Category Archives: Music

John Taylor’s “All Love” Playlist!

Have you listened to JT’s “All Love” Playlist on Spotify yet?  No judgment if you haven’t, only encouragement. “Try it, you’ll like it!”

It took me a couple of weeks to finally hit “shuffle”, but I caught a tweet from Duran Duran saying he’d updated the play list and figured I’d give it a try. I don’t really know why it took me so long.  I suppose, if I were to be honest, I was a little apprehensive, and admittedly – I’m stuck in a rut.

I don’t spend a lot of time listening to music these days, and even less trying to find new music I enjoy. With at least two of my three kids here, along with my husband, it is never quiet. Someone always wants me for something, and I find that if I’ve got earbuds in, I’m constantly having to hit “pause” and pull them out anyway. As the years have dragged on, I’ve noticed I spend far less time listening to music. Whenever we’ve got something on in the background, it’s normally not a very recent release. I hang my head in shame. I think I get my best new music recommendations from my daughter Heather, because as a choreographer, she really does need to know what’s out there.

When did I have to actually start working at finding new music? it used to be so easy. I think the rut creeps up on so slowly, we don’t even notice. My kids call my music the “Oldies”, and that makes me cringe because, of course it is NOT. “It’s New Wave. NEW Wave, kids”, is my typical reply.

Yeah, I’m not buying it either, and wow I sound like an old person. EEK!

I’m at the point in my life where I care very little about someone’s image, and a whole lot more about their talent. It takes a lot to make me buy music these days, and not much out there seems worth my dime. So I fall back to what I know, because in the ten minutes I might have to actually listen to something throughout the day before I’m interrupted, I want to hear what I know I’m going to like. I hate the idea that I have to TRY to like something. I mean, don’t get me wrong – I’m not looking for instant “love”, I just don’t want to feel as though I’m having to find artistic merit within the sound of nails going down a chalkboard.

Yep, still sounding a lot more “Get off my lawn” than I’d like to admit, I’m afraid.

So, when I finally did hit “shuffle” on his playlist as I was cleaning downstairs, I decided I wouldn’t look at what was playing, or what was coming up. My job was simply to listen and enjoy. I won’t lie, occasionally I found myself rushing to my phone to click “next”. More often than not though, I liked what I heard. Sometimes, I liked it enough to go see who the artist was and make a note to check out more of their music! Not only that, but John’s playlist surprised me. He certainly didn’t bind himself to only one genre. I heard everything from Phillip Glass, who is arguably one of the finest composers of our time, to Kanye. Ariana Grande to MNDR and TOKiMONSTA. Bowie to Chic, and of course Duran Duran.  I heard plenty that I liked, and even more that I loved.  I shouldn’t be surprised, but I kind of am!

John isn’t afraid to challenge us to expand our musical horizons. I can appreciate that, and goodness knows I need the kick in the pants. I’m finding that it takes real work to stay wired in to what is relevant. I remember something that Nick said in a Katy Kafe a few years back, and it really stuck with me. He was talking about how difficult it really is to get music heard these days. He described it as the internet being this fat pipe of information, and so everything comes at us as though it’s a fire hose. It is difficult for any one thing to catch on and be noticed. I feel it. Spotify is so overwhelming with many choices. I rarely know where to start.

Over the years, John has fed me more than one new artist to check out that I’ve ended up really enjoying. From this playlist, I’ve discovered Charlotte Gainsbourg most notably, among a few others. She’s someone I probably should have known about and just didn’t. So while sure, a part of me is like “Soulja Boy?  Kanye?? Really??? Hard pass, John.” I know I need to at least try before I scoff too much. So I do, and now I’m glad I did.

Thank goodness John does his homework and is willing to share. I might be a slacker, but even I know what’s good for me!

Check out his “All Love” playlist on Spotify!  (Link is in the words)

-R

What is definitive Duran Duran?

Happy Wednesday! I’m sorry for my unexpected absence yesterday. We were having carpeting installed, and we had to disconnect the octopus of wires behind a desk. Unfortunately, that also disconnected our WiFi and disrupted our internet connection until it was far too late in the day for blogging.

I’m also late today, because of a meaningful, deep, philosophical discussion regarding the merits of the song “Drive By”.

Only a fellow Duran fan understands enough to talk about the space a specific song or album occupies. It is rare to find someone who understands and is able to relate such a song to the bigger picture is a gift.

The conversation was simply about why I believe “Drive By” is a definitive Duran Duran song of the Simon-Nick-John-Warren period. Actually, I think its one of the more definitive songs of their career. “Drive By” is definitive of their career during the mid-90s, but does it’s statement go even farther than that?

Let’s consider the period of time. John, Simon, Nick and Warren were defining themselves as another iteration of Duran Duran. This was an era of rediscovery, reinvention, and to some extent – forgetting who and what they once were (as a group). So “Drive By”, a deconstructed, even “now separated, once-conjoined twin” of “The Chauffeur”, is a spectacular example of this period of Duran’s career.

I can point to the cover of “Medazzaland” as another example, granted in a slightly different period. The graffiti-laden image of “Rio” weighs heavily in my mind. I often wonder if they weren’t really trying to bury that bright and glossy 80s magazine pin-up image of the fab five. Let’s face it, there was quite a bit to run from at that point. Maybe they were really over the idea of fans swarming their limos, even if by necessity. Perhaps they were anxious to be accepted as serious musicians. Maybe they were  over being the pin-up dreams of fresh-faced, dewy-eyed teenage girls?  Maybe they saw this new iteration of Duran Duran as being the “anti”1980s Duran Duran?  It isn’t difficult to imagine what they might have been thinking of when picking a cover for “Medazzaland”.

Rather than examining the song, or any one song, under the Duran Duran microscope, lately I’ve been thinking about the broader context. I’ve considered the changes in their sound over the years,  such as the rearranged, heavy jazz sounding brass and horn version of “Hungry Like the Wolf” or “Burning the Ground” – the remix to put a final period on 80s era Duran Duran.  I’ve pondered the more obvious, recent style changes, like the full, production-heavy pop sound on Astronaut compared to the deep urban groove of Red Carpet Massacre, or retro sounding All You Need is Now, along with Paper Gods.  Individually, each seeming to be a stroll down a different musical lane, but collectively – what do they really say about this band?

To some extent, I tend to believe the band has spent a great deal of time and energy running from what they (and critics) believed they were in 1984. We can say they’re not comfortable sitting upon their laurels, and we can claim that they are not easily satiated, creativity speaking, and I don’t think we’d be wrong. However,  I don’t think it hurts anyone to examine the deeper motivation of what might drive them.

Recently, during the BBC takeover night of DD television a couple of weeks back, John admitted that the critical comments from music journalists back in the day have bothered him up until very recently. This was not a surprise to me, other than being shocked at his utterance of the words out loud for all to hear. Amanda and I have been talking about that for years now – we’ve written about it many times on the blog, and I think we both cheered when we heard John say the words. Of course it bothered them. I get it! I very much appreciate his honesty and vulnerability. Accepting, and even respecting that one nugget of truth gave me such a different perspective on their career. It is like finally having the big picture come into focus. I just love them.

This is a band with an image based on the proverbial double-edged sword. On one side, they were incredibly successful because they appealed to teenage girls. They never said no to being the – poster boys of the 1980’s. In fact, they welcomed it, and we welcomed them! On the other side of that sword though, somewhere down deep, they secretly aspired to reach the recognition, acclaim and respect that comes from critics and other musicians. Screaming girls are wonderful, but perhaps having respect mattered too. Could we really blame them?

That isn’t to say the band’s career has been a giant folly, or that they were wrong to explore. Not in the least, and I want to be clear on that. In my mind, the fans are the ones who have made out the best on this deal. This band is still hungry. They are still in search of whatever is out there. With each new album comes a newly discovered Duran Duran. I just happen to believe the motivation to do so comes from something a bit more definitive.

-R

Duran Duran Playlist for Newbies!

Today, I’m writing from a Starbucks on State Street in Santa Barbara. I woke up at the unkind hour of 4am, and accompanied my husband Walt up here for the week. He’s working, and I’m…well…I’m not really sure. I’m looking around, trying to decide if I mind how compact and busy Santa Barbara is, or if I prefer to be farther north with more land and fewer people. (I am leaning towards the latter) For this morning though, I’ve made this Starbucks my mobile Daily Duranie office!

Last week, I participated in a fun survey, courtesy of GuyFansofDuran on Twitter (@BoysMakeNoise). The question was simple: If you had to create a comprehensive mix tape/playlist for someone who had never heard of Duran Duran, what songs would you pick?

In order to make it easy and give everyone a good starting point, he did one survey per album. All one needed to do was pick the song they felt best represented the album (or whatever song they wanted). At the very end, he did a survey to choose one B-side, and as a bonus track (there are ALWAYS bonus tracks!), we could write in an additional B-side.

The votes were counted, and after each survey ended, the results would be posted for discussion and fodder. More often than not, I wasn’t surprised by the result, but saddened that my choices never quite made it to the top. I didn’t start questioning my own choices and/or sanity until later in the week, beginning with the winner for The Wedding Album – “Femme Fatale”.

To be honest, I never even considered “Femme Fatale” as a possibility to win, particularly since it shares album space with “Ordinary World” and “Come Undone”. I narrowed my eyes a bit when I read the results, wondering if I’d either lost more of my vision that day, or that I’d woken up in an alternate universe. I even checked to make sure that Ordinary World and Come Undone were in fact included in the choices for the survey. I did not choose any of those songs, but I’ve been in the fan community long enough to know that many others would – and to think that neither of those songs won – well, that blew my mind. But hey, whatever, right? It’s all just for fun.

Similar things happened for Big Thing, and then again for Rio, to the point that @BoysMakeNoise decided to clear the results and try again. Apparently, either as an attempt at a joke…or to pad the ballot box, someone had figured out how to foil the system. My feeling is, if you’re going to make a joke – go full throttle! Don’t stop at “Femme Fatale”, go “Shotgun”!!  Make me crazy and pick “Can You Deal with It” off of Liberty. Then again, maybe you did.

Eventually, a mixtape did result from the redone surveys, and it was a fun experiment to see what the community came up with. The mixtape was put together on YouTube, and I have the link here. If you’re a Spotify fan though, here is YOUR link!  What do you think?  What would you choose??

-R

Rob Fincham of The Purple Lights in the studio with Nick & John!

Alright, music fans – have you ever heard of The Purple Lights?

In full disclosure, I had not. I really do try to keep myself up to date and educated. However, as it was once described—the internet is a super fat pipe, and I am but a single, very thin, straw. I miss a lot. I would need to make it my career in order to even have the time to begin scratching the surface. Sounds like a great job, but not one that I am meant to do, I’m afraid.

I am more than willing to be enlightened, particularly when said group tweets out a photo in the studio with Duran Duran. Off to the internet I go, in search of knowledge and hopefully a track or two! My first stop is Soundcloud, which has a few tracks. I tentatively hit play and prepare myself.

Here’s the thing: I’ve learned a few things about myself since beginning the blog nearly eight years ago. One of those things is that I tend to be the cynic between the two of us, and if someone is going to give a bad review—it’s probably going to be me. I’m blunt to a fault, and I sometimes react with a knee jerk rather than be contemplative. So, I’ve learned that sometimes, it really IS better to sleep on things (and maybe even a few times!!) before publishing. Imagine that! Live and learn.

Every time Duran announces studio time or collaboration with someone, I worry. Is the sound going to be something I can actually champion? In my position, it is very easy to fall victim to being so overly critical that it does zero good for anyone. Overthinking, judgmental…maybe even a bit unfair at times. I’ve done it all and then some. It’s fine to have an opinion, and it is fine not to like all of the choices, but by the same token, I need to give it all a chance and not react before I think. Easier said than done.

So I listen to the first song on Soundcloud. “Not Alone”. The music is great. It’s got a real groove to it, which isn’t too surprising since they call their brand of music, “Groove Rock”.  I hear everything from pop, heavy or even acid rock to reggae influencing their music, and I like it.   I can’t wrap my head completely around who The Purple Lights remind me of, but they definitely remind me of something I’ve heard before. Maybe a bit of Hot Hot Heat?  Interestingly enough, I also hear a bit of early Killers in there somewhere too. I like it. Modern, but approachable, and the music is outstanding. Musicianship matters!! I’m definitely on board with this.

Of course, we have no idea why Rob from The Purple Lights was in the studio with Nick and John. Could it have been about the musical? New album? Something else?? We never know for sure. We also never quite know if it’s going to go anywhere. It’s the joy of the process, right??

No matter, it’s beginning of what is sure to be a year or more of pictures or inexplicable pictures being tweeted that include people I’ve never heard of in them. I’ll I scratch my head in wonder, and head to my trusty Google search bar. It’s the one thing I can count on for sure from Duran Duran—with every single album, I learn something new. I can appreciate their drive to expose themselves (and in turn, their fans) to new musical direction.

Nick with Rob (The Purple Lights) Fincham and John, courtesy @ThePurpleLights Twitter

 

Can’t wait to see where this goes!

-R

Personal Jesus 2011 by M.A.N.

In my quest to find something worthy of blogging about today, I stumbled across something by chance that I’d forgotten about. Did you know that “Personal Jesus 2011” by Depeche Mode was released on YESTERDAYS date (in 2011, of course!) featuring production remix by none other than Nick Rhodes?

Forgive me, but I don’t even remember this happening. I’m sure I must have heard about it at some point, but now I’m driven to find a copy somewhere. I researched it online, just in case I was mistaken.  This is an EU 5-track pressing of the 2011 remix version of Personal Jesus. Nick, along with a certain Mark Ronson and Andrew Wyatt (they call themselves M.A.N.) produced one of the remixes of the track.

With that info in hand, I moved on to YouTube, and luckily – I was able to find it. (I’m convinced I can find just about anything on YouTube!!)

I’m not going to review it after only one or two listens (been there, done that….learned my lesson EXTREMELY well, thanks.), but I will say that I had absolutely no trouble recognizing the obvious influences, and I liked it. Very much. I loved the way they put their own stamp onto the song without changing the spirit of the music.

Ok, I can’t even follow my own rules. Never mind. Here’s the link. Check it out for yourself. I dare ya not to buy it if you don’t already have it, and shame on me for missing out the first time!

 

One more note: here is a very good reason why we do the day in history. We learn, and maybe…you learn a little sometimes too.

I’m off to work. It’s my very last day. I’m sad to say goodbye to the kids and my coworkers, but I’m also super excited to be done for now.  I’m hoping to focus on getting this house packed up, and spend some time up in the area we’re hoping to move. I’d also like to do some writing and reworking of this website during the fall and winter. Time is short, gotta run!

-R

The Next Line: Should a band move on?

Duran Duran is my most favorite band. But there are other bands I also love and adore, and like more than a few Duranies out there – Spandau Ballet is on that list.

Up until a few years ago, I’d never seen Spandau live. I’d always wanted to, but timing (I grew up just a couple of years too late), and their own break-up made that pretty impossible until 2015. But the wait was worth it. I didn’t go all-out for tickets in the same way many of my friends did, traveling all over the country to see them, but I did see them a few times that year. And each time I saw them, the show seemed tighter, the band seemed more on fire, and I was thoroughly convinced that it wouldn’t be the last I’d see of them onstage together.

The end of the tour arrived, and not terribly long after, Spandau announced that Tony Hadley, their lead singer, would not return. He had his own plans for a solo career, and he was apparently satisfied with what he’d accomplished with Spandau Ballet. All good things must come to an end; out with the old, in with the new, and so on, right?

But what about the band? Many long time Spandau fans felt like Tony’s departure meant the band should also come to an end. I can’t tell you how many times I read that Tony’s voice is what made the band Spandau Ballet.

Actually, yes I can give an approximation of how many times I read that – just imagine the same happening in Duran Duran, and you’ll know exactly how often it’s been written.

I understand where those fans are coming from. There’s no denying that Tony’s voice is important to the sound we recognize as Spandau Ballet. If it were Simon and Duran Duran we were talking about, the very same could be said, and we’d all nod our heads in agreement. Yes, I’d also argue that the guitar, drums, bass and even sax are important parts, but the voice is the voice.

But there is another side to this story, and that’s of the band. Those other guys. There are many who feel like they’re worthy of some importance. I am firmly in that camp, whether we are talking about Spandau, or even Duran Duran. (yes, I said it) Is it fair for one person to call the shots for the entire group? Is it right that one individual decides the destiny for everyone else? Spandau vowed that this wouldn’t break them, and that they would return.  While I knew that in the moment they probably did mean every last word – I wasn’t so sure The Next Line would actually come to them . It’s one thing to be indignant and insist a group can move on, it’s another to actually do it.  I was supportive, but silently doubtful.  Let’s just say I was thankful I saw them live when I did, just in case.

All was fairly quiet until yesterday, when a curious email hit my inbox. Spandau Ballet sent an email….and yes my friends, they are about to write The Next Line. I silently cheered at my desk. They have a new, yet to be announced lead singer, and they are not only announcing their return, they’re playing a show in London at the Subterania on June 6th. Tickets go on sale tomorrow at 10am GMT. They will sell out in a flash, and I desperately wish I could be there.

As any fan might, I wanted to see the reaction from social media. That’s the difference between today and thirty or even forty years ago – within a couple of clicks I can see fan reaction. Suffice to say, all was not well. There were fans, like myself, who were excited to see the band go on. However, many were not. Some say that because Tony has left, Spandau Ballet as we’ve all come to know it, no longer exists. Rename, reframe, and move on if they care to do so, but using the same name isn’t right. Many others think that no matter what the band does, it won’t be the same and that they should just quit.  Apparently for those people, Tony was the band.

I don’t know what Spandau will sound like. I’m assuming it will be very different with someone else at the microphone. Even in the case of Duran Duran – band members have changed, but Simon has always been the singer – changes still come with every album.  Some, I’ve loved, others, I have not. There’s no argument from me that a new lead singer will take getting used to, only that I really believe  they have the right to try.

As for the name of the band, that’s a legal thing, worked out amongst the members.  Tony continues to have Spandau Ballet songs in his set, although they’ve been totally rearranged so that the highlight is completely and totally on his voice. He doesn’t tour as Tony Hadley, ex-Spandau Ballet or whatever-you-will, he just tours as himself with a backing band. I think it’s bizarre (and not entirely successful, in my own opinion) to hear Tony singing, but to have other people playing a different arrangement of the songs I grew up with. He’s covering Spandau, so to speak. I think it sounds a little weird, but it is his right to move on.

Can you imagine if it were Duran Duran?  Spandau Ballet fans are easily as ardent as Duran fans. They are certainly as opinionated, and possibly as stubborn. I cringe and shudder to think what might be said if Simon were to go it alone and leave the band. I’m sure many are saying that the band would hang it up. Maybe they would. It is certainly their right to do so. But it would also be their right to try.  Wouldn’t we owe it to them, at least in some sense, to applaud their strength and fortitude to have a go at it?  We might not like it (but hell, as I said above, there have been entire albums I haven’t necessarily loved and yet I survived!), but I still applaud their willingness to keep going. That’s the creative process at work.

As a fan, it is difficult to see past the emotionality, but we should try. The band name brings out certain feelings and memories. To the band themselves – it’s more than that. In the eyes of the courts, Spandau Ballet is a partnership, a legal entity. The business is entwined with the time and energy spent together.  In the midst of the drama, I suspect the arrangements and legalities become more about the pieces of paper indicating who is entitled to what and so forth moving forward, than history and emotions. Someone said that dissolving a band partnership is like a divorce, and I don’t doubt that. In this case, the vocalist starts over, single and free with a solo career, the band keeps the name and marries a new lead singer. Fans are caught in the middle, just like the children. We’re pissed that our family name is continuing to be used by someone we don’t even know or recognize. It’s hard.

Ultimately, Spandau is trying to move on. I can’t blame them.  I wish them nothing but success. I suspect it must really be difficult to be in their shoes right now, and I applaud their bravery. I wish fans would think about that a little more before being so quick to tell them to hang it up. For us, it’s about music we love. For the band, it’s their career.  Why shouldn’t they keep trying? I’m going to keep cheering them on, even though I would love to be there in person to witness The Next Line at that first London show.

Here’s to possibilities and not giving up! Cheers!

-R

 

Its Time to Take the Pressure Off

This morning, Duran Duran asked what one song energizes and gets fans going.  I stopped and thought a bit. I think this question might have been far too difficult for a Monday morning, at least for me.

Possibilities abound. I think first to the live shows. Should I choose “[Reach up for the] Sunrise”, because at every show when it’s played I feel as though I’ve caught a second wind? What about “Careless Memories”? Although they’ve neglected it lately, when that song starts, it feels like a train – you either get on board with it or get run over. I love it! How about “All You Need is Now”? I adore that song, but does it really energize me or just send me back in time? “Pressure Off” is pretty darn good too – I mean, that tune just keeps me in the moment, and sometimes, that is exactly what I need. Then of course there’s “Rio”. How can I not dance to that?  It reminds me of sun, sand, and everything I love about the beach and summer. I can’t forget “Hungry Like the Wolf”. When I’m in that audience and I hear the first chords, I know what is going to happen next. John and Dom are going to come front and center, and I’m going to dance (and sing) whether I like it or not. Does it make me move? Um, yeah it does!

I also think about here at home. What do I put on when I’m cleaning, or more likely these days, packing? “Is there Something I Should Know” gets my happy feet moving. It is my favorite song for a reason. “Late Bar” is another, although I tend to sing that one at the top of my lungs, which is not necessarily quite as welcomed by my family as one might think!  I’ll even put on “Big Thing”, or “Red Carpet Massacre” from time to time, just to get myself up and going. I am not an energizer bunny – I need something!

Then there is the car. I leave for work just before 7 am, and I don’t know about the rest of you out there,  but I’d love my job a lot more if it started at like, 10 am! I’m up by no later than 5:30, and although I’m awake for my drive, sometimes I need more than just my trusty travel mug of coffee to get me in good spirits for the day. No, I’m not talking about adding vodka to it!! (although there are days…and then there are DAYS…) I’ll start to see my youngest nearly curling up in a fetal position for the drive, and I know I’d better get some tunes on the stereo.

When I think about it, there is at least one song on every single album that is my go-to shot for energizing. “Friends of Mine”, “Rio”,  “New Moon on Monday”, “Notorious”, “Big Thing”, “Violence of Summer”, “All Along the Water”, “Too Much Information”, “White Lines”, “Big Bang Generation”,  “Electric Barbarella”, “Last Day on Earth”, “Sunrise”,  “Red Carpet Massacre”, “All You Need is Now”, “Other Peoples Lives”, “Pressure Off”, “Last Night in the City” and yes, even “Danceophobia” (we all have our weak moments!!)—it is a playlist to wake me up, keep me going, and make me smile, even during the times when I’d rather just curl up somewhere and cry.

I guess the real question is what I listen to first, and given that the playlist I just compiled won’t quite fit into a tweet, I must choose one. So for today, I’ve got to go with “Pressure Off”. When I think back on the past few years – it is the song I listen to most often, and it  works exactly as I think Simon and the band intended. It reminds me to breathe. I’ve needed that a lot lately, along with something to energize me! I’m off to do more packing, and just GUESS what song I’m putting on first!?

-R

Can’t We Just Love Them All?

I touched on the whole guitarist debate yesterday, and I realized I had something else to write.

Why does it really matter? What is it about Andy, Warren and now Dom that makes all of us feel the need to debate their worthiness?

Let’s face it, Andy was with the band during much of their climb to the top. He helped write many of the songs we continue to hear on the radio, and in their live shows. There’s no denying any of that, and I don’t think anyone is trying to rewrite that history. However, there’s also no debate that Andy has left the band at this point. He did his job, and from everything that I can see, it would appear that he’s happy to remain outside of Duran Duran.

On the other hand, Warren took up where Andy left off.  While Andy was chasing a solo career, Warren made himself available and willing. He wrote a lot of the music that many love most, and at least two of the songs that are still played most on the radio. No one is trying to rewrite THAT history, either. However he too is no longer in the band at this point, regardless of how that happened.

Lastly, there is Dom, who is not a band member in the same respect as the other two. He began as a studio musician, a hired “gun”, so to speak, standing in for Andy while he was sick. Then again as Andy was away due to his father’s death, and carried on after he quit. He has been given writing credit on a few of the band’s albums in the years since, and while many have settled in with his presence onstage, still others choose to ignore what they cannot accept.

After a lot of needless, useless time spent defending Dom over the years – he doesn’t need defending – I realized that it doesn’t matter.

IT JUST DOESN’T MATTER  (although sometimes I still forget)

Andy and Warren are ex-bandmembers. They no longer play with Duran Duran, no matter how amazing they were. There’s no debate there, even though I know that some fans are intent on having one.   Even if Dom weren’t with the band, it would still be someone else other than Andy or Warren playing guitar, and we would still be hearing that they aren’t as good as <fill in the blank here for whatever the reason>.

It is a pretty unfair battle when you think about it. Can’t we just love them all?

-R

 

Quicksand featuring John Taylor, 2016

From the “Another Something I Didn’t Know ” file…

On this date in 2016, Jilann O’Neill released Not Alone, an album of Bowie-esque tunes with Mike Garson, and co-produced by John Taylor.

On this album is a little song called “Quicksand” that features John Taylor…and he’s singing, both as a duet AND alone.

Cue shocked face.

 

Yep, that’s the one.

Now, I’m not shocked that John Taylor can sing. It is just rare to hear him singing, generally speaking. I mean, I have his solo music, it isn’t as though he never does it…but in Duran Duran, it’s not all that often that we get to hear him, that’s all.  (this is code for: don’t send me hate mail)

Here’s a link to a YouTube audio of the song, in case like me, you haven’t heard it or don’t already own it.

The song is beautifully simple and organic, and vocals are intriguingly raw, which gives the song even more depth. I really liked it, particularly because it is 100% different from anything I’ve heard from John before. Huge thumbs up from me, and I feel kind of bad that I hadn’t listened to it before. (Although as I type that, I’m wondering if maybe I did hear it and just forgot. I’m going to have to take a walk back through our blogs in 2016!)

So your homework for today is to go check out the album Not Alone, by Jilann O’Neill. Google it and give it a good listen! If you haven’t heard it before, its new music for you!

-R

Feel the New Day: What’s your theme song?

Every once in a while, Duran Duran puts out a question on social media that makes me think. This morning, as I was quickly scanning through Twitter, I saw a tweet from them asking about personal theme songs.

That tweet made me stop and think a little. My knee jerk reaction was to go with a favorite song, but those favorites aren’t necessarily theme songs—they’re just songs I like. For example, my very favorite DD song is still “Is there Something I Should Know”, but I don’t think I’ve ever felt like that song SPOKE for me in that way, exactly. I just fell in love with it from the first listen and it’s stuck with me. By the same token, I’ve had a few songs become sentimental favorites along the way because they came out at particular points in my life, and perfectly described how I was feeling or what I was going through in those moments. “Finest Hour”, and “Red Carpet Massacre” are two songs that come immediately to mind.

When “Finest Hour” came out on Astronaut, I immediately took the song to heart because it was describing exactly how I felt at the time in my private life. I was also rediscovering who I really was as a Duran fan, and to some extent, I was learning about myself as well. The song really kind of epitomized that moment for me.

“Red Carpet Massacre”, the title song from the album of the same name, was released in probably my darkest time. I’ve written about my feelings about the album and even what I was going through personally, but the more I listened to this song, the more I felt that it described the nature of this fan community at times. The album came out during a time when I was just really starting to see the cutthroat nature of fans, and so at the time, the song really did become a sort of theme!

In the years since, I’ve had moments where various songs have become my sort of personal theme. “Late Bar”, “Secret October”, and even “Rio” have all taken their turn as my theme of the moment or day.  Right now though, I feel as though “Sunrise” describes it best for me. I’m looking for that new day to come. I have the sense that life is about to take a turn for my family, and I’m waiting to see how that’s going to play out. I’m trying to see it all as positive rather than dwell on the negative part, because hopefully that will be short-lived (Which is that my husband is currently sitting in my son’s room, which he’s converted into his temporary office space, looking for a new job).

So, what’s your theme song?

-R