Category Archives: Girls On Film

Last minute weekend double delight – Girls On Film (Soko) & Late Bar (Barbarians) Making Patterns Rhyme Tribute Album

Taking a break from vacation unpacking and laundry (yes, I’m back!!) to listen to the newest sneak peaks from the upcoming Making Patterns Rhyme album (August 2014).

Up first is Soko’s version of Girls on Film. According to Paul Beahan (Manimal), this version is “downbeat and goth-y”.  I definitely get that “slightly The Cure” flavor from the very beginning, and I have to admit – the song is quickly growing on me.  I like the subdued nature of the melody – it’s not quite as frenetic as the original, and my feet definitely start finding the beat during the chorus.  My ears are happy.  It’s different, but recognizable.  I think this is liable to become one of my favorites off of the album.

Love for Girls on Film aside, I will openly admit I’m having a lot more trouble with Barbarian’s Late Bar.  Here’s the real deal: the song is one of my all time favorites from the band, and I really love that the original is dark and obscure.  It’s tough to hear it done more upbeat…and up to date.  That said, even here, I can find things I really like, such as the middle 8 (between verses).  I think the one attribute I like least is that they’ve changed the rhythm of the song. It may grow on me, but right now I just want to grab the drumsticks out of the hands of the drummer, take the microphone away…and teach them how it should be done. I’m starting to sound like an old woman yelling at the kids to stop playing ball on my lawn, which is never good. I don’t want to completely pan the work, because let’s face it – this probably has far more to do with what I’m used to as a fan than it does the song. I’m curious to hear what others think.

This is the last day to take a listen…so hurry and check it out, then shoot me a comment with your thoughts!

Back to unpacking for me….

-R

Luxxury Edit – Girls on Film

Remember Moby’s Rio from last week?  I still see (and smell!) the smoke-tinged air from Duran Duran’s Facebook burning up with flaming comments from Duranies and diehards that weren’t necessarily in support of Moby’s interpretation.  I just don’t think I’ve seen that kind of anger and (mostly unjustified) vitriol regarding something that Duran Duran has been involved with since….well, ever.

Well, this is another week…and what I’m about to share here is certainly no Moby’s Rio. This week, Manimal shares an edit (By LUXXURY) of Girls on Film. To my ears, it’s pretty much a remix, and well-done at that. What you’ll hear when you listen is a fantastic bass line brought to the forefront with a solid dance beat not unlike the original, just a bit reimagined and brought up to date.

The only complaint I can imagine reading from fans is that it’s just a remix…and if I see that today, I’ll chuckle to myself knowing that once again…there is really no pleasing everyone.

This edit will not be on the upcoming Making Patterns Rhyme album, in fact a LUXXURY edit of Planet Earth will take that place; but Manimal chose to share this edit with the world as a bonus. Here’s the link, check it out for yourself and let me know what you think!

Luxxury - GOF

Girls On Film – LUXXURY (Soundcloud)

-R

Girls on Film – the Glee version

I will not lie, I winced when I read the news last week that Glee would be doing their own super-special version of this song.  I did, and I am not necessarily proud of that response.  The fact is, I have been trying to be more open minded about this sort of thing. DD’s music is begging to be covered, and Glee is a popular show.  It makes sense, and I should be puffing out my chest with pride, not wincing as I read a tweet, right??

Well, I still have memories over what was done to Hungry Like the Wolf and Rio. They were performed as a medley by Matt Bomer and Darren Criss.  I just didn’t want to see or hear of that happening to another DD song.  However, on the same token, a cover shouldn’t necessarily be a carbon copy of the original, should it?  Isn’t a cover version supposed to be another artist’s interpretation?  Shouldn’t I be applauding that?

Well, yes.  Yes I should, which is exactly why I’m no critic. The cheesy, whiney, blood-curdling version that Glee did of Hungry Like the Wolf simply isn’t my thing, regardless of what other fans may think. (Want to tell me I’m wrong? Get your own blog.)  I know that Glee sometimes often borders its writing and production on the cornball side of syrupy sweet. Overdone? Probably.  The way HLTW and Rio were done definitely fits that methodology, but would they go that route again?

Well, take a listen for yourself.

Girls on Film – Glee Style

When I listened, I had to admit that the music sounded pretty close.  Close. Not dead-on, so Duranies don’t be sending me hate mail saying I’m a bad fan! The chords at the beginning are not like the original, they’re clearly mellowed out for TV, and a lot of the very small elements in the music feel a little flat as opposed to the band’s writing, but it’s close.  Chord Overstreet does a reasonable job, although like everything he sings, I would swear he has a permanent smile on his face as he performs.  He’s not Simon LeBon of course, but you know – it’s not terrible. He has the right range. They didn’t go for cheese here, at least not in the way I had thought in my head.  I’m curious to see how the song is written into the show tomorrow night, so I’ll probably take the time to watch — something I haven’t really done all season.  And that’s really the point, isn’t it?

-R

 

Book Club: Mad World (Gary Numan, DD and New Order)

Welcome to week 2 of our little book club on the book, Mad World!  Last week, we discussed the foreword, introduction and the first artist, Adam and the Ants.  This week, we move on to the next three, which are Gary Numan, Duran Duran and New Order.  Like last week, both of us will give our thoughts and would love to hear yours!

Gary Numan:

Amanda’s response: This is definitely one of those chapters that really shed light on how this song was made, the story behind the song.  I knew that Gary Numan had a history in punk until he discovered the synthesizer in the studio.  Yet, even his decision to try it and redo his work to be more electronic seems very punk to me.  After all, one of the messages of punk was that you didn’t need to be a musician in order to form/join a band.  Anyone could do it!  Gary, obviously, took that idea to heart with using synthesizers.  I had to laugh that he would make up answers when asked about synthesizers by the press since he really didn’t know much about them!  I also appreciated learning that the song was written so quickly and on a bass, no less!  How funny is that considering that it is such an electronic song?!  In many ways, as was pointed out, he was lucky to have success with this song since it really didn’t fit the typical radio format, especially by being almost an instrumental and being about a road rage episode, of all things. The other part to the Gary Numan story caught my attention was the interaction with the record label when he shifted his songs from punk to more electronic punk.  I wasn’t surprised that the label wasn’t happy.  I had to laugh that they couldn’t afford to send him back to the studio so they had to go with that.  I suspect that things might be very different now with record labels.

Rhonda:  I read that Lori Majewski didn’t know much about Bowie in 1980…Ziggy Stardust could have been just about anything back then and it wouldn’t have made a difference to her.  I completely agree. I’m actually surprised I stumbled onto Duran Duran, given my own sphere of influence. (My parents were Elvis and The Beach Boys fans. It’s a miracle I heard anything else while growing up) So when I heard “Cars” on the radio – like Lori, it seemed really far-out there, and totally original. However, I can honestly say Gary Numan was never one of my favorites, although I do love this particular song. For me, “Cars” is synonymous with 1980.  

Like Amanda, I chuckle at the idea that his label wasn’t necessarily in favor of the new musical direction he chose (like at all!), but because the label had no money – they had to go with what he’d completed. I don’t know for sure what a label would do now, but I suspect the album would end up shelved…and a new producer would be “suggested” for them to work with. *coughs*  

One thing Gary says that I find both telling and interesting is that he comments …”suddenly you’re doing TV shows with people you’ve loved and admired for years, and now you’re one oft hem, but you don’t feel like you’re one of them – you feel like an intruder that snuck in the back door.”   I really liked that sentence, because I can imagine how weird that must feel to go from being a fan –like any of us — to suddenly being included with those people as a group.  I wonder how many other bands and artists out there recognize that feeling? 

According to Gary Numan, “Cars” took him 10 minutes to write the instrumentals, and another 20 to write the lyrics.  That’s working mighty fast. I know that sometimes, the very best writing I do is what just flows out. It’s not always that way of course, but when it is – it goes really fast.

The other point of interest is that “Cars” was written completely on a bass.  I would have never, ever guessed that. Here we are, reading about one of the most recognizable pieces of electronic music out there – and it wasn’t even written that way.  I must applaud that.

Lastly, his description of what the song means to him really spoke to me.  “I used to think that the car was a tank for the civilian. You could sit inside your car, lock your doors, and it would keep you safe. It puts you in a little protective bubble. You can maneuver through the world, but you don’t really have to engage.”  I think he was really visionary with the way he saw such a simple thing. Many might say that the vehicle just takes you from place to place, and perhaps that’s true…but it is very much how he describes it here. I live in Southern California, not terribly far from LA. We LOVE our cars here – many of us spend hours upon hours a day in them. I always found the idea of taking trains and buses to be strange (as I was growing up), because you’d be forced in such a small area with so many people you really didn’t know.  I’ve probably evolved a little bit since that early thinking – but my car is still my haven. It’s where I blast my music (when I can), and it’s where I do much of my thinking. I don’t have to engage there, which for me is like a vacation at times! 

Duran Duran:

Amanda’s reaction: Right away, during the introduction to this chapter, I find something that pops out at me.   The quote on page 35 that catches my attention, “They saw it as their duty to live out the lifestyle they depicted in their wildly overproduced videos.”  Duran is described on the same page as “bathed in decadence and debauchery”.  Hmm…  Were Duran’s videos overproduced?  Sure.  Did Duran seem to have a jet set lifestyle filled with “decadence and debauchery”?  Absolutely.  Did they see it as their “duty” to live like the videos showed them to live?  Duty is the word that sticks with me.  Duty represents to me an obligation, a requirement.  I’m not sure I agree that they thought this was their duty.  I’m not saying that they didn’t present a lifestyle, a fantasy.  I just don’t know that they thought it was their “duty” to do so.  I could see a means of promotion.  Of course, as I type this, I start laughing.  Here I am…criticizing one word just like people often do with this blog overlooking the entire point.  Moving on…

I thoroughly enjoyed Lori’s comments about how Duran chose her.  I could completely relate, especially when she said, “I have lived for them, lied for them and questioned my own sanity over them.”  Yes.  Yes, I most definitely relate.

I knew the history of the song, Girls on Film, and have even heard the demo featuring Andy Wickett, assuming the demo heard here is legitimate: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76qS-tEJvZQ

I also knew that Simon wrote the song with exploitation of women and models in mind.  I like that he said how he wanted the song to be fun, but filled with substance.  Of course, there is some sexuality in there, too.  I think that is the thing that drew me to Duran—fun with substance.  It isn’t mindless.

I found it really interesting that John Taylor found himself self-conscious about his bass playing as time went on, resulting in what John described as his “playing practically disappearing”.  I love that Mark Ronson was the one  who could convince John to play like he used to.  I am thankful, for sure.  On a similar note, I found it interesting that Roger wanted to sound like Chad Smith, the drummer for the Red Hot Chili Peppers when he came back, but that John pointed out that he couldn’t play with Chad Smith.  This is fascinating in light of the news that Duran will be playing with the former guitarist of RHCP.

Rhonda: I love reading what the band thinks of their own music. I mean let’s face it: I have a blog and I will openly tell anyone what *I* think of their music on any given day: both good and bad; but the band doesn’t always have that same luxury. That said, I did laugh when I read John’s opening statement (in the book) about the band. While I would agree that the critics didn’t always know what to do with them – I can’t truly say it’s because the band was perfect. I think it was because the band was too damn pretty for critics to actually listen to the music and take the words seriously.  Perfect?  Probably not.

Simon says that he wanted the band to be edgy, not too soft – and fans know that whenever Simon is asked about lyrics, particularly lyrics from earlier in their career such as those from GOF, they are about sex.  Well, Simon doesn’t disappoint here, does he?  I’d never given some of the lines from this song much thought. I knew the song was about the modeling industry and much of it being the clichés that Nick describes, but it’s not a song I really mull over much – given the video and all, it seems pretty well cut and dried in that respect.  It wasn’t too terribly long ago that someone responded to one of our posts here – the subject of the post was the image of the band and how at times, that has put them in a very odd juxtaposition for their fans (and themselves).  The person who responded reminded me that the their branding, at least initially was basically sex. The band were branded as sex objects. (probably another reason why critics have had such an issue)  The teen magazines, the videos, even the songs and the explanation of lyrics at times have made them to be  unattainable, untouchable, sex objects. I suppose that worked, and probably backfired at times for them as well.  My “problem” as a fan is that I see so much more than that in the band. It was and is great hook I suppose, but just as Simon’s lyrics ALWAYS cry out to be understood beneath what you see on the surface, I feel the band themselves are very much the same. 

I’d also like to comment that just as Nick sees that the band is in their fourth decade as “absurd”…so do we. Where did that time go…and how is it that only now in my forties am I seriously writing a fan blog?!?  We can all be absurd together, Nick. 

New Order:

Amanda’s thoughts: I adore how Jonathan Bernstein described the song, Blue Monday.  The idea of it being a “black cloud hanging over the dance floor” is so very fitting to me.  In my younger days, I used to spend quite a bit of time dancing the night away in “goth” like clubs and this song would always come on.  It didn’t matter if it was retro night or not, it would get played.  As soon as the first note would start, I always wondered why the DJ would play something so upbeat sounding.  Yet, as soon as those lyrics started, I remembered.  It isn’t happy.  Not at all.  It is like misery decided to dance.

Again, this seems very fitting to me for a band that used to be Joy Division and sang songs like “Love Will Tear Us Apart” with a lead singer who died from suicide.  Then, the last piece of the puzzle to understanding this song is added when I read that this song was the band’s response to the negative criticism that they were receiving after Ian Curtis’s death.  Truly, it all makes sense now. I thought it was interesting when Peter Hook mentioned how people were either Joy Division fans OR New Order fans.  They were not both.  I haven’t found that, in my experience.  I would say that I’m a fan of both.  Granted, I choose to listen to one over the other, depending on my mood.  I wouldn’t choose to listen to them both at the same time or mix them up like I could with Duran Duran and Arcadia.

I found the relationship between Bernard Sumner and Peter Hook fascinating.  Clearly, these two did not see eye-to-eye and had both a personality conflict and a musical one as well.  Peter claimed that Bernard wanted to turn down the bass.  Yet, the claim that is made is that this conflict is what helped to produce quality music.  Hmm…this sounds a little familiar.  After all, Duranies know that there was always tension between guitar and keyboards in Duran.  Many of us might say that tension is what made those first few albums so great for Duran.  This leads me to wonder how many other bands have the same sort of tension.

Rhonda: As Peter Hook mentions – there are Joy Division fans and New Order fans.  I am truly a New Order fan.  I knew almost nothing about Joy Division except that Ian Curtis was originally in the group and committed suicide, a fact that seems to define the band(s), unfortunately. In my case, I knew about New Order and fell in love with “Bizarre Love Triangle” before I ever even knew who Ian Curtis was.  Sure, I was probably just very uninformed, but I also think it allowed me to just enjoy the music. No judgment. No pretenses. Freedom.  I never knew of the internal struggles. The grief, or lack thereof.  I didn’t know Bernard Sumner OR Peter Hook, and I think that in a lot of ways – the saying “Ignorance is bliss” probably applies, and I embrace that, because I just enjoy the music. Period.

I can’t even THINK about New Wave in the 80s without Blue Monday or Bizarre Love Triangle coming to mind. For me, these songs are part of the framework of ME, so I’m thankful they were included in this book.  

As I read through this chapter, admittedly I had difficulty keeping it all straight. Peter Hook calls New Order “New Odor” (which feels so incredibly sophomoric), and yet I get his frustration, so I don’t want to say he’s being immature. I think he describes where it all resides in his head and heart brilliantly.  “Because of the group that I loved and put 32 years into, I’m fighting them tooth and nail. This is a divorce.”  I think that as a fan, the only real thing I can focus on IS the music here.  Hook says it best when he talks about “the largeness of this thing we’ve created” and how it’s being ruined with the petty squabbles. On the outside, I can see that. If I were in the middle of it all though, I’d imagine I’d see it quite differently.  The only thing I can really do is love what they created, and think about the fact that nearly every band I’ve ever loved has had this crazy internal struggle—there’s got to be something to that, hasn’t there?

While we have absolutely no problem chatting amongst ourselves, we really hope that some of you will join in – many opinions are way better than just two! -A & R

Lipstick cherry all over the lens as she’s falling

I need to thank the London Evening Standard for publishing an interview with the band. Just as I was about to scrape the bottom of idea barrel in search of a decent blog topic – there comes an interview. Coincidence? Maybe….or else those ceremonial offerings to the Duranie Gods are beginning to actually work!

If you haven’t caught the interview yet, please allow me to direct you here to read it.  I’m not going to comment on everything, but I do want to touch on a subject that has been mentioned more than a few times as of late. The interview, at least in part, seemed to center around the band’s younger years (due to Denis O’Regan’s Careless Memories pop-up gallery and photography book) and how they would find girls hiding in their wardrobes, hotel rooms, etc.  In the interview, Simon admits Duran Duran were “sexist”. “But not misogynist. We like girls in bikinis but the women always win in our videos. We wouldn’t have made the Robin Thicke video. It’s just a bit too …” He gropes for the word, his hand a claw of agony, “… you know.”

Oh, I do know. Sometimes, I swear the band knows what I’m thinking, and if I were really deluding myself, I’d swear they were reading my discussions on Twitter.

Just a few weeks back, similar comments from Simon were also in the press. I couldn’t help but agree with him and said as much openly on Twitter. I’d commented many weeks prior that at least in theory – that Robin Thicke’s video was probably a mistake. Maybe I’m just getting old and less tolerant overall, but his video is just a little bit (a lot really) over the line for me. I think there is just a certain tone to his video – the fact that the man wins (using Simon’s words!) and that the woman really seems to not be in control, that registers pretty highly on my “this is complete sexist and cruel BS” meter. It makes me very uncomfortable to watch, in a very similar way to how I’ve felt about Chris Brown. I realize that for Robin Thicke, that video is likely just an act, but that’s not the point. Why do women really need to be used like that?? What year is this again?? I’d said as much on Twitter, and gotten into quite a discussion with a few others on the subject. We never came to full agreement, but I enjoyed the subject – just not the frustration of having to explain my thoughts in 140 characters or less. Damn Twitter.

I’m getting ahead of myself here, because I’m forgetting to mention that when those comments of Simon’s became public, the response and outcry was rather swift. “What about Girls on Film, Simon?? Did we forget all about that Duran Duran video then?”  

Yes, what about that video?

This was exactly the point of discussion when I took to Twitter at a later date about Simon’s comments. Yes, Girls on Film (to begin with) does seem to be a bit of a problem when looking back on Duran’s career as one reflects on Simon’s feelings about Robin Thicke’s video. The women in the video are put in various situations including a lovely little pillow fight while on a cream-slathered candy striped pole (oh, the subtle innuendo), a cowgirl riding and then giving a horse a bath…a sumo-wrestler being massaged after losing a fight…and my personal favorite, the lifeguard “saving” a young woman drowning in a kiddy pool.  And that’s just the R rated version. If you want to really see something, the “Night” version has even more going on backstage…but I’ll leave that to you to find if you haven’t already seen it. In the interview linked above, Simon mentions that in their videos – the women “win”. To be fair, I suppose it is possible to see that the women do end up in control of whatever situation they seem to be put in here. After all, it IS the lifeguard who ends up being left in the pool, and who is riding the horse but the woman?? Again…I cringe at the innuendo, but yes, the woman do seem to be on top. (Go ahead, cringe at my play on words!)

However, not all fans see it that way, and to be equally fair – I think they too have a point.  Why make a video like Girls on Film at all? Was the music not enough to stand on it’s own? Probably not, I’d say. I love the band and adore their music..but back in the 80s?? Getting attention meant taking the risk to shock the public. If you’ve ever seen the full length video, you know that at the end of it the entire band holds up a banner that says “Some people will do anything to sell records.” That alone speaks volumes to me as a viewer, and by the way…it worked! Continually throughout the bands career, the “sex” label has been stamped on their heads or branded across their bodies. When you consider the sheer amount of videos, albums, artwork, etc. that they have had in their career that contain images of women…it’s pretty impossible to say that the band is not sexist, which to his credit, Simon openly admits.

However, and I think this is a huge point most fans (among many others) that have criticized Simon’s comments miss, or at the very least misdefine: Misogyny is a pretty strong word.The definition of a misogynist, according to dictionary.com, is a person who hates, dislikes, mistrusts, or mistreats women.” To me, it’s tantamount to calling someone a homophobe or a racist. It runs in that same vein of hatred, and I have to ask: does the band really hate women?  Think about that for a minute.

Even if you think the Girls on Film video completely objectifies women – which it very well might – the women do seem to end up with the upper hand. If we look at other female images that the band has given us over the years, it would seem that the women almost always look stronger than the band. How about Rio? That woman in Rio makes each band member look ridiculous! She yanks Simon off the boat, Nick can’t even bring himself to pour champagne properly, poor Roger ends in some sort of a fish net, and then there’s John – who daydreams about being a soldier, only to be stopped dead in his tracks by yes, a woman. Such weaklings. This band does not hate women. They are not misogynists, even though by Simon’s own admission they have been sexist, a point to which I would wholeheartedly agree.

We can have the discussion about whether or not we’re all sick of seeing models in the band’s videos. We should acknowledge the band has been branded with the word “Sex”, and whether or not we think that’s propelled their fame. We should talk about the band’s sexism. We can even discuss the music and that should really be the point they stand on, historically speaking. What we we must stop doing, is applying the term “misogynist” to describe the band. It is not fair, and it is not a accurate. Oddly enough…if one really felt that way, especially as a woman, how could one be a fan?

-R

Back to the Beginning…Girls on Film – the Daily Duranie Review!

A few weeks back, we asked what else we could be doing here on the blog for all of you.  While we did not get many responses beyond “Love it, keep up the good work!”, we did get requests for more reviews.   We must admit, this was not something we were expecting to read.  We enjoyed doing our review of All You Need is Now, and while we’re certainly willing to spout our fountain of opinion(s), it was with surprise and just a little apprehension that we considered the prospect of reviewing ALL of their work.  Naturally, thirty years (or a bit more) have passed since the days of hearing Planet Earth for the first time on American radio.  We both agree that we’re listening to each song with a much different (and hopefully better tuned) ears than we might have when we first heard the albums for the first time – and perhaps this will be to the bands benefit. (in MOST cases)

So, approximately twice a month we will take a song, starting with the first self-titled album, and review it using the same methodology we used for All You Need is Now.  Since there are several different versions of albums out there – we will announce what version we are using for the review.  B-sides will also be included once we’ve completed the albums.  In the case of the first self-titled album, we agreed to use the Capitol Records version including Is There Something I Should Know, because it in fact is the album that the US was first exposed to the band – and it’s the first album that either of us had.  In the interest of full disclosure, neither one of us knew To The Shore until we either stumbled upon it on the internet, found it on a vinyl we didn’t already own, or otherwise.  Take a step back to 1981 and enjoy!

Girls on Film – Rhonda’s take

Musicality/Instrumentation:  When I listen to Girls on Film, one word comes to mind: Balance.  This was before the time it became vogue to allow bass and guitar to drift into the background behind Nick’s synths.  Who can forget John’s bass line – which provides the perfect answer to Andy’s driving riff…and Roger pulls it all together with a basic beat and tom action.  To be fair to Nick – his synths at times are often almost indistinguishable, yet when you really listen, you realize that his synths are creating the atmosphere, almost a filmy curtain, for the scene.  The song truly has perfect balance between all members.

Vocals: I’ve said it before and I am sure I’ll say it again – this was when Simon was at his best.  There is a depth to his voice and an ease with which he sings here that just hasn’t ever been replicated.  You can’t ever mistake Simon’s voice, and the way he is able to layer the harmonization is something that really marks Duran Duran’s music from anyone else.  There isn’t a single sign of whine here, and while we all know that this was from a time when the band had nothing but youth in front of them, his voice comes off with all of the maturity one would expect from a professional musician.

Lyrics: It’s very clear what the band intended to come across for this song, and Simon’s lyrics are spot on.  “Fuses pumping live heat twisting out on a wire”, “Wider baby smiling you just made a million”….these are the lyrics we’ve come to know and love.  In all fairness, I know that in the years since this song was first written Simon has come up with much more poetic lyrics, and in a lot of ways the lyrics here are almost juvenile in retrospect, but at the time – they were perfect, and I must give credit where credit is due.  There’s no mistaking what this song is about in any way.  I have to wonder what images would have come to mind if I hadn’t ever seen the video(s) for this song!

Production: When I think of what production is like today verses early 1980, I want to cry.  This song is a perfect example where everything was done right.  I can’t even imagine what would have happened to it if it were reproduced with every bit of technology that is available today.  This song IS balance, and it’s no surprise it’s as well-loved as it is.


Overall: There is something to be said for innocence and a lack of ego.  The song almost reminds me of what it’s like when a young band gets their first crack at recording and they’re all so excited to finally BE there that no one argues over how much of their part should be heard, therefore you’ve got a perfect balance because EVERYONE is heard.  (Oh wait.  This WAS the first album!) I have to admit that I miss these moments at times.  There is a sense of need, drive, sweat and tears in this music, and rather than coming off as sounding desperate, it really shows just how much this band wanted their moment.  Who knew it’d be 30 years???  The iconic camera click at the beginning is still sampled and used today…and every time I hear it I think of (and thank) Duran Duran.  The sound is iconic, and the song is the epitome of what we know to be Duran Duran. Girls, music and excess…and it stands the test of time.

Rating: 4.5 cocktails!

Amanda’s Turn:

Musicality/Instrumentation:  I am always struck by the clear instrumentation of Duran’s early work and this song is no exception.  You can clearly hear drums, bass, and guitar and I love, love, love how at different moments of the songs different instruments take center stage.  This I think is the genius of Duran-solid instrumentation with changes within a song to emphasis this quality.  It also showed how equal each member’s contribution was.  Speaking of contribution, who doesn’t love when Roger’s drums become the focus?  Who also can’t help but to see that man stick twirling at the same time?

Vocals:  The thing I love about Simon’s voice here is how raw he sounds without sounding strained or inexperienced.  He sounds pure, not made into some perfect vocalist by some machine.  His voice is clear and uniquely Simon.  He is able to hit that high note at the end of “shooting a star” in the way that we all know and love him for while still maintaining a solid performance through both the verses and chorus.

Lyrics:  In many ways, the lyrics to this song are the most interesting element yet despite the fact that rarely are they the focus for this song.  On one level, they seem simple with a chorus of repeating, “Girls on film.”  Yet, the topic of exploitation of models is woven throughout the verses.  Lines like, “Cause the crowd all love pulling dolly by the hair, by the hair and she wonders how she ever got here as she goes under again,” shows this well.  Yet, the lyrics also show the conflict with making money at the same time.  The lyrics aren’t preachy and yet have substance.  Of course, on the other hand, there are lines that really capture the essence of Duran’s sound and spirit:  “I sense the rhythms humming in a frenzy all the way down her spine”, “Fuses pumping live heat twisting out on a wire”, and “Give me shudders with a whisper take me high till I’m shooting a star”.  These lyrics are particularly fascinating considering that I have heard the Andy Wickett demo, which focuses on how they keep getting rejected by girls.  Can you just imagine how those would have gone over!?!

Production:  This is a category that I always find difficult to analyze but these early records will be even tougher as it seems to me that this is how it was supposed to be done.  Every element seems right.  I don’t hear one part over the other and the song is definitely able to be played loud without any distortion!  I suppose it would be interesting to compare the remastered version of this and see if anything was changed as I listened to the song today to review it on vinyl.  

Overall:  It is difficult to truly evaluate this song because it is so essentially Duran.  It is one of those songs that everyone (fans and non-fans, alike) can and do name when thinking about Duran.  To many of us, it is so very Duran like with the strong instrumentation, catchy chorus, and the topic of girls and models.  It simply is Duran, in many ways.  It always seemed to me that they tried to capture this spirit at other times in their career with some results more successful than others.  Yet, I do think that part of the reason this one worked SO well is because of their age.  Here they were, around the age of 20, talking about models and their experiences.  What did they know about models in 1980?  Not so much, which makes it all the more interesting.  I doubt that they started this song with the idea of making a song that would capture the Duran spirit, but they did.  It feels very natural whereas, at other times in their career, it feels much more forced.

Rating: 4.5 cocktails!