Category Archives: history

Classic Pop Special Edition: The Mark of Greatness and Swimming Against…

Today marks the second to last blog about the Classic Pop magazine special edition for Duran Duran’s 40th Anniversary.  In this blog, I’ll cover two articles:  The Mark of Greatness and Swimming Against the Tide.  The first one focuses on the 2010s including the band’s work with Mark Ronson while the second one is all about Stephen Duffy, the guy who could have been lead singer.

The Mark of Greatness:

Right away, this article made me think.  The author describes how All You Need Is Now made a lot of fans happy in 2011 bu that Paper Gods helped to “turn the heads of those youngsters.”  Interesting.  How do they know that?  What evidence will be shared, I wondered.  Of course, I love Paper Gods but…I am not sure that I see a lot of kids or younger adults into it.

The article describes the making of AYNIN with the band meeting with Mark ahead of time to discuss the vision for the project.  This got me wondering.  Is that not the case of the rest of the albums?  I have always heard/read about how the band goes into the studio and jams until something rises to the surface.  That system seems the opposite of having a vision.  Which is better?  I, for one, loved how AYNIN turned out so maybe planning is?

According to the article, that vision went so far with All You Need Is Now that Ronson had created rules that were stuck to the walls of the studio in order for the band to follow them.  I had never heard that before but I have to admit that the image makes me smile.  No matter how experienced, people need reminders.  Mark claimed that he was a “mouthpiece for 10 million Duran Duran fans.”  He definitely was for me, which I will always be grateful!

Of course, the rest of the album discussion surrounding AYNIN included a song by song description with all of the various contributions from Kelis to Nina Hossain and more.  I will tell you this much.  Reading about All You Need Is Now definitely made me want to put that album on and listen to it.  I remembered how amazing an album it really is (at least in my opinion!).

The article does touch on promotional activities including the band’s appearance for One Night Only in the UK to Unstaged, a concert film produced by David Lynch.  It does mention about how the tour stopped in the summer of 2011 due to Simon’s vocal loss but then matter-of-factly states that the tour resumed in November (I think actually was October) like it was no big deal.  Maybe, in hindsight, it seems like no big deal but it was huge to those of us who lived through that time.  I know that I was not the only one worried that Simon had lost his voice for good and that Duran would be done.

From there, the article goes into the making of Paper Gods.  That said, the vast majority of this piece surrounded AYNIN.  Is Paper Gods too soon?  Historians might say so but music journalists?  Not sure on that one.  Likewise, I’m not sure that the article proved that millennials really bought into Paper Gods.  Some did, for sure.  Many?  I don’t know.

Swimming Against the Tide…:

This article did what I expected it to do.  It gave a little background about Stephen Duffy then dived into information about the Devils before describing some of his various projects over the years.  I, for one, haven’t listened to a lot of his work.  How about the rest of you? Have you listened to his stuff?  What do you think of it?

In the article, he makes reference to the 40th anniversary.  I wonder if he and other former members would be included.  Now, Stephen Duffy is not very controversial but what about the ones that are?  Then, I wonder about how they would be included or should be.  It will be interesting to watch.

-A

Was It Worth It?

Last weekend, I blogged about the article in Classic Pop magazine about Duran Duran’s videos.  In this piece, the author mentioned about how the band or some band members were less than excited about the Girls on Film video.  First of all, I’m not sure I ever really read that before or if I did, it didn’t stick to me.  Then, this led me to ask the question.  Do they regret this decision?  Are there other decisions that they wish weren’t made?  Even if they regret decisions, do they think that they were still worth it?

Again, I turn to Girls on Film.  From everything I know about the video, they did it for two reasons.  One, they had learned that there were clubs in the U.S. that showed videos.  A long form video like GOF would get them a spot in those clubs with frequent airplay.  Two, they wanted something controversial in order to get people talking.  The more people talk, the more interested people get and the more likely to sell records.  In fact, on the easter egg on the Greatest DVD, one version of GOF shows the band holding a sign that read, “Some people would do anything to sell their records,” (or something like that).  That statement tells me that they weren’t so excited to do a video like this but they were willing to do it for the end goal of selling records, getting famous, etc.

Is it okay to do some less than awesome things in order to achieve one’s end goal?  Do you think it never is okay?  Sometimes is?  Never is?  In the scheme of things, this probably isn’t so bad.  It isn’t like they killed anyone or something that hurt people directly.  Still, I have to wonder if they think it was worth it now.  Then, of course, I’m sure that there are lots of other decisions that they might not have been excited about but sucked it up for the purpose of the end goal.

One aspect of their career that I would put in this category is the work ethic they demonstrated.  When I read about early Duran, I’m always so amazed how much they worked.  They put out three albums in less than 4 years with touring and promo appearances throughout.  While I’m sure that they had a ton of fun within this work, it still meant that they gave up almost every other aspect of their lives.  Yes, some managed to get and keep relationships, but it seems to me that most didn’t.  I am willing to bet that they missed a lot of family functions, for example.  Did they miss out on reading a lot of books then?  Watching movies?  Taking up hobbies?  Lost friendships due to lack of time?

I know it is probably weird to think about all that.  Yet, I find myself asking the same types of questions of myself.  I have a time consuming job but I am also busy doing political work.  Like Duran in the early 1980s, I have my eyes on a prize.  My schedule between now and Election Day is insane, to say the least.  Is it worth it, though?  I hope it will be.  Will I think so if things go my way?  Probably.  What if they don’t?  Will I second guess myself and this decision?  Possibly.   Would Duran have regretted Girl on Film and their insane schedule if they were not successful?  No clue.  If only I had hours and hours to converse with them.  Nonetheless, I appreciate the food for thought.

-A

Dark Circles Come Alive

Everywhere I look, there are forlorn Duranies, hoping for something new.  Many “veteran” Duran fans know that it is likely to be many more months before we hear the sweet chords of new music. We’ve settled in, recognizing the long haul in front of us. We try to use the time to catch up other favorite bands, see other tours, and expand our horizons.

Or so we all say, right?

Invariably, when we are between albums, I start pulling out music I haven’t listened to in a while. At at least I would be, if my music hadn’t been packed away and put in a storage facility about three hours from me. Oh, the joys of moving.

In any case, my music suggestion for today is The Devils!

I’m sure many of you have heard of them before, but nearly any time I write about them, at least one Duranie will write in, completely flabbergasted. Take a giant step back in time, before “Hungry Like the Wolf”, and even before Simon stepped in as vocalist.

The very first manifestation of Duran Duran included Nick Rhodes on keyboards, John Taylor on guitar, and Stephen Duffy (The Lilac Time) on vocals. Simon Colley also participated, sharing bass duties with Stephen Duffy.  Simon Colley also played my personal favorite instrument – the clarinet! (Who knew Duran Duran once had a clarinet player?!) This group played together for about a year before Stephen Duffy and Simon Colley left the group. (Crushing my future dreams of seeing a clarinet player tour with Duran Duran, I might add)

According to Wikipedia, Stephen Duffy found an old cassette from one of their shows. He and Nick worked together to release an album’s worth of material under the name The Devils, and even played a couple of live shows back in the early 2000s. Simply put, Dark Circles is an audio history of Duran Duran. If you don’t have it in your library yet, you should find it!

One of the songs from this album, “Come Alive” was remixed (Tiga Swears Lies Remix) and appeared on Headman Dance Modern, Eskimo Records, Belgium, released on this date in 2004.

So, if you haven’t heard of The Devils, or haven’t had time to check out the music before – here’s your chance to catch up! Click the link to grab an import copy from Amazon.

 

Happy Listening!

-R

Classic Pop Special Edition: Five Decades and Boys on Film

This week’s edition of covering the Classic Pop magazine’s Special Edition for Duran’s 40th anniversary features two articles:  Five Decades of Duran Duran and Boys on Film.  The first article focuses on an interview with John Taylor and the second talks about the band’s videos.  Two articles I’m very excited to read and to write about!

Five Decades of Duran Duran:

This article appears to be a repeat from a 2012 interview with John Taylor that coincided with the release of his autobiography.  Despite the fact that it is not new, I’m still excited to read it and see how John interpreted Duran’s career.

This article is broken up into decades starting with the 1970s.  This part included how the band formed and their influences.  Frankly, this history lesson was one that I feel like I have read a bunch of times.  That said, while I feel like I know the history of Duran and could tell it in my sleep, I always appreciate it as it is important to know it.  One part that is interesting is how the article includes a little timeline with some big moments.  In the case of the 1970s and early 1980s, it had the forming of the band, signing with EMI and releasing the first single, Planet Earth.  The history teacher in me approves.

The part on the 1980s was exactly what I thought it would be.  It covered each of the albums from the debut self-titled album, Rio, Seven and the Ragged Tiger, Notorious and Big Thing.  On top of that, the side projects of Arcadia and Power Station, and the departure of Roger and Andy were covered.  Their Live Aid performance was also mentioned.  Much like the part about the forming of the band, I didn’t learn anything new.  That said, the timeline focused on the release of the first album, the Girls on Film video, the departure of Roger and Andy, the Notorious single and the Big Thing release.  I think some of those choices were interesting.  For example, I don’t know that I would have picked Big Thing to cover in that timeline.

The 1990s consisted of just a few short paragraphs, which included information on Ordinary World’s success, the poor performance of the album of covers, Thank You, and John’s decision to leave the band.  I’m fascinated that this section was so short.  Clearly, the author did not feel like the 1990s was worth much time and focus.  It isn’t that I disagree but I am surprised by that.  The timeline included the rise of grunge (weird), Ordinary World’s release, Thank You’s release, John’s departure and the parting from EMI.  This timeline almost completely matched the paragraphs about the same time period.

The 2000s part was definitely the most interesting to me.  It went over the reunion, Astronaut, Red Carpet Massacre and All You Need Is Now.  Out of all of that, I zeroed in on the transition from Red Carpet Massacre to AYNIN.  In the article, John is quoted as saying, “We’d disconnected with the vibe” with RCM but that it helped to create the perfect timing for Mark Ronson.  John continued by claiming that the band did not have a lot of trust with each other during Astronaut and weren’t always open-minded.  He stated, “All You Need Is Now is a total Duran Duran album, much more so than Astronaut.  But we didn’t have Mark then.  We needed a producer…who totally understood the Duran Duran DNA.”  I couldn’t agree more.

Boys on Film:

This focus of the article, Boys on Film, is exactly what you think it would be, which is about the band’s videos.  The feature gave credit to their video directors, including Russell Mucahy and Godley and Creme.  Like much of Duran’s history, it starts out discussing the video of Planet Earth to Girls on Film to the Sri Lankan videos especially Hungry Like the Wolf.

What is interesting to me is the discussion surrounding Girls on Film.  While we know why the band had a video like this and how it was received, I hadn’t read much criticism of the video from the band before.  In this article, Godley feels like the band wanted it more arty with style and fashion.  Similarly Simon feels like the video overshadowed the song’s message about the mistreatment of fashion models.

I also appreciated the discussion of the Rio video.  While the article talked about the suits and image of the yacht, the fact that the author included this quote from Nick makes me happy, “For me, the thing that stands out in the Rio video…is the humour in it…”  He continues to say, “A lot of the videos I liked best really had great humour in them.”  I totally agree!

The article wraps up with a discussion of the Wild Boys video with only inserts about A View to a Kill and Girl Panic.  Obviously, the author did not think the rest of the videos mattered that much.  Uh.  I don’t think I agree with that decision.  If I had written the article, I might pick a few different videos as examples of the types of videos Duran has done.  On that note, next week I’ll cover “The Mark of Greatness” about Mark Ronson and the 2010s as well as an article about Stephen Duffy.  Should be interesting!

-A

Classic Pop Special Edition: Top 40 Tracks and Elder Statesmen

I am continuing on in my series on Classic Pop magazine’s special edition for Duran’s 40th anniversary.  As usual, I’m going to focus on the next two articles:  Top 40 Tracks and Elder Statesmen.  The first one focuses on Duran’s songs whereas the second one takes a look at the 2000s, moving closer to present day Duran.  As much as I like reading about Duran history, I am excited about reading about more recent Duran, when I was more actively involved in the fan community.

Top 40 Greatest Duran Duran Tracks:

I am a sucker for lists like this article!  I love reading any and all articles about Duran’s best albums, best videos, etc.  I adore creating my own lists.

What is interesting about this list is that they first of all specified that they are studio tracks.  They did not include any live versions, remixes, or covers.  Then, the article states that this list “almost writes itself.”  Fascinating.  If that was not interesting itself, the author did not put them in order but instead chose to list them in chronological order.  I have to wonder why he did not put them in order from worst of the list to the best.  Too hard?  Too time consuming?  Too much risk that it would irritate readers?  I don’t know the reason.  While I won’t share the exact list here, I will give a rough description of how many tracks from different projects were chosen and then some that I might have been surprised by.

Duran Duran (1st album) – 5 tracks

Rio – 7 tracks

Seven and the Ragged Tiger – 6 or 7 tracks depending on how they might have been categorized

Notorious – 2 tracks

Big Thing – 3 tracks

Liberty – 2 tracks

The Wedding Album – 4 tracks

Medazzaland – 1 track

Pop Trash – 1 track

Astronaut – 1 track

Red Carpet Massacre – 0 (Although Skin Divers is listed as a “guilty pleasure.”)

All You Need Is Now – 4 tracks

Paper Gods – 3 tracks

In some ways, I’m not surprised by that list.  I knew that Medazzaland might not have many tracks included but I am surprised that it got more than Red Carpet Massacre.  Likewise, both All You Need Is Now and Paper Gods got more than Liberty and Notorious.  This leads me to wonder.  What 40 tracks would I list?  Could I put them in order unlike the author of this article?  Maybe it is time for some Daily Duranie homework.  What do you all think?  Should we each try to create a list of the top 40 Duran tracks?  If so, let me know and I’ll create the “assignment”!!  Personally, I think it would be fun and might give us something to do to pass Duran downtime.

Elder Statesmen:

This article summarizing the 2000s begins with the reunion.  Much of the story I have read about before.  Like many of the previous articles, however, there was a tidbit that I had not heard about before.  In this case, the article claims the band tried to get the Berrow Brothers back as managers.  If that is true, I have to wonder what would have been different.  What do you all think?  What do you think would have been different?  Would it have been better?  Worse?

Of course, the article went on to describe Astronaut and the departure of Andy Taylor.  I wondered how that was going to be covered and I think the author did a nice job just relaying the facts that are known.  Andy was not demonized and neither was the band. Likewise, the author remained neutral when it came to the now-shelved, Reportage, and the decision to start fresh, which eventually became Red Carpet Massacre.  Obviously, there are lots of rumors surrounding that time period but the author stayed clear of them all.

The article concludes with a description of the poor performance, commercially, of Red Carpet Massacre as well as the beginnings of the connection with Mark Ronson, which we know results in All You Need Is Now.  Besides the recent history lesson, the article has some extras, including a quote of Dom’s from a little blog we know and love.  (coughourscough)  It also summarizes the “key recordings” of each of the albums from the 2000s and the influence the band had on other modern day artists.  Personally, I love those little additions! They add so much!

Next week, I’ll cover Five Decades of Duran Duran and Boys on Film.  I’m looking forward to it!

-A

Classic Pop: The Wedding Album and Pop Art

I am loving this Classic Pop magazine special edition on Duran Duran’s 40th Anniversary.  Over the past few weeks, I have read a number of articles and commented on my reactions in a series of blog posts.  Not only do I have more articles to read and write about today, I will only be about half way through the magazine.  There is so much here!  Today, I will cover the articles about the Wedding Album and album art.

The Wedding Album:

This review is similar to the one for Seven and the Ragged Tiger and Notorious as opposed to the lengthy one on Rio.  The extra features for this article include a blurb on the players and the tracklisting.  I’m not sure how many people are interested in who added vocal samples but it is nice to have the information in one place that is easy to find and read.

I’m always intrigued by the subheadings of these.  In this case, the author describes the album in this way, “going back to their roots and injecting a heavy dose of introspection.”  Interesting.  When I think of the album as a whole I am not sure I hear introspection in all of the songs.  In fact, I tend to think more about awareness to the world in a way that hadn’t been included much in the past along with some songs of introspection.

Again, the author begins by providing context, including what the music world was like in 1993 and how a lot of people had written off Duran.  Some, claimed the article, called Duran “Done Done.”  I never heard that and am horrified by it.  It never ceases to amaze me how cruel critics have been to Duran throughout the band’s career.

As you can imagine a great deal of the review focused on the creation of the songs and Ordinary World.  The articles talked a lot about how they wrote and recorded in a home studio which provided the setting for a focus on no frills, back to basics songwriting.  As far as Ordinary World goes, it told the usual story about how it was written about the death of Simon’s friend and got the band back into the spotlight.  Despite knowing all that, I didn’t realize that promo cassettes of the album were sent out in 1992 to various media outlets that contained a different track listing including the songs, Stop Dead and Time for Temptation.  If you don’t know there, here they are:

Pop Art:

This article chose to narrow its focus to the band’s album art.  The art for singles is also included.  I, for one, appreciate the fact that there was an entire feature dedicated to this.  Typically, when people cover Duran Duran, they usually discuss the band’s history, music and videos.  If there are any extras, then fashion is brought in.  Rarely have I ever seen anything that covers the fabulous album covers.

I love the fact that the article moves through the chronology of the band’s design from their early posters created by John Warwicker to Malcolm Garrett’s designs on the first albums all the way to the Paper Gods album cover.  Many of the various album and singles’s art were covered in detail.  For examples, I adored reading about the Planet Earth single cover.  I think it is my appreciation of art that makes me really love that it goes into such depth on both the images but also the design, including what the entire package might mean or represent.  If you are someone who loves analyzing Duran’s covers, this article is definitely the one for you!  If that wasn’t enough, it mentions Nick’s book of photography, Interference.  Lots of good stuff.

Next week, I’ll cover Top 40 Greatest Duran Tracks and Elder Statesmen.

-A

The Power of Performances

Last night, I went out with some neighbors to see a classic rock covers band.  One of the band members is another neighbor and people wanted to cheer him on.  Classic Rock isn’t exactly my favorite genre but I can appreciate a good performance and knew most of the songs.  On top of that, I appreciated a chance to blow off some steam as the honeymoon with the school year is over.

The observer in me enjoyed people watching last night as I sipped my beverage.  While a lot of the audience was into the show, there was one woman that really caught my attention.  She danced right in front of the lead singer for the majority of the show.  When she stepped away, it was only to buy shots for the band or to try to get on the stage, which she did.  Now, I don’t know this woman.  She might have actually known the band.  Even if she did or did not, I’m not judging her behavior other than saying this.  She clearly was moved by the performance, which made me smile.  Every time I see a band play live, I’m reminded that there is something special with live music that cannot be replicated in any other way.

As I watched this woman along with the rest of the crowd, I found myself missing seeing Duran play live.  I know that I just saw them in December, which really wasn’t that long ago.  Yet, I miss that magic and hearing their music live and in person.  I have no idea when the next time I will see them live but I know that I’ll be way more than ready.

Speaking of Duran Duran and performance, my handy dandy day in Duran history chart tells me that the band played Pressure Off on the Tonight Show on this date in 2015.  I miss those performances, too.  Perhaps, this is part of the reason why fans get so into new album releases.  A new album means new music, of course, but it also includes live shows and TV appearances.

Here’s the Tonight Show performance from 3 years ago:

I don’t know about the rest of you but I enjoyed watching it as much this morning as I did when I watched it three years ago.  Good times.

-A

Where Forever and Yesterday Collide

Where forever and yesterday collide…

I think those words, which I am borrowing from my friend @BoysMakeNoise, sum up the emotion of this day.

Today, we commemorate 9/11.  I had a friend lose a daughter that day, not a single Patriot’s Day goes by without my thinking about Lisa Frost or her family. I don’t take the date or the memory lightly, nor does anyone else I know, whether they are here in the LA area or in the east. My thoughts are with those who lost friends and family that day. We will never be the same, we will never forget, but we are learning how to go on.

September 11th has also become a day to remember something else in addition to the day our lives changed forever. We were given a cause to smile, if not quite celebrate. Paper Gods was released on this date in 2015.

My feelings about Paper Gods has almost certainly evolved over time. This single album is responsible for teaching me so much about myself, I am forever indebted. When I think back on where I sat three years ago, I assuredly see and feel personal growth. It wasn’t that I sat in a chair, hit “play” and felt an epiphany. If only.

No, when I first heard the entire album, I was aghast with some of the choices. I can’t say I fell in love immediately. In fact, I struggled. Rather than keeping quiet about it, I shared my tug-o-war. Probably not the smartest blogging decision I’ve ever made. People I deeply respect and very much care about had put their blood, sweat, tears into the making of the album, and yet I panned a major portion of it.

I still carry a fair amount of guilt about that. When I say I’ve learned from those mistakes, believe it. I sat with friends I admire and look up to, and did a lot of listening and soul-searching. I own my feelings about the album, but I wish that I had given myself more time to fully digest it all. Blogging for eight years has been a constant challenge and source of education for me, and that’s not an exaggeration. I’m definitely not the same person I was in 2010, and I have this blog to thank for much of that growth and adaptation.

Paper Gods isn’t an easy album. It is deep and complex, possibly in reflection of the band’s career. I sense the struggle in writing and recording it, and even the moments of anxiety and despair mixed with joy and satisfaction. It took me an incredibly long time to find my own way with Paper Gods. Great music can be that way, and I didn’t account for any of that when I gave it a knee jerk review. The pressure to be first outweighed the concern for being right or fair, which ended up being altogether wrong – at least for me. I’ll never do it again, that is for sure.

People tease me occasionally about my review of “You Kill Me With Silence”, a song that took me months to come to terms with. I loved the verse, but it was the chorus that bothered me. I liked the painstakingly slow and torturous melodic structure, but the chorus felt so bright and almost happy, it made me mad. It took me months to realize that the music perfectly described an emotionally abusive relationship, just as did the words. When that light bulb finally turned on for me, I embraced the song on a deeply personal level.

I also grappled with “The Universe Alone”.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the song. It is likely one of the most brilliant pieces of music the band has ever written. At the time though, I felt like the song was carrying me into a whirlpool, threatening to take me down into an emotional abyss I wanted no part. I may have taken the meaning of the song far too literally. If it was to be Duran’s end, I wasn’t going down quietly. Silly? Probably. I just wasn’t ready to even think about the end. But you know, in the three years since first hearing the song, I have a different understanding. For the band, each “last song on the album” is really kind of the end. It’s a new world on the other side, and this band never knows where they’re going next. Do any of us?  How will I feel when it really IS the end?  I’ll grieve and feel like there can’t possibly be a tomorrow, but the sun will defiantly come up again anyway. It always does, and we will all have to learn how to go on.

Then there’s “Danceophobia”. I have found reason to smile and even laugh with this one. Doesn’t it make good sense it was included on Paper Gods? On an album filled with seriously deep and complex feelings that appropriately seem to cover the entirety of their career up to this point, shouldn’t laughter and silliness be one of them?

I still have Paper Gods in my car, three years later. It is an album that I almost always play from start to finish, and I let myself listen and be carried by the current through all of the sentiments the music evokes. Lately, it has been exactly the therapy I’ve craved. The idea that it can sit side by side with their debut album, Rio, and even All You Need is Now and completely hold its own is worth celebrating.

On a lighter note, I think about all of the fun I had while the band toured this album. I can’t help but be filled with gratitude. Once again, the band was the backdrop for some of the best moments of my life. I can hardly wait to do it all again…and then some. I miss Amanda, Lori and Suzie terribly.  I can’t wait to watch Nick laugh at us, share knowing grins with Simon, maybe even scream for Dom. (Maybe??!) I look forward to seeing friends again and meeting new ones. The band might not be ready just yet, and we may have quite a while to go, but I’ll be ready when the time comes. Will you?

-R

Have you watched the 360 Lyric video for “Pressure Off” yet?

I don’t really understand lyric videos.

I mean, I get why they’re done. Learning the words to a new favorite song is pretty important to those of us who are fans. I can remember listening to the same song over and over, and the feeling of triumph when I’d finally be able to sing each word. I can even remember hitting rewind and play for what felt like hours on end, just so I could hear a specific word. Sitting with a lyric sheet in front of my stereo was commonplace for me in the 80s.

A lot of that still holds true today. I like knowing the words. If a lyric sheet isn’t included with an album, I’ll go find lyrics online and learn them. God forbid I go to a show and not be able to sing along!

I’m confused about lyric videos because honestly, they seem like a gimmicky waste of money. Do people really watch them over and over? I ask because on this date in 2015, Duran Duran released a lyric video to “Pressure Off”.

This isn’t your average lyric video, though. “Pressure Off” is done in 360-vision. The way it works best is if you watch on your mobile phone. Hold up your mobile phone, making sure it is in full screen mode, as you turn around, the video gives the feeling that you are in the center of the video. It is interactive, and the effect is kind of cool. The lyrics slide by thanks to computerized animation, and the viewer is treated to seeing still shots of the band alongside the iconic “stickers” from the front of Paper Gods.

It took me a long time after it was released to get the full effect because I didn’t stop to check it out on my phone (although I understood the point).  When I finally remembered to do it, I thought the video was cute and worth a view, but it seems like a lot of work to put something like that together all for the sake of putting the lyrics out there.

Obviously, there must be more to these videos than just “Hey, watch this and learn the words!” I’m guessing somehow, they make the band money. Why only have one video for a single when you can have two? I still don’t really get it, but I suspect I’m on the right track. Having two videos up for viewing might boost chart progress and get the song “out there”.

So, if you haven’t watched the 360 lyric video for “Pressure Off” yet, why not watch it?  Take a gander. Spin in circles. Follow Simon, John, Nick & Roger and get a little dizzy in the process! Remember that to see it in 360, you’ve got to watch it on your mobile phone using the YouTube app. (Link is above)

-R

 

Classic Pop Special Edition: Notorious and A Life Less Ordinary

This is the next installment of my (now) series on Classic Pop Magazine’s Special Edition for Duran Duran’s 40th Anniversary.  This weekend I will give some thoughts about the last album from the 1980s that the magazine covered, Notorious, as well as the summary of the 1990s with an article, “A Life Less Ordinary.”  I’m anxious to compare the review of Notorious to the ones on Rio and Seven and the Ragged Tiger.  I also wonder about how the 1990s will be discussed.  Will it just be about the Wedding Album or will there be discussion on Thank You and Medazzaland?  What about the Liberty album?  Read on, people.

Notorious:

Like Seven and the Ragged Tiger, this was a much shorter review in comparison to the one on Rio.  There is no extra sections on some specific songs or the videos.  The only extras within the article are the track listing and information on the players.

Like other articles within the magazine, I like that the author placed the album in context, which includes the band’s history but also the larger world of the music business and beyond.  In this case, there is an acknowledgment that Live Aid shifted the music business in a significant way.  Perhaps, more interesting is how the article described the departure of Andy Taylor.  According to what was written here, Andy, at one point, wanted to legally stop the band from using the name, Duran Duran.  That is a new insight to me.  A Simon quote indicated that all the meetings with lawyers hurt their creative process.  (I can imagine it would be.)  Of course, there is a positive spin, which is that the situation bonded the three of them.  (Again, that makes sense to me.  I have experienced similar things with colleagues when under attack, so to speak.)

The author then discusses Nile Rodgers’s role within the album and mentions the addition of Warren Cuccurullo and Steve Ferrone.  What is interesting is that they are referred to as members rather than hired musicians, which is less than precise.  The last part of the review mentions how the album had not done nearly as well as the previous ones, chart wise, and how this disappointed John Taylor, in particular.

A Life Less Ordinary:

This article starts out focusing on Liberty, the band’s first album of the 1990s.  In it, there is mention of the poor chart performance, indicating that this led to the decision not to tour and even canceled videos for First Impression and Liberty.  Yet, that is all that is said about that album as the author quickly moved on to the Wedding Album.  While I understand the decision, I always feel like Liberty is brushed over more than it should be.

Interestingly enough, the author did mention what Andy and Roger did during the 1990s.  I was not expecting that at all but I cheer that. Fans and readers who don’t know what they were up to probably appreciate the heck out of now knowing.  Likewise, John Taylor’s marriage to Amanda de Cadenet and birth of his daughter was mentioned.  (Note that there was no coverage of Simon and Nick’s marriages and children.  Hmmm….)

The article did discuss Thank You to some extent including which songs they chose to cover and how it did in the charts.  Sigh.  I have to admit that I wish more was discussed there.  I like the stories about which songs they chose and why.  How come an album that should have been done quickly wasn’t?  Why did it do so poorly in the charts?  I would like more information there and less basic facts.

That said, there was a lot about various moments within that time period.  For example, some topics included were the Power Station reunion, John’s struggle with addiction, the appearance of Roger in 1995, John’s solo album and more.  Similarly, Neurotic Outsiders was covered in this section.  This makes me wonder even more about why TV Mania was listed in the side projects article about the 1980s.  Why wasn’t that project in the 1990s or even beyond that?  Weird.

In many ways, the most interesting part of the summary of the 1990s was the discussion surrounding Pop Trash.  In that part, the author talked about how Simon was just unhappy and did not come to the studio much.  According to the article, Nick now accepts that they should have waited for Simon to “pull himself together” as he was missing John, still hurting from the death of Michael Hutchence and more.  I don’t know much about all that but it also claims that Simon and Warren’s friendship had “deteriorated.”

Like many of the previous articles, I did learn a few new tidbits about the band, which I appreciate.  In some cases, I wish that they had covered more of one thing over another but generally well-rounded and informed.

-A