Category Archives: Music

I heard you speak my name

I’m sure at least some noticed an invitation appearing on Monday morning from none other than John Taylor. He asked Duranies to join him at the Hotel Cafe in Hollywood on Tuesday night, where Halo Circus was to appear and perform.

Halo Circus is a band fronted by Alison Iraheta, their label is a subsidiary of Manimal Vinyl called Badlands Records. As you might already know from reading previous blogs – Halo Circus’ version of “Do You Believe In Shame” is included on the upcoming Making Patterns Rhyme tribute album. They also have another single, “Gone” that is worth checking out.

When John issued the invitation, I was curious as to how many Duranies might show that night. From my own observations it didn’t seem as though the “Do You Believe in Shame” cover went over well with many Duran fans, and so it was tough to gauge interest. That said, John Taylor seemed to indicate that he would be there that night, and I figured that many fans might make plans to go solely for that reason.

I was not able to be there myself, but I heard from many that John was in fact there, and I’ve seen several photos of the evening…but what I was most excited by was a video posted of Halo Circus performing “Do You Believe in Shame”. Personally I loved the album version of the cover. Alison’s voice speaks to me, telling me a completely different story of that song than I’d ever heard before.  It hits me in my soul – and while yes, the original is the original, this long time Duran Duran fan actually PREFERS this cover. Halo Circus gave new life and meaning to this song for me, breathing a sense of urgency, pain and desperation that strikes me right in the gut. I love it. My question was whether or not I’d feel that same intensity in a live performance, so I was delighted to find video of this song on YouTube. Check it out!

This one song exceeded my expectations for the entire night…and you can bet that the next time they play, I won’t miss the show…John Taylor or not!

-R

 

Going on together, many journeys to arrive

I think it’s time I start writing real blogs again, don’t you?

Today marks “Work day one” of being back from vacation. It was a nice trip  – we just went camping, which I realize to many of you probably sounds like a death sentence, but we have a trailer, and honestly if you want to get away – it’s a good way to do it unless you have the resources to fly away to an island away from people.  We drove to Morro Bay, which is about an hour south of Big Sur, CA  for a few days, and then up north of San Francisco.  Our trip included visits to some universities because our oldest daughter – Heather, has just begun her applications to college. We even took a tour of the Jelly Belly factory in Fairfield, California. (Oh yes, we can be tourists like the best of them!) It was a fun trip, and perhaps one of the last we’ll take as a whole family given that next year, Heather will likely be packing up for school unless she decides to go somewhere close to home.  Hard to believe. but I have an entire year to bore you on that subject!

I am thrilled to see that news is finally starting to trickle on a semi-regular basis from the band. It feels like we might be coming out of a very long drought, and it’s nice to feel like I might be able to start really blogging again with purpose.  I know Amanda feels the same.

Daily Duranie has been a place to convene and discuss, and this is something I value about what we’ve created. It stands to reason that during a time where there was little to talk about, the blog quieted, and I’m sure it’s been noted that our posts in recent months were little more than expanded “Day in Duran History” posts.  We simply felt that while we were waiting for new news, it was time to take a bit of a hiatus rather than force words where there were likely none to be found.

In my attempts to reacquaint myself with reality, I finally listened to Simon’s Katy Kafé from last week. It was nice to hear that things are finally moving towards an end in recording – I’m excited to hear what they’ve worked on. One thing that I’ve really missed since the mass exodus of message boards is having a place to really talk about the music and what might be coming out of that studio.

There seem to be two types of people in this world: those that will speculate, and those that prefer to say, read or think nothing until they hear. I am likely to be found in that first group, much to the chagrin of the band, I’m sure. When I listened to the Kafe, I couldn’t help but notice Simon’s unwillingness to really say what the album sounds like – and I can’t really blame him. As much as I’d like to have something to chew on and think about while we wait, I haven’t forgotten some of the speculation in the past.

Let’s take Red Carpet Massacre, for example. I remember the endless flow of news we were getting from the studio. They were working with Timbaland, they were working with Timberlake, Nick said they were in grooooveland…(I still smile at that one), there was even a rumor at one point that they were working with Kanye. It seemed that with each video or news byte, there was more and more groaning from fans. In a lot of ways, I think I had my mind made up about the album before I heard it. I felt like I knew what it was going to sound like…I feared it. I don’t think that speculation from the fans, including myself, helped.

On the other hand, what about All You Need is Now? We knew they had been working with Mark Ronson, and based on things that Mark had said in interviews – he made it clear that he wanted to do a follow up to Rio. I panned that comment, months before the album ever dropped, because I felt that was setting the bar incredibly high. Did we really hold Rio to be the pinnacle of the band’s career? I think many fans and the public probably do…and I’m still hoping that the best is yet to come. Even so, I couldn’t help but wonder what the album would sound like, and even the thought of trying to make a return to the musical space that I still feel the band owns made me excited for the outcome, but still apprehensive. I didn’t want to be disappointed. Instead, that album quickly took hold of my heart and still gets regular play in my car. I wasn’t wrong to wait for them.

So here we sit, waiting for the album we’re still hash tagging #DD14. It has a yet-to-be-shared, five-syllable title that doesn’t have a spelling but somehow describes where they are musically (I am terrible at these sorts of Jeopardy questions!), and Simon says that ONE aspect of the record is that it is “club” sounding, and it’s definitely a departure from All You Need is Now, which was much more 80s sounding. I won’t lie, I’m wondering if I’ll like it, and I think many other fans feel the same.

Mr. Hudson had a “massive” influence on them. Mr. Hudson is pretty modern sounding in his own right – but even so, on some of his songs I still hear the influence of the music I grew up with. I hold hope that he helped the band remain true to themselves and not try to be something they clearly are not. Club music can be a lot of different sounds. Will it be like Red Carpet Massacre, which has been described as “urban club-music” or maybe more like Notorious? Will I like it? Will I love it as much as I loved All You Need is Now? Will I find a renewed sense of fandom in the music as I have in the past? I have no idea, and I’m certainly not making any claims to know more than any other fan.

I don’t have an inkling as to what we’ll eventually hear. I only know that once again, we sit at what I like to think of as the “entrance” to a new period of Duran music….waiting for the gates to open so that we can flood in, and even at the age of 43, probably 44 by the time the album drops, I’m still nervous-excited. There’s something to be said for a band that can still make me feel that way.

-R

Last minute weekend double delight – Girls On Film (Soko) & Late Bar (Barbarians) Making Patterns Rhyme Tribute Album

Taking a break from vacation unpacking and laundry (yes, I’m back!!) to listen to the newest sneak peaks from the upcoming Making Patterns Rhyme album (August 2014).

Up first is Soko’s version of Girls on Film. According to Paul Beahan (Manimal), this version is “downbeat and goth-y”.  I definitely get that “slightly The Cure” flavor from the very beginning, and I have to admit – the song is quickly growing on me.  I like the subdued nature of the melody – it’s not quite as frenetic as the original, and my feet definitely start finding the beat during the chorus.  My ears are happy.  It’s different, but recognizable.  I think this is liable to become one of my favorites off of the album.

Love for Girls on Film aside, I will openly admit I’m having a lot more trouble with Barbarian’s Late Bar.  Here’s the real deal: the song is one of my all time favorites from the band, and I really love that the original is dark and obscure.  It’s tough to hear it done more upbeat…and up to date.  That said, even here, I can find things I really like, such as the middle 8 (between verses).  I think the one attribute I like least is that they’ve changed the rhythm of the song. It may grow on me, but right now I just want to grab the drumsticks out of the hands of the drummer, take the microphone away…and teach them how it should be done. I’m starting to sound like an old woman yelling at the kids to stop playing ball on my lawn, which is never good. I don’t want to completely pan the work, because let’s face it – this probably has far more to do with what I’m used to as a fan than it does the song. I’m curious to hear what others think.

This is the last day to take a listen…so hurry and check it out, then shoot me a comment with your thoughts!

Back to unpacking for me….

-R

American Science – Austra (Making Patterns Rhyme)

Today is Tuesday, and I bring you a review of new music, freshly released by Manimal Records.  American Science by Austra was leaked out last week and I listened, but I waited to review it until it had been put up on Soundcloud so that I could properly share.

American Science is a beloved song for many DD fans.  I was curious as to what Austra might do with it to make it her own.  I really liked the intro – in some ways it reminded me of the simplicity of a heartbeat. Her vocals are almost ghostly, backed by subtle synth loops that really allow for her voice to be the star. The song feels so existential to me, ethereal…other worldly even. I think it makes an effective statement without being at all “in your face” about it. I’m not sure that it makes the same type of impact as the band’s original, but then, that’s really not the point, is it? Austra is telling the story from her own point of view, and I am happy to sit back and listen.

I turn it over to you. What do you think?  Shoot me a line here or on Twitter or Facebook!

This marks my last blog post for a couple of weeks because it’s Family Vacation time for me and my family.  Don’t get too jealous – we’re going camping. If you happen to see a blue truck pulling an RV up the highway in California, wave…because it just might be my family!

-R

 

Do You Believe In Shame – Halo Circus (Making Patterns Rhyme Tribute)

Today we’re finding new music from Halo Circus in the form of Do You Believe In Shame.

I loved the deep bass line as the intro, and hearing Alison Iraheta’s vocals with the addition of a different musical element throughout the first verse was particularly effective, bringing the song to a full crescendo. Once again, just as I settled in for the ride, I was dropped head first into the full power of the chorus.

There is a lot I really like about this cover. The simplicity of adding the musical elements throughout the verses really works for me. I’ve always liked the message of this song, and the power of her vocals really brings that home and enhances what was already a very strong song. I am not quite so crazy about the wall-of-noise that seems to hit me in the chorus, like everything is turned up to “10”, but I can forgive that for the new journey this cover carves for the listener.

As always, I look forward to seeing what you think!
-R

Hungry Like the Wolf – Covers!

I’m a day behind with my weekly post on Duran Duran covers, and I apologize. I could lie and say that I was really busy yesterday afternoon, but the truth is that I didn’t realize it was Wednesday until far too late in the evening to even try putting something together. Yes, that really IS what happens when you’re at home with the kids all summer. I live and breathe by the texts asking me to take them/pick them up from somewhere, and that’s about it!  After today, I’m going to take a two-week break from my blogs on DD covers, and so look for one again the week of July 28th!

When I first heard about the Making Patterns Rhyme tribute album, I’ll admit, I filed the information into the back of my head and went on my way. I didn’t know if I’d be that interested, because in the past, I hadn’t heard many covers that seemed worth my time. Like many, I felt that the only people qualified to do a Duran Duran song was, well, Duran Duran, so to hear someone else try – well, it almost always fell flat (for me). I’m really not sure when and where that really changed. It could have been when I first listened to Moby’s Rio. Now, don’t get me wrong – that song is about as far away from what I know to be Rio as possible, but I think when I started reading all of the negative and poison-filled comments, I recognized two things: 1. Fans can be very, very cruel. 2. I didn’t want to be negative.  I challenged myself to find at least one positive from every single cover on the album.  That doesn’t mean “Be fake and love it all”, it means “widen your effing ears and mind… and TRY.”  So I did. That doesn’t mean I’ve loved everything I’ve heard, but I can say that there have been elements within each song that I’ve enjoyed.

What really shocks me, and by now it probably shouldn’t…is what people will say directly TO the band (You think they’re not reading or noticing, and maybe you’d be wrong.). No, of course you don’t have to like what you hear, and I’m sure that various members of the band would agree.  There’s not really a lot of point in being flat-out mean, nor is there much point in listening to the first 10 seconds of a song, realizing that it’s not Simon singing and saying you hate it purely because it’s not Simon. We all get it: you’re loyal to this band. *I* am loyal to the band. Three decades as a fan would indicate that from all of us, yes! But it’s the band who is calling attention to these songs. It’s not hard to see this because they put the links up on their very own Facebook page, they tweet them out…and Patty Palazzo did the artwork for the album, for crying out loud. They’re proud of the fact that others are covering their music, and they should be! It’s OKAY.

So with that, let’s find some covers to listen and enjoy!

Let’s pick my favorite song this week…Hungry Like the Wolf.  (Heather, this is for you!) I was challenged to find one I like….let’s see if I can!  My challenge here is that there are about 50,000 covers of this song on YouTube.  It pains me to see that many, actually. (they DO have other songs, people…)  I trudge on…

I did hear that Dave Grohl did HLTW once.  I haven’t found it on YouTube. If you have it, send it!  Moving on…

Hungry Like the Wolf – Incubus

I smiled when I saw this on YouTube, because who would ever think – Incubus? Oh why the hell not?!?  They stick very close to the original (surprisingly), and while the song has a harder guitar than the original and the intro to the song goes on until the 2:10 mark…it’s not all that different. Huh.

Hungry Like the Wolf – Reel Big Fish

This one has been around for a long time now.  I’d come to the point where I could at least acknowledge it’s existence without needing therapy…a far cry from the days where I’d cover my ears and run screaming, but I pressed play with nervous trepidation.  I have to say, it’s not bad. I kinda like it even.  It’s very ska, and if you like ska – which I actually do – this might tickle your funny bone a bit.  If nothing else, applaud the musicianship, because they can play your face off.

Hungry Like the Wolf – Hole

 

I don’t really know what to say about this one…other than she doesn’t know the words much, and I am pretty sure it’s not the entire song (or else I phased out halfway through).  But hey, it’s acoustic.

Amaru – Hungry Like the Wolf

So this version is pretty true to the original, except for the mid-section.  Then they go all out on their own here.  I have to say that the sound of this band sounds very much like any other 90’s “hard rock” (not grunge) band I’ve heard.  It’s not awful, it’s just not very original.

Gothic Nights – Hungry Like the Wolf

This cover is proof that there really doesn’t seem to be a way to un-pop this song. I was truly expecting some crazy-ass metal with this one, but even here – it’s pop…like “The Nelsons” brand of pop (if you haven’t heard of them, Google!)  I’ve always wanted to hear the song without the “doo doo doo” and now I have.  *blinks* Funny how I didn’t think I’d miss it.  Until I did.  Damn.

Act as If – Hungry Like the Wolf

Talk about a surprise. It’s pretty much all electronic with a male singer and a female backup.  It’s a very different (yet similar) feel to the original…and after hearing Gothic Knights “nelson” this song to pieces…this isn’t half bad.  They keep the spirit of the original but play it in their own style, and it’s original.

As I said, there are thousands of covers out there. If you’ve got one that is incredibly different that I’ve got to hear (seriously, if you have that one of Dave Grohl, please send it!), definitely post it in the comments.  These are just a few that I found along the way.  In my quest, I found a jazz version (I would have posted it if I knew who was performing it – but there was no credit given.), an angry metal version (just…no.), and a TON of acoustic versions.  But one that I liked?!?

*sigh* this was a hard task, Heather…but Reel Big Fish might actually win that contest.

What say you?  Send in your favorite, even if it’s not listed here!

-R

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Come Undone – Carina Round [Feat. Aidan Hawken] (Making Patterns Rhyme Tribute album)

Just when you’re bored to death watching the inevitable slow death of Germany Brazil…in a World Cup match…along comes an incredibly powerful and wonderfully shocking cover that you can’t WAIT to review.

When I hit “play”, I immediately decided it was way too slow. I was set to dislike.  Then, seemingly out of nowhere, I hear a male voice…and the song suddenly becomes interesting.  Just as I settle in and start paying attention, the music changes. It becomes ever so slightly angry – but quiet. Then the strongest female voice takes over the second verse.  Texture beyond words….and then we go back to the original style. Unreal. Unfucking real.

This is exactly what I’m talking about when I describe a song that has been allowed to keep it’s bones and even a piece of it’s spirit – but is changed and evolved into what the covering artist wishes to convey. At this point, it’s not a remake of a Duran Duran song, it is Come Undone BY Carina Round. Don’t be offended by that, embrace it as a fan. Be proud that our band gave someone else inspiration to use their music as a launch point. You don’t have to like the song, and you certainly don’t have to like what Carina Round chose to do with it, but you absolutely MUST applaud her courage and creativity.

And I really, really like it.  Well done.  Extremely well done.  This one is going on my iPhone for sure.

By the way, Ms. Patty Palazzo – you are brilliant. I love this cover. This is art that speaks to me, and if I could frame it and put it on my wall, I would.

-R

Anyone Out There – Service Bells (Making Patterns Rhyme Tribute album)

Today brings new music in the form of a newly released single from the upcoming Making Patterns Rhyme tribute, curated by Manimal records. Service Bells put their mark on “Anyone Out There”, and I took a listen before posting it on Facebook.

For the first thirty seconds, the music is pretty unrecognizable…and depending upon whether you like that sort of creativity or not will likely determine how you feel about the rest of the song. I think it’s slightly harder or rougher edged than the original, but on the same token there are certain sounds that remind me very much of some of the old remixes from that day or even of songs on Seven and the Ragged Tiger…but not as polished and glossy.  The same familiar guitar riff can be heard, but Service Bells doesn’t stop there. They take their liberties and make the song their own.

As always, give it a listen, see what you think and let me know!!

 

-R

 

Book Club: Mad World (The Psychedelic Furs, Depeche Mode and Yaz)

It is Monday and you know what that means! It is the next installment of our most recent book club, in which we read and discuss a book, chapter-by-chapter! This time around we are reading, Mad World. This week, we read the chapters on The Psychedelic Furs, Depeche Mode and Yaz. We would love to have you read and discuss right along with us!

The Psychedelic Furs:

Amanda:

This entire chapter made me think about what makes a certain band, a certain rock star cool and popular. Lori Majewski mentions in her introduction that Richard Butler, the lead singer, became “one of the most romantic figures in music.” That quote got my attention as I never once thought about him in that way. I am a fan of both of the songs, Love My Way and Pretty in Pink, discussed in this chapter and yet, I never considered him “romantic”. If I read the lyrics, I can see where she is coming from. I suspect that this has less to do with the lyrics or the mood of the song and more to the age we were when these songs came into our lives. I’m young for the typical New Wave fan. For example, Love My Way came out in 1982 but I don’t remember hearing it or knowing it until much later. If I did hear it then, I was 7. I certainly wasn’t thinking “romantic” then.

Later in the chapter, Richard Butler explains how the band had a “cool popularity” and Love My Way threatened that. He explained how with that song, girls started to show up in the front rows and that they had to use back doors because of the fans. He said that they had to be “careful” with this popularity. As someone who studies fandom and fan/celebrity interaction, I totally understood what he meant. On one hand, having that level of fame and adoration must be amazing and addictive. On the other hand, it can and does change people significantly. Perhaps, the goal isn’t and shouldn’t be to be the most popular. It sounds like the point was that they wanted to have “fans” but not in an all-encompassing, overwhelming fan base kind of way.

Similarly, he didn’t seem all that excited with having Pretty in Pink associated with the John Hughes movie starring Molly Ringwald. I was a little jarred by that statement as someone who grew up watching those movies and loving them. Yet, for him, it seemed like he was bothered by how the intention of the meaning of the song seemed to change by its connection to that movie, that storyline. On one hand, I can understand that frustration. On the other, I like songs that can be interpreted in different ways. To me, that is a sign of intelligence by both the songwriter and the listener.

Rhonda:

So, to jump on Amanda’s bandwagon – I wasn’t into Richard Butler. I loved Psychedelic Furs, but this is one case where I can easily say I loved the music. Period.  Maybe I’m a late-bloomer, but “Love My Way”, “Pretty In Pink” and “Ghost in You” were some of my favorite songs simply because of the lushness of the sound – I don’t think I really listened to the words for interpretation until I was much older. (I think back to how my mom would ask me “Do you know what this song is about?!?” and how often my answer was “No, Mom. I don’t even listen to the words. I just love the music!!”….and I guess it’s not really surprising that my kids answer similarly when I ask them the same question. Sometimes I’m really shocked by what my kids are hearing until I realize that it was the same for me…and I survived.) So to recap: never thought of Richard Butler in that romantic sense….I didn’t listen to the words…and yet I call myself a fan. Awesome.

I’ve seen Psychedelic Furs live a few times, and so it was not really a surprise to me to read “We’ve always been a band that pulls people in. You won’t see me stomping up and down saying, ‘Can you hear me at the back?!’ and ‘Hello Chattanooga! It’s great to be here!’ The amount of words I will say to an audience during a tour is a page of a notebook and they would most be ‘Thank you.’ I don’t like talking much between songs.” (Page 155) 

I’d agree. Richard Butler doesn’t say much during a show – and from what I’ve witnessed, this is a band that, when they’re on, they’re good. When they’re off (which I’ve seen more than once), they’re not good and no one is being drawn anywhere. There’s not a lot of “connecting” going on between the band and audience – this isn’t a band you go and expect great showmanship in the same vein as you might from others. Whether that is a good or bad thing really depends on the show, in my opinion. 

I found Richard Butler’s comments about the movie, Pretty In Pink to be pretty sad. The movie gave the music more exposure…even if the song wasn’t presented in the light the band had written. I thought it was interesting that Richard didn’t necessarily think about how many possible fans could have been drawn to their music through that movie – for him it was all about the song and it’s use. In that sense, and based on his activity during their shows, I’m not sure that he derives a lot from the audience or his fans. There isn’t really as much of a give and take sort of connection there as I have seen with other bands, such as Duran Duran, but certainly others as well…and I think his statements here are good example of that.  It’s not that I think it’s particularly awful he feels that way, either. What’s fascinating to me though is that he’s also a painter – which is a very sort of introspective sort of art. One doesn’t necessarily connect with their audience when they paint – they connect with the work itself, in much the same way as Butler does or did with his music. Coincidence? Probably not.

Depeche Mode:

Amanda:

I openly admit that Depeche Mode is one of my favorite bands and has been for a long time. It hasn’t been as long as I have been a Duran fan but close. The introduction to this chapter reminded me that Depeche has changed over time, much like any other long lasting bands. In their case, they started out “optimistic” and cheerful unlike many of the other synth pops of that era. Of course, Depeche Mode at this time included Vince Clarke, who later left to form other bands like Erasure. Despite my love for the band, this early period isn’t my favorite Depeche era. I have always preferred the darker Depeche.

Vince described how they were often bored in the town of Basildon as it was a town that had nothing to do for kids. The town is described as just “mud”. It seems to me that music produced from a band in an area like that could either express the frustration, the despair created from the environment or the opposite. Depeche obviously didn’t want their music to match their surroundings. Of course, they also opted for synthesizers over guitars as they were “cheap”.  They didn’t need expensive amps like guitars did. Likewise, they didn’t require any knowledge of chords. This reminds me of how Daniel Miller in a previous chapter declared that electronic music was the most democratic. It was more accessible to everyone.

As Vince shared the story of how Depeche got started, I was amazed that one label offered them a spot on the Ultravox tour if Depeche signed with them whereas Daniel Miller offered only a single and they went with Daniel. It seemed like they did because of who Daniel was connected with. I know that Duran looked into who else EMI had signed into consideration when they were trying to decide which label to sign with.

I always wondered why Vince decided to leave Depeche. While this chapter didn’t really explain that much, I did learn that he was truly the leader of the band at that time. Perhaps, his leaving could have been the best thing for the rest of the band as they had to step up and take on more responsibility. This would be needed if the band was going to continue and be successful. Obviously, it worked out well for Vince, too.

Rhonda: 

Like most teens, I had my happy-go-lucky moment and my depressing moments. Thankfully for me, Depeche covered both rather well.  I’d start off with “Just Can’t Get Enough” and end with “Blasphemous Rumours” (my long-lasting favorite).  Never did I realize that Vince Clarke had everything to do with my happy moments, and nothing to do with my sadder ones. I feel a little embarrassed to admit that, given that I’ve been a DM fan for almost as long as I’ve been a DD fan – but the two bands couldn’t be farther apart from the ways I choose to practice that fandom. For me, DM is the band I simply listen to in the VERY few quiet moments I find. DD, on the other hand…well, I do write a blog, don’t I? I’ve never seen Depeche Mode live, yet I own all of their albums and a lot of their imports – singles, etc. I don’t feel like I’ve missed out on anything having not seen them. In fact, I rather enjoy that for me – this fandom is EASY. I expect nothing but music, and I’m never disappointed.  

Like New Order in some respects, Depeche Mode got me interested in electronic music. I asked for a cheapy Casio keyboard for Christmas one year just because I wanted to be able to learn to play some of their music by ear. It’s funny to me that I never thought to ask for a guitar – I think that generally speaking, the guitar seems a lot more complicated to me. All those strings, chords and fingerings. I can make a lot more happen on a keyboard or synthesizer by fiddling with some knobs and buttons. So, I can understand why Martin Gore went with the synthesizer – and it’s a good thing for us that he did go that route, since everyone in the band followed! 

Vince says something else that really hits home with me, “I’m a fan of Kraftwerk, but I’m more of a fan of people like OMD, because I like emotional records. Music affects me changes my insides – it really does.”  This couldn’t possibly be any more dead-on. I’ve never been able to articulate why I like some electronic and dislike others. I didn’t really have a good answer for why I’m not into some of the electronic I hear today…until now. The emotion matters. Music has to hit me internally, it needs to stay with me. Some songs do that just because of the music – I don’t know why but they do. Others, it’s the lyrics. With Depeche, I find a lot of both, and equally from the one record that Vince Clark did with them through to what people like to call “Depressed Mode”. Truthfully, their songs ARE depressing – but those songs are also what helped this very-awkward young lady get through some difficult moments in high school.  

Yaz:

Amanda:

In this chapter, the song, “Only You,” is described by Alison Moyet, the singer, as a “universal, everyman song.” Vince Clarke agreed that it had a simple arrangement and one he had written after Depeche.  He wanted Alison to demo it because she could sing with emotion.  She agreed simply because she needed the money. She didn’t desire to be a pop star or have a big hit. I always find it interesting when some artist gains some success without really trying 110%. I always hear the opposite. Success happens with that passion combined with lots and lots of hard work, right? Maybe not always.

Alison’s frustration about the lack of acknowledgement about her work in the band comes through loud and clear in this interview.  According to her, people always assume that Vince wrote everything and she was just the singer. She sounds so tired of trying to explain to everyone that she, too, wrote songs for the band. Is this an example of sexism within the music industry? Possibly. I would be interested to know if other female performers who wrote material experienced the same assumption. Yet, she later states how women experienced less sexism then in comparison to present day. Now, she says women have to present themselves as sex toys but then women could express themselves as independent people with a bit of aggression. I have to agree with her that real freedom isn’t always about appearing as characters in male sex fantasies.

I found her definition of being “famous” to be really fascinating. To her, it wasn’t about people all loving her as much as it was about how she was recognized and how people always had something to say about her. Is that the real definition of fame?

Rhonda:

I had no idea that “Only You” was written by Vince Clarke and Alison Moyet.  I knew it as Yaz, and I knew that I loved it’s simplicity. Sometimes it’s nice just to love something without knowing anything about it – it feels innocent and pure. Sure, I might be naive…and I like it here.

I like the way Alison Moyet describes the song as nursery rhyme simplicity – and how Lori Majewski calls it a lullaby. Those words are perfect. The song is simple, clean and beautiful. My only disagreement with Alison Moyet on this is that I feel you DO have to be a great singer to pull off that emotion – and she does. Period. End of story.

While I would be perfectly content to keep this song on a pedestal of its own and never know the backstory – it’s interesting to read that Clarke and Moyet weren’t really “a band” in the same sense of others in this book. They were so detached from one another, it blows my mind that they could be that detached and yet put out two albums – maybe I shouldn’t be surprised (hello naivety!!)  I can absolutely read the frustration from Alison when she talks about how it was assumed that Vince was the creator and she was the voice. I’d like to tell her that for me – it was always her. She was the voice, and I just assumed that for her to sing with that kind of emotionality, she had to have been the one to write the words – if not the music as well.  I just didn’t know any different.  I’d also argue that for me, I usually assume that the vocalist IS the writer.  Maybe that’s just because Duran Duran has trained me to think that way – but I do, and I doubt I’m alone. 

I usually leave the comments on Feminism to my writing partner – but on this one, I have to interject. I agree wholeheartedly with Alison Moyet that today – women can’t just present themselves in a male light without being sexually aggressive. It’s annoying – it’s as though the only way a female can portray real power in the industry is as a sex-toy.  It’s so insulting to me as a female that women in the industry line up, practically begging for the opportunity to be used in that way – it’s as though they’re willing to do whatever they’ve got to do in order to make it through.  It’s gross. I choke on the idea that Beyonce…of all the women on the freaking planet, is considered to be “the most feminist” of female artists.  Are you joking?  Because she tells men that if they liked it they should have put a ring on it?  That’s IT?  We have pretty low standards for what qualifies as power these days.  

Next week, we take a look at Kim Wilde, Howard Jones and Berlin – so be sure to check in!!

The Chauffeur – Warpaint (Making Patterns Rhyme Cover Album)

I love the days when Manimal releases a new song from the Making Patterns Rhyme album, because it’s like getting brand new music! Today is certainly no exception. I suspect that many fans will find this new single easy on the palate, and perhaps even something that they’ll add to their playlists.

When I first hit ‘play’, I won’t lie – at first I found myself the teensiest bit underwhelmed. It’s not that the song isn’t beautiful or that the vocals left me cold. I liked the sound, but I felt like they could have pushed that envelope a bit further. It sounded too much like what Duran Duran had done. I wanted more. I wanted to hear what Warpaint could really do with it on their own.

At this point – I might have shut the song off to write a short blog because I thought I’d gotten a good idea of what they’d done. This time though, I left the song playing as I went on to tackle the next morning task on my list. I’m glad I did, because as they say – “the best was yet to come”. The further it got into the song, the more that Warpaint played with the melody – not taking away from the original, but adding more to the sound. The vocals grew more haunting, more ethereal; the music more deconstructed, so to speak. They explored the sounds in a way that Duran Duran hadn’t, and I loved it! The last 30 seconds or so of the song are worth waiting for – and you’ll want to play the song over and over again because it really is that good. They took the beauty of the original and added their own color to the artistic palate.  Rather than just being comfortable with letting the original melody stand on it’s own, they explored a bit with the sound combinations, and in many ways – Warpaint improved upon the original. I suspect this one sentence may get me into trouble with my fellow Duranies, but it’s the truth – and it pays the highest compliment possible to Duran Duran.

Additionally, I’m taking a second to gush over the artwork that our very own Patty Palazzo has created for the project.  In each case, she has taken an image from the original song (most from videos, with the obvious exceptions of the songs that did not have videos) and updated it as the artwork for the cover version.  It’s kind of like taking a bit of the old to send off the new, and I love that simple, yet effective theme.  I really like the specific images Patty has chosen – they ‘re iconic for us, and explanative of the cover version as well.

Take a listen and let me know what you think! -R