared, let me make a couple of comments. First, I am concerned that I missed some things because there were so many different clips and links that it was hard (for me!) to follow. Second, after I saw that they were featured in the latest edition, I did what I normally do. I went to go find it in the store so that I could buy a real, hard copy for my collection. No luck. The places I thought I would find it didn’t actually stock Billboard Magazine. Apparently, you can buy it online here, though!
Behind-the-Scenes with the Team
One of the links, which you can see here, that was posted by Billboard was a video clip focusing on the team who worked on the song, Pressure Off. Now, I admit that I adore video clips. I really do. I generally wish that they were a lot, lot, lot longer and this one is no exception. This one, in particular focused on Nile Rodgers and Mark Ronson and how they worked together for the first time here with Duran. By watching the video clip included in the link above, I am reminded of two things very, very quickly. Mark Ronson truly is a Duran Duran fan. He is a Duranie and every time I hear him talk about Duran or working with Duran, I am reminded of that and it always makes me feel confident in what kind of music will come to be as a result. Likewise, Nile’s positive spirit and great joy over making music, especially music with Duran comes through so very clearly in this clip. His enthusiasm is impossible to miss and I love how Nick phrased it when he said there was “electricity” in the room when everyone got together. I could totally see it and really makes me wish I was a fly on the wall. I truly hope that there is more video footage of this time in the studio. I’m sure that every Duranie would love it! If that wasn’t enough, I found myself loving Pressure Off even more from watching that!
Another one of the videos posted by Billboard, which you can see here, focused on how well John and Simon know each other. I have no doubt that 99% of Duranies responded to the question before hitting play on the video with a resounding, “Very well!” After all, they have been colleagues and good friends for over 30 years! That said, I still couldn’t hit the play button fast enough! The idea behind this video was to see if they could answer questions about each other. I won’t give it away but I will say it is clear that they have great camaraderie with each other, no matter if they are talking football or past appearances. I desperately wish that we got to see more of this!
Cover Article & Video
The longest article posted by Billboard also features a video. You can read the article and watch the video here. The video covers a few topics, including the album title, collaboration, and length of time to create the album. I wonder if those truly are the biggest topics surrounding this album. If so, then, Billboard chose well. I did like what Nick had to say about the album title and I’m truly looking forward to hearing that song!!! As for collaborations, one thing that caught my attention is the idea that Simon shared the microphone with many people, including John. Is he referring to backing vocals or more? I wonder. As for the length of time to create this album, John pointed out that it is important to take time to make it right since there aren’t that many albums in their musical lives. Obviously, this topic (coughDurantimecough) was well-discussed here on the blog.
As for the article itself, it starts off by describing the photo shoot connected to the cover, article, etc. While I appreciate the acknowledgement that Duran has a long history, I wasn’t necessarily thrilled with lines like, “The singer is still handsome but no longer quite a pinup; natural light can be cruel.” I have to wonder. Is that sentence necessary? Why the focus on their age? Yes, I realize that this was in context with the photo shoot, but still. If was to show that they have experience with this, I just think there could have been a nicer way to put this. To me, it seemed like a subtle (or not so subtle) dig on the band and Simon, in particular. Thankfully, the article quickly transitions to the album.
The author begins the discussion on Duran Duran’s upcoming album, Paper Gods, by stating that it is a “robust affair” which is interesting considering that Duran could just sit back and enjoy their past success and tour. Yet, according to Warner Bros. president, Dan McCarroll, the album is fabulous and clear to him that the band wanted a hit. Sentences like that always make me pause. I want Duran to have hits, of course. I want them to do well and I want them to have the recognition they deserve. Yet, there is always a part of me that worries (perhaps, unnecessarily!) that this desire overshadows the focus on quality Duran Duran music. After all, we all know that there are songs that are hits that aren’t quality. Nonetheless, I reassured myself that Duran Duran knows what they are doing and kept on reading.
It is no surprise that the article discusses the contributions on the album as that seems to be a frequently discussed talking point by both the band and the media. I can understand that as it is interesting that the band used so many artists in creating this album. What I struggle to understand is why the author spent so much time talking about the band members’ personal lives right after the discussion on collaborations. Billboard magazine, at least in my head, focuses on the music and charts. Literally, there are 4 sentences about the contributions and 5 sentences on their current personal lives. It frustrates me as a fan when the focus isn’t on what they do but on who they are. I know that has always been the case with Duran but I wish it wasn’t. I would prefer more discussion on the quality of music that they create. Am I asking too much?
From there, the article dives into their past, their legacy. I was excited to read what moments in their lives would be highlighted. I appreciated the inclusion of the Reflex remix by Nile Rodgers that the record label didn’t want to release. I didn’t mind the brief discussion on the New Romantic era. Yet, quickly, the article focuses on the band’s videos and how in the author’s words, they were “not particularly deep” and “advertisements for champagne-soaked decadence”. Ugh. In my opinion, there is a lot more to many of their videos than what is seen on the surface. I’m sorry that the author doesn’t see that and doesn’t see the intelligence Duran used in their videos. Interestingly enough, there are three full paragraphs about their videos. Did I go to sleep and wake up in 1984? Why the focus on the videos? Again, don’t get me wrong. I love their videos and I agree with John when he said that they were “jokey”. Rio was exactly that, not just decadent.
I had hopes that the article would turn back to Duran’s musical history since the cover states that they are the “Last Band Standing” (which is a clever title and would have been more clever during Red Carpet Massacre days). Unfortunately, the article tries to gives the band’s history and chronology by focusing on the usual topics of shopping, excess, drug and alcohol abuse, side projects, etc. While clearly, research was completed, I just wish it had focused more on the music. The article comes close to focusing on the music a couple of times like when there was discussion about how Duran rarely takes the easy way out, musically. I wanted to know more as I thought that was an interesting angle. I also enjoyed the discussion about the recording process and their desire to remain vital as they age. Instead, there was more about how John was still “slender” despite not doing drugs anymore and how Nick has “slightly ghostly features”. Do those sentences give information or add any knowledge or force readers to think differently? I don’t think so.
I love that Duran Duran is getting press, getting attention! I really do! If I ran the world, they would get attention and press everyday! (Maybe that’s why I do a daily blog about being a Duran fan?!) I just wish that the content of the article focused on the MUSIC. As Simon said in the article, “‘Glamorous’ and ‘shallow’ are never words you use to describe your own life. But, yes, it was fun. It was fun hanging out with Princess Margaret, Prince Charles and Diana and Warhol, too. But that’s all the press ever talked about: the parties, the models, the boats, the booze. But we did work hard.” It is sad how true that statement of his still is and too much of this article shows this.