Apparently, a number of Duranies have heard or are in possession of the new album. While I could write about what I think about this in regards to the legal issue or future record sales or morality, etc., I am not going to. What I find interesting is reading all of the reactions to the new album. There are countless discussions about how good or bad it is throughout the Duran fandom. While discussions like this are not new, my reaction to them is different.
Like many Duranies, I joined the online community during the band’s reunion. I was aware of how the web was creating a place for fans to be in order to be excited together, to discuss, to meet other fans and more. I, personally, decided to jump in with the reunion because my excitement over the return of the Fab Five was too much for me! I needed to find others who were just as thrilled as I was! I knew that I wanted other fans to go to shows with me and to discuss the new album, Astronaut, with me. At that time, I remember reading some negative reactions about the album, how the band was promoting it, how the label was promoting it, etc. In my mind, those negative statements were small in number and were by fans who couldn’t or wouldn’t join in the party I was having. I learned very quickly who seemed to embrace the positive and who didn’t. Those who didn’t could be ignored by me. Then, Red Carpet Massacre came and I joined in on a lot of the criticisms. I absolutely hated that the album was causing so many of us to be upset, but I understood the need to express one’s feelings.
It seems to me that being a fan means that you are passionate about something and this something has made you feel so good or so happy at some point. Therefore, it is understandable for people to feel the need to vent or to offer praise about something that creates such intense feelings for them. Obviously, these intense feelings can be positive about something, like my feelings were during Astronaut, and negative about others like they were about RCM. During both of those times, I was in the majority group. Now, I am seeing a ton of people who are in love with the new album, but I am also seeing others who are not. I would have to put myself in the first camp in that I have loved what I have heard and have loved reading people’s reviews who are positive. Negative reviews are upsetting to me. Why? I understand people’s desire to say what they think. I also completely believe in the freedom of speech. So, why are these views causing me distress?
I have given this a great deal of thought. Perhaps, it is because the criticism was grouped together differently during the Astronaut era that I could ignore it easier. Maybe I only found the negative views on a certain message board, for example. (I honestly can’t remember. Maybe Rhonda does or maybe our readers do.) It is possible that there was such a small minority of voices going against the album that they could easily overlooked. Those are definitely possible reasons. Another reason could be that I also went through the era of RCM where a lot of people disliked what they heard, including me. Is it possible that I’m struggling to understand how people could group RCM with the new material? After all, if they are saying that they didn’t like RCM and that they don’t like “All You Need Is Now”, aren’t they saying that they are both bad? Maybe not equally as bad but bad still. That I can’t understand. I wonder what those fans are looking for, then. If it wasn’t RCM and it isn’t AYNIN, then what? What kind of Duran material would remind them of why they loved Duran in the first place?
The last possible reason for my personal difficulty with the criticism is that I am more invested now. Yes, I was a long-term, die-hard fan for both Astronaut and RCM like I am now. This time, I am writing a blog. It has been become even more personal to me. Being a fan is personal enough. Being part of a fan community is even more so. Then, writing or being creative in a way that connects you is way more personal, at least to me. The reality is that it is all of these things, I suspect, that has frustrated me with the negative reviews. Of course, time will tell whether or not, I will continue to feel this way. I may decide that the negative views are more like my view than I originally thought. I know that I will continue to read the reviews and even welcome the less-than-excited opinions of others even if I disagree or even if they upset me. After all, everyone has the right to their opinions just like I do. I can appreciate the discussion because I do know that it is these types of discussions which keep the fandom alive.