Category Archives: lyrics

He Turns on the Animal

I have the most random thoughts driving to and from work.  I usually have my music on shuffle to keep things interesting (and awake!).  This week, I was driving to work and what songs came on, back to back?  Union of the Snake and The Man Who Stole a Leopard.  This got me thinking.  No, what I was thinking wasn’t that I need new music…although I won’t argue against that.  I thought about how many animal references there are in Duran Duran songs, either in the title or in a song’s lyrics.  Now, it is pretty common for artists of any form to have common themes.  For painters, the theme might be what they paint.  For poets, it might be the use of some specific type of figurative language.  It seems to me that Simon has certain “themes” in his lyrics.  One of them is definitely animals.  Do they represent something?  Maybe.  Sometimes.  Here are the animals I could think of and some theories about what they might stand for, if anything.

Wolf (Hungry Like the Wolf) – The wolf could be the obvious—someone looking for a sexual partner but I also read that the wolf could represent fame, according to one’s person interpretation.

Snake (Union of the Snake) – The snake could be one’s subconscious or the representation of sin.

Leopard (The Man Who Stole a Leopard) – The leopard could be a woman.  I also like thinking of the leopard representing fandom.

Tiger (Tiger Tiger and Seven and the Ragged Tiger) – I read that the tiger stood for success on Duran’s wikipedia page.  Is that possible?

Lizard (New Moon on Monday) – Any ideas on this one?

Bird (Rio) – Could this be as obvious as it seems and be about a woman?

Fox (My Own Way) – This one seems straight forward.

Seagulls (New Religion) – Could they represent a crowd circling someone accused of a crime?  Thoughts on this one?

Seagulls (The Chauffeur) – It is interesting the Simon twice made reference to seagulls in one album.

Monkey (Notorious) – Another straight forward one?

Palomino – I did a whole blog about this one, which you can read here.

Cat (All Along the Water) – Another one that seems obvious.

Dog (Drowning Man) – No interpretation needed here.

Weasle and bird (To Whom It May Concern) – I assume that “weasle” is like the weasel.  Weasel often represents someone sneaky.  A dicky word is a small bird.

Coyote (Midnight Sun) – Reference to the cartoon of Road Runner??

Dinosaurs (Undergoing Treatment) – Reference to extinction.

Chicken (Bedroom Toys) – No comment on my part about this one!

Starlings (Chains) – Another bird reference.

Any other references to animals that I didn’t think of?  I know that there are references to insects but I didn’t include those.  Any ideas on interpretations?

-A

Interpretations of Dirty Great Monster

It has been a long time since I have taken a good long look at a song’s lyrics and tried to figure out what the heck it is about.  Now, when I started doing this, I asked people to give song suggestions.  I’m still moving through those original one, but am open to getting others.  One song that was mentioned was “Dirty Great Monster” off the Red Carpet Massacre album.  Now, this isn’t a song that has gotten much attention ever.  It wasn’t one of the songs Timbaland was involved with and it wasn’t a single.  It wasn’t played live except for those Broadway shows, in which the entire album was played.  I don’t have much of a connection with it, but I was super fortunate to see it on Broadway as they had the most amazing visuals for this song.  Frankly, I’m still sad that we won’t get to see those again as they were worth the price of admission, for sure.  I did find one clip that showed some of those visuals, but nothing beat seeing them in person.

So, what about the lyrics to this song?

There’s a dirty great monster in this house
We pretend that it’s not there
And there’s no escape from its grip
But nobody seems to care

Do you ever wonder
About the days when we were straight?
But daddy got the hunger
So much to hide, we learn to lie

So watch yourself in the hallway
You’re not supposed to know
‘Cause we’re all afraid of each other
We’re the victims in this show

Well, do you ever wonder
About the days when we were straight?
When daddy got the hunger
Too much to hide, we learn to lie

Silently outnumbered
We made mistakes when we were straight
Now we’re all going under
Oh, oh, so with a sigh we say goodbye

So, what does the song mean?  Interestingly enough, it was the topic of an Ask Katy question in July 2008.  Simon stated, “The truth is that “Dirty GREAT Monster” is about someone close to my extended family, I am really not at liberty to be any more specific than that.”  You can read the full question and answer here.  This leads everyone to assume that Simon is talking about family abuse, specifically, perhaps, sexual abuse of a father to a child with the line about “daddy got the hunger”.

While this domestic abuse, possible sexual abuse, theory is one that is often accepted, I have seen other interpretations.  One theory I saw was that it was about the situation with Andy.  Lines like how there is “no escape” and that you have “hide” and “lie” could imply a lot of situations, including the one with Andy, especially as things were not going well within the inner circle but the band had to publicly say that everything was great.  Thinking about it that way, could the song also be about the music business?  Could Daddy be the business?  Maybe, it is, more specifically, their record label at the time, hungry for the money from record sales.  Everyone sort of ignores the demands and how those demands make artists “lie” and “hide”.  Maybe, they even force bands to work with producers they don’t want to work with and make albums that they aren’t them.     The last verse is particularly interesting in light of this theory.  Could it be the band was outnumbered by the powers that be?  Could those mistakes have been past albums that were made with more independence but didn’t live up to anyone’s standards?  I can’t imagine that life in Duran camp was that great in 2007.  It could have felt like they were “going under”.  Say goodbye could be a reference to Andy.  It could also be about saying goodbye to a major label and those days of commercial success.  It could also be goodbye to artistic integrity.

Yes, this song is one of those songs that seems very obviously about something on the surface but could really be about something else.  What do you think?  Which theory makes the most sense or do you have a different theory?

-A

P.S. Do let me know if you have other songs you want me to look at!

Like butter…I think I’m falling for ya

Yesterday afternoon, as I was sitting on my couch with my family, watching the AMC Breaking Bad marathon, my oldest and I were having a brainstorming session over costuming for the Saturday night banquet during Durandemonium. The dress/costume theme is to wear something that denotes a lyric or song. In true Rhonda-fashion, I’ve waited until the last minute to even start considering options, and I can almost promise it will be a decision that I contemplate up until about midnight the night before I leave. As we continued pondering the possibilities, my daughter mentioned that I could go dressed as a full stick of butter. My thought patterns came to a screeching halt as I wracked my brain to come up with where in the hell the idea of “butter” came from in a Duran Duran song. She laughed, rolled her eyes, and said with all the sarcastic authority that a 16 year old girl thinks she has, “YOU know…’like butter, I think I’m falling for ya’….get it Mom?”  Oh I got it. I nearly fell off the couch in laughter. As I caught my breath and wiped the tears streaming down my face, I said, “Um, I think the line is ‘Nite runner, I think I’m falling for you’….because the song is named Nite Runner!” I could see the gears turning in her head, trying to grasp the obvious secret I’d let her in on, as her eyes widened, seeing her mistake. “Ohhhhh.. So THAT’S what he’s saying!!” Then of course we both laughed. (Although I’m pretty sure I laughed harder…)

It got me thinking about the zillions of other lines of lyric I’ve destroyed on my own over the years, and believe me – there’s been plenty.  I still stumble over what they right lyrics are for a specific line of Red Carpet Massacre, for instance.  “Death squad paparazzi, aaahh” doesn’t roll very easily off the tongue, nor is it heard clearly by my ears when I listen to the CD either. For the longest time I just didn’t even know the words.  Another lyric that I still can’t hear properly is in Beautiful Colours, “…sometimes the beauty of it all seems unbearable til the colours bleed”  I think it’s the word ‘beauty’ that doesn’t quite sound right to me when I hear the song.  Then again, it’s probably just my ears.  I can accept that.

Then there are the lines that I’ve seen others completely destroy…including some sites that pride themselves on having correct lyrics.  One time, I had copied and pasted lyrics to the song Finest Hour. I looked them up on a website and then posted them – assuming (stupid, stupid me) that they were correct. Truth be told, I don’t even remember looking. Well, get this line…”It’s not a dream and you are no prize.”  Uh, no. As most good Duranies knew, the line should read  “It’s not a dream and you are no Christ“.  I didn’t catch it before posting, and so I immediately treated to replies informing me of my egregious, unforgivable error.  That was the last time I posted lyrics without double and triple checking them first.  Live and learn.  I will still occasionally see perfectly good Duranies arguing over the correct lines to Too Bad You’re So Beautiful…apparently the ice queen line is too easily heard as ice cream.  

I must be evolving because at one point, to admit such mistakes would have embarrassed me. Heaven forbid that this Duran fan not know every single lyric as soon as a song is released, right?  Nowadays – I just don’t care what people think.  It’s funny, and no, my hearing is probably not the best these days. Too many evenings spent at rock concerts…imagine that!  So in turn I’m asking you – what lyrics have you come to destroy?  If I think of more that I’ve ruined (and I’m sure there are!), I’ll post ’em!

-R



Kill that light it’s so bright and you’re shining it right in my eyes

I thought it might be fun for me to tackle another one of the lyrics that it was suggested to us to use.  This one grabbed my attention for a few different reasons.  First, it is a lyric that I always took note of.  I’m not sure why.  It has just interested me.  Second, I have felt like I could relate to it.  I can relate to it in a simple, obvious way and then in a much deeper, more personal way.

When I hear that line or even read that line, I have two thoughts that come into mind.  The first one usually makes me laugh as I tend to think about a bad hangover!  Now, I know that I can’t be the only one who is a little less than excited to face bright lights after a long night of celebrating.  Admit it.  Most of you have been there, too, right?  Of course, you have.  😉 This is very Duran Duran, too, isn’t it?  After all, Duran is the “band designed to make you party.”  The second thought reminds me of all of those mornings driving to work.  I leave for work early.  Too early.  Way too early.  I’m not a fan of the morning.  I would be a happier person if I could work at night or, at least, later in the day.  Anyway, I also drive east into the sun for most of the fall and the spring.  Thankfully, the upper Midwest has a lot of winter so the rest of the school year, I drive in the dark.  This sunlight truly is the light shining so bright in my eyes.  Literally.  I tend to look at this line about my attitude in the morning at work as well.  I can be positive to begin with and hate when what should be positive becomes a negative.  The bright light should be good but could be used in such a way to hurt.  Let’s face it.  We all have frustrations at work, at times, just like the light shining in one’s eyes!

Of course, this line could be thought of in a non-literal, more metaphorical sense.  Shining a light on something reminds me about how something can be brought to one’s attention.  If the something being brought to one’s attention is a negative, it can definitely hurt.  I can imagine that this is how Duran probably feels when some aspect of their work is examined, placed under a light, so to speak.  In some cases, of course, this could be fine.  The light could showcase, highlight, spotlight something deemed wonderful.  Yet, what happens when this light shows something less than positive?  What happens when it shows a fault, a problem, a less than perfect example of something?  I can imagine how much that hurts.  After all, anyone creative, anyone willing to share a part of themselves with others runs the risk of exposing oneself to criticism and to rejection.  I know that I feel that every time I post.  What if someone doesn’t like it?  What if someone thinks my writing is terrible?  What if someone disagrees?  What if, what if, what if…The fear of this light can be a killer.  I know that I’m worried about the reaction our book is going to receive.  Obviously, I’m proud of it and I know that Rhonda is proud of it but will it hold up to scrutiny?  That has yet to be seen.  I feel the same way about the convention.  Everything must be done well as I suspect that there will be judgment.  Heck, I’m sure there is a ton of judgment already.  Why did they have it in Chicago?  Why is it in October?  Why is it downtown?  Why does it cost so much money?  (Really, people.  You try putting on an event like this for cheaper!)

This light of examination is often turned on to more than just people’s creative endeavors, isn’t it?  Sometimes, the light shows a behavior.  I think this is pretty tough to take, too.  After all, none of us are perfect and we (meaning all of us–not just Rhonda and myself) certainly aren’t perfect when it comes to our fandom.  I know that I feel like I have grown a lot and changed a lot in terms of how I look at fandom and how I act when it comes to my fandom.  I’m sure that I would approach certain situations very differently now in 2013 than I might have in 2005.  I’m not always proud of my behavior in the past but I like to think that I have learned from it.  Nonetheless, I think the blog posts about fans and fan behaviors have often gotten the most response and the most negative response, at times, simply because people think that we are the light shining on one’s actions, showing something, or some behavior, that hurts to have exposed.  Trust me when I say that none of our blog posts have ever been written to hurt someone.  Never.  We do write blog posts that question people’s assumptions or thought processes, though.  We do question behavior of fans but know this.  We questions fans in a big old general sense, in a collective, in a group.  We aren’t questioning individuals.  We like to have these discussions to grow, to learn.  We obviously hope that you do, too.  Nonetheless, we do recognize that this isn’t always easy or painless just like that light.  It can be way too bright.

-A

The Clever Words I…Haven’t Said in a Long Time?

One of the most frequent discussions around Duranland seems to be about Duran Duran in the early 80s, during that era of the Fab Five, versus Duran Duran now.  Some fans like both eras, both times.  Others seems to believe that there will not and has not been anything great released by Duran Duran in decades.  Those fans usually have a number of reasons for believing this, but one of the main reasons is Simon’s lyrics.  The claim is that Simon’s lyrics in those first few albums were poetry like.  They weren’t obvious and didn’t seem to make sense or didn’t seem to make enough sense to understand what they were about.  On the other hand, they say that Simon’s lyrics now are too straight-forward or lack that flair, that poetic element that he used to have.  Many times when I hear or see this argument, I just nod my head and move along without really thinking about it.  Yet, I have to wonder.  Is this true?  Have Simon’s lyrics changed that much in style?  In this blog post, I will actually compare by using a quick grading scale of sorts.  I will list the songs of the first 3 albums and determine if those lyrics are very poetic, somewhat poetic or not poetic at all.  Then, I will do the same for the last 3 albums since the reunion.  Now, before, I start, I feel it necessary to point a couple of things out.  First, Simon is older.  He doesn’t need to imagine scenarios of life like he might have when he was in his early 20s.  I’m sure life experience has an affect on his lyrics.  Second, Red Carpet Massacre featured songs that he might not have been in complete control over, lyrically.  Nonetheless, I will use them.

1st album (Duran Duran):
Girls on Film–not very poetic, pretty straightforward
Planet Earth-somewhat poetic with a stretch
Anyone Out There-pretty straightforward
Careless Memories-somewhat poetic with a stretch
Nightboat-poetic
Sound of Thunder-somewhat poetic
Friends of Mine-somewhat poetic
To the Shore-poetic
Is There Something I Should Know-not very poetic
Totals:  Poetic 2, Somewhat 4, Not 2
Rio:
Rio-somewhat poetic
My Own Way-somewhat poetic
Lonely in Your Nightmare-somewhat poetic
Hungry Like the Wolf-somewhat poetic with a stretch
Hold Back the Rain-poetic
New Religion-poetic
Last Chance on the Stairway-somewhat poetic with a stretch
Save a Prayer-poetic
The Chauffeur-poetic
Totals:  Poetic 4, Somewhat 5, No 0
Seven and the Ragged Tiger:
The Reflex-poetic
New Moon on Monday-poetic
Cracks in the Pavement-poetic
I Take the Dice-poetic
Of Crime and Passion-somewhat poetic
Union of the Snake-poetic
Shadows on your Side-somewhat poetic
The Seventh Stranger-poetic
Totals:  Poetic 7, Somewhat 1
Before I look at the last three, clearly, the poetry, in my opinion, increased over time.  Now, let’s look at Astronaut, Red Carpet Massacre, and All You Need Is Now.
Astronaut:
Sunrise-not very poetic
Want You More-not very poetic
What Happens Tomorrow-not very poetic
Astronaut-???
Bedroom Toys-!!!
Nice-not very poetic
Taste the Summer-not very poetic
Finest Hour-somewhat poetic
Chains-somewhat poetic
One of Those Days-not very poetic
Point of No Return-somewhat poetic
Still Breathing-somewhat poetic
Totals:  Somewhat 4, Not 6, ?? 2

Red Carpet Massacre:
The Valley-somewhat poetic
Red Carpet Massacre-somewhat poetic
Night Runner-not very poetic
Falling Down-not very poetic
Box Full O Honey-somewhat poetic
Skin Divers-somewhat poetic
Tempted-not very poetic
Zoom In-not very poetic
She’s Too Much-not very poetic
Dirty Great Monster-not very poetic
Last Man Standing-somewhat poetic
Totals:  Somewhat 5, Not 6

All You Need Is Now:
All You Need Is Now-not very poetic
Blame the Machines-not very poetic
Leave a Light on-somewhat poetic
Safe-not very poetic
Girl Panic-not very poetic
Leopard-somewhat poetic
Other People’s Live-not very poetic
Mediterranea-somewhat poetic
Too Bad You’re So Beautiful-not very poetic
Runway Runaway-not very poetic
Before the Rain-poetic
Too Close to the Sun-somewhat poetic
Early Summer Nerves-not very poetic
Networker Nation-not very poetic
Totals:  Poetic 1, Somewhat 4, Not 8

I should note that I quickly judged those songs, those lyrics.  I didn’t think too much about any of them but went with my gut instinct.  That said, some of those songs seem VERY obvious but truly could be metaphors for something else.  A good example of this is Point of No Return.  From what I understand, the song is about 9/11.  It isn’t real obvious by those lyrics.  It is hard to judge those songs or songs that I feel, but have no real confirmation, are about something else.  I think this is one observation I can make.  I think Simon’s lyrics have become more and more about real life and what is happening in the world.  He often seems to cover them with a metaphor or analogy.  One could argue that this is a pretty significant writing technique.  Now, based on my ratings, Simon’s lyrics are more obvious now, overall.  Does that mean that he is completely obvious all the time?  Nope.  Before the Rain is a good example of poetry.  Does this mean that Simon was never obvious in his lyrics in the early days?  Nope.  Anyone Out There is a good example of that.

Overall, I could say that Simon’s lyrics have changed over the years.  His writing seems to make more sense and less like, “What the heck does that mean?” Yet, he uses more metaphors and discusses more real world issues.  Of course, the real question here is not whether or not his lyrics have changed.  The real question is does this change make the songs less good?  Are the songs impacted negatively by these changes?  What do you all think?

-A

In Whispering Darkness

I am back from a bit of a vacation!  I didn’t really go anywhere.  Although, I did spend a couple of days in Chicago, but that doesn’t feel like somewhere special since I live so close.  The vacation, though, surrounded visits from family including my sister and her family and my brother and his wife.  This vacation was pretty unique for me since it is the first time I really took time away from the blog since we started.  I also took time away from all of my online activities, for the most part.  This felt very good, but it also feels good to be getting back on track.  After all, I enjoy writing the blog and have many things to do for that convention, which is quickly approaching!  That said, I already miss my fabulous nieces who are 10 and 14.  While we didn’t get to spend as much time together as I had hoped due to illnesses on their parts, I did manage to give them a little playlist of songs.  After all, it is important to ensure that they receive a solid musical education.  🙂  Interestingly enough, as I worked on this playlist, I really struggled with which Duran songs to put on it.  I wanted to give them a good representation of what Duran is capable of…but I wanted it to be appropriate for both the 14 year old AND the 10 year old.  This was a bit of a challenge as Duran really isn’t all hearts and flowers and isn’t bubblegum like too many people assume.  Instead, Duran often takes on some dark topics, both with their music, but more specifically with their lyrics.

It seems to me that there are very few “light” Duran songs.  Even those songs that are super popular often deal with issues that are less than fun.  For example, Girls on Film might be about models but, more specifically, it is about exploitation of models.  What about songs like the Reflex or A View to a Kill?  We already know that the Reflex could have multiple meanings and some of those meanings might be a bit more adult, right?  A View to a Kill’s lyrics aren’t happy and bright with a chorus of “Dance into the fire”.  Yes, obviously, there are a few of the singles that are positive.  Rio seems to be very carefree, if it really is about a woman or about something else like America.  A more recent song like All You Need Is Now also is very positive.  I, of course, included my favorite, Planet Earth, which doesn’t seem either positive or negative.  What happens after you run out of the positive, not dark, not adult themed songs?  You find that a lot of Duran songs are dark or adult themed.

What are some of the topics that Duran songs have focused on that are really dark and/or adult?

*Save a Prayer–a lot of Duranies love this song and believe it to be “beautiful” but it is about a one night stand.  Not exactly kid friendly.

*Wild Boys–“there’s bloodstain for your pain” with references of gunshots.  Not happy.

*Notorious–about media exploitation.  Pretty adult.

*Skin Trade–this one doesn’t need explanation about being adult in nature, does it?

*Violence of Summer–lyrics like “It starts with desire.  Ends up under cover” seems pretty adult to me.

*Too Much Information–the control of the media.

*Lady Xanax–the title obviously references a prescription drug usually taken for depression and/or anxiety and the lady in the song definitely fits that description

*Astronaut–Alien sex.  Enough said.

*Bedroom Toys–Obviously adult!

*Dirty Great Monster–Assumption that many people have is that the song is about sexual abuse.  If so, that’s pretty dark and adult.

Still, there are others that might not be as dark or as adult but still feel less bright and happy.  Some of those songs to me are:

*Friends of Mine–it feels to me to be about betrayal and a loss of trust

*I Don’t Want Your Love–this song feels like a straight up love song until you really pay attention to the lyrics.  Then, it is clear that this “relationship” might involve some cheating since the person would be “keeping someone else behind”.

*Ordinary World–grief and loss are not happy topics.

*Falling Down–this song isn’t very happy either as it describes a person needing help as the person is “falling down” literally or figuratively.

*Being Followed–Being watched and followed isn’t very happy or bright

I could, obviously, go on and on with these lists.  The songs I included were the first ones that came to my mind.  My points here are pretty simple.  First, it is difficult to pull out those happy, positive, all age appropriate songs.  It isn’t impossible but not as easy as one would have thought.  Second, it amazes me that anyone would or could assume that Duran shouldn’t be taken seriously.  Clearly, they have dealt with a lot of real life issues, tough issues.  They haven’t been afraid to look at all sides of life from the positive to the negative, the good with the bad.

-A

I’ll Talk If It Feels Right

Sometimes, I get tired of talking.  I know.  It is incredibly hard to imagine, but I do.  It seems like that is all that I do.  Certainly, there is no argument that I do a ton of talking at my official, day job of being a teacher.  Heck, I think middle school teachers like me talk more than most.  It is no wonder that I will frequently lose my voice as it is often over used.  Then, of course, during campaign season, I am constantly talking there, too.  I am talking to other volunteers, to campaign staff and, of course, to voters.  It is never ending.  Again, it wasn’t surprising that I lost my voice days before the fall of 2012 election only to have it return a few days after.  Then, of course, there is this “job” of mine.  I feel like I talk here, too.  While I may not be using my vocal cords and positioning my mouth and tongue in certain positions to make sounds, I am using my fingers and technology to create the words.  I will often “hear” the words in my head as I type, for example.  I’m constantly thinking about words—speaking or writing.  Communicating.   Last weekend, Rhonda and I spent a lot of time talking, too.  Again, this is not surprising to anyone familiar with us or this blog.  We have a lot to say.  In fact, it seems like we can or will never shut up.  This is why we have managed to maintain a DAILY blog while writing a book and/or teaching children or whatnot.  Of course, not only do we have a lot to say in general, we have a lot to say about Duran.  When this subject came up the other weekend, Rhonda and I laughed at ourselves, thinking that we must be the only two nuts out there who could talk about Duran as much as we do.  Yet, it is clear to me that this simply isn’t just us.  There are tons of people who want to talk about Duran.  Why?  Why have the conversations?

It seems to me through my research on fandom that the very first step, the very first element of fandom is communication and discussion.  Once people become fans, they want to talk about whatever they are a fan of.  Those conversations might start out with, “Oh my God, this album is SO good.  Simon is the best singer ever.”  The initial conversations might be filled with declarations of love.  For some fans, this overwhelming feeling of love and need to express it remains throughout their fandom.  For others, the discussions turn toward other topics.  These other topics might still be wrapped up in warmth and good will but will tend to focus on more in-depth topics like, “Which album is best and why?” or “What rocks in the band’s live performance and what should be changed?”  Obviously, these more in-depth, more challenging topics are never ending (thank goodness for us!) .  Beyond the bazillion topics that are out there, the topics are frequently revisited as well.  Why?  Why have these more in-depth conversations and why have them more than once?  Clearly, Rhonda and I feel strongly about this since many of our topics have been visited over and over again, which is obvious by how many times certain labels appear on various blog posts.  So, why do we keep revisiting the topics?  Is this the same reason that other fans keep talking about the same things?

On a big, sociological scale, fans involved in a fan community/fandom have conversations to reach common meanings.  All fans start from the same place.  In our case, that place is that Duran Duran is one of the greatest bands, if not the greatest band.  We are fans of Duran’s music.  The starting place of any fandom is always a pretty general statement.  From there, though, there are a variety of opinions about any given subject within the fandom.  For example, most Duranies might agree that Simon is a great singer or that his ability to write significant lyrics.  Will we all agree on that?  Of course not.  We all agree that Duran is great.  Do we all agree that Simon is great?  I know it is hard to imagine but probably not.  Most of us might agree.  The general consensus is that he is a good singer and lyricist.  Likewise, many Duranies might say that the first couple of albums are some of Duran’s best.  Will all?  Probably not.  Will most agree to that?  Sure.  Is there general consensus?  I would say so while acknowledging that there is always going to be some disagreement, no matter how small of a disagreement.  How did we, as a fandom, come to some of these general conclusions about Simon or about how good the first couple of albums were or any of the other 85,000 things we have consensus on?  Simple.  We decided them through discussion.  

As a group, discussions take place to share our mutual interest and to try and seek some sort of general agreement.  As individuals, we might participate in the discussions in order to gain new and different understanding.  I, for one, love to have the discussion, even if, maybe especially if, it is on a topic that I have discussed before.  I love having the conversations with Rhonda and I adore having it with other fans.  Why?  Again, this is a simple answer.  I learn from others even if they are people I have discussed the topic with previously.  They help people gain new insights, put some ideas together in their heads, relook at things and more.  Then, they share with me and I do the same.  This way everyone learns and grows from each other.  Perhaps, this is why I love the idea of the blog.  I love putting my ideas down and then seeking out others’ ideas.  Other people may completely agree with me, which is fine.  This might indicate that I’m on the general consensus path.  On the other hand, people may disagree or question my thinking.  That is cool, too.  I may not change my position BUT my position might be clearer or my argument stronger by having it.  

As a Duranie of 29 years now, I can’t imagine ever getting tired of talking about Duran.  I know I won’t get tired of talking about fandom.  I’m thankful that there are so many others out there like me who feel the same.  Besides, being able to learn from each other, I also think it is fun.  Does that make me weird?  Whatever.  No comments are necessary.  Speaking of fun, though, Rhonda and I had a cool new idea to get our creative juices flowing.  

I’m sure you are all are aware that we often title our blogs based on Duran lyrics.  This one, for example, is from the song, New Religion.  Typically, we write the topic and then find lyrics to match.  Yet, it seems to me that it can be done the other way around.  We could come up with topics based on lyrics!  While we could probably randomly select lyrics ourselves, we figured you all might want to pick out lyrics to spur our blog posts.  For example, you could say, “Write a blog post with the following lyrics in mind:  ‘I must have flowers in my brain.’”  Thus, we would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE for you to send us lyrics that we should use to write a blog about.  These lyrics could be ones that you think describe fandom or some aspect of fandom.  They could describe the band.  They could describe us.  They could be lyrics that fascinate you.  Perhaps, the lyrics are ones you love, hate or doesn’t understand.   Whatever the case, please, send lyrics our way via our email (dailyduranie@gmail.com), our twitter or our facebook.   Maybe, these lyrics will initiate some great, mind-expanding discussions!!!

-A

Interpretations of Palomino

This week, for my weekly analysis of Duran song lyrics, I decided to tackle the song, Palomino off of the Big Thing album.  Why choose this song of all their songs?  Simple.  It has been suggested a few times.  Now, I have to admit that when this song was requested, I wasn’t that excited.  I don’t feel like I have a connection at all to this song.  It is one of those Duran songs that I would have to go through album lists to come up with.  It is one, for me, that faded into the background.  It isn’t that I don’t like the song.  It just isn’t one that I love or hate.  No strong emotional reactions pop up when it comes on.  Perhaps, though, this is the best reason to analyze it.  Maybe, I will get more of a connection by doing so.

As always, I begin my analysis by posting a video of the song and the lyrics.  Now, this track did not have an official video but I was able to find this live gem from the Milan show in 1988:

Lyrics:
She lays on the wall watching the strangers drift away. Mid-day’s o’er thick with the sun of Arabia. She surrenders her voices; they gather on the wind – talking, chanting, breathing into her body. Yesterdays. Mmm mmm mmm mmm. Awaken beside the scent of burnt sugar on her skin. Painting eyes -thick- with the colour she brings in. Oh, it’s sure and strong as the lightning tumbles down. Don’t you frown. Everything will be in time for this evening.

(bridge)
If there’s secrets she has to be party to everyone of them. If there’s heaven she gets to the heart and you’ll wonder…

(chorus)
Why she stays when I run out of blue
Help me rise and stand – now I can run to you.
Why she stays when I run out of blue.
Give me red instead -now let me run.

(bridge)
If there’s secrets she has to be party to everyone of them. If there’s heaven she gets to the heart and you’ll know just…

(chorus)
Why she stays when I run out of blue
Help me rise and stand – now I can run to you.
Why she stays when I run out of blue.
Give me red instead -now let me run.

Hey! Hey!

(chorus)
Why she stays when I run out of blue
Help me rise and stand – now I can run to you.
Why she stays when I run out of blue.
Give me red instead -now let me run.

What kind of theories are out there about what this song means?  Well, interestingly enough, this song was the topic of 2 Ask Katy questions.  In those answers, Simon mentioned that the chorus came from a quote from the famous artist, Pablo Picasso.  The quote was a response to a question that asked Picasso what he did when he ran out of blue paint to which he responded, “Why, I use red instead!”  The connection to this quote of Picasso’s is obvious.  The other Ask Katy response by Simon mentioned that the song is about a beautiful girl he has known.  Would that make sense?  Well, the pronoun used is a she.

The internet theories about this one aren’t numerous but do include the following:

*A Horse

*Drugs

As always, let’s take them one at a time.  Palomino is a coat color in horses in which the horse has a gold coat and a white mane.  These types of horses are often featured in movies and in parades.  Their origin is most likely European/Asian with a rich history in Spain and is a Spanish word.  Do the lyrics fit this type of  horse?  The first verse could be talking about a horse spending her day outside with the wind.  Color is emphasized as well with the line “Painting eyes -thick – with the colour she brings in”.  The only line that throws me slightly is the line about Arabia.  The image then that pops into my mind is that of a desert and bright sunshine.  Were Palomino horses found in Arabia?  Maybe, they were in the Crusades??  A horse could definitely take in secrets in that she would be around to hear all the people talking and she could, as any animal like this could, get into someone’s heart and be loved by that person.  The chorus could also fit this with the image of letting someone run.  Does this mesh with Simon’s statement that it is about a beautiful girl.  Sure could.  That beautiful girl could be a horse.

What about the other commonly suggested theory that it was about drugs?  According to the theory, the burning of sugar is related to drug use.  To me, this is quite a stretch.  Yes, I realize that the use of some drugs require burning them in a spoon to liquify them.  Yet, it isn’t sugar that this is done with.  Could sugar stand for the drug?  I suppose but there doesn’t seem to be much else in the song to indicate drug use.  On the other hand, that sugar could be referring to the white mane of a palomino horse or even sugar cubes that the horse could have.

To summarize, I think in all likelihood the song is about a horse.  Could it be about a woman who is outside, is told secrets, is able to be loved, and is able to let someone run or be free?  Absolutely, it could.  We find this pattern throughout Duran’s history, haven’t we?  Take Leopard for example.  Is it about a leopard or a woman?  Either way, those theories make a lot more sense than the drug use one!  Now, what should I analyze next?!

-A  

Interpretations of (I’m Looking for) Cracks in the Pavement

Last week when I discussed The Reflex and what the heck it could possibly mean, I also asked what other songs should I examine and try to figure out meanings.  I got many songs suggested to me but one song in particular was given by more than one person.  That song is from the same era as The Reflex and that is (I’m Looking for) Cracks in the Pavement.  Unlike The Reflex, I don’t have some huge memories attached to this one.  I will say this.  It wasn’t a song that hit me when I first got Seven and the Ragged Tiger as a kid.  Maybe, it was that I didn’t get it back then as I do remember thinking that the lyrics were goofy.  I like it better now.  Do I have a better grasp of what it could mean?  We will see.  On a different note, I do remember a story I heard on an interview with Duran in which Simon discussed how his pants ripped at the seam during the middle of a concert.  Apparently, he decided that stapling the pants together would help, but did not.  John’s response to this story was to ask Simon if they were performing Cracks in the Pavement! Oh, how, I appreciate that sense of humor!!!  Before I dive into possible theories, let’s take a look at a fan video that was made with the song.

Here are the lyrics to the song:

I shed my skin
When the party was about to begin
I’m light years away but I’m walking back tonight
Of all nights
When I should be feeling just right
Don’t want to be in public
My head is full of chopstick
I don’t like it

[CHORUS]
Something on my mind
Breaking open doors I had sealed up before
Something on my mind
Makes me run when I thought I’d run too far

Somebody shaking my tree
Maybe that somebody is me
I’m standing in the light but
I’m making a break for the shadows
On the cinema wall
They should be mine but I’m not that tall
Now I’m saying this in privaate
If I had a car I’d drive it
Insane

[CHORUS]

I’m looking for cracks in the pavement

Unlike The Reflex, there are not as many interpretations online for this song.  There are a few theories, though.  They are as follows:

*Being high

*Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

*Feeling out of place

*Having a mental breakdown

Those are interesting theories.  Could it be that the song is about being high?  The line about the “head being full of chopsticks” could refer to that.  Yet, it seems to me that I would really have to stretch to get the other lyrics to match drug use.  :A break for the shadows” could be about hiding drug use or hiding when making a drug purchase, but again that would be a stretch.  Perhaps, the theory really is that the lyrics isn’t about being high but written while high.  I have no idea about that, but I tend to think that these lyrics are pretty coherent, if that was the case.

If the first theory doesn’t really fit, what about this idea of obsessive-compulsive disorder?  I immediately have a hard time with this theory because mental illnesses like this were not talked about as much as they are now or even 10 years ago.  Thus, I’m already dubious, but let’s look at the lyrics with that lens on anyway.  Before I do, though, it is important to note, what characteristics are common with OCD.  According to the DSM-IV (manual of mental illness–yes, I own a copy.  I work with children with emotional/behavioral disorders.), a person with OCD has persistent thoughts/impulses/images that cause stress and demonstrate repetitive behavior or acts done to ease that stress.  In all seriousness, typically, the behaviors seen include things like washing hands, counting, checking locks, turning on/off lights, etc.  Now, of course, OCD is often used to describe someone who pays a great deal of attention to detail and has to have everything just so.  (I, of course, have never been described in this way, especially not when it comes to things like the tour binder.  No way.  Absolutely not.)  Does the song indicate any/many/all of these characteristics?  Well, “Something on my mind” and “makes me run when I thought I’d run too far” could indicate persistent thoughts and compulsive running.  Again, though, the rest of the lyrics would be a stretch. 

Keeping to the topic of mental health, does this song imply a mental breakdown?  Obviously, the line about having someone on my mind could be that there is a lot of activity going on.  Likewise, the line about driving the car insane could imply some sort of mental illness.  I suppose the line about having a head full of chopsticks could imply some sort of mental health issue.  My problem with this theory is that not every struggle, mentally and/or emotionally, about one’s life indicates a mental illness or a mental break.  All people struggle, emotionally or mentally, at various times.  That’s normal and this song feels like the person is dealing with something normal/common, at least to me.

What about the third theory?  Could it be about feeling out of place?  It seems to me there are some lyrics to fit this, including lines like “when I should be feeling just right, don’t want to be in public”.  Even the line about standing in light but seeking out the darkness could indicate that the person doesn’t want to be spotted and talked to because the person is feeling out of place.  Heck, even the shadow he is producing doesn’t match.  Thus, this theory out of all of them seems to make the most sense but I think it could be even less complicated than that.  Couldn’t it just be that the person isn’t feeling like himself?  “I shed my skin” could be saying that they are feeling open, feeling vulnerable, emotionally.  This, of course, is particularly problematic when you are leaving for a party.  Instead of being excited about the party, you are thinking about something else, something in the past and can’t let it go, which leaves you feeling like your head is “full of chopsticks”.  In fact, these thoughts are shaking this person, meaning that these thoughts are upsetting.  Perhaps, then, the person decides to try to avoid people and his thoughts by going to the movies but that doesn’t even work.  Maybe, the car reference is that whatever happened in the past, happened somewhere else.  Thus, if a car was available, he would drive to this other place or time but that wouldn’t help either.  It would only “drive” him crazy. 

What do the rest of you think?  Do you think one of these theories make sense?  Do you have a different idea? 

-A

P.S. What song should I tackle next???

Is Anyone Out There?

I stole Rhonda’s facebook status.  I admit it.  It is totally dorky and about the only thing I can handle today.  Obviously, today was the day in which the world was supposed to end, according to the Mayan calendar.  It appears that the world, including us, is still here.  We hope that you are, too.  After all, we need all the readers we can get!  LOL!  That said, I am starting to get a little stir crazy where I am.  You see that I live in Madison, Wisconsin, which experienced about 20 inches of snow over the last couple of days along with blizzard conditions.  I include a picture out my window from yesterday just so that you can get an idea of what it looks like.  Clearly, you can see that everything is very, very white out.  In fact, it was so bad that I didn’t have to go into work yesterday or today!  As a teacher, there is nothing better than snow days!!!!  This has, in fact, extended my winter break!  Woohoo!  This is probably super good for me as I have been battling a horrible cold.  In fact, I woke up this morning with a fever of 101.  Not good.  Not fun.  Suddenly, my snow days feel a lot more like sick days.  Alas, still happy to have the days off!

So, what happens when Amanda gets some time to extra time to think and to sleep?  She comes with some random ideas!  Sometimes, those ideas end up on the blog!  Lucky you!!!  One of those ideas relates to our recent give-away here!  As you all know, we did a raffle for everyone who follows the blog.  We put all of the names in a martini glass and picked one to receive a signed cd that we received as part of a VIP package.  Well, we identified the person and was able to send the cd to the lucky winner, Christine!  She has received her prize and sent us a picture of herself with it!  As you can see, she is pretty excited about it!  She wrote the following to us:  “Thank you, Daily Duranie, for making me a WINNER! I’m putting this under my Christmas tree, because it is an amazing gift. (like the shirt? a Duranie friend made it for a group of us for the show at the Pacific Amphithatre in Costa Mesa (OCFair, August 11, 2012). We’ve worn them since, to Duran cover band shows!)”  We thank Christine and everyone else for reading and following the blog!  We hope to do other raffles in the future.

Another thing we did recently was to send out wristbands to people who have ordered one through our paypal account.  Some people have started to receive theirs and the rest are on their way.  Much like Christine showing off her cd, we would love to have people send us pictures of themselves wearing the wristband that we can show.  After all, this blog is all about fans.  Why not show other fans besides ourselves?!  Thus, if you have a wristband from us, either from a meetup or from ordering one, could you send us a picture of yourself to showcase you???  You can send the picture to our email:  dailyduranie@gmail.com.  Thanks!!!

My last idea related to the blog came the other day when I was going through my Duran catalog to write all of the b-sides and other released tracks for the daily question.  As I was looking at all of the songs, I realized that there were many songs with clear meanings behind them.  For example, we might all know what a song like Anyone Out There is about being lonely, but has there really been a consensus around what a song like Union of the Snake is about?   Thus, wouldn’t it be fun to dive into some of those songs that the meaning isn’t obvious?  Maybe, this is just the dork in me but I think that sounds like fun!  Assuming that others might like this idea, I would ask people to list songs that we should tackle first.  What Duran songs have you always wondered about, in terms of their meaning?  If you all don’t tell me, I’ll make the list myself, which won’t be nearly as fun for me or for you. 

On that note, I am thinking about another nap.  Maybe then, I will have other brainstorms come to me!!

-A