It has been a long time since our last review, hasn’t it? Our apologies! With that, I am excited to say that today we will continue our ongoing quest to review every last song in the Duran Duran catalog with the review of Late Bar today. Anyone ever heard of that one??
Musicality/Instrumentation: Can’t miss the dirty guitar on this one, nor can one miss the bass. Or the keyboards. Or even the drums, and that’s what I like. No one is the star, and everyone has their hands on the wheel. I especially admire Andy’s soaring guitar, singing right along with Simon during the chorus. I miss songs like this, where everyone and no one is featured. I love the mid-section where John’s bass and Nick’s keyboards along with Roger’s drums set the tone – one of almost obscurity. Once again I feel like we’re just peeling back layer after layer, kind of like we’re walking through filmy curtains to find the party when suddenly…there it is. It feels like I’m at a nightclub back in the late 80’s. (well, I have to assume this is what it was like, because back in that time – I was only in my late teens and not quite old enough yet!) My ONLY complaint about this song is that it’s too short. I want more. I have yet to hear them play this one live, and dang it I think they should. Next tour anyone???
Vocals: Can Simon still sing this low? It is SO low…I love how the song opens, and I have to think he has to be in bass range, and he goes from there way up into second soprano range at times. It’s impressive and I won’t lie – I could never do it. That’s why we love Simon, and this song was made for him. His voice has the perfect timbre when it’s low, beautifully melodic always, and for this song his voice and tone set the mood like no one else.
Lyrics: Where to begin? Well, Room 7609 has never been just a room number…and I’ve yet to stay in a room with that number, but any Duranie worth their membership card hopes for that on any trip they’ve gone on. We talk about all-night parties any time the mention of touring comes up, and it’s just a feel-good song. This song is all about a party, and for me, that’s a good portion of what being a Duran Duran fan is about. The fun stuff. I definitely don’t listen to this song when I want to be in a melancholy mood, that is for sure. Truly the lyrics remind me of what it’s like to be invited to an afterparty – one that takes place after the main event, up in a hotel room. Good times were had by all, I am sure. Quintessential Duran Duran that I really wish they would not ignore for a set list. Can we fix this?!?
Production: There is something deliciously raw about this one that I just love. Maybe it’s just me, but it feels just the slightest bit gritty – there’s no polish or gloss here, and I love it. I like that hard edge, and I’m glad it wasn’t sanded and polished away by overzealous production staff, it would have watered the song down and it wouldn’t have the same effect. I even like that you can hear Simon speaking in the background during the middle section – it would have been simple to clean that up, but it would have completely ruined the effect. Nowadays, they’d have messed with it, using autotune and God-only-knows what else to try to make their point. Ugh. I think this is fabulous as is.
Overall: I feel it necessary to admit that this is one of my most favorite Duran Duran songs of all time. It is right up there with Is There Something I Should Know and Secret Oktober. I am completely and totally biased, without question. Even our background artwork for Daily Duranie has a little bit of Late Bar in there.(Go ahead and find it – consider it my challenge to you!) I am just not sure how they could have made the song any better, except in two ways:
1. Make it longer
2. Play it live!!
Cocktail Rating: 4.5 Cocktails!!
Musicality/Instrumentation: Obviously, one cannot miss the guitars on this one! In fact, it is hard for me to think of a Duran song besides this one in which the guitar hits you over the head immediately. Of course, the bass is also super noticeable. It isn’t like keyboards and drums aren’t there but they are more in the background in this one. I like that. While I’m not always into guitar as much as others, I am glad that the songs weren’t all keyboard focused. Balance is important. I noticed that the instrumentation on this song begins almost immediately. There is no lead in, no extra little something that is in so many Duran songs, including songs from this era. No, there is no time to adjust to this one. As you as you get used to it, you find yourself completely into and wanting to sing along. I also love the little interlude in the middle of the song when the bass seems a bit more in front. It works to build the energy up when the song kicks back into full gear.
Vocals: Who knew that Simon could sing this low? Yet, it is so very different than the beginning of a song like New Moon on Monday. Of course, it doesn’t stay low throughout the whole song. In many ways, this feels like Simon truly showing what he was capable of as a singer in 1980/1981. He has quite a range and he is able to convey a kind of dark, sexiness at one moment and a fun, carefree quality the next. Personally, I love how Simon’s voice sounded throughout this time period and this song is no exception.
Lyrics: I didn’t really notice the lyrics to this song for a very long time. I’m not sure why. Perhaps, I was so into the very, very, very catchy chorus that I didn’t really pay attention to the verses. Now, I do and have. Let’s talk chorus first, though, because it is the more noticeable part. Who doesn’t love the line, “There’s an all night party in room 7609?” I would think that most Duranies would. It is exactly what many, many of us hope to have or experience on tour. We all want that all night party in some random hotel room. I can think back fondly to a few nights of partying on tour myself! Obviously, in order to party all night, we need to have a bar that is open late. Who wouldn’t love that?! As for the verses, I have to admit that I was a little weirded out when I realized that the first line reads, “There’s a hole in the wall next to you. Things with legs are crawling through.” That doesn’t seem as party like. It just gives me the shivers since I definitely don’t like bugs and that is all that I see with this line. Luckily, it is right in the beginning so I can move past it pretty quickly. The rest of the lyrics continue with the idea of a party with the mentioning of dancers and mirror balls. I’ll stick with those images!!
Production: I wonder what the studio was like during the writing, recording, and producing of this one. Was it just fun? Did it take a long time because it feels like it was put together quickly during a time of partying, goofing off? Of course, it probably wasn’t that way at all but that the feel of the song is so strong that I assume it was like that. It was probably very serious! That said, I continue to love the production on this first album and all that came with it. I continue to be impressed by how some instruments seem a little more pronounced until you really listen. I love that. I love that each and every time you can hear a little more. It works to keep the song fresh for the listener, or at least, me.
Overall: In my opinion, this song screams Duran Duran to me, not because of the sound as much as the general vibe of partying and having fun. After all, this is the band that said they wanted to be playing when the bomb drops and the band that reminds us each night in concert that they were designed to make us party. This song makes us want to party! Speaking of that, why don’t they play this song more in concert? More specifically, why haven’t they played this song at a show that Rhonda and I were at? What can we do to encourage them to? I think that even if half of the audience doesn’t recognize it, it would still go down well. The half that does know it will have a ton of excitement and those that don’t will hear the party atmosphere and get into it!
Cocktail Rating: 4 cocktails!!