The Daily Duranie’s reviews continue with track 8, Runway Runaway!
Musicality/Instrumentation: Musically, this one grabs me right away with the opening guitar bits followed by the drums. Instantly, I am sent back in time to 1982 and could be listening to Rio (the song), which is what I initially heard when this snippet first came out. Now, it screams Last Chance on the Stairway for me. To me, it shows off the best of Duran, musically, as there are times when all the instruments are blending together nicely then followed by spotlight moments with one instrument over the others and back again. It gives you a smile that stays throughout the whole song. There aren’t a lot of obviously extra sounds in the track but there doesn’t need to be! The instrumentation can absolutely stand on its own!
Vocals: Simon is generally spot on, despite some notes that are questionable like at the end of the line, “it feels a little bad girl”. I want to be able to sing along at soon as it starts but I haven’t been able to do that much. I don’t think it is the vocals at all but the lyrics.
Lyrics: I absolutely adore the sentiment of a strong, independent girl being out in the real world. Is this Simon’s daughter’s experience as many are speculating? Perhaps. Is it a common experience as kids grow up and leave home? If so, it captures a universal experience. I appreciate that it shows both the excitement of leaving home (“she’s not afraid of leaving”) as well as the fear (“trying to be strong enough to choose another road”). My one complaint is that I haven’t gotten this song stuck in my head yet. I don’t find myself singing the lyrics to myself no matter how often I have listened to it. The chorus isn’t as catchy as I hoped it to be with the strong instrumentation. While I appreciate the lyrics for their message, I have struggled to learn them, which is different than the rest of the tracks.
Production: Every musical element of the track works well together. I love how the instruments generally blend together while at times, one instrument is showcased above the others. This showcase isn’t obvious and doesn’t demand the attention that I hear far too often in songs. This song allowed each member to shine individually and allowed the group as a whole to shine.
Overall: This song has SO many things going for it. Musically, it is everything I want in Duran Duran. Simon sounds great and the production is solid. I love the story and message of the lyrics but really wish that I found it easier to catch on to, lyrically. It keeps begging me to sing along and I keep failing. I can’t get the lyrics stuck in my head to save my life! That said, I absolutely can see this song growing for me as time goes on, which is what happened for a number of tracks on the Rio album.
Musicality/Instrumentation: When I first heard this – one of the few snippets that the band teased us endlessly with before the album was released – I was less than amused. Not even obvious guitar made the song interesting to me, although I didn’t recoil in disgust, either. After many listens, and a few discussions with my writing partner, I was able to at least agree that the song had elements from Rio contained within and that perhaps, with the right mixing, it would be decent. Flash forward to release day, and imagine my pleasant surprise with the initial chords. Almost nothing like the snippet, yet I recognized the song from somewhere. I really like the way the song starts with only the guitar, and what sounds like a radio being tuned to come in clearly – as though it’s searching for a station, finds it, and then the drums begin. I couldn’t believe my ears – what once sounded like Roger hitting a cardboard box sounds like a real drum, and where at one time the guitar sounded so loud that it was out of place amongst everything else going on, now it is muted to blend and play nicely with Nick’s keyboards and even John’s bass. I love the arpeggios (the sounding of the notes of a chord in rapid succession instead of simultaneously.) that Nick plays throughout the song, and I must admit – it’s hard not to notice the similarities between the guitar on this song and Rio.
Vocals: Hello again, 1983. If I close my eyes (well, then again – I’m on my computer. Clearly it is NOT 1983….), I would swear it really was 1983 again when I listen to Simon sing this one. Of course, if you’re really paying attention though – and I am – Simon truly sounds even better. His voice has a deepness to it that I don’t think it quite had back then, and it only adds to the wholeness of the notes he’s singing. They aren’t shallow or hollow, he’s not straining, and it all seems to be coming quite naturally to him. It’s a nice touch to hear vocal echoes in the background during the chorus “goodbye goodbye”….it’s a little Beatlesque, and since I’m a huge fan….it’s all good and appreciated.
Lyrics: I am not going to lie or hold back on this one. I love the lyrics. They mean something to me a deep, personal level, and because of that – they work for me. The words aren’t really poetic, they aren’t necessarily flowery, but I derive my own meaning from what Simon is singing, and really – isn’t that the point to lyrics? I think that’s why it’s almost always disappointing (to me) to hear what Simon or any lyric writer was really thinking about when they wrote a song – I like the feelings and meanings that I come up with from listening on my own. The meaning I’m hearing (and probably the most literal) is that a girl decies to leave the life she had for a brand new one, whether that means she IS a model running away, or she WANTS to be a model and is running away – I have no idea. There’s some speculation within the fan community that since Simon’s daughter just moved out on her own, Simon wrote this song for her. (good for her!! …. and I don’t mind saying that I can’t believe she’s all that grown up – that went ENTIRELY too fast, didn’t it?!?) My own interpretation is truly from my own life. No, I never ran away as a child or young adult….but every time I leave to go visit friends or go on my own very special “Mini tour” to see several Duran Duran shows, I swear I feel like I’m partially and temporarily running away from my own life here. Of course, I don’t have to be careful not to wake my sister – I have to be careful nto to wake my own kids. 😉 I do sometimes feel like I’m in a cage here at home, self-imposed or otherwise, and the band is my escape. There’s more to it than that, but to share it here would probably be using the blog as therapy….another story for another day, right? 😀 Anyway, that’s how I relate to the song.
Production: I think that the post production mix for this song was done amazingly well, and without question, it made it 100% times better. That’s probably the ultimate in accolades that I can personally give, since I’m one of those people that ends up appreciating music far better LIVE and untouched than I ever do from a record. Not sure if I’ll feel the same with this one…looking VERY forward to finding out. I appreciate the fact that the guitar was toned down, the drums sound far more full, and I can pick out the different layers of synthesizers without a lot of effort. I absolutely adore the different vocal tracks that were used – they add a little bit of lightheartedness to a song that could have just as easily been bittersweet. I don’t know what hand Mark Ronson had in this song – but there are only a couple songs on this album that I can say “yes, yes this totally could have been on Rio”, and this is one of them. It’s in touch with who the band was back in 1980, and yet it’s looking ahead to today. That’s quite a span of years to be in touch with, and yet the band does it expertly. I sincerely hope they continue on this road. It’s a good one!
Overall: Mark this one as another favorite for me. Unlike the band, I’m not afraid to make favorites (it’s the beauty of being a fan I suppose). I think the song not only hits home with me based on content, but it is a GREAT dance track. It’s fun, it’s lighthearted (musically), and it reminds me of the type of music I enjoyed way back when. I am so glad that the band chose to work with Mark Ronson because he actually gets them. He brought my band back, and this is a song that can (and often does) bring tears to my eyes because it’s everything they were, everything they are….and they seem like they are finally having fun. I can’t wait to see them do this one live, because I’ll be singing it loud and proud right along with them.