I apologize for the lack of blog yesterday. Yesterday was pretty crazy as I had to drive my niece to the airport for her to fly home for her fall break. What I expected to take five or six hours ended up being more like nine due to bad storms, slow driving and her delayed flight. By the time I got home, I was beat and the last thing I wanted to do was to do a crappy blog post.
The plan for today was to discuss my top 10 joyful fandom moments, but that is when I assumed that I would be able to blog about Medazzaland yesterday. No worries, I figured. It just means that I have an additional week to create my list as do all of you.
Yesterday, Duran Duran and their fandom celebrated the 20th anniversary of Medazzaland, the band’s ninth studio album. Initially, I was not sure how to focus this blog as I could focus on recent discussions surrounding the album or my relationship to the album. Then, I figured I would do a little bit of everything!
Fan Community’s Relationship with Medazzaland:
This blog has done much for me (and Rhonda). While it has provided me with the opportunity to write about Duran and being a Duran fan, it has helped me see the fan community in a different way as I can see patterns that I couldn’t before. When this album comes up in any sort of conversation within the fan community, I see two very opposite reactions. On one side of the fan community is the set of people is who don’t own the album and aren’t terribly excited by what they heard. Those fans tend to prefer and focus on the early 80s and that original Duran sound. Some might think the only real Duran is the one with Fab Five. The level of experimentation and artistry doesn’t intrigue them. On the other side are the fans who really love the album. That camp tends to believe that serious music fans would love this album.
There is a subtle undercurrent that exists in both camps. The anti-Medazzaland fans, it sometimes seems to me, feel that the real Duran is that early 80s sound. On the other end, the lovers of Medazzaland seem to present the idea that those who don’t love the album aren’t serious music fans. Both sides can bother me. On one hand, the classic Duran fans should give it a try. They might find out that there is a lot of great tracks on the album. On the other hand, people can be serious music and Duran fans and just not love everything about the album.
Official Press Release about the Album:
If you have not had the chance to go over to the band’s official website to read the review about the press release you should. Go here now. Not only is Nathan’s review of the album beautifully written but it provides lots of great reasons to give the album another try or another listen.
Of course, after Nathan’s review is an interview of sorts with the band discussing their thoughts about the album. Again, I recommend reading that. One line in that interview that has drawn the most attention is Simon’s statement that the song, “Who Do You Think You Are” was written about his relationship with Warren. Some fans have criticized Simon, stating that if he felt so negatively about Warren he should not have continued to work with him for another 3 years. I don’t necessarily think that is fair. First of all, I have to work with people I don’t like. It happens. Second, maybe Simon thought that it was best for the band to continue to work together even if he wasn’t particularly happy with all members. Overall, I am just not sure that we can judge based on this one sentence. We really have no idea what was done or said behind the scenes. I cannot judge. That said, I will acknowledge that I’m not a big fan of Warren. Maybe, I would feel differently if I was.
My Relationship with the Album:
I am definitely not in the Duran camp that says the only real Duran is that of Simon, John, Nick, Andy and Roger. I think the band has created a lot of amazing music after 1984. There are a number of tracks on this album that I really like, including Out of my Mind and Big Bang Generation. Additionally, there are other songs that I admire in terms of musical quality even if I don’t turn them on very often, including Midnight Sun and So Long Suicide. Yet, as a whole, this album never captured my attention. I don’t love it. Now, in fairness, I think there are two big reasons for this. First, this is the first album without John. He left during this album and I’m a big John fan. I miss his presence on the album. Second, it has a lot to do with where I was in my life when the album came out. In the fall of 1997, I was in the process of moving to Madison. That doesn’t sound like a big deal but I moved about 8 hours away from my parents to a city where I knew no one and didn’t have a job. It was pretty scary and lonely.
Simon said, “This was one of the most difficult albums for me, and the band wasn’t in a great place, nor was I,” in that interview. I feel the exact same way when I look back to that time period. In my opinion, it matters when an album comes into your life in terms of your ability to bond with it. Perhaps, now, I should give it another try. What about the rest of you? What are your thoughts about Medazzaland?