Category Archives: Duran Duran News

Thud(s) Heard Around the World

Mysterious thudding noises can be heard all over the world today as Duranies get their first full views of the official video for Duran Duran’s latest single, “Pressure Off”.

Let me be clear: if seeing John Taylor mouth a delightfully colorful two-word phrase to someone off-screen doesn’t rock you, and seeing Roger twirl his stick doesn’t send your blood pressure soaring a bit; or if eyeballing Nick in more eyeliner than most of us have ever worn in our entire lives doesn’t stop you dead in your tracks, and seeing Simon’s sultry, all-knowing smirks and grins don’t make you fall over…SURELY seeing John Taylor slowly unzip the arm to his jacket will do the trick!

And, if none of that particularly fascinates you, the design elements most assuredly will – and I promise we’ll talk about all of that. Tomorrow.

Haven’t seen it yet? Allow me to link you up!

As I mentioned earlier on Facebook, the first five to ten seconds of the video made the wait all worthwhile (for me, anyway).  Having done the majority of my growing up in the video-MTV-age, I can remember the anticipation I would have when a new video would be announced for one of my favorite bands.

“Coming up, the ‘World-Premier’ of Duran Duran’s video for Wild Boys!”

…I’d go CRAZY to hear those words! I’d sit through HOURS of videos (so it would seem) just to watch one-three or four-minute video. Back then, I didn’t necessarily have a VHS machine ready to tape (I was just as unprepared back then as I am now) and so as soon as the video would be over, I’d be both elated, and really pissed off at the same time, because I’d want to see the video again. And again. And AGAIN!

Sound familiar?

Last night, while the rest of you were likely watching TV, or doing whatever it is that you do in the evenings, I had tweeted DDHQ (more than once, but who is really counting??) “innocently suggesting” that since the video for Jools Holland wasn’t working in the US at the time, they could make it “right” by throwing the video for Pressure Off up on YouTube. I didn’t realize at the time that the video would be making its debut today, and let’s face it… I was also being a major pain in the ass. (I consider it one of my “many” gifts. You’re welcome, DDHQ!) Of course I knew they weren’t going to put it up online, but I also knew they’d been tweeting teasers for the video all day, so why not bug them about it? I am certain this admission will send waves of shock and awe throughout the fan base, but my tweets to DDHQ last night went unanswered. So sad. (cue sad violin here)

In the 80’s, videos were a small vehicle for a fan to actually SEE bands they liked. Not everyone went to concerts, but nearly everyone I knew would spend hours watching videos, whether those were on MTV or some local video show.  I’d run home from school, bust through the front door, throw my books down on the couch and turn on the TV in time to see MV3 (which later became VideoOne) with Richard Blade. After that was over, I’d watch Mundo Music – which was obviously in Spanish no less, but I didn’t care. (I’d like to believe it helped me learn Spanish. However, I suspect my high school Spanish teacher, Mr. Recio, would disagree. Vehemently.) Then I’d switch over to watch MTV, until my mom would come home and announce that I’d done “nothing” all afternoon. (Not true! I watched videos!!) Music videos, along with music in general, was my entire life outside of school. I knew the bands, I knew their music, and most of all – I knew their videos. To this day, when I hear a song from back then, I can often times picture the video before I can even remember the name of the band. I’m funny at parties when we play those 80’s music trivia games I guess…

Nowadays though, it’s different. The excitement has changed. Don’t get me wrong, when Duran Duran announces a new video I obviously take notice. Most fans do. But it’s different now. It’s not as though I’m watching on MTV, for one thing. It’s YouTube, it’s a little smaller of a screen, and I don’t have to sit through five videos I don’t necessarily care as much about in order to see the one video I’ve been waiting for. I can also play the videos over and over again without delay. (Do not think for one second I only watched Pressure Off once, for example!) In some ways, I wonder if that feeling of “It’ll always be there to watch however often I want” hasn’t hurt music in general. I mean, if it’s always gonna be there, the sense of urgency is sort of missing. The “special-ness” of being able to watch is really gone. I miss that.

Don’t get me wrong, tweeting about a Duran Duran video, seeing people’s comments on Facebook, and of course blogging here about it are all really fun. That part of it adds a dimension to fandom that didn’t exist in the same way for me back in the 80’s. The closest I’d get to chatting with a fellow fan over a video was when I’d call my friend Marsha while watching a Duran Duran video – and that would only happen if my mom wasn’t paying attention, because if she was, I’d hear, “Rhonda Lynn, why on earth are you sitting there talking on the phone when you’re watching TV? You can’t do both at the same time!” (cue loud, dejected teenage sigh) Nowadays, there’s a certain level of excitement that goes along with seeing GIFs tweeted or posted of JT unzipping his jacket arm, and those dizzying moments shouldn’t be denied!! It’s just different now. I think back in the day, there was an importance placed upon doing the best video, the most different video, even (especially) the sexiest video. But now? It’s kind of all been done, I suppose. So we’ve got a very stark, very bold video of the band playing Pressure Off, and yet fans are losing their minds and virtual thuds are happening all over the internet today. Can’t be all bad, right?!?

It’s just that sometimes, the “ease” of technology; maybe it’s really the “instant gratification” that technology fosters, seems to have done more damage than good when it comes to being a fan. Everything is always available: twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Additionally, there’s so much of “everything”…it’s pretty damn gluttonous. As exciting as it still is to see a video, it’s just different.

When I think about it, maybe that’s the real reason behind the band not being on Twitter or Facebook like they once were…too much really can end up being too much. Sometimes it’s good to want things, or people and be made to be patient. The art of anticipation, no?

-R

 

October 2015 Katy Kafe with Simon Le Bon

I don’t know about anyone else, but all at once it feels both like it has been  several months since the last Katy Kafe (seriously, just the other day I was thinking that I hadn’t written up one in a long time, although I know I did the one in September with Nick standing in front of the elevator banks at the Jimmy Fallon show)… and just a few minutes ago it seems like it was August. So, I was thrilled to see that the time had come for the October 2015 Katy Kafe.

This month, Simon joins Katy in the Kafe, drinking his “black coffee, no sugar” while in the UK. The birthday boy discusses everything from #musicrediscovered to his next Simon’s reader. As always, I admonish that these are just highlights that I’ve picked out to share, and if you want to hear the entire Kafe – get yourself a DDM membership.  I still feel as though $35.00 a year is a bargain, never mind the access you’ll receive to ticket pre-sales and the like!

#MusicRediscovered

Lately, Simon has been listening to music he once loved and had forgotten.  A prime example of this is Fela Kuti. Simon liked listening to a piece of music called “2000 Blacks Got To Be Free”  back in 1987 during the Strange Behavior tour (this was a tour where Simon liked to decorate his hotel room and feel at home with lots of scarves and incense).  He’d long since forgotten about it until one day while he was staying with John recently. John pulled out the vinyl and launched Simon right back in time. Since then, Simon has been tweeting with the hashtag #musicrediscovered. (which I personally LOVE. He’s already picked out several gems that have in turn taken ME right back – music has a great way of doing that – so be on the lookout for his tweets!)

Anyone remember cassette tapes? I sure do – until VERY recently – the only copy of Big Thing I owned was a CASSETTE! Simon apparently has stacks of them in his house. The few that I still have are in a box in my garage. I don’t listen to them because I’m afraid that they’ll be eaten by the stereo in my car – which is the only surviving tape player I’ve got left. Simon says he liked them back then because they were easy to take places. Easier than vinyl, yes!

A side note that I think is funny enough to highlight: Simon told a little tale to illustrate why he no longer burns incense in hotel rooms:  apparently he was staying in a Boston hotel and was having an in-room treatment where they were burning incense cones on his back (this might sound stranger than I think it was) as a stress-relief.  A knock comes to the door, Simon answers and it is hotel security along with the police who want to have a stern discussion with him about not smoking drugs in his room.  Point taken.

Anyone out there enjoying Apple Music? Simon mentions that he is enjoying Apple Music – prior to this he had not tried streaming on other apps like Pandora or Spotify, and he likes that he can get just about anything on Apple Music….except Medazzaland and Pop Trash, that is…

Paper Gods

Simon hasn’t been in the Kafe since the album was released, and  says he is still listening to the entire album. (Side note: Katy says the album is very linear and that she can’t skip songs. I am 100% ALL FOR buying the album in its entirety. This is not an album where you buy one song or another – this album is absolutely meant to listen from start to finish at least the first 100 times you listen. I’ve had it myself for over a month now and I’m still hearing it differently every single time. What do you mean you don’t have it yet? WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? GO GET IT!!)

He comments that it’s a top ten album, which is true – it did hit the top ten on Billboard, and it’s been a very long time since a Duran Duran album has done that, and yes – Paper Gods absolutely SHOULD feel like vindication for the band in spending the time to get it right, even IF I gave the band nothing but grief for doing so. Sometimes, #Durantime makes sense.

One thing Simon mentioned was that it all still feels very fresh and new to him even though they’ve been on the promotion cycle for the past couple of months now. He says that the first single – “Pressure Off” – has already came and went in the UK. He says that the song didn’t do that well on the charts because of how it was released. Not living in the UK, I don’t know what that means. However, I continue to witness what is or is not going on in the US with regard to “Pressure Off” thus far.  The song JUST debuted on our America’s Top Ten (Hot Adult Contemporary charts) this past week at #39. I cannot even begin to imagine that this is the peak for the song, because I’m still not really hearing it on radio much at all. I’m not sure if that’s because it’s not getting played, or it’s because I’m not listening to the right stations or if it’s because I’m just missing the finer points of how a single is released to radio. I know that I do not just speak for myself when I say that I hope this isn’t where they’re leaving it with this song – I don’t know who is in charge of getting airplay or how, but it just seems like a lot has been left on the table with regard to this one. I’m crossing my fingers that more is yet to come, because the song is outstanding and EVERYONE should be hearing it all over the (radio) dial.

What’s Next?

The band just won the Q Icon award (announced today!!), and they are off to Milan in several days for the X Factor Milan show and a big show in the Piazza Duomo for the MTV EMA’s. Then they are back to the UK for another round of production rehearsals for the UK tour, which begins in November. Simon explained that the UK shows will be longer, with at least another song or two from the new album, and they’ll have more lights. I also heard him say something about the stage, but I didn’t catch it fast enough to write it down.  He was also very quick to point out that after the UK, they’ll be going to many other parts of the world in 2016, and back to the US for the summer – which is exciting!! (Could it really be that Amanda will not have to battle her school schedule as a teacher in order to go to shows?!? We will see….)

Katy asked an interesting question at this point, and it was asked in just the right sort of way so that Simon would answer! (well-done!!!)

“What song do you enjoying singing most off of the new album for the live shows?” Simon paused long enough to absorb that yes, she did ask what he enjoyed singing most as opposed to what song was his favorite – so he answered with “What are the Chances?” That song gives him plenty of highs and lows. The most difficult songs to sing live are “Last Night in the City” (definitely guessed that one!) and “Pressure Off” because the vowel “U” is high in that song, and it is the most difficult vowel to sing high.

Katy also asked about the beloved confetti cannon, to which Simon assured her would remain in the stage production. The confetti creates such a party atmosphere, and lingers into the next song as it quietly floats to the ground. It really is dazzling to experience during their show.

Yasmin and Amber Save the Elephants

Yasmin and Amber have the opportunity to ride a rickshaw in India as a fundraiser for Elephant Family, so check out this link to their fundraising site. If we all chip in a few dollars it will go a long way towards a big check (bank-note)  written for a very worthy cause.

Simon’s been reading!

Currently Simon has been reading H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald and says it’s been excellent. He plans to write a Simon’s Reader for that book as well as an audiobook he’s been enjoying called May We Be Forgiven by A.M. Holmes.  He says the book is very dark and very funny.  Look for those to be added to Simon’s Reader on duranduran.com very soon and check them out for yourself!

The October 2015 Katy Kafe ended with Katy sending good wishes from the community-at-large to Simon…did you know that Katy has been giving Simon socks as birthday presents for 19 years now? I wonder how that started?!? He apparently has a pair of Batman socks among the many he’s been given….who knew?!?

-R

 

 

Review: Duran Duran Performs on the TODAY Show

My fellow Duranie Stephanie and I entered the chance to win Fan Passes for the band’s Today Show performance on September 17 . We live in Western New York, so the travel time to New York City is at least 6 hours. Not to mention, we both have jobs with limited time off, so our attitude was if we get passes, we’ll just figure out how to go. We really didn’t expect to win them at all. But then Stephanie got the email a week before the show saying she won a Fan Pass (good for 2 people). Our conversation together went something like this:

“Holy cow!”

“Can we do it?”

“Would we be able to take the time off with such short notice?”

“Can we afford to go?”

“It doesn’t matter – we are going!!”

So after an abnormally long train ride, we finally get to NYC around 11 pm. We decided to go to a bar near Penn Station and the sign outside says “Welcome Madonna fans!” Wait – what??? Madonna was at Madison Square Garden that night? That was just a block away! How cool would that have been if we could have seen that show too?!

Back to Duran-land: The Fan Pass instructions said they would start letting people in at 5:30 am and no one would be let in after 6 am. We decided to get there around 5:00 and figured we’d be early enough. We knew that we couldn’t get front-row spots because there’s a VIP section between the stage and the Fan Pass section. But we would be closer than the general admission audience, so we’ll just see what we can get. We saw on Facebook that some fans were there around midnight. We decided that if we were going to stay up all night, we’d prefer to spend the time having a few pints and some food. (I know, I never said we were the most hardcore fans! Just hardcore enough to skip work and travel to NYC for a free show.)

So we got to the Fan Pass line around 5 am. We waited. And waited. I met some (of course) nice people in line and we all commiserated about how early it was.

Today_PreDawn

Today_Waiting

Finally we received our passes which certified that yes, we are now official FANS!

Today_FanPass

(*Before judging our appearance in the photo, please remember that we stayed up all night before the show!)

It was after 6 am and we still hadn’t been let into the plaza. Now we were starting to get a little angry – and you don’t want to anger Duranies at this hour of the morning. But shortly after 6, a couple black vehicles pull up to the plaza entrance and we heard some fans squealing. Clearly the band had finally arrived. I debated whether the delay was due to Nick’s primping, John getting his hair to defy gravity, or Simon squeezing into his pants. Whatever the reason, we were all glad they finally arrived! Having been at the last-minute-cancellation in Atlantic City in 2012, I was starting to feel like this show might not happen either. But the boys were here – and we were all eager to see them.

Having watched the Today Show concerts on the plaza, I had an idea of what the venue would be like. However, once I was actually there, I realized (spoiler alert) it was a lot smaller than it appeared on TV. But frankly my reaction was, “Well then, I’ll be even closer to the stage than I thought I would be!” As you can see from the sound check photo, it was still pretty dark out when we were let into the plaza. It was rather strange to watch a show that started in the dark and ended when it was light. But as weird as it was for me, it has to be much weirder for the band.

Today_Soundcheck

We get into the Fan Pass area and the band is already doing their sound check and rehearsal. To me, this was the coolest part of the experience. Maybe some of you have been at shows where you’ve seen the band do sound check. This was such a treat and a unique experience. I loved that we saw them in their street clothes. We heard their songs multiple times, starting and stopping mid-song. I was thrilled to see that Kiesza was going to perform with them because “Last Night in the City” is my (current) favorite track off Paper Gods. And every time they played it, I loved it even more.

Today_Soundcheck_Kiesza

It was hard to tell if the band was in “sound check mode” or if they were grumpy for having to play so early in the morning. Of course the fans were all excited and we had our second wind and were ready for the show! Simon was a little playful with the crowd but I was hoping for a little more. They finished up sound check and left the stage, so we didn’t know how long it would be until they played again. I think a producer from the Today Show gave us the times the band would be on, but we didn’t listen too closely. I was secretly hoping the band would play an entire concert, but knew that was a little too much to hope for. However I was thankful for whatever we could get.

Here’s the setlist as it happened in real-time:

Ordinary World – This was played/filmed first but actually aired in the last hour of the show. I thought it was a downer to start with, and I worried that Simon wouldn’t hit the high notes, but he killed it. In fact the vocals and sound were amazing all around. I saw some chatter online about how the sound on TV wasn’t great. I thought it was awesome in person.

Notorious (snippet) – The show bumped to commercial with this one. If you watched the show and felt like you got cheated out of the song, don’t worry – we did too. What you saw is all we got.

Last Night in the City (with Kiesza) –  If you watch the video you see around 2:52 Kiesza misses the start of her solo verse. She kept missing it in rehearsal too. Methinks Le Bon got Le Pissed.

Hungry Like the Wolf – Overplayed or not, the guys still sold it. And I think this was the one that the crowd was most enthusiastic about.

Pressure Off –  When introducing the band, Savannah Guthrie was a little flustered and called the new album “Paper Goods”. She was standing so close to JT I would have been flustered too.

Today_Savannah

Save a Prayer – This one they played just for us in the plaza. I’m not sure how others felt, but I was kind of bummed that this was the last song. I’m so used to them ending on an upbeat song that it felt pretty weird for that to be the final song.

I was convinced that they’d play Sunrise given that, well, we were all there together for the sunrise that day. And it’s definitely one that the crowd gets into. Next time guys, OK?

Watching the show back on my DVR, I really enjoyed seeing the little bits when the anchors talked to the audience and showed us arriving pre-dawn. Speaking of the anchors, (a) Carson Daly has piercing blue eyes! I wasn’t standing too close to him but man, those are some sparkly blue eyes! And (b) we saw Dylan Dreyer after the show and man, she is tiny!

I had a great time chatting with fans around us. One woman said it was her first time seeing the band ever. I told her it’s never too late! And to be able to see them that close for free, what a way to see your first show!

Having been to a handful of Duran shows now, I really try to not be stuck behind my camera or phone and fret about getting a great photo or the best video. I really wanted to soak in this unique opportunity and have no regrets. My only regret is that we didn’t show more enthusiasm because then we would have been picked to go down in front of the stage and dance. That would have been incredible, however I was a little camera-shy because I was sort of playing hooky from work, so I wasn’t anxious to be all over the TV screen. Next time Steph, OK?

Thanks to my friend and partner in crime for inviting me to be her +1. I had a wonderful adventure and can’t wait to see them on tour in 2016. If you ever have a chance to start your day with a Duran Duran show, I highly recommend it!

Story & videos from the Today Show

-PamG

PAPER GODS DEBUTS AT #10!

I never blog at night. However, some rules are meant to be broken at certain times, and tonight is that night.

I don’t know what made me decide to check Twitter as I prepared for the week ahead, but something told me to click, and am I ever thankful I did!

I’m happy to share that tonight, DDHQ posted some wonderful, astonishing, fantastic, and AMAZING news. I had been hearing murmurings that it was possible that Paper Gods might make the top ten on the charts this week, but there was something in me that just had doubts. Well…there’s no doubting now:

top ten announcement

Duran Duran has just accomplished something that doesn’t happen often to that many bands. Paper Gods made it’s DEBUT at #10 on Billboard’s Top 200. The last time any of their albums did this well was 22 years ago. Twenty-two years.

I can’t describe how proud I am of this band, and I know that pride is shared with many, many thousands of fans around the world. Let’s not allow this momentum to subside. I challenge everyone who reads this post to tweet the news along with a link to iTunes or Amazon to buy the album. Tell your friends – this band has a top ten bona fide HIT on their hands, and it’s worth giving it a shot, even if they want to just listen on Spotify!

iTunes Deluxe version

Paper Gods on iTunes (regular)

Paper Gods on Amazon

Paper Gods on Spotify
During a week where I would see tweet after tweet about Paper Gods charting in countries all over the world, I have to admit that I was concerned about the US. I didn’t know how the album would do, and I hoped that this would be the album to finally break the ceiling of the top 10. It just isn’t easy for the band to chart here – we’re a huge country, and what does well in the rest of the world doesn’t necessarily do well here. After all, this IS the country that spurred the Kershenbaum remixes of songs off of Rio, once upon a time. It’s an uphill battle to have a hit in America.

What fantastic news for a Sunday night!! I’d love to be at Red Rocks as the band gets the news, and let’s all work to see this album continue to  move up those charts! Our work is not done, in fact – it’s just beginning.  Until we can turn on the radio and hear Pressure Off anywhere we go, we’ve got to keep getting this album heard, and that is not an easy task. We all must do our part. Tell a friend!

What are you waiting for?? Go Tweet or post on Facebook!!

-R

Duran Duran on Today Show!

It is Thursday, and my friends…it has been quite a morning.

I dutifully programmed the DVR to record the Today Show, because like most of you, I had other requirements that took me away from my television this morning while the Paper Gods took over the Today Show.  As a result, I spent the time between 7:30 and 10am in traffic, dropping my youngest off at school, and explaining to a fellow parent at said school that no, my son…who is 16…is not my husband. Nor is he the father of my youngest for that matter.  (Yes, that really WAS quite the awkward conversation, actually.)

So, as I raced back home, there was one thought on my mind: watching the Today Show in PEACE!  The good thing about the DVR is that I was able to speed through the sections of the show that were quite frankly, of zero interest, and get to the good stuff!  I stood in front of the television, remote in hand, as the camera would scan the crowd and marveled at how many familiar faces I saw in the audience. Man, do Duranies ever get around, I must say!!  There were so many there, and I have to admit that I was almost more excited about seeing fellow fans than I was the band!

I watched as the band played a teensy bits of Notorious and Save a Prayer before cutting to my local news update (who really CARES about traffic and weather anyway?!?).  Then I saw Savannah Guthrie embarrass herself as she called the new album Paper Goods (I’d have been flustered up there too, but then – I write. I don’t actually speak on camera for a living, and there’s good reason for that.)  The band played Hungry Like the Wolf and about half of Pressure Off before once again cutting to my local news. Completely annoying. It’s a shame that they didn’t cut Hungry Like the Wolf because that’s the song everyone knows, but naturally – that’s the way TV works. They’re going to cut the song that is less recognizable. This of course had nothing to do with the band at this point, because I was watching on the West Coast, and the Today Show isn’t even live here. By then, it’s just videotape, and edited at that. I’m pretty sure I saw songs out of the order that the rest of the country saw them in. (Yeah, we might have nice weather while the rest of the country is neck-deep in snow, but we definitely don’t have live morning TV or awards shows!)

Last Night in the City was about the only song that was shown completely intact – and with Kiesza sharing the stage with Simon, which was great! There was only one slightly off-moment during that song, and it was when Kiesza got down on her knees in front of Simon. I was happy to see Simon have the good sense to get on his knee as well, because otherwise, it would have just looked awkward.

Lastly, I saw Ordinary World during the Hoda/Kathy Lee show, which also great, although Simon seemed to strain quite a bit during parts of the song – I’m giving him a free pass on that simply because it had to have been done pretty early in the morning. It looked and sounded like it was early, anyway.  Thankfully, the powers that be allowed that song to go through to the end, and then Hoda and Kathy Lee mentioned that they enjoyed going back to the 80’s. Well, Hoda and Kathy Lee, that’s lovely, but that particular song was released on December 2, 1992… Fact-Checking:  kind of important.

The best part of my day? Social media has been completely taken over by photos of Duran Duran at the Today Show. I LOVE IT!!  I love seeing all of the photos of my friends who were there…lo and behold, even Daily Duranie was represented!

Even a little piece of Daily Duranie was in attendance at the Today Show. Photo courtesy of Pam Greenfield.
Even a little piece of Daily Duranie was in attendance at the Today Show. Photo courtesy of Pam Greenfield.

I’m having so much fun seeing everyone with their photos and reading the experiences that everyone is having,  this is really the best part of a new album being promoted…and we have much more to come!  If you’re not already getting our blog by email, I encourage you to sign up, that way you’ll never miss a single post!

-R

The Paper Gods on Jimmy Fallon

I have to wonder if the band knew we’d end up using the title of the album as a moniker directly for them…

Last night, Duran Duran appeared on Jimmy Fallon in the first of a few appearances on US talk shows, covering morning (They appear on the Today Show tomorrow morning), afternoon (Ellen is later in the month) and evening.

Granted, Duran Duran has done more than a few of these shows in their time…you can almost bet that they appear on at least one or two with every album, but somehow last night was different. I don’t know if it’s just me, but there is a certain amount of positive energy with this album that just feels different. Renewed. Better. Not only can I characterize that energy using nearly every positive adjective known to man…I think it might be infectious!  With more and more frequency, the various news agencies and critics out there are hailing this album using terminology I rarely see associated with Duran Duran these days. Words such as “hit” and “triumph” and “modern” have me thinking that something is most assuredly in the air with this one.

Of course, time will tell if this is merely the passing fancy of the first week of a release, or if the top ten on iTunes and other various charts will indeed hold. I would like to believe that this momentum has the power to not only get this boulder going, but that it may very well increase to a clip that we’ve not seen in a couple of decades. Moreover, I will say this much: it has been a very long time since I’ve seen so much promotion for a Duran Duran album, more specifically – it’s been a very long time since I’ve seen so many reviews for a Duran Duran album, never mind positive ones. In a way, that alone is kind of mind-blowing and almost concerning. I can’t decide if I’ve been dropped into a new universe, or if my own world has finally caught up with what we’ve known all along.

I keep thinking back to Katy’s assessment of the band being a Phoenix. One should never count Duran Duran out of the game, that is for sure. I have had quite a journey settling in to the new sound(s) of this album, which has been gratifying on its own, but seeing that the word is spreading and more people are talking about Paper Gods is staggering.

I try to retweet and repost as many of the great reviews and comments about the album as possible when I’m on Twitter, and I love seeing that Daily Duranie followers do in kind. I encourage everyone to keep up the great work! It takes a village…or a relatively large army!!

So, back to that appearance on Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight show. The band looked fantastic, first of all. I don’t think I’ve seen the band look as great as they do right now in a very long time. There’s just something about them – is it energy? Is it confidence? I had one friend say,  “they are awesome and they know it”…and I kind of think that’s got to be it. I’ve said it over and over: the band has to sell the audience, and damn if they’re not doing it!

I haven’t seen John look this happy in a good many years, and I even saw Nick smiling as he was playing! Anna sounded fantastic, Roger just seems completely content and satisfied, something I haven’t noticed since he came back to the band. Simon,  well first of all, Simon looks healthy and fit – he even inspired me to get serious about my OWN weight loss when I saw him in April,  believe it or not – but Simon’s voice is truly a sound to behold these days. I have seen and heard people say that he sounds better now than he has since Rio (and IMO since the very first album!), and last night was no different. I really do have to hand it to him, it is clear there has been a complete turnaround and rededication to what he loves. Lastly (but not least) there is Dom, who not only looked the part with his black polka-dot shirt and tucked-in tie, but there’s just an overall sense of comfort and family with this group. How that can be ignored, I’ll never quite understand. Overall, there is complete difference in this group. They may have been ready to reach out to their fans with All You Need is Now, but this time, they are ready for the world….and the world is starting to respond.

Take a look at the clip last night if you missed it, or watch it again!

 

Pressure Off from The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon

-R

Duran Duran Streaming Paper Gods!

If you are one of those people who cannot wait until Friday for your own chance to listen to Paper Gods…Duran Duran have done something amazingly cool and have made Paper Gods available (public) for streaming.

Check it out at the link below:

Paper Gods Streaming via Pitchfork

And if you do take a listen, we’d love to read your thoughts! Send us a comment and let’s get the conversation started!

-R

 

Past is another country

I’ve been spending part of my morning catching up on the world, which means that yes, I’ve been watching some video from Night at the Park in The Hague this past weekend.

Since I’m reasonably good with sharing and not running with scissors much these days, I will gladly post the link here for all to enjoy.

I have to admit that under normal circumstances – I might click on the video, watch a couple of minutes paying less than half-attention. I rarely allow myself the luxury of just sitting and just watching. Normally I’ll click on the video and listen while I’m doing something else.  The only time I really let myself just watch is when I’m at Amanda’s house – and then I spend my time pouring through her massive DVD archives of videos, interviews, TV appearances and even shows.  I don’t know why that is, but here at home, I just rarely watch, until this morning.

I watched the whole video and found myself smiling through most of it. Even though I’ve seen Notorious in person 5000 times (a slight exaggeration!), I still watched. Even though I know all the words to All You Need is Now and probably can do all of Simon’s moves in my sleep, I still couldn’t help but give a toothy grin when Simon walks over to Dom and sings “Everybody’s gunning for the VIP section; but you’re better up and running in another direction” with him (still a fangirl, yes).  I noticed fellow Duranies on the barricades, smiled at the memory of seeing/meeting those people in person and just enjoyed seeing Duran Duran, even if only by video. You’d swear I hadn’t seen them in years instead of it only being since April.

That’s the thing about Duran Duran. There are times when I start to think that maybe I’m just getting bored of it all, or that life has just moved on and I just need to realize it’s all over, and I’ll see something or I’ll hear a new song, and that old feeling comes right back. My genuine love for the band is undeniable. I can’t imagine my life, even my adult-life, without them in it. I can’t even begin to wonder how bored I’d be without the blog, without Facebook and Twitter, without the plotting and planning for shows and visits.  I look at Simon, John, Nick & Roger and still see the same guys I had (have) wallpapered on my wall in my bedroom (or walk-in-closet).  Seeing Simon smile when he’s singing still makes me smile. Those are the tiny, little moments that I wish I could bottle for myself when I’m feeling down, or just completely out of it.

I read earlier today that the US Ambassador (Matthew Barzun) to the UK invited Duran Duran to play a private event in London to commemorate the 239th anniversary of the Independence of America. While I’m amused by the entire thought (So…the US Ambassador is going to host a big party in the largest private residence in the UK outside of Buckingham Palace to celebrate being independent from where? Oh that’s right…from England…and we’re going to invite a band from that very country to come and play, too. And who is paying for this party? That’s right, US taxpayers. Full. Of. Irony. Brilliant!), I have to admit that one particular note made me stop and think.  The band is planning to play Pressure Off live. Truthfully, my first thought was “Oh, so out of all of the possible places, in front of fans, that they could choose to finally play this song – they’re going to play it in front of a bunch of politicians instead. I did enjoy the spin that DDHQ put on it though, saying that America has always been a great friend to Duran Duran (which is true if I don’t say so myself).  The thing is, at the end of the day it really doesn’t matter where they play the song first. Eventually, we’ll all hear and see it, and I must admit that the very last thing I’m going to be thinking about when I finally see the band on tour is where they chose to debut Pressure Off first.

Nope, I’ll be far too busy dancing, singing, and smiling until my cheeks hurt.

May the fangirl (or fanboy!) within ever reign.

-R

 

 

Paper Gods a Plenty!

It looks like I’m going to be adding a couple of versions of Paper Gods to my ever-expanding Duran collection.  Anyone else??

Earlier today, I saw that Duran Duran announced the various versions of Paper Gods that will be descending upon us in the coming months.  For All You Need is Now, there were many different albums depending upon where you lived, where you shopped…and of course, how much you were willing to spend. The options seemed dizzying at the time, and I mentioned here on the blog that I might need a flow chart in order to keep track.  This time, DDHQ seems to be right on top of it by releasing a list today on Facebook of available versions, complete with track listings.

Basically, there will be four different configurations of the album.

  1. A standard 12-track CD, it’s digital equivalent, and a 12-track vinyl double LP.

  2. A deluxe 15-track CD and it’s digital equivalent. (this one has 3 bonus tracks)

  3. A limited edition, high-end deluxe Vinyl Factory box set LP.

  4. Limited edition “fan bundle” available through Duran Duran Music Store. This edition has special packaging, the deluxe 15-track CD, and a paper fortune teller. (because we all need one for trying to figure out and understand this band sometimes…am I right?!?)

The deluxe version of the album is available for preorder at participating retailers, and I read today that Pressure Off will be available through iTunes in the UK on July 24.  (I don’t mind saying that I think it’s ridiculous that people from the UK – DD’s HOME – have to wait until nearly the end of next month in order to get the single. Who plans this stuff?!?)

I can only imagine how “high-end” the Vinyl Factory box set will be – I’ve passed up their most recent limited edition vinyls because quite honestly, as nice as they might be, they’re atrociously priced and something has to give somewhere. Personally, I would have liked to have seen the band give a shot to Manimal Records for their vinyl and come in with a slightly less “high-end” version for those of us mere mortals who still hope to retire someday, but that’s just me.

The official track listing:

Paper Gods (feat. Mr. Hudson)
Last Night in the City (feat. Kiesza)
You Kill Me With Silence
Pressure Off (feat. Janelle Monáe and Nile Rodgers)
Face For Today
Danceophobia
What Are The Chances?
Sunset Garage
Change the Skyline (feat. Jonas Bjerre)
Butterfly Girl
Only in Dreams
The Universe Alone

Deluxe Edition Bonus Tracks:

Planet Roaring
Valentine Stones
Northern Lights

Also in breaking news, a second Capitol Theatre date in New York has been added for August 2nd. DDM Presales tomorrow at noon local time. Duranies, are you ready??  Are your credit cards ready??? We’re off and running….the Duran drought has officially ended!!!

-R

 

Paper Gods Press Release Insights Part 2

We continue our analysis of the press releases surrounding Duran Duran’s upcoming album, Paper Gods.  In part 1, which you can read here, we discussed statements made about the album as a whole.  In this part, we look at how individual songs on the album are described.  Of course, we have yet to hear any of these with the exception being the first single, Pressure Off.  Therefore, these descriptions are just that.  They are descriptions, which we may or may not find completely accurate once we actually have the chance to hear them.  Nonetheless, we thought it would be fun to offer some thoughts and reactions to the written descriptions.

Pressure Off

As described in the press release:  “Mark, Nile and Mr Hudson co-wrote and produced, the tracks ‘Pressure Off’ and ‘Only in Dreams’. The former, which will be the album’s lead single featuring Nile Rodgers, harks back to the taut funk of Notorious, with a sensational vocal from Janelle Monáe, and a chorus that is audacious in its effortless immediacy. “If only,” laughs Nick. “The one thing it wasn’t was effortless. But the idea was to make it sound like that.”

Amanda:

In reading this, I wish I knew more about Only in Dreams, especially since I have heard Pressure Off already.  Does the combination of Mark Ronson, Mr Hudson and Nile Rodgers always produce a song like Pressure Off?  I look forward to finding out.  As for what Nick said here, I wasn’t surprised that it took effort to create the chorus in Pressure Off.  Rhonda suspects that they came up with the hook  and the chorus first and built the rest of the song around it.  I wouldn’t be surprised.  I just wonder how or what in particular they were searching for when trying to find this chorus.  Was it a certain style?  Were they trying to match certain songs?  I wish I was a fly in the studio for that!

Rhonda:

Well…mostly I just wouldn’t be surprised if they came up with the hook first and built the rest of the song around it. I have no idea what Duran typically does, but that hook is so strong it just seems like it would have come first. (I’m probably dead wrong though!) I think that the chorus does have a sort of “effortless” feel around it…it’s kind of like I’ve told my daughter Heather so many times: “It’s ok if it really ISN’T effortless or easy, it just needs to LOOK that way when you’re on stage!” That’s sort of the way the chorus to this song comes off. On the other hand, I don’t think the verses sound so easy.  I’ve been reading the opinions of many fans lately on this one, and a lot of the criticisms seem to come from the verses – people don’t feel they match up well, stylistically. My opinion is very different because while it’s true, they definitely aren’t as bright, they give the song a lot more depth, sound-wise. If every line sounded like the chorus, I am afraid the song would be making a serious slide into bubble-gum land. I also recognize that I am a far better kitchen-table blogger/armchair critic than music writer, so there’s that.

“Big-Chorus Bankers”

The press release stated the following: “‘Face For Today’, ‘Butterfly Girl’, ‘Danceophobia’ (with a guest appearance from Lindsay Lohan as the voice of the ‘doctor’) and ‘Last Night In the City’ (which features a killer contribution from Kiesza) are among the album’s other big-chorus bankers”

Amanda:

Big-chorus bankers?! I totally get the idea of songs with big choruses. I assume that to mean choruses that stick out, that are memorable, that stick in people’s heads and make them want to keep listening and keep singing along. Duran has had many of those in their history, including some of my favorite songs. The most recent song that comes to mind with that description is Sunrise. As soon as you heard that chorus, you wanted to keep listening and you wanted to sing along with Simon. Interestingly enough, two out of the four tracks described like that featured contributions by others. Lindsay Lohan is the voice of a “doctor”.  Will this be a little like Nina Hossain in Leopard?  I’ll be very curious to hear that one!

Rhonda:

So basically it is saying that these songs were written with strong hooks? I think it has to be said (many, many times) that even Pressure Off has a ridiculously catchy chorus – probably the best I’ve heard out of this band in 25 years, if not 30.  I can’t imagine what else would be meant by a big chorus, so I’m going with that. I thought back to the last several albums. Admittedly there are very few songs with truly great big choruses. Is that really a bad thing?  I think it depends upon the intention. If you’re writing without the goal of getting on radio, then no, I don’t think it really does matter. I think it is about the artistry of what you’re writing. Does the writer really feel like they got their message across?  However, radio and chart-land does not work that way. Go listen to the radio. Songs that get played often, songs that are genuine “hits” typically have very strong choruses. VERY strong.  They get deposited in your ear, swim to your brain and hold on for dear life. That’s why they work. Listen to “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk & Nile, or Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars. Those are some huge choruses!

I suppose though, for those of us Duran-purists out there, there’s likely some nose-scrunching going on. On one hand, sure, we want the band’s music to do well because of course we want to see the band succeed. Fans typically want that, don’t we? We want to sort of be validated so that we can walk around and say “See? We TOLD you Duran Duran still had it. We TOLD you they’re fantastic!” But, and this is the crazy, insane thing about Duranies that I’ve learned from over the years, there’s also a part of us that really doesn’t want it happening that way.  We want them to write solely for themselves. We want them to laugh in the face of critics and music charts. We want them to write the really cool, obscure stuff that we first fell in love with (or maybe discovered after we were finished devouring other songs like Rio or Hungry Like the Wolf?).  We don’t necessarily WANT them to bow down to the masses and write/record so that they get played on radio. What we want is for the band to write the music they want to write without worrying about it getting played; then, if it hits big we can sit back and pat ourselves on the back for knowing they had it all along but that the masses were too silly to really get it…but we’ve stuck by the band all along.

Personally, I’m not so sure it all works that way. I think that at least for me, I’m willing to concede to the fact that perhaps the music I love most from this band isn’t going to ever get them radio play. I kind of think they’ve got the right to make music that stands half a shot of being heard by a bigger audience, if that’s what they really want. In a lot of ways I feel for the band because I think they know it’s all a pretty tall-order. Up until now it’s felt like they’re either pissing off long time fans or they’re screwing themselves out of ever getting radio play. Where’s the middle ground? IS there middle ground?? If I were in their shoes, I am not entirely sure what I’d do. Try to do it all, and hope for the best, I suppose. Maybe, just maybe, there’s enough for everyone on this album.

What Are the Chances?

From the press release:  “‘What Are the Chances?’ the song that rolls back the years to the yearning and beauty of ‘Save a Prayer’”

Amanda:

Hmm…so What Are the Chances is the ballad on the album.  It is interesting that it also features John Frusciante on guitar.

Rhonda:

I knew it would come down to the guitar player. It always does. Listen, anyone who has read this blog during the past four years knows how I feel about guitar in general. I think the band needs guitar, and yes, I think it should be someone we as fans can all count on to be there permanently. To me, it’s not Duran Duran without it. I am much less of a fan of the music where the guitar is added deep into the mix as a sort of atmospheric afterthought than I am of the songs where there’s this beautiful, lush melody and seemingly out of nowhere I hear a soaring guitar. That’s the kind of juxtaposition, duality, tension….that I know to expect from Duran Duran at SOME points in their career. I also know that right now, they have a touring guitarist, but apparently he isn’t someone that the band wants to include or name as a permanent member.  Feelings about Dom run the full spectrum: many Duranies consider him just to be the hired gun in the same way they look at the roadies – they don’t even “see” him onstage, and still many others like myself consider him to be part of the family even if the band refuses. Perhaps it is all purely a business decision. I don’t know, and it really doesn’t matter. Duran Duran is happy to be a foursome, and from what I’ve been told over the past couple of years, it doesn’t seem they included Dom as much in the writing for this album (as opposed to All You Need is Now). Instead, they sought out presumably bigger names to do the writing and recording. It’s the one issue I’ve got with the band this time around, and it’s something that I continue to come to terms with as a Duran Duran fan AND as a fan of Dom’s. I’m truly surprised (and incredibly thankful!) that Dom has stuck around….and yes, I’m well-aware my words here are harsh, and yes, I know he’ll still be on the tour. He’s been around for over ten years now. It’s time for more than that. That said, I’m curious to see just what John Frusciante brings to this record. I’m well-aware of his incredible talent and I look forward to hearing what he’s got!

You Kill Me With Silence

Press Release:  ‘You Kill Me With Silence’ may boast another huge chorus, but at heart it is a deeply unorthodox and sonically engrossing song, with a disorientating closing sequence that reinforces the band’s art-pop credentials. Simon’s verdict on it sums up the freedom and inquisitiveness that still define the band’s music-making. “What I love most about the track is that it opens like a Snoop Dogg song; you almost expect a rapper to kick off, and instead what you get is Simon Le Bon channelling Nancy Sinatra.”

Amanda:

I have to admit this one intrigues me.  Any song that opens like a Snoop Dogg song and features Nancy Sinatra like vocals is going to interest me, as in “I can’t imagine what the heck that is going to sound like!”  Then, the idea that the closing is “disorientating” and “reinforces art-pop credentials” adds to my interest and inability to really process.  Heck, even the title adds to the mystery.  Yes, this one will definitely be one I look forward to hearing simply because it sounds so unimaginable!

Rhonda:

When I read this stuff, it’s very difficult to keep an open mind and not have already formed opinions by the time the album drops. I don’t want to go in with expectations of what I’m going to like or not like, you know?  Been there, done that with previous albums, and the results (for me) were disastrous, to say the least. HOWEVER…I’m really excited by what I’m reading here! Words like “art-pop”, “unorthodox”, “sonically-engrossing”….now those are music to MY ears. The trouble is that I’m really hoping it is going to be one of those delicious Duran-obscurities that no one but the deepest of fans loves…and that is one of those HOPES I’m trying to keep clear out of my head.  No expectations!!

Paper Gods

Press Release said:  “The title track (which features Mr Hudson’s vocals alongside Simon’s) is similarly daring, its polemical lyrics set to a soundtrack of fierce originality and menace. “It’s a song about our obsession, with money, with material things,” says Simon, “and how we trivialise our lives, and humanity. It’s definitely the angriest song on the album. Usually I tend to be much less specific when it comes to lyrics, because I like it when people hear our songs and create their own stories around them. But in this case, I wanted the anger to be unambiguous: ‘The slaver in a sweatshop, putting trainers on your feet.’ It’s about the price that we pay, that everyone pays, for the world as it is now.” “That song is definitely one of the strangest things we’ve done in a long, long time,” says Nick, “in that it’s a real journey, a strong lyric – we don’t often get into social commentary with songs, but this one felt like it needed that. And I do love the fact that it’s so unpredictable.”

Amanda:

I won’t lie.  I cannot wait to hear this one.  I like angry.  I like social commentary.  I do.  It is the Social Studies teacher in me, the political activist in me.  I have ALWAYS loved when Duran has gotten close or entered the social commentary realm because they always do it so intelligently.  It isn’t preachy but clever and thought-provoking.  Thus, I can’t wait for this one.  I suspect that I will love it and I will love the album title because of it!

Rhonda:

I’m really not a fan of obvious social commentary in music. I want to escape from reality, not be transported back to it every time I listen. That said, I like angry… (I doubt that surprises anyone. I’m the one with the fiery attitude around here, I think.) and I’ve heard that this song is of incredible length for a Duran song (9 minutes, I believe??) and it’s been compared to Bowie. That’s intriguing enough for me…and I do agree with Amanda, when Duran does a social commentary, it is usually done with incredible intelligence. I’m really looking forward to hearing this one.

Collaborations

John Frusciante:
What Are the Chances?
The Universe Alone
Butterfly Girl

John Frusciante’s playing…is equally unpredictable, the former Red Hot Chili Pepper twisting the songs into new and unexpected shapes. “We’re all so in awe of what he does with the guitar, his style is completely unique,” says Simon. “As a musician, he’s fearless, and that’s incredibly inspiring.”

Mr Hudson
Vocals on Paper Gods

Lindsay Lohan
Voice of the doctor on Danceophobia

Kiesza
Last Night in the City

Nile Rodgers
Co-wrote and produced Pressure Off and Only in Dreams
Featured on Pressure Off

Janelle Monae
Vocals on Pressure Off

Amanda:

There isn’t much to say about collaborations that I haven’t said before.  Sometimes, they are awesome as is the case with Janelle Monae’s vocals on Pressure Off.  Sometimes, they are not (thinking Skin Divers here).  Yet, we really don’t know until we hear the album.  Then, I will be able to  judge properly.

Rhonda:

Here’s the thing: I love John Frusciante’s work. He is an incredible guitarist. I’m looking forward to hearing him, all of my other feelings about the band and guitar players aside. Huge fan of Janelle Monae’s work on Pressure Off, the song would be completely different without her. I really like Mr. Hudson, so I am really excited that he did vocals on Paper Gods. The only thing that really intrigues me by Lindsay Lohan’s appearance on the album is why? Overall, I think there are an awful lot of big names packed into one album. In some ways it reads like overkill, in others, perhaps not. Time will tell.

What do you think about what you read about these upcoming songs?  Which ones interest you the most and why?

-A & R