Category Archives: Being Followed

Being Followed – The Daily Duranie Review

The album review continues with the third song, “Being Followed.”

Amanda’s take:

Musicality/Instrumentation:  This song reminds me of the darker relative to Blame the Machines.  Both of them are dark, in nature, based on their topics.  Blames the Machines seems to be about how machines control us and this one seems to be about being stalked.  Both of them could be unnerving, unsettling.  Yet, Blame the Machines doesn’t feel that way because it is so upbeat, musically.  This song, on the other hand, feels very different.  While it still is a “fast” song, the instruments that float to the surface are more bass and guitar rather than pop-filled keyboards.  The first time I heard this snippet I commented on the fact that it was clear instrumentation was involved.  It wasn’t all computers but real instruments and these instruments do quite a job to create a mood that matches the lyrical content of the song.  It starts out with some sort of sound that seems to be something spinning, which is quickly followed by the instruments.  Why include something that sounds like it is spinning?  Is that to show a person’s “wheels turning in his/her head” as the paranoia sinks in.  Then, of course, towards the end of the song, the music shifts.  It slows down and includes something like a whistle sound or something that is also spinning over and over again.  Then, the music builds back up to a greater urgency to dive into the chorus with the inclusion of a siren that gets louder and louder as the song comes to an end.  Clearly, the music works really well to create and reinforce this mood of paranoia and of being unsafe. 

Vocals:  I love how Simon’s vocals change subtly throughout the song to match the words and mood of the song.  For example, his voice is darker during the verses, which makes me think of songs like Nightboat, off their first album.  Then, I love that there is greater passion during the musical interlude of sorts towards the end of the song.  When he sings that he is “calling out”, he really is.  I have always appreciated the way that Simon is able to convey feelings by not only his words but also his voice and this song is a good example of that.

Lyrics:  While this song is fairly straightforward and easy to understand, I do have to wonder where the inspiration really came from, especially in a day and age of things like Twitter where you “follow” people.  Is this song, lyrically, in the same vein as Be My Icon, as in the band is being stalked?  Is it about being a celebrity like Pop Trash Movie discusses or something that could happen to anyone, no matter their celebrity status?  I don’t know.  What I do know is that I love the line:  “Paranoia, the only valid point of view.”  What is he really saying here?  Is it okay to feel unsafe?  Is that the “normal” thing now?  Despite being clear, the lyrics still make me think.

Production:  Overall, I feel like the production was solid in this song.  I appreciate the beginning spinning sound and love the addition of the siren.  These additional little pieces could always feel too much or that the song is trying too hard to be something.  Yet, these are subtle and work to add on to the feel of the song.  The mix seems solid as well.

Overall:  This song doesn’t create happy-go-lucky feelings but it creates a mood and doesn’t let up.  In fact, it adds on by the musical change towards the end of the song.  This works to create an intense song listening experience, but one that is filled with solid instrumentation and lyrics that match.  It will definitely appeal to those people who can appreciate the darker elements of life.

Cocktail Rating:

Rhonda’s take:

Musicality/Instrumentation:  What strikes me most about this song is that it’s not really written in a normal “Duran Duran” or “rock and roll” key signature.  It’s almost unsettling and anxious sounding – which given the nature of the song, I believe is the intention.  It’s taken me quite a few listens to grow comfortable with both the key and the way the instruments play off of one another – growing to a fervor about 2/3 of the way through the song when the chord suddenly changes to what I believe is a harmonic minor.  If I weren’t unsettled before, this section is downright unnerving…with a siren climbing in volume in the back.  One thing that also strikes me about this song is that while the synths are definitely there, they really aren’t a standout – nor is any other instrument.  You may hear one over another for a brief period, but I don’t think we’re meant to really discern one instrument from another….they’re meant to create a type of anxious atmosphere, which they accomplish very well.

Vocals: Several times during this song, I felt as though Simon was channeling Luciano Pavarotti…the opera background really came in handy on this one.  There are also times that his vocals remind me, for some reason, of Careless Memories.  His voice sounds strong, and I’m equally impressed that he handles the key change towards the end of the song so well.  I have to wonder what this will sound like live and if it’ll sound as easily carried off as it does here.

Lyrics: They are certainly haunting…and you have to wonder what got Simon’s creative energy flowing in this direction.  Was it the fans?  *gasp*  When you read the lyrics, it’s pretty easy to assume the song is about his celebrity to some extent, but is it really?  Once again I find myself second guessing the obvious…and in this case I really don’t know yet.  The lyrics fascinate me enough just by reading them, but then when we get to the last 1/3 of the song and the siren kicks in the background and the key of the song completely changes…I’m not entirely sure what it’s all about, but I suppose that’s the point…to create paranoia.  It worked Simon.  🙂

Production: there is a great sense of balance in this song, and with the key changes, the siren and just the feeling of controlled chaos – I can certainly see where it would have been very easy to allow the production to completely overrun the sound.  It’s mixed very, very, well – with a delicate balance given to both instrumentation and the fun extras so that the song still sounds like it could have very been easily recorded from a live performance.  I really can’t find fault in this area, and with this song, I really believe it would have been very easy to make a misstep.

Overall:  Mechanically, I feel as though the song was done very well.  I have a difficult time with the anxious nature, and admittedly – that’s me – not the music.    They were going for a very specific mood with this song, and they’ve certainly achieved it.  One could scoff at the paranoia and say that they’re trying to be dark when they really don’t KNOW dark – but I would disagree.  Duran Duran is very capable of creating dark and atmospheric music, of which this is a prime example.  It’s not one of their “fun and happy” moments filled with frivolity, but it provides good balance on an album that could truly be dismissed as being all fun and happy if they wanted.  Balance is good!

Cocktail Rating:

Pure Enjoyment

Last night, it was my family’s turn to celebrate and harass me for my birthday.  In our family, it’s tradition to open gifts together, and so my husband and children gave me their cards and gifts to open in front of my mom while we had cake (the best part, in my opinion!).  In the small gift my husband handed me was a box to a lightbulb, which really confused me.  I opened the box, and inside was the barrel to a clarinet (once upon a time, I was a clarinet player).   At this point, I realized that my husband and children had bought me a new clarinet for my birthday.  I was thrilled because my son started playing in the band at school this year, and his instrument of choice was the clarinet.  I had given him my old one to play, leaving me without a clarinet to pick up from time to time.  At this point, my husband got up to get me the case for the rest of the instrument – and when I saw the case, I realized that not only did my husband buy me a new clarinet, he had bought me a Buffet R-13 clarinet.  This is a very, very special clarinet – most professionals ASPIRE to play on one.  It’s the clarinet equivalent of playing on a Stradivarius violin. I had to hold back tears as I opened the case, because at  one point in my life, it was my dream to own one and play in an orchestra.  I’m still very shocked that my husband went to the trouble to find one for me, and I have to say that out of all of the gifts he’s given me in our 16 years of marriage, this one took the most thought.  The reality is, I will almost assuredly never play in a professional orchestra, for that was the dream of a teenager from long ago, but this clarinet will definitely be played here at home, for my own enjoyment.  It’s one thing that is truly just for me.

In listening to “Being Followed” and considering where the band might be in their own careers, I have to wonder if the band isn’t at the same place.  Maybe they are playing for themselves at this point, for their own enjoyment.  Perhaps chart success isn’t the carrot they are chasing after – and maybe now is where the real fun is going to start for them.  There is something to be said for being able to stand up and say that you’re doing whatever it is that you do for the simple enjoyment of doing it.  In my mind at this moment, that will bring FAR more success than any chart-topper ever will.



I survived my birthday weekend in Vegas.  Thanks to all of you who sent birthday messages via here or Twitter, or my email…or even facebook.  🙂

That said, can you believe I didn’t hear the new clip of Being Followed until about 35 minutes ago?  I kept getting texted on Friday night by Amanda telling me how great it was – and of course I was envious because I knew it wouldn’t be until today that I’d get my chance to listen!

It would be unfair and irresponsible of me if I didn’t acknowledge that there are fans out there that aren’t happy with what they’ve heard so far.  I was honestly expecting far more positive reaction than I have seen thus far today, but then again – we Duranies are a cynical bunch, and we’re tough to impress these days.  I believe that the initial excitement from having heard the clip has died down, and now I’m seeing the tide turn from excitement to negativity, but certainly not everyone feels that way.  It’s music. Everyone has their own opinions, and they certainly have the right to not only decide what they like, but also the right to post their feelings.  In the end, it’s music.

When I first listened, I immediately thought of Sound of Thunder.  I think I was expecting to hear something like the songs off of Rio because that’s what keeps being brought up – but for me, I heard more first album.  I know a lot of people have commented on it sounding like Blondie.  I can hear what they mean, but for me – it’s all about the bass line.  (thankyouJohnTaylor)  I knew I missed the bass on RCM, but I didn’t realize how much until I heard this clip!!  What a relief to hear that his part wasn’t left in the studio this time!  I also heard a guitar – something I haven’t heard in quite a while.  The bass and drums play off of the guitar, which in turn is held together by Nick’s synths….the equation that at least for me, equals the sound that I fell in love with.  I can’t comment on the lyrics, because I only heard one portion and I want to hear the whole song and think about them – but the vocals are lovely as usual.  It is simply amazing that Simon’s voice has only gotten stronger over time.

With all that in mind, I have to say – the song did not blow my mind.  I’m not sure that it really should have.  I’ve never been one to hear a song and fall instantly in love.  I’m more the type that likes to be courted just a bit.  I like to listen, think about it, come back and listen again.  My goodness, it’s taken me decades to love Late Bar, Secret Oktober and To the Shore – but it’s a lasting love.

So, it’s been a few days.  Have you listened again?  What do you think?  Drop Daily Duranie a comment and let us know!  If you love it, tell us why.  If you hate it, say so – but tell us why.  Simply saying you hate it does no one any good – I want to know why.


Being Followed

Sometimes, it is good to be blogging late!  As many in the Duranie world know, Mark Ronson played about a minute and a half snippet of Duran Duran’s song, “Being Followed” tonight!  For Duranies, there is NOTHING more exciting than experiencing Duranie alerts like this!  The only thing better than hearing a new song or part of a new song is having a tour announced!

After listening to the snippet and seeing many fans react to it, I am thrilled to report that pretty much EVERYONE LOVES what they heard!  My initial reaction in hearing the first five seconds was how fabulous it is to hear solid instrumentation that Duran is famous for!  I loved hearing John’s bass so clearly, especially since he was barely on the previous album.  Then, in typical Duran fashion, the other instruments joined in!  Many fans have referenced previous Duran songs like the early “Faster Than Light”, the classic “New Religion” and one of my favorites, “Hold Back the Rain”.  Once the lyrics begin, I focused in to catch as many words as I could.  Here are some of the lyrics I noticed:  “To the voyeur, seated in the darkened room…Paranoia-the only valid point of view…I’m not alone, being followed, someone’s always watching what we do, never alone, I’m in the shadows, I dream things I don’t want you to know.”  While I will always miss some of the cryptic lyrics of the first few albums, these non-cryptic lyrics entertained me.  Are they speaking of their own personal experiences of being famous?  Is it really more about a peeping Tom sort of thing?  I tend to think of the former, especially with the line, “Someone’s always watching what WE do.”  We-as in more than one, as in the band.  Overall, this song feels like Duran to me.  I definitely can’t wait to hear the whole thing and to hear this one at a show because I believe it will be really fabulous live!

Beyond the song, Mark Ronson also gave us a couple of other clues in regards to the plans for this album.  Initially, when introducing it, he said that he believed that the album will be out by the end of the year.  This matches with the latest rumors about a potential Christmas release.  The other, probably more interesting statement, was one that he made when talking over the song.  On the second play, he said, “Exclusive property of Capitol Records.”  Does this mean that they do have a deal with Capitol again?  Ah…let that speculation continue! 

No worry from me about when the album is actually released or how right on as I’m beyond thrilled by this snippet and hopeful that this album will be exactly what the Duranie community needs!  What is your reaction?