Category Archives: lyrics

Hold Back the Rain

I seem to be thinking a lot about lyrics and meaning behind songs lately.  I’m not sure why that is.  Maybe it is because there is nothing “new” in Duranland, in terms of music, so I’m looking for a song or two to  re-listen to.  It seems like at times like these, when I’m in a mood like I am, I need to discover the genius of a song I knew and never gave much of a chance.  Does anyone have any suggestions?  Well, one song that I rediscovered a number of years ago while in the same mood was Hold Back the Rain.  It was like I had never heard it before or never noticed how wonderful it is.  Now, it is definitely a member of my Top 10 Duran songs.  This week, I started to think about this one again.  Why?  The answer to this is simple.  I have been rereading Chapters 33-40 in John’s autobiography for Monday’s book club.  What era do these chapters cover?  Yep, you guessed it.  1982.  John, in fact, spends some time in one of the chapters discussing a number of the songs on the Rio album as he points out how absolutely brilliant that album was.  Thus, when thinking about both the quality of the songs on that album and John’s life, in particular, during that time, I immediately thought about Hold Back the Rain as this song fits both the music and John’s life.  Then, I wondered if everyone knew the story behind the song, at least lyrically.

Until a few years ago, I had no idea what the song, Hold Back the Rain, was about.  I figured it literally could do with trying to control weather conditions.  I have also used the song to describe life on tour.  In particular, the lines, “No time for worry cause we’re on the roam again (hold back the rain)
The clouds all scatter and we ride the outside lane (hold back the rain),” seemed to fit the touring lifestyle.  It implies that there is no time to deal with anything because you are off to the next location and the next show and that there is nothing but smooth sailing ahead.  Obviously, the reference to the outside lane could be referring to a road trip and lanes on the highway.  Yet, I knew that there were other lines that didn’t seem to fit this idea, including “People tell me I haven’t changed at all but I don’t feel the same.  And I’ve bet you’ve had that feeling too you can’t laugh all the time.”  Wait.  Wouldn’t touring be fun and filled with laughter all the time?  Why would this change you?  Oh, how naive I was.  At this point, I figured that I would never truly understand what the heck Simon was singing this time when I saw a Duran documentary in which this song was discussed.  Here’s the clip that explained it all:

Clearly, according to what Simon said here, the lyrics were about John and how he was “going off the rails a little bit”.  I had no idea.  This clip was a revelation to me when I first saw it.  Anyway, now that I’m rereading John’s book and the part during this era, I started thinking again about this song, about how Simon wrote it about him and how Simon slipped the lyrics under his door.  I wonder if it is still true that John never said anything to Simon about these lyrics.  If so, I wonder why not?  Simon clearly was trying to tell John something and show his concern.

This led me to think about the times that I saw Duran play this song live (and for the record–they need to play it a lot MORE).  How did John react to it?  Did John ever play this song live during his solo days?  I think I remember hearing a bootleg somewhere but I can’t find anything on youtube.  Here’s a clip from 2005.  I notice that John is center stage singing along the lines about being changed and not feeling the same.  Hmm…

After thinking about this song through this lens of John’s life at that time, I know that it made the song seem fresh to me and so much more important than before.  My love for it grew as I appreciate it more.  Of course, now it really makes me want to hear it live again…

-A

The Clever Words I Never Said…

It has been a pretty amazing week for Rhonda and I!  Just to recap:  The blog can now be followed by email so that the blog entries come straight into your inbox.  Our wristbands are now available for purchase by sending us $3 on paypal (dailyduranie@gmail.com).  It seems like our convention plans are already coming together as we had a number of fabulous people step up to help!  We are both excited and nervous all at the same time!  Of course, we aren’t going to rest there as the book is begging to be finished among other projects.  It is one of those days when life in fandom seems all good!  Why wouldn’t someone want to be part of a fandom?  Why wouldn’t someone want to be a fan?  Today feels like a good day to be a Duranie!  This conclusion of mine definitely is partly due to how good of a week Rhonda and I have had in terms of all of our plans and work.  Yet, part of it was realized this afternoon on my drive home. 

My drive home isn’t that long but I do like to plug in the handy dandy mp3 player and hit shuffle.  Which songs popped up first?  Now, I’m sure that none of you will be surprised to hear that I have a lot of Duran and Duran related songs on there.  It isn’t all Duran, though, so it is still weird when I get a bunch of their songs in a row, which is what happened today.  The first song was Friends of Mine.  Then, I got the Diamond in the Mind version of the Reflex followed up by Planet Earth.  One thing that struck me as begin singing along loudly (I’m sure the drivers in the cars thought I was crazy but I’m excited that it is Friday and I was enjoying the tunes!) is the lyrics.

Most Duranies would agree that Simon’s lyrics can be pretty awesome so this is not a new idea, to say the least.  I’m also sure that many of you are well aware of our love of the lyrics since we frequently use a lyric to title blog posts.  We like lyrics so much that we are also using lyrics to separate sections in our book as the words often can explain exactly what we are talking about.  Anyway, what struck me today is how their lyrics can be grouped into categories.  For example, there are a ton of lines relating to space, which I realized during Planet Earth.  Here are some that popped into my mind:

*”And we’re gonna go to space kid coz I’m leaving with an astronaut”  –Astronaut
*”Falling into space at the time of time” –Big Bang Generation
*”And the planet turns”  –Sunrise
*”And you sway in the moon”  –All You Need is Now
*”I light my torch and wave it for the new moon on Monday” –New Moon on Monday

Obviously, I could go on and on with that theme.  So, what other themes are there?  I’m sure that we could find a ton of lyrics about every emotion out there.  What about partying?  There has to be a ton on that.  Two immediately pop into my head.

*”There’s an all-night party in room 7609″ –Late Bar
*”All night parties, cocktail bars”  –Secret Oktober

Those examples seem pretty obvious.  What about lyrics that could be used to explain fandom?  Those are the ones I’m especially interested in.  I can think of a couple of lines from AYNIN that remind me of fandom:

*”Thought that I could resist but the leopard in you silently preyed on me”  –The Man Who Stole a Leopard (the leopard represents the coolness of Duran)
*”I may be a deluded fool but still fascinated”  –Too Bad You’re So Beautiful

Now, I’m completely distracted by this idea of lyric themes and placing lyrics in these themes or categories.  I’m so distracted that I’m struggling to even finish the blog as more and more themes keep popping up in my head.  Heck, maybe, this would make a good daily game once the album polls are done.  Although, there is so much material there that I don’t know if we will ever finish (grumble…dang productive band…).  Alas, I think I should put this out to the rest of you guys so that you all can be just as obsessed about this idea as I am.  What themes do you see or can you find within their lyrics?  Of course, I would love, love, love to see what lyrics remind you of fandom!!!  This would help us out and provide you hours of entertainment!  Thank you in advance!!!  😀

-A

How Much My Eyes Have Darkened…

First, let me apologize for the absolute lateness of this blog.  I have been traveling home (about a 5 hour drive) and am under the weather.  Luckily, I knew exactly what I was going to write about after seeing a comment from a Duranie friend about Duran’s music.  The statement was basically how their music is “bright” and does not contain the negatives of other music.  This statement combined with some research I have been doing about how Duran was advertised as “escapist”, especially back in the 1980s, formed today’s blog.  So, let’s dive into the question of whether or not Duran’s music is upbeat, bright, positive. 

Obviously, in many ways, Duran’s music is bright and upbeat.  After all, this is the band designed to make you party as Simon LeBon still belts out at almost every show.  This is the band that wanted to reintroduce color into the music world after the drab black, white and grey world of punk and post-punk.  Goodness, I think about videos like My Own Way and how bright and cheerful that seemed with dancing and even a parrot!  What other videos come to mind when talking about the cheerfulness of Duran?  I guess most people would immediately think of Rio, Save a Prayer and even the Reflex.  Rio was pure fun mixed with humor and the Reflex focused on how the band’s performance makes fans happy.  Save a Prayer, though very different from the other two, seemed peaceful at the very least.  So, what about the lyrics to accompany those positive videos?  Did they give the same feeling?  My Own Way speaks of independence and a carefree attitude.  Rio definitely had that fun vibe, especially when the words, “You make me feel alive, alive, alive,” are sung.  Save a Prayer, on the other hand, deals with a one night stand.  While it is deemed a “paradise” on one moment, prayers are also needed the morning after.  Is that as positive a message?  While Duran isn’t advocating violence there or swearing up a storm, they are exactly encouraging monogamy, are they?  The Reflex, obviously, is very much left up to the imagination in terms of its meaning.  It does speak of a game…so maybe it is all about fun.  😉

How about the rest of the early videos and songs?  Were they as positive?  The first video that popped in my head was Girls on Film.  It is clear in both the video and the song that it is focusing on the exploitation of female models.  I don’t see a lot of bright there even when Simon sings, “I’m shooting a star”.  He might be shooting a star but an unhappy one at that.  Careless Memories is rather dark and deals with a breakup and a bad one at that.  Whenever gun violence is mentioned, it ceases to be bright and happy.  Nightboat was clearly supposed to be scary as the band, for the most part, gets overtaken by zombies or something like zombies.  Anyone Out There touches on loneliness and rejection.  Friends of Mine focuses on betrayal and even asks the question, “Why don’t they drop the bomb”.  Again, that does not scream happiness and light to me.  Maybe some people want to argue that the albums that followed were more upbeat.  While I can think of examples of songs on Rio that are happy and positive, I can also think of New Religion or The Chauffeur, which seems dark to me.

What about recent albums?  Yeah, songs like Sunrise are upbeat.  What Happens Tomorrow is absolutely positive.  Still Breathing seems less so.  What about Bedroom Toys?  Where is the positive message in that?  What about the songs off Red Carpet Massacre and All You Need is Now?  Red Carpet Massacre is anything but positive.  Skin Divers seems kinda naughty to me.  Dirty Great Monster deals with sexual abuse.  Even songs that are more upbeat have a twist to them.  Tempted may get people moving but it also refers to the devil tempting someone.  As far as AYNIN goes, yes, the title track is very positive and gives a really good message.  Does Leopard, though?  That seems to be about obsession.  What about songs like Other People’s Lives, which absolutely is a commentary on society and the joy people seem to experience by watching celebrities crash and burn.

I guess my point here is simple.  Duran is much more complex than simply being positive or negative.  I, for one, appreciate that they make me think and that there is often way more than what is on the surface of a song, a video, a product of theirs.  They seem to touch on humanity and everything that comes with being human.  Do I think that Duran advocates a very straight and narrow lifestyle?  Absolutely not.  Even the songs and videos that are fun seem to have something extra to it to make people think.  As for how they make us, the fans, feel, they can and do bring joy into our lives (most of the time).  I suggest, though, they do this through honesty and analysis of people and what makes them tick, which is way more complex than a simple good/bad, positive/negative dichotomy. 

-A

Guest Blog: There is Something I Should Know

By Michelle Coldwell-Simons

There are some songs by Duran that I am sure I still haven’t heard. I am absolutely terrible at Duran song titles, especially album tracks. When people abbreviate Duran song titles on twitter for example, I have to really really think hard to decipher some of them! I can’t remember Duran member’s birthdays and I don’t know the names and ages of the Duran member’s kids. I couldn’t tell you the Duran albums in order of release except for the first three that I remember buying on vinyl –  Duran Duran, Rio and Seven and The Ragged Tiger. (Then I bought Arena, then I bought…..oh I don’t know.  I would have to look it up on Duran’s wiki page or something!)

I have no idea what Duran’s tours have been called either. I always just call them by the album they were promoting at the time. I do know that my first Duran gigs were on the Strange Behaviour tour – but I have always called it the Notorious Tour. I have seen Duran play at least one gig on every tour they have done in the UK since 1987 but I couldn’t tell you the NAME of the tours.  I would be totally flummoxed if you asked me to even hazard a guess.

I have loved Duran since I was 12 years old; that is 29 years people – and I am still not an expert. In fact I am so far from it it’s laughable!  I am not sure you should be an expert on a band just because you like them. I like the fact I don’t know everything there is to know about them. I like to be surprised when someone tells me something that I haven’t heard before about Duran. Recently I have been learning new facts about myself as well whilst doing some research for a Duran Duran quiz that I am compiling for the Fan Convention in Birmingham this November. There is a lyric section in the quiz and because of this I have had to look up lyrics for accuracy. This is how I learned that for quite some time I have been singing quite a few Duran, well, WRONG!  Examples of which are as follows:
Lonely In Your Nightmare. I used to sing ‘Heat beneath your window’ instead of ‘Heat beneath your Winter.’ I am originally from the East End of London and when spoken with an East End accent the word Window is pronounced WINDA! Bless my little cockney pre-teen self!

There are lots of lyrics from the song Hungry Like The Wolf I get wrong too. I sing ‘Seen in the subway earth is afire’ apparently it’s ‘STEAM in the subway’. I also sing ‘Stuck in the forest too close to hide’ It is apparently ‘STALKED in the forest’! And another ‘High Blood drumming on your skin it’s so tight’ I’ve always sung ‘MYblood drumming’……wow I really get that song wrong when I sing along to it!

Sometimes it is just one word I get wrong and I have only learnt this NOW because I am researching for this quiz. In Hold Back The Rain I have always sung ‘No time to worry cause we’re on the ROAD again’. Its ROAM not Road!

I am sure most of you reading this will experience some lyrics mistakes. I suppose we all hear what we want to hear. Although I will continue to sing the songs with my version of the lyrics that I have always sung, I must remember to use the right lyrics when doing the quiz in November.

I will leave you with one more of my Duran Lyric mishaps. In Last Chance On The Stairway the lyric is ‘I just get a picture of sun in your eyes, the waves in your hair’.  I always sang ‘I just get a picture of sun with your eyes away from your head’. I know Simons lyrics are bizarre but that is plain macabre!

Michelle was born in 1971 in the East End of London but thinks she is still about 18. Her formative years were spent travelling around London and the home counties meeting Duran Duran at various studio’s and other places of interest. There she met lots of new people quite a few of which she is still friends with today. Michelle writes about her teenage years and beyond with Duran in her Duran Diaries which will amuse and astound Duran fans but bore the butt off anyone else. When she grows up she likes to think that she will write a book one day as well as be a famous portrait photographer. She has been with her husband Gary for 21 years (poor poor man) and has two daughters aged 15 and 11, four cats, four fish and lives by the sea in Brighton, UK.

To Think or Not to Think…That is the Question

For about two months now, we have been asking a daily question on our facebook and on twitter.  This daily question asks people to pick between two choices.  Today’s question was, “Would you rather watch the video for Girl Panic or the video for All You Need Is Now?”  As of this blog, like most other questions, the vote seems rather split but those who give a reason for their choice mention how they like watching the boys in AYNIN over the artistic quality of GP.  I am not surprised by this and even expected it.  With anything else in fandom, it made me think and it made me think about thinking.  It seems to me that there are fans who think about everything and fans who just go with their guts and people in between.  Before I go any further, I feel it necessary to define “think”.  In this case, I use the word “think” to mean critically think, to analyze, to seek a deeper meaning.  Obviously, I tend to do this quite a bit as evidenced by this blog and our book.  Just last night I had a friend over and we were trying to find a movie to watch.  She asked if I had anything funny.  The best I could come up with was Trekkies about the Star Trek fandom or political comedy.  Anyway, from what I can see, Duranland is made up with all three types of people.  In fact, I could argue that Duran Duran is build for all three types.

On one level, Duran Duran is for fun.  We all know this.  Goodness, Simon almost always declares that “Duran Duran was the band designed to make you party,” during the introductions at concerts.  This is also the band that said that they wanted to be playing when the bomb dropped.  Then, if you look at their catalog of songs and videos this becomes clear with songs and videos that just seem fun.  Some of the songs I’m thinking of here are songs like Rio, Electric Barbarella, My Own Way, Sunrise and lots more.  Those songs/videos can be listened to or watched just for fun, for pleasure, for enjoyment.  Added on to seemingly obvious lyrics and video images is the band itself.  Let’s face it.  For many of us, the band members were/are nice to look at.  No thinking is needed in order to determine that someone looks good!  Just like no thinking is needed to make you want to dance when you hear danceable music.  It just happens!!!  Yet, Duran Duran has always been more than this.  Their lyrics and videos do make me want to dive deeper into another layer of meaning. 

A great deal of their musical/visual catalog is built on having a surface layer and a much more in-depth serious layer underneath.  I remember seeing an interview from 2005 from the Netherlands in which John and Simon are asked about the meaning behind the lyrics to the Reflex.  John pointed out that people will continue to try to figure that out, which is very different than songs like “She Loves You” by the Beatles.  They compared the lyrics to poetry.  Many of Duran songs are such in which people can dive deeper to figure out an interpretation of what the song is about.  What is really cool about this is that people can interpret songs differently.  For example, I’m willing to bet that I could get at least 5 different meanings for a song like Finest Hour, if I asked.  Just on Monday, Rhonda and I reviewed Careless Memories.  For me, those lyrics have always reminded me of being a fan and Rhonda had never thought about that.  Neither one of us is right or wrong.  We were just had different ideas.  To me, this is the one thing I truly do love about Duran.  They don’t force you to think but give you thousands of opportunities to do so.  I would also say that the more I critically think about something, the more I appreciate it, the more I love it. 

Thus, Duran Duran gives us perfect opportunities to have fun and to think at the same time!  I can’t ask for anything more!  What about the rest of you?  Do you find yourself thinking about meanings or searching for something deeper when listening/watching Duran or are you content to just enjoy it on the surface?

-A

Soundtrack of My Life

I have been a Duranie for most of my life.  In fact, I became an official one at the very young age of 8.  Since then, Duran has always been the background music, the soundtrack of my life.  Some of their songs have inspired me to act, others have made me think about things in a new way, and still others really seem to capture my emotions.  I’m sure that some of the songs that have really touched me, emotionally, are the exact same ones that have touched other fans and others, not so much.

Ordinary World is probably the most classic example of an emotionally touching Duran song.  I’m sure that many fans throughout the years have listened to that song to help them through the process of grief over a lost loved one.  I know that I have put that song on whenever I want to feel both the loss of someone or something as well as optimism for the future.  After a rough week, emotionally, I turned to this song once again.  It helped me to remember that no matter how tough things are now, time heals. 

There are a couple of other more ballad type songs that have expressed my feelings in regards to work, which are Chains and One of Those Days.  When I’m not hanging out in the Duran world, I’m busy teaching as well as thinking and worrying about my students.  Those two songs always remind me that some days are not positive at work but that I’m still committed and hopeful that the future will be better because of my actions.  Once I’m in a more positive frame of mind, What Happens Tomorrow is usually played because I need to be reminded that things will be okay in the end.  🙂

Of course, there are songs that always bring me back to some extremely fun times in my life!  I can’t help but to smile when hearing a song like Late Bar!  How many really fun times have I had with my fellow Duranies at a bar, late at night?  Hold Back the Rain and Astronaut always make me think of touring.  The former one makes me think of that because of the line about how there is “no time to worry, we’re on the roam again.”  Certainly, one of the things I like best about touring is traveling and not stressing about daily tasks.  It is just about fun.  Likewise, Astronaut captures the feeling of being at a show with the line, “There is nothing gonna ace this.”

As I read the boards and see fans’ reactions to the new snippet, I keep thinking about how these new songs could fill a void in the soundtrack of my life and in other people’s.  Maybe they will capture some serious changes that will take place in my day-to-day existence.  Perhaps, they will remind me of both good and bad times I have had.  I hope that they will be able to express a part of me that I cannot.  Truly, one thing that I have always appreciated about Duran’s songs is how they can be interpreted in different ways.  While the songs I listed above mean something to me, they might not mean the same thing to others.  I suspect that every fan has Duran songs that really hit home for them.  Maybe some of them are like mine.  Maybe they are different.  No matter if they are the same or different, I would love to know what they are for you, fellow Duranie, and why!

-A