It is time for another Daily Duranie review, a review of the song, A Matter of Feeling. This song is the fourth song off of the album, Notorious. This was an album track and one with a slower tempo to it. What do we think of this song? Was it a good addition to the album? Should it have been more than an album track?
Rhonda on A Matter of Feeling
A Matter of Feeling starts off with this smooth woodwind type sampling, almost like a flute, that provides the opening melody. Overall it’s a very easy, smooth song – but it’s not overly simple. There are many layers to the song and subtle sounds in the background. Where this type of recording seems to differ from Seven and the Ragged Tiger is that “the background” really does mean the background. The sounds are there, but they’re really put behind the main melody, so the listener doesn’t have that feeling of frenetic noise being thrown at them. This is one example of the maturity gained on this album. This is definitely a ballad by Duran standards, and as I listen – I can hear the maturity that eventually grew into music like Ordinary World (Yes I am aware Warren wrote the melody for that song. My point is merely that there was a journey the band had to take in order to get to the point where that song could have ever been recorded, and A Matter of Feeling is one mile marker on that journey.) ‘t 5:57 in length, A Matter of Feeling seems very long, especially since the very end consists of the same melody, some improvisational vocals and the same melody. I really feel they could have cut about a minute off of the song and still had a quality piece of music.
I think Simon is at his best when the vocals feel unforced and easy. This song definitely gives him room to move without forcing him into octaves or keys where he’s not comfortable, and I respect that. I recently heard an interview from this same period of time where Simon mentions how uncomfortable he is singing in specific keys that were apparently “required” of him due to some inflexibility on behalf of a specific band member. Unfortunately, it is incredibly obvious when those songs come up, and it’s really nice to listen to a song like A Matter of Feeling when you can hear Simon’s voice relaxed, open and full rather than choked off and strained. Even in the background improv vocals at the very end, which are admittedly higher in his range, he doesn’t have that same strain that I hear in other work. Well done.
I’ve got to ask – is this song about John? It sure reads like it. It’s been pretty well documented as to how “alone” John really felt – and the lines “Steal away in the morning, love’s already history to you. It’s a habit you’re forming. This body’s desperate for something new.” I don’t know, I just sort of hear this as a call to John. (sorry if that’s not the case!) In any case, there are specific lines of this song that really hit me. I love the lines at the beginning about feeling alone in a crowd or that acquaintances smile but it’s not understanding. Sounds like comments about fame. As someone who isn’t famous, it’s true – it is incredibly difficult to have that understanding. I can’t imagine, but Simon writes about it often if you listen to the words. My favorite line in the song: “Whenever you slow down to see life is passing by”. Sometimes I need reminding that life really is passing! When I really listen to songs like these, I sometimes wonder if the band hasn’t been trying to explain themselves to us for years, and nearly none of us really take the time to listen. Confession time – I don’t think I ever really took the time to LISTEN to A Matter of Feeling and what it’s saying until today.
I’m a little ashamed to say that this is a song I always tended to skip over. For me, it initially came off a little boring I suppose, I’m not really a ballad person, and especially not as a teenager when this album was released. I find that once I’ve decided that a song is in that realm, I don’t tend to listen to it often, even today. It’s a shame and I’ve missed out, because in doing this review, I realize just how much of a message this song and the band wanted to share. It’s one of those underrated gems (and there are plenty) within the band’s catalog. The writing, the music, the vocals – they’re all top notch, and what’s more – I can identify with what is being conveyed to a certain extent. I may not be famous, but I know how I feel in a crowd, and after reading John’s autobiography – I’d be shocked if this song wasn’t about him, at least in part. It’s a special song, and if you haven’t listened to A Matter of Feeling lately – take the time.
Amanda on Matter of Feeling
The instrumentation of A Matter of Feeling has a smooth feel to it. Some instrumentation changes throughout the song but there are many parts that remain constant that works to give it that smooth sense. For example, in the beginning of the song, one can definitely hear the bass and drums but there is a higher-pitch, almost flute sounding layer that doesn’t last once Simon is singing, but the bass and drums are continuous. Nick’s keyboards are soft sounding even during the chorus. In fact, all of the instrumentation is soft and never get faster than a mid-tempo. It is a classic Duran pseudo ballad in that way. Of course, there are some additional sounds added, at times, but none of those additives take away from the general feeling of the song or distract the listener.
Much like the instrumentation, when I think of Simon’s vocal, I think of smooth. While a lot of A Matter of Feeling is in a lower range, there moments when he hits some higher notes. Unlike previous songs on this album, his voice sounds less strained and sounds more natural. In fact, because of this, I think you can tell of the subtle vocal ability Simon has. The vocals work well with the instrumentation, too. One of the things I do like about A Matter of Feeling is that neither the vocals nor the instrumentation are dominant as both garner my attention, at different moments in the song.
A Matter of Feeling reminds me of the lyrics of Seven and the Ragged Tiger in that it truly seems to be about their lives, including and especially, about being famous and the loneliness of fame. Certainly, the first four lines indicate this: “How does it feel when everyone surrounds you? How do you deal? Do crowds just make you feel lonely?” Then, I have to wonder if the chorus isn’t a reference to one night stands with lines like, “Love’s already history to you. It’s a habit you’re forming. This body’s desperate for something new.” Out of all of the lines, though, the one that sticks out to me the most is, “Who knows, you might find something to last.” Is that what they would looking for then? Stability? Commitment? If these lyrics are autobiographical, then, they really do make fame less than desirable. One thing I will note is that, unlike Seven and the Ragged Tiger, these lyrics seem more obvious, more straight forward. The lyrics aren’t wrapped in metaphor and poetry. While many missed these qualities, I think these lyrics are still emotion filled.
A Matter of Feeling has a lot going for it. It clearly falls into that not-quite a ballad but a slower tempo song. Musically and vocally, it is pleasant and enjoyable to listen to. While the lyrics might be about fame and Duran’s personal experiences, I think that many can relate to some of those lyrics of loneliness. The production seems smooth. Yet, it isn’t one that I’m immediately drawn to. Is that because I tend to go for more upbeat songs? Possibly. That said, when I do go for something of this tempo, I don’t go for this one. I think it is a good song but seems to lack something to make it a great song. The only thing I can figure out is that it lacks that special, unique type of quality that I need to make it a favorite.
- 5 cocktail glasses