Category Archives: DD14

Cherry Ice Cream Smile: Paper Gods Album Cover

So how about that Paper Gods album cover?

For months now (actually it’s been YEARS…but we won’t bring that up again right now), I’ve wondered what they would do for a cover and a title. Would it be something artsy like All You Need is Now? Would it be a photo of the band? Would they use the black and gold or black and silver DD logo?  And what would they call this thing? I was starting to think they’d go with Pressure Off only because they hash tagged it everywhere; but my heart was with DD14 because, well…duh.  It’s what we’ve all called it since about September of 2013. Maybe it can be the treasured nickname, only used by friends and family.

Overthinking again. Right….anyway…

And…as is very indicative of my “relationship” and communicative abilities with this band, I was so, so wrong. In a lot of ways, I’m glad I couldn’t read their minds (actually, in MOST ways I’m glad I can’t read their minds). After all, when the day comes that I can pinpoint what they’re going to do, I will need to probably take a giant step back from the keyboard and find a new hobby. I mean, if there are no surprises, what is truly the point? In my point of view, some surprises can be good.

Admittedly, I am still trying to come to terms with the album cover, if not also the name. This is not meant as an insult, it’s that we’re all in that awkward phase where we’re introducing ourselves to someone (something) we’ve not really met yet. I’ll give a personal example and pray that my youngest never reads the blog. When I had my youngest, back in 2008 – we were pretty set on her first name. (That name came from a stuffed dog that my oldest owned, oddly enough…we are very careful to say that we didn’t name her after the dog of course, only that it gave us the idea!) Anyway, her middle name was tougher. We’ve named our kids after various family members, and I wanted to continue the tradition but I also wanted to give her the middle name of Marie (a name which belongs to no one in our family). Instead of doing so, I went with Renee, a middle name she shares with my sister. For the first few months, she didn’t look at all like her name to me. I was still getting used to her, finding her personality.  I would even occasionally slip and call her the name I’d originally chose rather than the one on her birth certificate. Now? I couldn’t imagine her having any other name. It fits perfectly.

I’m trying to remember back to All You Need is Now. Remember the cigarette burn on the cover?  I believe some of you out there even called it a sperm…isn’t that lovely? I’ve never seen so much criticism given to a cover of an album we’d yet to have heard. Funny, I hear nothing about that cover these days. We got used to it, and the album of course grew on most of us, too….and now we’ve moved on to Paper Gods.

Let me briefly comment on the name since I didn’t have a chance last week. I don’t even know when the news of the name hit – was it Friday? I didn’t really come up for air until Sunday afternoon, so the name doesn’t quite roll off my tongue (or my fingers) with ease just yet. I think the name is one of those things that will explain itself in time, and then I’ll wonder why I even thought twice about it…because that’s what albums are really supposed to do. If I had the chance to ask the band about this album, I’d ask them if they feel like it’s a complete “statement” in the same vein as albums back in our day were done (Ziggy Stardust comes to mind), or if it was put together the way so many are today, where they’re meant for quicker consumption. There’s no wrong answer there, albums are written so much differently today, thanks to iTunes and similar. People buy songs, not albums – so there isn’t as much of a motivation for a band to create an album that tells a whole story, or gives a statement. I’ve just been curious as to how they feel about it, especially now that it’s finished. In any case, as I ramble on here, I am hoping that once I really listen to the album, the name and it’s meaning will unfold in the very same way that all of their albums have done.  I think back to not just All You Need is Now (although perfectly named), but Red Carpet Massacre, Astronaut,  Pop Trash and even Medazzaland.  When you stand back and look at those albums as a whole – the meanings are clear and the names are perfect. I can’t wait to hash this one over.

Then there’s the cover, as I mentioned earlier. At some point over the last several days, I saw the new logo and the blurred background image. I love the logo by Brian Roettinger. I really do. I love the way the Duran kind of sits on top of and blends into the other Duran. I actually like the colors, too. I was able to make out the ice cream cone and even the telephone and tiger (actually at one point I had thought the cover looked similar to the one they did for the single of Perfect Day), and that’s when I realized that those images of the ice cream cone, telephone and tiger were meant to remind us of what came before. I dug that…because they were blurred. They were sort of enigmatic in their own way. We knew they were there, we knew what had come, but we weren’t meant to focus on them. The colors were complementary, they’ve had pinks and blues around them for as long as I can remember, and I like them.  At the time, I didn’t realize that the intention wasn’t for the cover to remain blurred.
duran-duran-paper-gods-cover

The cover was reveled just yesterday (I believe??), with the caveat that the artwork is not final (Warner store website). The images are no longer blurred, and they kind of look like stickers. Someone else said (very accurately) that they reminded him of Colorforms from back in, well…OUR day.

The cover artist is LA-based Alex Israel and was done as a collaboration with the band, overseen by China Chow. Alex’s work is very large scale and much of it might remind you of gorgeous soft sunsets across a blue sky, although he has a multitude of other work as well. What tickles me with a cover such as this, where it might be easy to discard it as just pop -whether pop art or pop culture or even pop music – Alex Israel puts those images right on a reproduction of one of his very fine art pieces. Those images are somewhat styled to look like stickers or Colorforms if you remember them, very much icons of pop culture, if you will. But, if you bother to look beyond the surface, you’ll also find real art.

If that doesn’t describe this band; well, you’re not looking hard enough. Yes, Duran Duran are a part of pop culture. Yes, they’ve been pin-ups and have not been taken seriously, very much like this cover is being taken by FANS right now, but if you look hard enough, if you really pay attention, you just might find something far more valuable underneath.  I think it’s genius, and I love that Duran Duran makes comment on the (supposed) paradox of their career in such a unique and subtle way.

I’ve seen many, many negative comments regarding the cover. There was even one or two comments suggesting that fans put together a sort of online petition so that the band reconsiders. Really?! Really??? First of all, the obvious: it is THEIR cover. The band can call the album whatever they want, put whatever they want on the cover, and the rest of us have to respect their choice. That’s the way this all works. This is the boundary between being a fan and being the band. It’s a slippery slope at times, and yes – there are moments when we have that sense of ownership, but this cannot be one of those times. We have not commissioned the band to go into the studio and make the album we want.  They wrote the music THEY wanted, created the package and message they wished to convey.  I’m as guilty as the next person, but enough is enough. Secondly, how about putting a little thought into the cover before condemnation?  Dig a little deeper and see what you might find.

Lastly…anyone ready to take some Pressure Off?!?  I sure am!  I can’t wait to hear that single!!!

-R

 

Here Comes the News

While I don’t have a lot beyond Duran Duran news crumbs to share today…I’ll do what I can!!

New Gold Membership Merchandise Package at DDM

Yesterday, DuranDuranMusic, the paid fan community for Duran Duran, announced a new “Gold” package membership. At $79.99 for the year, the package includes all of the exclusives from the Silver level ($35.00 a year) below:

  • Full Access to the Duran Duran VIP community
  • Access to Presale Tickets, tour and show updates, set lists etc. when band is on tour
  • VIP Ticket Packages (including amazing seats, exclusive items) when band is on tour
  • Exclusive Content JUST for community members including a monthly band audio interview
  • Monthly Contests to win personal items, signed merch, Meet & Greets when band is on tour and more
  • FAN2FAN Features (Personalize and customize your fan site, create your own fan blogs, journals, and photo albums that you can share with other members, participate in forums, and private messaging)
  • Communicate and share with other Members

Plus the exclusive merchandise “Gold membership” bundle listed below:

  • An exclusive NEW custom designed T-shirt featuring a silver foil design
  • Logo’d lightweight, digitally powered 1800mAh Power Bank for cell phones and digital products (Note: Phone not included)
  • Custom Giant Telescoping Umbrella with new silver DD logo
  • Laser Engraved Logo’d Keychain Bottle Opener
  • Fridge magnet with new DD logo
  • Logo’d Micro Sticky Pad for those “important” notes
  • Grip “Roller Plus” Pen with DD logo
  • Reproduction of Simon’s handwritten lyrics to “Pressure Off” (Not pictured)

This brought me to a quandary. Do I wait until August, when my membership expires, or do I get it now? Truth be told, I’ve never done anything other than Silver level membership (my partner-in-crime bought gold last time, see her review.) Why now, you ask?  I wanted that umbrella. Yes, I live in So CA. Yes, I know the chances of my using it (here) are slim..but I wanted it anyway.  I also figure that chances are, I’ll have learned the lyrics to Pressure Off before the band even releases the single, with this package!  (I kid, I kid!!)

DDM clarifies that if your renewal isn’t up for several months, you can go ahead and renew now, and they’ll add another 12 months to your existing membership date – so in my case, I won’t be up for renewal until August of 2016. That seems fair, but what about the people who have already renewed this year at Silver because there wasn’t a new Gold package? You can either renew again and yes, they really will extend your membership renewal date out another 12 months, OR you can long in to DDM and there is apparently supposed to be a link you can click on to receive only the merchandise upgrade to your existing membership.

There has been a little confusion on the part of members about memberships renewed earlier this year, so don’t be afraid to ask DDM for answers to clarify; although sadly, I’ve also been told that the responses from DDM have been incredibly rude at best. That’s unfortunate given that fans are truly the site’s bread and butter, and it is just a part of customer service. I really wish the folks in charge of the fan community would just LEARN that and put it into practice, and if they can’t be bothered – hire people who WILL. It continually looks bad for the band when the people in charge of their fan club are rude to the very people the club is meant to attract: FANS.

Bottom line on renewals: they aren’t adding extra months to an existing membership, but they’re also not going to change my membership renewal date to June because I happened to renew now instead of waiting until August, either. Fair enough. Sold!  I’ll let you all know what I think of the merchandise once I receive it…hopefully I will get it faster than that 4-6 weeks mentioned, but we’ll see!

Still In The Mix

Have you been wondering what Duran Duran are up to?  Well, it turns out that they’re still working with Spike Stent in the studio, mixing the new album. I’m not sure if they are only working on Pressure Off, or if it’s all of DD14…or something else entirely, but they’re definitely working. AND…if you were wondering if Nick is still The Controller…I think this photo and the caption (from DDHQ on FB) speaks volumes.

"Spike Stent is a very patient man" - Nick Rhodes
“Spike Stent is a very patient man” – Nick Rhodes

The appearance of this photo on Facebook stirred some comments because many (including myself) had thought that the album had already been finished – including mixing – but you know, things change. We’re still closer now than we were a year ago, and surely live dates will be coming.

Along those same lines, there has been a kerfuffle of activity on Twitter today with regard to the single, “Pressure Off”.  As many may have noticed, all signs of said single have vanished from the stratosphere we know as “The Internet”.  Unless you managed to rip a copy of one of the less-than-clear files roaming YouTube and the like back in March – I doubt you’ll find hide nor hair of the song online. So, we all continue to wait in anticipation for the single to be released sometime in July. However, on a recent Katy Kafe, mention was made that perhaps maybe there would be a taste of the song for fans to hear sometime “soonish”.  Not much has been mentioned since the Kafe, but today a fan asked about the possibility of such an appearance, and they were told “Well maybe. but definitely THIS MONTH” by DDHQ.  Listen Duranies, you can take that comment however you want, and wish for whatever you’d like; but I’m going to point out that it is now June 2nd. July is less than 30 days away right now…so when they say THIS MONTH….I think we can count on hearing that single in another month, you know?

Residency?

Lastly, I’ve been catching up on my reading…and with the summer festivals nearly upon us, #Duranlive is coming. Yesterday I caught up with an interview on DTLV with John Taylor done in promotion for their upcoming performance at the Life Is Beautiful festival in downtown Las Vegas. (Incidentally, despite the corny title, “Duran Duran is Still Hungry” the article is very good.) John discusses the idea of doing a residency in Vegas. He likes the idea of the venue building the room around them, and being able to “really experiment” with the performance.

This is something Amanda and I have been talking about for years, actually.  We would love to see them settle somewhere and do a residency. Yes, I’m aware they did one in NYC a few years back. It would be nice to have them acknowledge that the rest of the country matters – or even their OWN country for a change, don’t you agree?  No matter where they chose to do one, it may give fans an opportunity to travel, see the band for a show or three, AND see the city.  It would cut travel for the band, and maybe even give them the chance to experiment with different set lists and even entire performances.  It might even be a great way to introduce a musical written and produced by Nick Rhodes and John Taylor….just thinking “out loud” here…

DDHQ says to be on the lookout for more press now that the Summer festivals are nearly upon us, so keep those eyes open!

-R

Just A Case of Early “Album” Nerves

It is coming.  Everyone in Duranland can feel it.  #DD14 is coming.  Pressure Off, the first single, is coming.  Perhaps, more show announcements are on the horizon.  Duranies knew this before this past week’s Katy Kafe but emotions surrounding the upcoming Duran happenings spiked in response.  Why?  Simple.  As part of the Kafe, Roger said that there were some surprises on the album, including a big one with a first name starting with the letter “B”.  This, of course, in typical Duranie fashion got the speculation running wild.  Who could it be?  Bowie?  Boy George?  Brandon Flowers?  Beyonce?  Bruno Mars?  While each of those guesses produced mixed reactions, an underlying feeling began to present itself.  The feeling?  A mixture of hopefulness, anticipation, and anxiety.

Why the anxiety?  Wouldn’t all big fans be excited for new Duran music?  Of course.  Fans can’t wait to hear new music.  We all can’t wait to see articles written about the band’s latest work and we so look forward to promotional activities and appearances!  That isn’t where the concern lies.  As we know, there are a ton of collaborations on this album.  Most of them are people who have been in the musical spotlight as of late.  Certainly, Mark Ronson, Nile Rodgers, Kiesza and Janelle Monae have all experienced a lot of success lately.  This leads to a myriad of thoughts and worries for many Duranies.

Why can’t Duran do an album just themselves?  Why do they need so many collaborations?  What is the goal?  Is it to make the best DURAN DURAN album or is it to make a hit?  Is commercial success the focus or is it the art?  Is it the music?   Will it feel like Duran Duran?  How will this album be marketed?  Will the focus be on getting new fans only or will hardcore fans who have been around for decades be acknowledged?  

There are just a few of the concerns I have seen, heard or even said myself.  I would guess that there might be even more out there.  Before I get the usual negative responses and comments, let me see if I could explain where these concerns are coming from, especially if you are a fan reading this that isn’t concerned.

I believe that all (or mostly all) fans want the band’s upcoming album to be one that is successful.  Of course, we do.  We want the band to experience success and we want to love what it sounds like.  This would make it more likely, I believe, for the band to continue beyond this album.  Yet, fans who have been around for a long time have seen albums not go as planned and ones that have created backlash. Goodness, just this week, I posted a poll with songs off of Medazzaland and Pop Trash and was told how those albums weren’t liked.  I won’t forget what it was like and still like whenever Red Carpet Massacre is mentioned.  There is division in the fan community about that album, like it or not.  All fans I know want to have an album that they can love and can be excited about.  There is just concern that this album won’t be one of those–that doesn’t mean it won’t be but just that there are concerns especially when there are so many others on the album and the focus seems to be on getting a “hit”.  Many fans don’t mind if the band gets a hit, obviously, but many want it to happen naturally because the band produced a Duran Duran song that just happened to get people’s attention and love.  Think Ordinary World.  As much as that song isn’t high on my list of favorites, I, too, can acknowledge that it was a genuine Duran song that just happened to find commercial success.  It wasn’t written solely for the hit.

Then, there are concerns about the marketing surrounding this new album.  Again, most fans I know are happy with Duran Duran getting new fans.  How could we not be?  We were all new fans once, right?  We all discovered them at some point, yes?  Yet, no one wants to be ignored or taken for granted.  After all, getting the diehard Duranies excited could help their cause, too.  I know that I, personally, have gotten non-Duranies to check out their music because of how much I have talked about them.  I know that I have gotten people to become fans by taking them to shows.  That happens all the time and can definitely happen with albums or singles, specifically.  Heck, it happens all the time with all sorts of fandom beyond Duran Duran.  How often do people go to a movie or check out a TV show simply because they have heard a lot of people talking about it?  How often do people check out new music for the very same reason?  It happens all the time.  In this case, Duran Duran has a built in fan promotional machine, if they just gave the fans something to work with.  If diehard Duranies got excited, REALLY got excited, we would talk up the new material in epic amounts.  The social media world wouldn’t really know what hit.  Look at how we got things like Duran Duran Appreciation Day to trend.  That was the fans doing that.  The fans could do that for this album, too, as long as we are included in the marketing package.  I’m not saying that the band and label shouldn’t try to get new fans.  What I am saying is that they should do something to have the Duranies help them sell more, too.  It would also help minimize the worries about the collaborations, too.  Fans would be too busy being excited and getting others to be excited that the concerns would simply be pushed to the back of minds.  This would reinforce Duranies’ fandom, too, ensuring that all of us stick around for a very long time, too.  To me, that matches everything I know about good marketing as well.  You want to keep the customers you have happy, while trying to get new ones.

It would be a win-win-win, for the band, for the label and for the fans.  Then, I suspect any and all worries would be wiped away.

-A

#DD14 Collaboration: Kiesza

Yesterday, Duran Duran’s official Facebook and Twitter announced that the artist, Kiesza, is officially a part of the Duran’s upcoming album (known to all of us as #DD14 because no title will be shared).  The announcement was accompanied by an article on globeandmail.com, which you could read here, in which she fielded a question about her work with Duran Duran.  Now, this was not completely new information to many (or to me, but, our policy at Daily Duranie is NEVER to post rumors as truth until the rumors have been confirmed.  Call it blog and fan integrity.), but it still got quite a bit of reaction, nonetheless.

Reactions

As always, whenever, Duran Duran, through DDHQ and social media, announces anything, there is always a mixed bag.  That said, there are always some announcements that receive mostly positive, excited responses and others that tend to create more anxious or disgusted responses.  From what I could see, there is a lot of negative feedback from this piece of news.  What are people negative about:

*They don’t like Kiesza’s music.
*There are too many collaborations on #DD14.
*There shouldn’t be any collaborations at all.
*The album is taking too long.

Let’s break these down a bit.

Kiesza

From what I saw by the online comments about this collaboration is that a lot of people don’t know who she is.  I have to admit that I didn’t.  Then, obviously, many checked her out.  I’ll include her video, Hideaway, below so you, too, can judge her musical abilities.

Clearly, she is well-known by many outside of Duranland as the video had, at least, 19 million views on YouTube.  There are many fans who did know her or who did check her out that did not respond to her favorably.  Some simply pointed out that she is better than others Duran Duran has or are rumored to be collaborating with.  Yes, there are some fans of hers responding but…overall, the people responding weren’t excited by her appearance on the upcoming album.  One thing that I will say, in fairness, is that we don’t know exactly what or how much she will be singing on the album.  We also don’t know how her voice will sound with Duran’s music.  I remember people being apprehensive about Kelis and her contribution to Leopard.  Yet, for many, her vocals definitely added to the song.

Too Many Collaborations

Another comment that I saw in looking at the reactions to this update about the upcoming Duran Duran album is that there seems to be a TON of collaborations on the album.  Here is the list that I came up with and I might be missing many:

*Mark Ronson
*Nile Rodgers
*Mr. Hudson
*John Frusciante
*Voce Chamber Choir and the London Youth Chamber Choir
*Ali Lohan
*Possibly Lindsay Lohan
*Possibly Hollie Cook and Natasta Khan from Bats for Lashes (they were both seen at the studio, at least)

These are the ones who have been announced, confirmed, mentioned through official means, in some way, shape or form that I could remember.  Based on that list, the collaborations have been many.  Why do they need that many?  Frankly, many of these collaborators are very different from each other and VERY different from Duran Duran.  What affect will that have on the cohesiveness of the album?  Will it sound like one united album or will it feel and sound disjointed and strangely put together?  Will it feel like or sound like Duran Duran?  Many fans seem genuinely worried about this.  I know that I am.

Why Have Collaborations At All?

Some fans are wondering about the need for collaborations, in general.  These fans are quick to point out that they didn’t NEED collaborations in their early days.  Why do they seem to need them now?  Why can’t they just stand on their own?  Why do they need others?  Why can’t Duran Duran just make an album, by themselves? While I do understand that some collaborations truly do make songs special, I have wonder why they need this many collaborations.  It doesn’t necessarily send a message of confidence in themselves, which many fans are reacting to, I think.

Just Put Out the Album Already!

Let’s face it.  People are running out of patience.  No, obviously, not all people, not all fans are running out of patience but many are.  Many fans (including us!) just want the album out.  It has been taking too long.  (Before you send me hateful comments about how it always takes this long and I wouldn’t want to rush the artistic process, I refer you back to this post here about how long does it normally take Duran Duran.)  My point is that people are frustrated or are getting more and more frustrated.  These fans don’t want to hear about another collaboration.  They want to hear about song titles, album title, a RELEASE DATE.  They care about those things.  After all, none of us can really judge this collaboration or any other until we are able to hear the album for ourselves.

-A

Duran Duran New Album Release – September?

It would appear that Duranies have until September before Duran Duran’s #DD14 drops and new music will be had by all.

Today on Twitter, the band’s official Twitter was asked by the Voce Chamber Choir (who recorded for the band on this upcoming album)  when the new Duran Duran album might be released, and DDHQ answered “September”.

Sources close to the band (Ok, I am totally lying – they are fans, but didn’t that sound good for a second?) say that while DDHQ mentioned the month…they did not, however, indicate the year.

Fair enough.  The band “formally” entered the studio in March of 2013 to begin work on writing and recording DD14, and this does in fact the longest stretch in between albums in the band’s career. (Someday, this album will even have a real name…unless they’ve just chosen to go with the obvious, well-known moniker we’ve been calling it since 2013!) According to prior Katy Kafe’s with all band members, the writing of this album has taken twists and turns, with more than a full album’s worth of material being put aside at one point to start anew. Then of course, there was that lovely Roger Taylor guy, trying to convince us all more than once that the album would be finished by the end of 2013…and then again he claimed it would be finished as of last year…and now we’re looking to September of 2015 for the finished product.  I think you might have been just a little bit off on your estimated finish for the album, Roger, but good effort in trying!

Thumbs up

In recent months, the band has announced several summer festival dates that you can find here, including one special gig for the Lynch Foundation charity where the band will literally fly all the way from England to do one song. One song for one show. That’s devotion and friendship, people. (Sarcasm you say? Why whatever could you mean??) We can only hope that these festival dates mean more will be showing up on the horizon.

As always, things may change, and no word has been given as to what label might be releasing the album. Label rumors have been abundant within the community, but have done little more than spark spirited debate as to where the band might settle. I do recall a previous Katy Kafe featuring John Taylor where he discussed that the band really wanted to consolidate their entire catalog on one label.  While no mention of that, or any other details have been given publicly, it will be very interesting in the coming months to see how it all shakes out.

So…September…but take heart, Duranies, the end of waiting is near! (I almost wrote “The End is Near”…but I think that might give the wrong impression…) If you’re in Europe this summer, you have the opportunity to catch them live. Me? Well, I can hardly wait for the approximately 4 and a half minutes they’ll be on stage next month in Los Angeles!  -R

 

 

Duran Duran History – Voce Chamber Choir

Duran Duran history for February 10: on this date just last year (2014 if you’ve lost track), Duran Duran recorded three songs with the Voce Chamber Choir along with the London Youth Chamber Choir at St. Gabriel’s church in Pimlico.  These anthemic tracks were intended for #DD14…we’ll see (someday!) if they made the final cut!!

-R

Social Media: Could Less Really Be More?

During my typical morning social media read-through, I noticed an item of interest that I thought I’d share with my fellow Duranies. AskKaty on Facebook (who actually works for more artists than just Duran Duran!) retweeted a comment from Miss Taylor Swift about her bestselling album, “1989”.

“1989 became the year’s bestselling album in the very last days of 2014, helped in part by absence from streaming services.” @taylorswift13

I thought this quote was interesting for a number of reasons, not in small part due to my lack of knowledge when it comes to streaming – I do have Spotify, but in truth I rarely have time to sit and listen (a small allowance to make when you are a homeschooling parent).  I seem to recall hearing that Taylor Swift had chosen to stop streaming her music through such services, but I don’t think I ever gave the idea much thought beyond wondering what purpose it would really serve. I have to wonder if her above statement really holds any kind of water…and assuming that yes, removing her music from streaming created huge demand…would it work for others?

Let’s be honest: Taylor Swift is a hot commodity in today’s music whether you like her or hate her. My own daughter fell in love with her writing back when Taylor was still singing about prince charming, and that hasn’t stopped. It is difficult to argue that 1989 was an unlikely success, given the sheer amount of fans that seem to be behind Swift…but even so…to go platinum four times?? If we agree that removing her music from streaming services somehow created a sense of demand that made the sales of 1989 go off the charts in an unprecedented amount of time…could it be that a similar idea is being used for Duran Duran?

Celebrities and artists today are far more accessible now than any time prior, and many believe that ease of accessibility is more harmful than helpful. I’m not sure I necessarily agree, but I’m also,not ready to cry foul just yet.  On one hand, Taylor Swift, for example, seems to love social media, Instagram and Twitter most notably. While she has removed her music from streaming – the songstress continues to remain very connected to her loyal fans, and not just while trying to sell her latest record. On the other hand, many other artists – such as Nick Rhodes, for instance, abhor social media of any kind and yet Duran Duran does allow their music to be streamed.

Sure, Duran Duran could easily remove themselves from streaming. I certainly wouldn’t notice – like most diehard or longtime fans, I already own their entire catalog and having them disappear from Spotify wouldn’t be a game changer for me. Perhaps though such a move might also cause potential fans to make a purchase rather than just stream the new album for free. Whether or not the percentage of potential “seeking” fans would prove to be large enough to make a notable difference or not is up for debate. However, if they were advised to stop engaging and connecting through social media – how might that change the overall narrative?

-R

Duran Duran Fans: Skeptics?

Some may have noticed I was late with the date in history for yesterday. At this point, it might just be safer for mankind if they wrap my house in orange biohazard plastic and call it a day. I used to say that there is nothing worse than having two kids get the stomach flu at the same time. I was wrong. THREE kids with stomach flu is in fact worse. Most of us have moved on to sore throats, coughing and all of that fun now, so I’m back to blogging.

I try to comment and make sense of things I see being said around the Duran Duran fan community. I suspect the band doesn’t bother reading or cares much about what is being said these days, and perhaps the same goes for management. I just believe that our voices deserve the right to be seen and heard.

I used to see many shout-outs of 2015 being the band’s year (and prior to that – 2014!) Lately, I see a whole lot more of “Maybe mid 2015…or beginning 2016, but it could be a lot longer” than I do anything else. Not many Duran Duran fans believe that the band will tour this year, and still fewer believe that the album will actually come out during the summer. Yes, I know what the band has said. The band has done it’s job incredibly well over the past few years – letting Duran Duran fans know at each turn that they’re in no hurry to finish the album, that they aren’t necessarily ready to get back on the road, and that we fans should just get used to it.  Duran Duran fans have lived through the band’s comments of not knowing when the album would be completed to “maybe late-2014”, to “early 2015” and most recently, “June at the earliest” and “definitely sometime in 2015”. Ambiguity reigns. We’re almost through to Autumn 2015 and it’s not even the end of January yet.

The one thing I’ve always known about Duran Duran fans – the vast majority, anyway – they are an incredibly optimistic lot. One might say their fandom LIES in their optimism. After all, this is a fan community that rallied for the fab five to reunite many years before it actually happened. Once that reunion was announced, it was believed that just about anything could happen with this band. This wasn’t just optimism…we all believed it. We LIVED it. Duran Duran fans were mostly undeterred by Andy’s eventual second departure, believing that the band was still very far from finished. Duran fans are positive, uplifting people – likely because they took that cue directly from the band.

At this point it’s clear that the Great Duran Duran Fan Optimism Train has made it’s way over the Great Hill and is now powering downhill straight into the Valley of Darkness. Some of the most positive people I know (and I’m not counting myself in that crowd) in the Duraniverse are openly and publicly questioning the year(s) to come – and I can’t really blame them. After all, they listen to the band  – whether that is through interviews, tweets, notes or news. They fear that even as the band says the words of excitement for this album, the emotion doesn’t quite match their voice. Even the most optimistic amongst us takes notice after a while.

It is 100% possible that Duran Duran fans have misread the band. Perhaps it isn’t a lack of interest, but exhaustion. Maybe not boredom, but instead the effects of spending entirely too long in the studio. Isn’t that still a problem? After all, it is not just the voices heard in Katy Kafes that fans question – it is the collective retreat from social media, lack of engagement with fans, news or updates from the studio (as opposed to prior albums we have heard precious little about this one, other than that big names they’ve had in the studio) and the lack of interest in giving album info on Katy Kafe that has led many to this point of skepticism.

In order to make fans believe in this project and shout about it from rooftops, the band has to first sell Duran Duran fans. I cannot help but recall the days before Red Carpet Massacre was released, as more and more often I am seeing direct parallels. The sense of skepticism in the community was palatable. In hindsight, I really believe the band was completely unaware of just how unsure Duran Duran fans were of the project. Instead of taking our connection to them as real and powerful – fans were mostly ignored. We didn’t matter in the long run because to the band, we were really just some sort of vague entity instead of real, live people that walked hand-in-hand alongside them. They didn’t see us that way, and if the past few years are any firm example – they still don’t, which is unfortunate. The fan show at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City 2007 was some sort of partially tethered life-preserver thrown to the fan community. Some caught the life line and many others never did, forced to make their own way or drown. I dislike seeing similarities between the two projects, but they are out there.

I would like to believe this next album to be different. After all, it is far easier to see the overall “state of the fan base” these days. Between Facebook and Twitter, not to mention this blog, it’s fairly simple to get an idea, if one cares to pay attention. That of course, is key: you’ve got to pay attention in order to see what is in-between the lines. Some Duran Duran fans will never be deterred because for them, the band IS their life preserver. Many others will simply move on, because life does not stop. Even personally, I have to force myself to make the time to stay present in this fandom. I make the time, because otherwise, it would be simple to fade away.

This is not 1984. Duran Duran fans don’t automatically believe and worship every thing they say…and if the current prevailing attitude and skepticism over what the band is really going to do in 2015 doesn’t prove that, nothing will.

-R

 

 

Have You Heard DD14?!?

DD14 is coming.  Someday.  Maybe soon. Maybe not.

Today is Monday and I thought I’d begin the week with a little commentary on something I saw on Facebook this morning.  Apparently someone in the Krassner-Hughes household (that’d be Katy’s house if you’re already clueless) has heard #DD14.  Now I’m not sure if that person was Katy or Tanner…or even Brian for that matter, but someone heard it, and someone must have liked it because there is now a hash tag of #SOworththewait on Twitter.  And Facebook.

Naturally, this tidbit sent a small percentage of the masses nearly over the edge of Monday.  In my own case, my comment about hearing DD14 was not that I was surprised she…or someone in that house had heard it, but that it was about time. And it is, in my not-at-all-humble-opinion.  Still others though ranged from humorously jealous (can’t blame ’em really) to the particularly interesting comment, “That is not right. You should have waited like the rest of us.”

When I read through the comments and replies, at first I thought that person was joking and went on my way.  After all, I figure that Katy works for the band. Why wouldn’t she hear DD14 in advance? I made my own comment as I mentioned above, and then wondered if Katy even reads the comments. Probably not…but that’s never stopped me before. Not long after I’d posted, the person came back and reiterated that she just felt Katy should have had to wait to hear the finished product.  Like the rest of us.

In my head, Katy isn’t “like the rest of us”. She is not a fan, whether you like her, hate her, or are reading this and have no idea of whom I’m writing. She works for the band (along with quite a few other artists!). She does PR and she deals with fans – it is her work that keeps US talking about THEM. She’s also known the band for many years now, and unlike the rest of us – her relationship with them is very much factual and real. Whereas my “relationship” with the band is one where I’ve listened to their music, watched their videos, followed their interviews and written this blog for many years now, and gotten a few grins and perhaps a wink or two from the stage….I don’t think she has their posters hanging in her closet, and I don’t think she has to fantasize about what it might be like to interview Nick Rhodes, because she’s already done it. Many. Times. Over. So, with that in mind, I’m going to give her my blessing on hearing DD14 and then teasing the HELL out of us about it, because that’s her job. In fact, I applaud her, because after having written this blog now for more than a few years, I’ve discovered that working with my own kind – fans – can be very rewarding. It can also very much feel like you’re continuously slamming your head onto a wood table, then passing out, coming to, and doing it again. Every. Single. Day.  But then, that might just be me!

So I ask – is it fair that Katy heard DD14 before the general public? I’m curious to read your comments and opinions on this one!

-R

 

 

 

Recent Duran Duran Albums

I have history on the brain.  Yes, part of the reason, is because I am teaching history this year.  Part of the reason could be that we do a daily Duran Duran history blog post.  Yet, this week really made me think about history.  Why?  Obviously, there was this little rumor this week about Lindsay Lohan in connection to the next Duran album.  Any and all news and rumor should be making me think about the future, right?  This one didn’t.  It made me think of the past, specifically recent Duran Duran albums and their reactions from fans.

First, I thought about this time of year four years ago.  Think back.  What was going on three years ago in December?  I’m sure that many of you guessed it.  The Duranie universe was all excited!  We had a new single in All You Need Is Now along with the video that accompanied it.  The digital copy of the album was about to drop.  Each and every day was filled with some new piece of information, new interview or new video clip, etc..  Social media was hoppin’ and many, many Duranies were spending hours upon hours hanging out on Twitter and/or Facebook.  Life seemed really good and the future was definitely bright.  While I’m sure that there were some fans who weren’t all that excited or didn’t like what they had heard so far, those fans were few and far between.  In general, most fans were pretty thrilled with the state of Duranland, at least from what I could tell.

This, of course, is not how I think of the Duran sphere when I think back three years before that.  2007 saw the release of Red Carpet Massacre.  Like the release of All You Need Is Now, there was plenty of news to share and discuss.  In contrast, though, from the AYNIN era, the discussion wasn’t overwhelmingly positive.  Instead, debate was the most common occurrence on message boards, then.  While some were excited by Red Carpet Massacre and the working relationship between Duran and Timbaland and Duran and Justin Timberlake, others weren’t.  The fans who liked RCM, I’m sure, probably felt like they were doing a whole lot of defending the band and the album whereas the critical fans kept trying to explain why and how this album was so bothersome to them.

As I return to the present, I try to place this rumor in the context of recent Duran history.  It seems clear to me that rumors like the one we had this week fit way more with the RCM era than the AYNIN era.  Clearly, if the rumor turns out to be true, there are some fans who would like Lohan to be on the album or would be okay with it for whatever reason.  There are many other fans who would not for the reasons brought up this week and more.  From what I saw, the discussions already started forming the same camps as fans did in 2007 over Timbaland.  Some fans instantly defend the band or try to find/point out the positives.  The less-than-excited fans try to articulate why this rumor bothers them so.  Not fun.

Is this the normal ebb and flow of Duran Duran and Duran Duran fans in that, for one album, the fans (in general–not everyone but most) love the album, but then question the moves made for the next one? If so, then, perhaps, one just needs to accept that as part of being a Duranie.  For me, personally, I hate the fact that unlike AYNIN, there seems to be little excitement.  There seems to be a lot of debate and some concern.  I so wish that wasn’t the case.  Now, in fairness, perhaps, this concern and debate will change once facts are known.  Maybe part of the problem is that the album has taken so long to be finished that people couldn’t sustain excitement but that it will return with the release of #DD14.

Until then, don’t blame me for being wanting to be stuck in the most recent Duran history with All You Need Is Now away from Lindsay Lohan and the cast of thousands that supposedly have worked on DD14.  Just send me  to the eagerness of a Mark Ronson produced, very Duran Duran sounding album.

-A