Category Archives: Paper Gods

Paper Gods Tour – This is Happening!

I woke up feeling a change in the air this morning. Was it electricity? A difference in the air pressure?? Humidity??

Duran Duran is in the US doing promo in New York before they get the Paper Gods tour party started with their shows at the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York; followed by Dock Rocks, and Nile’s FOLD fest next week.  I’m guessing it was the nervous excitement in the air…either that or it really was the humidity we’re currently experiencing in Los Angeles…

Amanda and I can’t WAIT to get this started! It’s been nearly three years since the band last toured here (longest three years of my life and I say that with all the love and sincerity in the world!), and we are excited to see what the band has up their sleeve(s) this time.

Amanda and I want to invite anyone who is seeing any of their shows, to please be our special correspondents on the scene and send write-ups, pictures, reviews, etc. to us at dailyduranie(at)gmail(dot)com. We will happily post anything we receive, giving complete credit to those who participate of course! This site isn’t just about Amanda and I, it’s about FANS in general, and we’d love to include experiences from anyone who cares to share.

Additionally, if you’re trying to keep up with where the band is at any given time, I’d like to point out our updated calendar – if you are on our home page, there is a navigational menu at the top of the page. Click on “Look into the Future” and that will bring you to our version of the band’s calendar. There are shows, events, any PR that we’re aware of, etc. As Duran Duran releases more Paper Gods tour dates, etc…we add them, and we try to include as much information as possible so it’s a one-stop informational hub for fans.

Lastly, if you are attending the Hollywood Bowl show in California, I want to make you aware that Amanda and I are planning a Daily Duranie fan pre-show party/meetup for the afternoon of the show. Currently it looks as though it will be at the Hard Rock Cafe at the Hollywood/Highland Center around 3pm or so, and will go until 5 or 5:30. Please plan on joining us – I will have more detailed information up on all social media once plans are set.

There is a shuttle that goes directly from the parking lot at the center to the Bowl (you buy tickets onsite, not online), so it should be convenient for everyone. Just a tip, the parking at the Hollywood Bowl itself is limited…and it is stacked parking, which means once you’re in, you’re not leaving until the show is over and everyone around you has left. You can plan on the exit from the lot at the Bowl taking up to an hour. So, the shuttle might be a better option for you – there are several lots for park and ride as well as shuttles like the one I’m describing – check out the website for the Hollywood Bowl for more information.

In the meantime, I’m off to see Spandau Ballet tonight; and I’m looking forward to posting all kinds of Duran Duran news in the coming weeks!

-R

Paper Gods – A Duran Duran Comeback?

There has been quite a bit of press for the band recently, and it has been fantastic seeing their name (and faces) in the news again promoting Paper Gods. As a fan, it is always exciting to see the band in magazines and on covers – although admittedly these days – I see very few “physical” covers, most of it (for me) has been what I’ve seen online. The days of sitting around carefully extracting centerfolds and pin-ups to add to my wallpaper is pretty much over, but I still love reading the articles online and seeing the new band photos, doesn’t everyone?

Since this blog is really an ongoing conversation regarding the “State of Duraniverse”, we comment as fans – which isn’t difficult considering that is exactly what we are. I don’t look at things from a public relations point of view or as an industry insider might, simply because I’m not. That’s the difference in this blog. I’ve never worked at a label or a radio station, and the closest I’ve ever been to management was working with a fledgling band who once opened for Duran Duran. It was like herding cats, I might add…to say the least. I leave planning promotional agendas to the people who are paid to do such things, and I react to things in the same way as any other fan…not as someone who works in the “industry”.  This is a point well-worth making because sometimes, I feel as though it is forgotten. Amanda and I are fans. Much of the time, we’re the lightning rod for the community-at-large, and at other moments, we’re the microphone.

One thing I’ve noticed with the latest round of press is that Paper Gods is a Duran Duran Comeback. The first time I read it, I skipped over the word, because let’s face it – media can be stupid. They assume that just because they haven’t noticed the band as of late, no one else has heard from them either. The second and third times, I wondered if a pattern hadn’t formed. After that I stopped counting, and then this morning I saw the word “comeback” again after another fan pointed it out on Twitter.

I realize that for much of the rest of the world, Duran Duran apparently ceased to exist after what…Ordinary World? The Reunion? I’m really not sure, but it is clear that even though the media has covered Duran Duran without fail (in varying degrees) for each album; and media has used the word “comeback” for more than one album in the past…they’re apparently using that word again to describe the promotion of yet another album release by my favorite band. It’s low-hanging fruit I suppose. Easy words to pin on a band that have not had a bonafide hit in a while, even though to those of us who have been loyal fans for several decades at this point know they’ve never gone away.

Does it really matter? Most likely not. As I continue to be reminded by those who actually DO work in the industry – it’s about the press and I should be thrilled that they’re getting out there on the cover again. Period. It doesn’t really matter WHAT is actually said in the articles about them, it doesn’t apparently matter whether the article is written with a snarky tone or with dignity and respect, it’s about getting their name out there. I did miss my classes on public relations in college, and I’ll be honest: I would have failed MISERABLY at them. My loyalty gets in the way when it comes to this stuff. I couldn’t be that person who sends notes to fans like me reminding them of how amazing it is that they’ve got the cover and that I shouldn’t be disappointed by the words contained within. (apparently no one actually reads the articles these days, which I should probably understand given my experience with this blog at times) I’m still stuck on someone calling Simon out for caring about lighting, or talking about each member of the band’s personal (and ancient) history rather than the music at hand. That’s why I’m a fan blogger and not someone working at a record label, and I’m fine with that, actually. My struggle with the press is real. Cognitively, I get it. Any press is good press. I don’t love the method…but I get it.  Emotionally? I’m loyal and it really bothers me at times. Is that negative? I applaud their covers, I applaud their PRESS. I just don’t care for some of the words used to describe my favorite band. So sue me.

Simply put, I’m a fan and I don’t like seeing my band disrespected.  They’ve worked their asses off to get here; and no, they never left. “Duran Duran Comeback”? Are you kidding? Just because the rest of the world may not have loved All You Need is Now or Red Carpet Massacre doesn’t mean those albums didn’t exist, and many within our community find those albums to be among their best. Comeback for the rest of the world, maybe??

I have no idea what is in the future for Paper Gods, and I’m certainly not going to Monday Morning Quarterback before the game even begins. The Duran Duran comeback the media is talking about could end up being that the new album is a runaway hit, which would be amazing!  I just know that as a fan, the word can be taken in multiple ways – and for those of us loyalists, we know the band has never left, and we’re still right by their sides on this journey. I’m just looking forward to seeing this band get back out on the road again. Let the celebration of #DD14 begin!

-R

Billboard Cover Boys!

This weekend, my timeline and news feed has been filled with pictures, articles and videos from Billboard.com!  What was the big occasion?  Duran Duran, not only appeared in the latest edition, but they were on the cover!!!  Obviously, fans were excited by this as they love seeing Duran Duran get the attention they deserve.  Of course, many fans expressed the idea that Duran Duran should ALWAYS be featured in the musically focused press!  We definitely agree!  So, how was this coverage?  What specifically was shared and what were the reactions to it?

Before I dive into the meat of what billboard.com shared, let me make a couple of comments.  First, I am concerned that I missed some things because there were so many different clips and links that it was hard (for me!) to follow.  Second, after I saw that they were featured in the latest edition, I did what I normally do.  I went to go find it in the store so that I could buy a real, hard copy for my collection.  No luck.  The places I thought I would find it didn’t actually stock Billboard Magazine.  Apparently, you can buy it online here, though!

Behind-the-Scenes with the Team

One of the links, which you can see here, that was posted by Billboard was a video clip focusing on the team who worked on the song, Pressure Off.  Now, I admit that I adore video clips.  I really do.  I generally wish that they were a lot, lot, lot longer and this one is no exception.  This one, in particular focused on Nile Rodgers and Mark Ronson and how they worked together for the first time here with Duran.  By watching the video clip included in the link above, I am reminded of two things very, very quickly.  Mark Ronson truly is a Duran Duran fan.  He is a Duranie and every time I hear him talk about Duran or working with Duran, I am reminded of that and it always makes me feel confident in what kind of music will come to be as a result.  Likewise, Nile’s positive spirit and great joy over making music, especially music with Duran comes through so very clearly in this clip.  His enthusiasm is impossible to miss and I love how Nick phrased it when he said there was “electricity” in the room when everyone got together.  I could totally see it and really makes me wish I was a fly on the wall.  I truly hope that there is more video footage of this time in the studio.  I’m sure that every Duranie would love it!  If that wasn’t enough, I found myself loving Pressure Off even more from watching that!

JoSi Knowledge

Another one of the videos posted by Billboard, which you can see here, focused on how well John and Simon know each other.  I have no doubt that 99% of Duranies responded to the question before hitting play on the video with a resounding, “Very well!”  After all, they have been colleagues and good friends for over 30 years!  That said, I still couldn’t hit the play button fast enough!  The idea behind this video was to see if they could answer questions about each other.  I won’t give it away but I will say it is clear that they have great camaraderie with each other, no matter if they are talking football or past appearances.  I desperately wish that we got to see more of this!

Cover Article & Video

The longest article posted by Billboard also features a video.  You can read the article and watch the video here.  The video covers a few topics, including the album title, collaboration, and length of time to create the album.  I wonder if those truly are the biggest topics surrounding this album.  If so, then, Billboard chose well.  I did like what Nick had to say about the album title and I’m truly looking forward to hearing that song!!!  As for collaborations, one thing that caught my attention is the idea that Simon shared the microphone with many people, including John.  Is he referring to backing vocals or more?  I wonder.  As for the length of time to create this album, John pointed out that it is important to take time to make it right since there aren’t that many albums in their musical lives.  Obviously, this topic (coughDurantimecough) was well-discussed here on the blog.

As for the article itself, it starts off by describing the photo shoot connected to the cover, article, etc.  While I appreciate the acknowledgement that Duran has a long history, I wasn’t necessarily thrilled with lines like, “The singer is still handsome but no longer quite a pinup; natural light can be cruel.”  I have to wonder.  Is that sentence necessary?  Why the focus on their age?  Yes, I realize that this was in context with the photo shoot, but still.  If was to show that they have experience with this, I just think there could have been a nicer way to put this.  To me, it seemed like a subtle (or not so subtle) dig on the band and Simon, in particular.  Thankfully, the article quickly transitions to the album.

The author begins the discussion on Duran Duran’s upcoming album, Paper Gods, by stating that it is a “robust affair” which is interesting considering that Duran could just sit back and enjoy their past success and tour.  Yet, according to Warner Bros. president, Dan McCarroll, the album is fabulous and clear to him that the band wanted a hit.  Sentences like that always make me pause.  I want Duran to have hits, of course.  I want them to do well and I want them to have the recognition they deserve.  Yet, there is always a part of me that worries (perhaps, unnecessarily!) that this desire overshadows the focus on quality Duran Duran music.  After all, we all know that there are songs that are hits that aren’t quality.  Nonetheless, I reassured myself that Duran Duran knows what they are doing and kept on reading.

It is no surprise that the article discusses the contributions on the album as that seems to be a frequently discussed talking point by both the band and the media.  I can understand that as it is interesting that the band used so many artists in creating this album.    What I struggle to understand is why the author spent so much time talking about the band members’ personal lives right after the discussion on collaborations.  Billboard magazine, at least in my head, focuses on the music and charts.  Literally, there are 4 sentences about the contributions and 5 sentences on their current personal lives.  It frustrates me as a fan when the focus isn’t on what they do but on who they are.  I know that has always been the case with Duran but I wish it wasn’t.  I would prefer more discussion on the quality of music that they create.  Am I asking too much?

From there, the article dives into their past, their legacy.  I was excited to read what moments in their lives would be highlighted.  I appreciated the inclusion of the Reflex remix by Nile Rodgers that the record label didn’t want to release.  I didn’t mind the brief discussion on the New Romantic era.  Yet, quickly, the article focuses on the band’s videos and how in the author’s words, they were “not particularly deep” and “advertisements for champagne-soaked decadence”.   Ugh.  In my opinion, there is a lot more to many of their videos than what is seen on the surface.  I’m sorry that the author doesn’t see that and doesn’t see the intelligence Duran used in their videos.  Interestingly enough, there are three full paragraphs about their videos.  Did I go to sleep and wake up in 1984?  Why the focus on the videos?  Again, don’t get me wrong.  I love their videos and I agree with John when he said that they were “jokey”.  Rio was exactly that, not just decadent.

I had hopes that the article would turn back to Duran’s musical history since the cover states that they are the “Last Band Standing” (which is a clever title and would have been more clever during Red Carpet Massacre days).  Unfortunately, the article tries to gives the band’s history and chronology by focusing on the usual topics of shopping, excess, drug and alcohol abuse, side projects, etc.  While clearly, research was completed, I just wish it had focused more on the music.  The article comes close to focusing on the music a couple of times like when there was discussion about how Duran rarely takes the easy way out, musically.  I wanted to know more as I thought that was an interesting angle.  I also enjoyed the discussion about the recording process and their desire to remain vital as they age.  Instead, there was more about how John was still “slender” despite not doing drugs anymore and how Nick has “slightly ghostly features”.  Do those sentences give information or add any knowledge or force readers to think differently?  I don’t think so.

I love that Duran Duran is getting press, getting attention!  I really do!  If I ran the world, they would get attention and press everyday!  (Maybe that’s why I do a daily blog about being a Duran fan?!)  I just wish that the content of the article focused on the MUSIC.  As Simon said in the article, “‘Glamorous’ and ‘shallow’ are never words you use to describe your own life. But, yes, it was fun. It was fun hanging out with Princess Margaret, Prince Charles and Diana and Warhol, too. But that’s all the press ever talked about: the parties, the models, the boats, the booze. But we did work hard.”  It is sad how true that statement of his still is and too much of this article shows this.

-A

 

Paper Gods Release Date!

As soon as I got on social media this morning, I saw that Duran Duran had announced that the release date in the U.S. for Paper Gods, Duran’s 14th studio album, has been moved up to September 11th, matching the release date for the rest of the world.  As always, I spent some time reading the discussions and reactions that followed.

Why Was It Different to Begin With?

I think this is the question that we all had when the album release dates were announced to begin with.  While, yes, in the past albums have been released on different dates for different places, this seemed different.  Before, it seemed like it was one day earlier for one place and a day later for another.  Now, though, the date difference was a week, not just a day.  Then, of course, everywhere in the world had one date and the U.S. had another.  Weird.  I don’t have an answer about why the release dates were different.  The only thing I could figure out is that September 11th is a significant date for the United States as that was the date the country was attacked by terrorists.   Therefore, maybe, some thought releasing an album on that date would be disrespectful?  Just a guess.

Positive Thoughts

A number of people this morning in response to the change in the release date mentioned about how now that date of September 11th will be a positive date for them.  The date will no longer be just about some horrific event but would also be about something positive, something to look forward to!

Good Decision?

Obviously, for those of us in the U.S., this was welcome news!  We can have our copy(s) in our hands a week earlier than we were supposed to!  Before this news, I wasn’t terribly worried about the fact that the U.S. wouldn’t get the album until a week later as I figured that I would still be able to listen the new music through YouTube or something of that nature.  Yet, I’m now thrilled that I don’t have to get to hear the new music that way!  I would MUCH prefer to hear it through a good stereo system with CD or, better yet, vinyl.  Now, I have that option.

Of course, in reaction to today’s news, some pointed out that it wouldn’t matter as people would get the new music anyway.  I’m assuming here that those people are referring to downloading the new album illegally.  I realize that people do that but I can’t tell you how much that bothers me.  It is one thing to share bootlegs of things that aren’t available for purchase and another thing to download something that is available to purchase.  Artists work hard on their art and deserve to be paid!  I would assume that those same people who do download illegally wouldn’t choose to work for free, right?  I feel that way even with this blog.  Yes, obviously, I work on it for free.  I feel like I get the “pay” and respect deserved, though, when people take the time to actually read it rather than just responding to a headline or a picture.  Work should be valued.  Thus, I appeal to people to BUY the new Duran Duran album–not because they need the money or because Warner Bros needs the money but because it is the RIGHT thing to do.  Do I think that illegal downloading will be minimized with this new release date?  I think it will help, which makes the second good reason to do it.

Not All Positive

Of course, not all comments were positive about today’s news.  Some fans were not impressed by this line in the press release:  By Popular Demand, Band Will Now Release Album One Week Earlier in the U.S. For a Global Street Date of September 11th.

For some fans, the term “popular demand” means that the U.S. fans whined and complained a lot about the different release date so the date was changed.  Now, I have no idea how many U.S. fans were complaining about the release date.  I know that we didn’t on this blog.  We accepted that the dates were different and no matter how much we wished it was sooner, there was nothing we could do.  That said, even if it was to minimize complaints, it was a good decision for the reasons I mentioned above.  Personally, to me, releasing the album on the same date for the entire world seems FAIR and why shouldn’t that be championed?

I applaud the decision to move up the release date.  Of course, I admit that I’m benefitting from the decision.  Yet, it makes sense for multiple reasons and doesn’t put one area of the world in front of or behind other parts of the world.  In my opinion, it is a win-win.

-A

“Hot and Bothered”-Duran & Lindsay Lohan

Anyone read any interesting articles lately about Duran Duran?  I have.  In fact, one article, in particular, was so interesting that I posted it both on my personal Facebook and on the Daily Duranie Facebook and Twitter.  I posted the article in order to get some perspective, in order to not let any initial reaction by me dictate what I think and feel about it.  I wanted to hear from other people about what they think and feel about it.  I also wanted time to process my thoughts.  I’m not sure I’m completely there yet…but it is time.

What article as I talking about here?  This one here:  “‘Lindsay Lohan got us hot and bothered in the recording studio” says Duran Duran.”  Since I had originally posted the article, another one has popped up entitled:  Lindsay Lohan left Duran Duran ‘hot and bothered’.  Both articles discuss Lindsay Lohan’s appearance on the upcoming Duran Duran album, “Paper Gods,” due out in September.  Now, we have talked about Lindsay Lohan and her working with Duran Duran a few times on this blog.  Just recently, we mentioned her when discussing the press release about the album, which you can read here.   What new information did we get from this article?  What do I think about it?  What do many other fans think about it from my observations online?

The Facts:

These articles don’t shed a ton of light on Lindsay’s appearance on the album beyond what we already knew.  Again, they mentioned that she is featured on the song, “Danceophobia”.  In it, she provides the voice of a doctor, which we already knew.  Simon, in these articles, described her role as a doctor talking to someone in a “naughty way”.  It sounds like they had this part and needed someone to fill it when Simon thought of Lindsay.  Then, according to the articles, it took a month to get her into the studio and almost didn’t happen due to her busy schedule.  In the end, it required Simon and Ben (Mr Hudson) to go and get her and her sister.  According to Simon, she “had exactly the voice for it”.  He also stated this about working with her, “We were hot and bothered for about three weeks after she left the studio” and “We’d absolutely like to work with Lindsay again.”

General reactions to the article:

While I admit that there were some variations in the responses I got from posting the first article, there was a general theme.  Let me quote some of the thoughts from other fans and frankly most of these are the nicer quotes:

“I’m surprised with all her previous problems keeping a job, showing up for a job (Without blowing the project budget) or completing any court appointed assignments, the band even expected her to follow through.”
“Why would they want her anyway?”
“I just feel there must have been someone – anyone – better..”
“Not one, of their prouder moments, I would imagine…ick.”
“No, Simon! NOOOOOOOOO!”

Many fans questioned the point of using her.  Was it a push from the label?  Was it an attempt to reach a younger demographic?  Was it to get publicity?  I, obviously, don’t have the answers to those questions and I think they are good one.  Did the label have a role in this?  Maybe.  We know in the past there was label encouragement to use people like Timbaland (Yes, I know that was a different label.  My point is just that major labels do push artists into working with people who they think will get the artists attention and/or a hit.).  Was it an attempt to reach a younger demographic?  That’s possible. After all, Lindsay is still in her 20s and the band is…not.  Most people in their 20s might be unfamiliar with Duran and this might get people to try listening to Duran, maybe?  So the theory would go.  Could it be an attempt to just get publicity with the idea being that any publicity is good?  Maybe.  This is the band that did the Girls on Film video in 1981 and even held up a sign saying that some people would do anything to sell their records, in the easter egg version of the video.some people would do anything to sell their records

What I Think:

In full disclosure, I’m not a Lindsay Lohan fan.  I tend to avoid people who get in the fame spotlight for whatever reason and become the frequent topic of entertainment new sites, tabloids, etc.  Those aren’t the celebrities who ever interest me.  Yes, many people will give her sympathy because of her family or her addiction or whatever.  I get that.  As much as I might sympathize, that doesn’t equal being a fan.  That said, when I heard that Duran was using her, like many, I grimaced and hoped that it wouldn’t be as bad as many fear.  I tried to maintain an open-mind and be positive.  Then, this article came out.  I read it.  I read it again.  I read it a third time after backing away for awhile.  After a day or so, some thoughts of mine aren’t changing.

What/Who Really Matters for the Album:
I want to see Duran getting all the attention in the world for this album.  I really do.  Yet, it wasn’t Duran getting the attention in these articles, it was Lindsay.  It wasn’t even Nile Rodgers, Mark Ronson or countless others who worked on the album who were getting attention.  It was someone who, from everything I could tell, has a VERY minor part on the album.  Someone asked me why I was making a big deal out of one little piece to the album.  The fact is that I’m frustrated that the little piece was getting attention over so many larger, more important pieces and people.

Publicity for Publicity Sake:
Did they really use Lindsay because she was the BEST person for this role?  Out of all the people on the planet with a great voice, she was the best?  Or was it that she was the most famous and could get the most attention?  After all, the band had to know that she would result in articles like the ones I posted above.  This makes me wonder if they chose people to make the best album or to make the most news and I HATE thinking that.  I do.  I want to assume that the band chose the best people for the work, for the art, for the music.  It shouldn’t be about promotion before the art or the music.  Now, of course, I know that promotion has its place.  Duh.  Every product out there needs to be promoted.  We recognized that fact with the convention we put on and we even recognize it with this blog.  Yet, I want Duran Duran to get promotion because of THEM, because THEY deserve it.  They shouldn’t take the back seat.  The music shouldn’t take the back seat.

Simon:
Initially, I like many were not impressed with this statement of Simon’s in which Lindsay Lohan got them “hot and bothered”.  Then, Rhonda pointed out that Simon is smart and he is.  That is a statement is going to get headlines.  So, if you are going to go for any publicity, use what works.  Be as out there as possible.  Embrace it, right?  They did that with the Girls on Film video that we are all still talking about 30 plus years later.  Is Simon just really that good at dealing with the press that he, in fact, chose words to get that headline, to get the attention?

The Worse Part
Do you know what I think the worst part of all of this is?  That for many people, that song is already tainted.  People are already judging, including myself.  Maybe, she was the best person for this role.  Unfortunately, her reputation and everything that goes with her, including articles like these don’t help fans have an open-mind.  It also negatively impacts fans’ enthusiasm for the album.  Is that fair or right?  Probably not but fans are human and imperfect and also feel a LOT when it comes to the subject of their fandom.  We want Duran Duran to do well but we want them to do well because of THEM, not because of anyone they chose to work with.

-A

Paper Gods a Plenty!

It looks like I’m going to be adding a couple of versions of Paper Gods to my ever-expanding Duran collection.  Anyone else??

Earlier today, I saw that Duran Duran announced the various versions of Paper Gods that will be descending upon us in the coming months.  For All You Need is Now, there were many different albums depending upon where you lived, where you shopped…and of course, how much you were willing to spend. The options seemed dizzying at the time, and I mentioned here on the blog that I might need a flow chart in order to keep track.  This time, DDHQ seems to be right on top of it by releasing a list today on Facebook of available versions, complete with track listings.

Basically, there will be four different configurations of the album.

  1. A standard 12-track CD, it’s digital equivalent, and a 12-track vinyl double LP.

  2. A deluxe 15-track CD and it’s digital equivalent. (this one has 3 bonus tracks)

  3. A limited edition, high-end deluxe Vinyl Factory box set LP.

  4. Limited edition “fan bundle” available through Duran Duran Music Store. This edition has special packaging, the deluxe 15-track CD, and a paper fortune teller. (because we all need one for trying to figure out and understand this band sometimes…am I right?!?)

The deluxe version of the album is available for preorder at participating retailers, and I read today that Pressure Off will be available through iTunes in the UK on July 24.  (I don’t mind saying that I think it’s ridiculous that people from the UK – DD’s HOME – have to wait until nearly the end of next month in order to get the single. Who plans this stuff?!?)

I can only imagine how “high-end” the Vinyl Factory box set will be – I’ve passed up their most recent limited edition vinyls because quite honestly, as nice as they might be, they’re atrociously priced and something has to give somewhere. Personally, I would have liked to have seen the band give a shot to Manimal Records for their vinyl and come in with a slightly less “high-end” version for those of us mere mortals who still hope to retire someday, but that’s just me.

The official track listing:

Paper Gods (feat. Mr. Hudson)
Last Night in the City (feat. Kiesza)
You Kill Me With Silence
Pressure Off (feat. Janelle Monáe and Nile Rodgers)
Face For Today
Danceophobia
What Are The Chances?
Sunset Garage
Change the Skyline (feat. Jonas Bjerre)
Butterfly Girl
Only in Dreams
The Universe Alone

Deluxe Edition Bonus Tracks:

Planet Roaring
Valentine Stones
Northern Lights

Also in breaking news, a second Capitol Theatre date in New York has been added for August 2nd. DDM Presales tomorrow at noon local time. Duranies, are you ready??  Are your credit cards ready??? We’re off and running….the Duran drought has officially ended!!!

-R

 

Paper Gods Press Release Insights Part 2

We continue our analysis of the press releases surrounding Duran Duran’s upcoming album, Paper Gods.  In part 1, which you can read here, we discussed statements made about the album as a whole.  In this part, we look at how individual songs on the album are described.  Of course, we have yet to hear any of these with the exception being the first single, Pressure Off.  Therefore, these descriptions are just that.  They are descriptions, which we may or may not find completely accurate once we actually have the chance to hear them.  Nonetheless, we thought it would be fun to offer some thoughts and reactions to the written descriptions.

Pressure Off

As described in the press release:  “Mark, Nile and Mr Hudson co-wrote and produced, the tracks ‘Pressure Off’ and ‘Only in Dreams’. The former, which will be the album’s lead single featuring Nile Rodgers, harks back to the taut funk of Notorious, with a sensational vocal from Janelle Monáe, and a chorus that is audacious in its effortless immediacy. “If only,” laughs Nick. “The one thing it wasn’t was effortless. But the idea was to make it sound like that.”

Amanda:

In reading this, I wish I knew more about Only in Dreams, especially since I have heard Pressure Off already.  Does the combination of Mark Ronson, Mr Hudson and Nile Rodgers always produce a song like Pressure Off?  I look forward to finding out.  As for what Nick said here, I wasn’t surprised that it took effort to create the chorus in Pressure Off.  Rhonda suspects that they came up with the hook  and the chorus first and built the rest of the song around it.  I wouldn’t be surprised.  I just wonder how or what in particular they were searching for when trying to find this chorus.  Was it a certain style?  Were they trying to match certain songs?  I wish I was a fly in the studio for that!

Rhonda:

Well…mostly I just wouldn’t be surprised if they came up with the hook first and built the rest of the song around it. I have no idea what Duran typically does, but that hook is so strong it just seems like it would have come first. (I’m probably dead wrong though!) I think that the chorus does have a sort of “effortless” feel around it…it’s kind of like I’ve told my daughter Heather so many times: “It’s ok if it really ISN’T effortless or easy, it just needs to LOOK that way when you’re on stage!” That’s sort of the way the chorus to this song comes off. On the other hand, I don’t think the verses sound so easy.  I’ve been reading the opinions of many fans lately on this one, and a lot of the criticisms seem to come from the verses – people don’t feel they match up well, stylistically. My opinion is very different because while it’s true, they definitely aren’t as bright, they give the song a lot more depth, sound-wise. If every line sounded like the chorus, I am afraid the song would be making a serious slide into bubble-gum land. I also recognize that I am a far better kitchen-table blogger/armchair critic than music writer, so there’s that.

“Big-Chorus Bankers”

The press release stated the following: “‘Face For Today’, ‘Butterfly Girl’, ‘Danceophobia’ (with a guest appearance from Lindsay Lohan as the voice of the ‘doctor’) and ‘Last Night In the City’ (which features a killer contribution from Kiesza) are among the album’s other big-chorus bankers”

Amanda:

Big-chorus bankers?! I totally get the idea of songs with big choruses. I assume that to mean choruses that stick out, that are memorable, that stick in people’s heads and make them want to keep listening and keep singing along. Duran has had many of those in their history, including some of my favorite songs. The most recent song that comes to mind with that description is Sunrise. As soon as you heard that chorus, you wanted to keep listening and you wanted to sing along with Simon. Interestingly enough, two out of the four tracks described like that featured contributions by others. Lindsay Lohan is the voice of a “doctor”.  Will this be a little like Nina Hossain in Leopard?  I’ll be very curious to hear that one!

Rhonda:

So basically it is saying that these songs were written with strong hooks? I think it has to be said (many, many times) that even Pressure Off has a ridiculously catchy chorus – probably the best I’ve heard out of this band in 25 years, if not 30.  I can’t imagine what else would be meant by a big chorus, so I’m going with that. I thought back to the last several albums. Admittedly there are very few songs with truly great big choruses. Is that really a bad thing?  I think it depends upon the intention. If you’re writing without the goal of getting on radio, then no, I don’t think it really does matter. I think it is about the artistry of what you’re writing. Does the writer really feel like they got their message across?  However, radio and chart-land does not work that way. Go listen to the radio. Songs that get played often, songs that are genuine “hits” typically have very strong choruses. VERY strong.  They get deposited in your ear, swim to your brain and hold on for dear life. That’s why they work. Listen to “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk & Nile, or Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars. Those are some huge choruses!

I suppose though, for those of us Duran-purists out there, there’s likely some nose-scrunching going on. On one hand, sure, we want the band’s music to do well because of course we want to see the band succeed. Fans typically want that, don’t we? We want to sort of be validated so that we can walk around and say “See? We TOLD you Duran Duran still had it. We TOLD you they’re fantastic!” But, and this is the crazy, insane thing about Duranies that I’ve learned from over the years, there’s also a part of us that really doesn’t want it happening that way.  We want them to write solely for themselves. We want them to laugh in the face of critics and music charts. We want them to write the really cool, obscure stuff that we first fell in love with (or maybe discovered after we were finished devouring other songs like Rio or Hungry Like the Wolf?).  We don’t necessarily WANT them to bow down to the masses and write/record so that they get played on radio. What we want is for the band to write the music they want to write without worrying about it getting played; then, if it hits big we can sit back and pat ourselves on the back for knowing they had it all along but that the masses were too silly to really get it…but we’ve stuck by the band all along.

Personally, I’m not so sure it all works that way. I think that at least for me, I’m willing to concede to the fact that perhaps the music I love most from this band isn’t going to ever get them radio play. I kind of think they’ve got the right to make music that stands half a shot of being heard by a bigger audience, if that’s what they really want. In a lot of ways I feel for the band because I think they know it’s all a pretty tall-order. Up until now it’s felt like they’re either pissing off long time fans or they’re screwing themselves out of ever getting radio play. Where’s the middle ground? IS there middle ground?? If I were in their shoes, I am not entirely sure what I’d do. Try to do it all, and hope for the best, I suppose. Maybe, just maybe, there’s enough for everyone on this album.

What Are the Chances?

From the press release:  “‘What Are the Chances?’ the song that rolls back the years to the yearning and beauty of ‘Save a Prayer’”

Amanda:

Hmm…so What Are the Chances is the ballad on the album.  It is interesting that it also features John Frusciante on guitar.

Rhonda:

I knew it would come down to the guitar player. It always does. Listen, anyone who has read this blog during the past four years knows how I feel about guitar in general. I think the band needs guitar, and yes, I think it should be someone we as fans can all count on to be there permanently. To me, it’s not Duran Duran without it. I am much less of a fan of the music where the guitar is added deep into the mix as a sort of atmospheric afterthought than I am of the songs where there’s this beautiful, lush melody and seemingly out of nowhere I hear a soaring guitar. That’s the kind of juxtaposition, duality, tension….that I know to expect from Duran Duran at SOME points in their career. I also know that right now, they have a touring guitarist, but apparently he isn’t someone that the band wants to include or name as a permanent member.  Feelings about Dom run the full spectrum: many Duranies consider him just to be the hired gun in the same way they look at the roadies – they don’t even “see” him onstage, and still many others like myself consider him to be part of the family even if the band refuses. Perhaps it is all purely a business decision. I don’t know, and it really doesn’t matter. Duran Duran is happy to be a foursome, and from what I’ve been told over the past couple of years, it doesn’t seem they included Dom as much in the writing for this album (as opposed to All You Need is Now). Instead, they sought out presumably bigger names to do the writing and recording. It’s the one issue I’ve got with the band this time around, and it’s something that I continue to come to terms with as a Duran Duran fan AND as a fan of Dom’s. I’m truly surprised (and incredibly thankful!) that Dom has stuck around….and yes, I’m well-aware my words here are harsh, and yes, I know he’ll still be on the tour. He’s been around for over ten years now. It’s time for more than that. That said, I’m curious to see just what John Frusciante brings to this record. I’m well-aware of his incredible talent and I look forward to hearing what he’s got!

You Kill Me With Silence

Press Release:  ‘You Kill Me With Silence’ may boast another huge chorus, but at heart it is a deeply unorthodox and sonically engrossing song, with a disorientating closing sequence that reinforces the band’s art-pop credentials. Simon’s verdict on it sums up the freedom and inquisitiveness that still define the band’s music-making. “What I love most about the track is that it opens like a Snoop Dogg song; you almost expect a rapper to kick off, and instead what you get is Simon Le Bon channelling Nancy Sinatra.”

Amanda:

I have to admit this one intrigues me.  Any song that opens like a Snoop Dogg song and features Nancy Sinatra like vocals is going to interest me, as in “I can’t imagine what the heck that is going to sound like!”  Then, the idea that the closing is “disorientating” and “reinforces art-pop credentials” adds to my interest and inability to really process.  Heck, even the title adds to the mystery.  Yes, this one will definitely be one I look forward to hearing simply because it sounds so unimaginable!

Rhonda:

When I read this stuff, it’s very difficult to keep an open mind and not have already formed opinions by the time the album drops. I don’t want to go in with expectations of what I’m going to like or not like, you know?  Been there, done that with previous albums, and the results (for me) were disastrous, to say the least. HOWEVER…I’m really excited by what I’m reading here! Words like “art-pop”, “unorthodox”, “sonically-engrossing”….now those are music to MY ears. The trouble is that I’m really hoping it is going to be one of those delicious Duran-obscurities that no one but the deepest of fans loves…and that is one of those HOPES I’m trying to keep clear out of my head.  No expectations!!

Paper Gods

Press Release said:  “The title track (which features Mr Hudson’s vocals alongside Simon’s) is similarly daring, its polemical lyrics set to a soundtrack of fierce originality and menace. “It’s a song about our obsession, with money, with material things,” says Simon, “and how we trivialise our lives, and humanity. It’s definitely the angriest song on the album. Usually I tend to be much less specific when it comes to lyrics, because I like it when people hear our songs and create their own stories around them. But in this case, I wanted the anger to be unambiguous: ‘The slaver in a sweatshop, putting trainers on your feet.’ It’s about the price that we pay, that everyone pays, for the world as it is now.” “That song is definitely one of the strangest things we’ve done in a long, long time,” says Nick, “in that it’s a real journey, a strong lyric – we don’t often get into social commentary with songs, but this one felt like it needed that. And I do love the fact that it’s so unpredictable.”

Amanda:

I won’t lie.  I cannot wait to hear this one.  I like angry.  I like social commentary.  I do.  It is the Social Studies teacher in me, the political activist in me.  I have ALWAYS loved when Duran has gotten close or entered the social commentary realm because they always do it so intelligently.  It isn’t preachy but clever and thought-provoking.  Thus, I can’t wait for this one.  I suspect that I will love it and I will love the album title because of it!

Rhonda:

I’m really not a fan of obvious social commentary in music. I want to escape from reality, not be transported back to it every time I listen. That said, I like angry… (I doubt that surprises anyone. I’m the one with the fiery attitude around here, I think.) and I’ve heard that this song is of incredible length for a Duran song (9 minutes, I believe??) and it’s been compared to Bowie. That’s intriguing enough for me…and I do agree with Amanda, when Duran does a social commentary, it is usually done with incredible intelligence. I’m really looking forward to hearing this one.

Collaborations

John Frusciante:
What Are the Chances?
The Universe Alone
Butterfly Girl

John Frusciante’s playing…is equally unpredictable, the former Red Hot Chili Pepper twisting the songs into new and unexpected shapes. “We’re all so in awe of what he does with the guitar, his style is completely unique,” says Simon. “As a musician, he’s fearless, and that’s incredibly inspiring.”

Mr Hudson
Vocals on Paper Gods

Lindsay Lohan
Voice of the doctor on Danceophobia

Kiesza
Last Night in the City

Nile Rodgers
Co-wrote and produced Pressure Off and Only in Dreams
Featured on Pressure Off

Janelle Monae
Vocals on Pressure Off

Amanda:

There isn’t much to say about collaborations that I haven’t said before.  Sometimes, they are awesome as is the case with Janelle Monae’s vocals on Pressure Off.  Sometimes, they are not (thinking Skin Divers here).  Yet, we really don’t know until we hear the album.  Then, I will be able to  judge properly.

Rhonda:

Here’s the thing: I love John Frusciante’s work. He is an incredible guitarist. I’m looking forward to hearing him, all of my other feelings about the band and guitar players aside. Huge fan of Janelle Monae’s work on Pressure Off, the song would be completely different without her. I really like Mr. Hudson, so I am really excited that he did vocals on Paper Gods. The only thing that really intrigues me by Lindsay Lohan’s appearance on the album is why? Overall, I think there are an awful lot of big names packed into one album. In some ways it reads like overkill, in others, perhaps not. Time will tell.

What do you think about what you read about these upcoming songs?  Which ones interest you the most and why?

-A & R

Paper Gods Press Release Insights Part 1

Now that we have copies of the new Duran Duran song and order confirmations for a few shows, it is time to dive a little deeper into the press release and the bio released on Genero.TV about the upcoming album.  The reality here is that we simply cannot wait for the album and are seeking as many insights into what the album will be like that we can get!!!  We might not be able to get our hands on the music yet, but if we can get some idea of what it will be like…maybe, just maybe we can survive until September!  Therefore, we will spend a few days reading, re-reading, analyzing what has been said about the music on Paper Gods!

Today, we will start our analysis by looking at and discussing a few quotes about the album as a whole from the official press release that can be found here on the band’s official website and from the bio on Genero.TV.

Making the Album & Album Description:

Band politics play a role, too, he [Simon] says. “I think part of our strength is the tension in our music, which probably comes from the tension within the band. When you’re young, you’re not scared of upsetting people, and actually we can still push that sometimes. But harsh words are forgiven. Ultimately, we know that we will fight for each other, whatever the situation. We stick together. Nick and I can fight tooth and nail, over a lyric, or a musical part. And you would think in those moments that we hate each other’s guts, but really we love each other.”

“We have been through a lot together” John Taylor adds, “and now it’s very much a case of ‘Know thyself.’ At this point in our career, it’s about being really in touch with your identity, and drawing strength from the knowledge that you’ve all been on this incredible journey, a journey that is still going on. I think you can hear that in the new songs; we’re still learning things from and about each other, personally as well as musically.” For John, the most satisfying thing about the new album is that it captures the duality, the sense of conflict, at the heart of the band’s music. “In the original blueprint for the band, there was this dark, slightly progressive side to us, and it tended to get a little bit trampled on by the poptastic aspect. In that desire for pop satisfaction, you can forget what you set out to do. The new record really goes back to that strange early Duran mix: the hard-edged pop, coexisting with this dark, weird, experimental side.” “That’s something that’s essential to all of us,” agrees Nick. “It’s great to be able to lift people’s spirits – and your own – with a strong shot of pure pop, but the world we live in isn’t all just made of that stuff, so it seems natural to me, and has done since the very beginning, that we have kept, and still keep, one foot in the darker, more Gothic side of life.”

Amanda:

When I read these paragraphs, there was much that I liked. First of all, when I read that there was tension within the band, I was excited! That isn’t because I want the band to have conflict. Of course not, but I do like the sound of musical tension. When I think of my favorite Duran Duran songs and albums, they are filled with musical tension. In fact, I would say the basis of Duran Duran was to combine, to mesh different musical influences that are often contradictory in nature. After all, John Taylor once described his goal with Duran as Pretty Vacant by the Sex Pistols meets Good Times by Chic. You know punk vs. disco along with so many more influences. Clearly, the band is still trying to mesh those very different musical genres when I read phrases like “hard-edged pop”.  Personally, that is exactly what I want. I want that duality that they described. I want music that is going to make me feel good but I also want music that understands the harsh reality of life. I think certainly the best Duran Duran albums were able to do just that.  Look at All You Need Is Now, for example. There are some songs that definitely put you in a good mood and other songs that are introspective or thought provoking. Perfect. This duality, of course, reminds me of the album cover–fine art meets pop art. Reality and fun.  Serious and frivolous. Now, of course, the question will be. Did they meet this goal in the music on the album? We shall see.

Rhonda:

I think it’s so hard to discuss this without having heard anything BUT Pressure Off.  That said, I’ve listened to the song “a few times” (Ok, so the truth is I’ve had it on repeat whenever I’ve been in my car during the past two days). At first, I ONLY heard what I would think John is calling “poptastic”. It’s tough not to hear that when you’ve got these incredibly bright chords and vocals going on in the chorus. (Someone I know said that it sounded way too “high school musical”, which really bothers me!) But, the more I listen to the very beginning of the song where Simon is singing “stepping out, stepping out, etc.” part – there is a dark-tinge to it because it’s in a slightly less “golden” (for lack of better description) chord than the chorus…and they use that great effect on it that makes it the tiniest bit gritty. It just gives the song a little more texture.

For me, what I’ve always identified as a sort of “musical tension” within the band has been the way the guitar plays off of everyone. I’ve always seen the guitar as providing that “hard edge” that John mentions. Back in the day, we would have just said it was Andy playing as Andy did…with the full rock attitude. Somehow though, that’s been lost to a major extent along the way, and I very much miss that.  The last album had tiny glimpses of that, and I had high hopes for future Duran Duran. For me, it was that bit of hard-edged rock guitar that made the music interesting, and it didn’t take much to do that. As much as I like what Nile has done in Pressure Off with rhythm guitar providing a little funk, I have no sense of how the rest of the album will sound.

I do worry that they’ve completely missed the very element that makes their music unique – because Nile wasn’t trying (nor should he have for Pressure Off) to bring a rock “voice” to the lushness of the keyboards or stacking of harmonies. He played with a bit of funk, and a lot of rhythm, which was completely appropriate for the song. A friend of mine once said that he wished the band would allow more guitar. I agree, because no matter what the band says, their records NEED it. I think it could be done because they’ve done it before with brilliant results. They just need to be able to trust the person/people they have playing in that role…and I suspect that’s the real problem. For whatever reason, they just won’t give any guitar player that type of permanence or ownership.

Where Will This Album Fit in the Duran Duran Catalog?

One person that is mentioned in the press releases is the engineer Josh Blair:

Nick says of the collaboration “He really was our anchor throughout the project, helping to sculpt the sound of the album and presiding over every detail. He was there from the start, and that gave us a feeling of continuity from the last record.”

Notorious Influence:

“Notorious was a strong touchstone for the band,” says Roger Taylor. “All You Need is Now definitely reflected our earlier albums, but our starting point here was Notorious. We’re fortunate to be able to be inspired by our own back catalogue – not many bands can say that.”

How Good Is It?:

“I know that artists always like to say this,” Nick continues, “but truly, without a doubt, I think this is our best record since The Wedding Album. Being in this band is like being married to three other people. We take care of each other, but we also argue all the time, too, particularly about music. But that’s essential. If you don’t argue, don’t have strong opinions, that’s when you end up producing junk. We fight for every note – literally. But it doesn’t feel like a battle. It feels like a victory.” 

“We’ve allowed ourselves the time to make music that we can be proud of,” adds Le Bon . “I judge what we release by my favourite albums — Horses, Harvest, Let It Bleed, Blue, Transformer, Aladdin Sane. Those are classic albums. The only rule is it’s got to be music you can live with for the rest of your life.”

Amanda:

I love that there is some continuity from All You Need Is Now.  I, for one, loved that album and dislike the idea that they felt that they had to change so dramatically from something that worked.  That isn’t to say that I don’t embrace change or progress but I don’t like that at the expense of rejecting came before.  Instead, I like the idea of acknowledging what came before in order to take what worked and build off of that while getting rid of what didn’t.  I guess that is the idea with bouncing from the Notorious album, too.  While Notorious might not be my favorite album, I know that there were some gems there and I’m anxious to see how that album influenced this one.

As for it being the best album since the Wedding Album, again, I have to say that I loved All You Need Is Now WAY better than the Wedding Album.  Therefore, that statement from Nick doesn’t really give me the perspective I need.  I wish he had compared it to a different album than that one.  That said, I do like hearing that they view the album as a “victory” and that Simon believes that this is an album that they can live with for the rest of their lives.

Rhonda:

I really have zero sense of where this album is going to fit just yet. Admittedly, Notorious has never been one of my favorite DD albums. It strayed so far from what came before OR after that in a lot of ways, it feels like it was made by a very different band altogether. (I cannot WAIT to get my hate mail for that one!! It’s only my opinion, people…we all have one!) However, there are certainly elements from Notorious that they’ve carried with them along the way. I see most of their albums as having done similar, where they focus on certain aspect for the album and then use elements from that on later albums. Personally, when I hear Pressure Off, I hear guitar and even keyboards from Notorious, but also a lot of brightness and production aspects straight from All You Need is Now.  I think they even learned a lot from recording Red Carpet Massacre because I think the beginning of Pressure Off gives a teensy bit of a club/urban feel, which really helps to offset the pop a little, which I think is genius.

As for this record being the best since The Wedding Album, I think the jury is still out on that one until we hear the whole thing from start to finish. (many, many times)  I just can’t even begin to wonder what the rest of the album will sound like, and I’m definitely NOT wishing my summer away so that I can find out any faster!

Tomorrow, we will continue with the analysis of the descriptions surrounding the individual songs off of Duran’s upcoming album, Paper Gods.  Until then, let us know what you thought of these quotes from the official press release!

-A & R

Top Ten Duran Duran Presale Anxieties

In honor of today’s Duran Duran presale festivities, Amanda and I decided to put together our own “Top Ten” list of Duran Duran presale anxieties. I mean, who doesn’t have that dream where you wake up at 10:30am on the day that presales begin at 10:00?  Perhaps as you read on, you’ll recognize a few…

TEN!

alarm-clock-
You sleep through the presale!!

It’s the day we’ve all been waiting for since 2012. You’ve made sure to reinstate your membership with DDM…you’ve printed out the appropriate seating charts, and you have a game plan. You go to sleep the night before, with visions of all sorts of worry in your head. The restful sleep you need evades you until finally, at 4:30 am you fall asleep. You wake up suddenly and realize that wow, the sun is streaming through your window oddly and glance at your alarm clock. You squint to focus…it says what? 10:19.  10:19!!!!  Presales begin at 10am!!! $#&!

NINE!

Rejected password
Because you know…when you chose these security questions it all seemed fine…

You’re at work and it’s 9:56. You meant to get to DDM earlier and login, but then five people called, your boss needed a copy of something he/she could have walked and found themselves, and you were called to the front desk to get a package you didn’t care about.  You glance at the clock and see you’ve got four minutes to spare. You begin to walk quickly down the hall, almost breaking out into a run. (but you don’t because well, you’re in heels…and you need to be able to stand up if you’re going to see the band, never mind that the show is six months from today, right?) You fly around the corner, you pull off your heels and dash down through the cubicles, leap into your chair and slide over to the computer. Quickly, you type in duranduranmusic.com, and go to login. Wait, what do you MEAN the password doesn’t work?!?  What third spouse?!? 

EIGHT!

The dreaded white screen of death
No. NO NO NO NOT NOW!!!!

You get to your computer. Logging in goes fine. It’s 9:58 and counting. You hit refresh because, well…it could begin at any time now, right? Refreshing goes fine until suddenly, it doesn’t.  You find yourself staring at….well, nothing. It’s a white damn screen.  It’s now 10:00.  NO!!!!!

SEVEN!

Time zone?
That awkward moment when you aren’t sure whether you’re ahead, behind, or just completely screwed.

You’ve decided you’re going to see Duran Duran, and you don’t really care that you’re having to travel from Canada to do it. You’ve got your DDM membership, you’re going VIP, dammit. Then you realize you have no idea what time it is in LA. For that matter, what time is it where YOU are? What time zone do I live in?!? These are all questions that plague Duranies during presales…heaven forbid you don’t know the right answer, otherwise you could miss out on a presale (and I’ve seen it happen!!!)

SIX!!

Site crash
That horrible moment when you’ve got front row in your cart and then…

So you manage to get up on time, find two spare minutes at work, log in without trouble, figure out what time zone you’re in…and you can even get in to buy tickets. You click “Buy VIP”, you see that gold is available, you select tickets…you’re already rejoicing over those front row spots, and then suddenly the screen goes dark and you smell smoke.  No &%^#$@! WAY!!!!!

FIVE!

The ONE time you need a connection...
The ONE time you need a connection…

You’ve never had trouble with the internet at work, until that ONE day you need to be online at a certain time in order to participate in this godforsaken presale. You sit down, ready to do battle and come out the victor. Everything seems to be fine as you type in duranduranmusic.com…then you realize that gee, it’s taking a long time for the site to load.  You refresh. Same deal.  Then others around the office stand up and peek over the top of their cubicles asking if anyone else is having trouble getting online. “Yeah”, the IT guy says, “we’ve been having trouble…we’re working on it.”  YOU’RE WORKING ON IT…you think to yourself. THIS IS AN EMERGENCY!  I NEED MY DURAN DURAN TICKETS!

FOUR!

credit card declined
Wait, didn’t I just PAY that bill?!?

You can’t even believe how easy the presale went. You’ve never logged in faster or gotten those fantastic seats into your cart so smoothly. All is well until you hit “pay” and almost immediately your card has been rejected. Is it because it’s an overseas sale? Is it because you’re buying tickets with a friend’s login? Is it because the bill was due last week and you actually paid on time for once, so your bank is convinced something is off?? Is it because your bank somehow thinks that spending just over $600 for two tickets at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley CA seems a bit fishy????

THREE!

I can't type!!
I can type with ridiculous accuracy until it comes time to enter my information for a presale. Then NOTHING works!!

I can type extremely fast…until a presale starts, then suddenly my hands shake uncontrollably and I can’t remember how to use my track pad on my Macbook properly. This morning, I was in charge of getting tickets for the Greek Theatre show. I see that yes, VIP is available. I click on Silver. Yes – I can actually have front row (At that point I was convinced I’d been transported to an alternate universe because that NEVER happens). My hands begin to shake. I have to type in Amanda’s address (because she is in charge of handling the tickets – and this is with good reason.) I can’t figure out how to make the drop down menu work, and why is it that every single time I go to change the address the screen jumps to the top of the page again? Why doesn’t my trackpad work??? I only have 4 minutes to complete payment???  HELP!!!  (I did get it all to work just fine, once I calmed down…)

TWO!

I need a barf bag
As the clock ticks ever closer to 10am…you feel as though you’re really and truly going to lose your lunch. Or breakfast as the case may be.

My main comment to friends this morning on Twitter was that I was nauseous. And I was. I think I even woke up feeling anxious and unwell this morning, and as every second inched closer to zero-hour, my stomach became more and more of my enemy.  If that weren’t enough, once I finally DID get through to the presale, I could feel myself start to get dizzy, I had to take several slow, deep breaths and I wondered why I hadn’t drank more water this morning. (I don’t know about the rest of you, but I get dizzy when I’m dehydrated. Note to self: DRINK MORE WATER AT THE SHOWS!)  I made it. Barely.

Without further adieu, the number ONE pre-sale anxiety…

Sold out!
Sold out?!? How can they be sold out – it’s STILL 10am!!!!

Let’s say for instance, you’re trying to get tickets to the Hollywood Bowl. You and your friend decide that yes, it’s worth the price for Platinum. You didn’t need that extra kidney anyway, right? Getting online is easy. You refresh without fail. It’s 9:59 by your clock and sure enough, you refresh just in time to hit “buy VIP”. You want platinum because well, it’s the Bowl, this is Duran Duran and Nile Rodgers will be there! ONCE IN A LIFETIME show, by far. You glance at the clock just as it changes to 10am…lo and behold, no Platinum available. Wait, no platinum? How can that be? It’s STILL 10am!  What, VIP tickets, go to the cocktail party, and screw the dream of a backstage tour.  We’re still going to the Bowl and we’re in second row!!!

But seriously…who actually came away with one of those Platinum tickets?!

Hope this was fun and gave some chuckles. I need to go lie down now.  This day has already been far, far too much for me!

-R

Cherry Ice Cream Smile: Paper Gods Album Cover

So how about that Paper Gods album cover?

For months now (actually it’s been YEARS…but we won’t bring that up again right now), I’ve wondered what they would do for a cover and a title. Would it be something artsy like All You Need is Now? Would it be a photo of the band? Would they use the black and gold or black and silver DD logo?  And what would they call this thing? I was starting to think they’d go with Pressure Off only because they hash tagged it everywhere; but my heart was with DD14 because, well…duh.  It’s what we’ve all called it since about September of 2013. Maybe it can be the treasured nickname, only used by friends and family.

Overthinking again. Right….anyway…

And…as is very indicative of my “relationship” and communicative abilities with this band, I was so, so wrong. In a lot of ways, I’m glad I couldn’t read their minds (actually, in MOST ways I’m glad I can’t read their minds). After all, when the day comes that I can pinpoint what they’re going to do, I will need to probably take a giant step back from the keyboard and find a new hobby. I mean, if there are no surprises, what is truly the point? In my point of view, some surprises can be good.

Admittedly, I am still trying to come to terms with the album cover, if not also the name. This is not meant as an insult, it’s that we’re all in that awkward phase where we’re introducing ourselves to someone (something) we’ve not really met yet. I’ll give a personal example and pray that my youngest never reads the blog. When I had my youngest, back in 2008 – we were pretty set on her first name. (That name came from a stuffed dog that my oldest owned, oddly enough…we are very careful to say that we didn’t name her after the dog of course, only that it gave us the idea!) Anyway, her middle name was tougher. We’ve named our kids after various family members, and I wanted to continue the tradition but I also wanted to give her the middle name of Marie (a name which belongs to no one in our family). Instead of doing so, I went with Renee, a middle name she shares with my sister. For the first few months, she didn’t look at all like her name to me. I was still getting used to her, finding her personality.  I would even occasionally slip and call her the name I’d originally chose rather than the one on her birth certificate. Now? I couldn’t imagine her having any other name. It fits perfectly.

I’m trying to remember back to All You Need is Now. Remember the cigarette burn on the cover?  I believe some of you out there even called it a sperm…isn’t that lovely? I’ve never seen so much criticism given to a cover of an album we’d yet to have heard. Funny, I hear nothing about that cover these days. We got used to it, and the album of course grew on most of us, too….and now we’ve moved on to Paper Gods.

Let me briefly comment on the name since I didn’t have a chance last week. I don’t even know when the news of the name hit – was it Friday? I didn’t really come up for air until Sunday afternoon, so the name doesn’t quite roll off my tongue (or my fingers) with ease just yet. I think the name is one of those things that will explain itself in time, and then I’ll wonder why I even thought twice about it…because that’s what albums are really supposed to do. If I had the chance to ask the band about this album, I’d ask them if they feel like it’s a complete “statement” in the same vein as albums back in our day were done (Ziggy Stardust comes to mind), or if it was put together the way so many are today, where they’re meant for quicker consumption. There’s no wrong answer there, albums are written so much differently today, thanks to iTunes and similar. People buy songs, not albums – so there isn’t as much of a motivation for a band to create an album that tells a whole story, or gives a statement. I’ve just been curious as to how they feel about it, especially now that it’s finished. In any case, as I ramble on here, I am hoping that once I really listen to the album, the name and it’s meaning will unfold in the very same way that all of their albums have done.  I think back to not just All You Need is Now (although perfectly named), but Red Carpet Massacre, Astronaut,  Pop Trash and even Medazzaland.  When you stand back and look at those albums as a whole – the meanings are clear and the names are perfect. I can’t wait to hash this one over.

Then there’s the cover, as I mentioned earlier. At some point over the last several days, I saw the new logo and the blurred background image. I love the logo by Brian Roettinger. I really do. I love the way the Duran kind of sits on top of and blends into the other Duran. I actually like the colors, too. I was able to make out the ice cream cone and even the telephone and tiger (actually at one point I had thought the cover looked similar to the one they did for the single of Perfect Day), and that’s when I realized that those images of the ice cream cone, telephone and tiger were meant to remind us of what came before. I dug that…because they were blurred. They were sort of enigmatic in their own way. We knew they were there, we knew what had come, but we weren’t meant to focus on them. The colors were complementary, they’ve had pinks and blues around them for as long as I can remember, and I like them.  At the time, I didn’t realize that the intention wasn’t for the cover to remain blurred.
duran-duran-paper-gods-cover

The cover was reveled just yesterday (I believe??), with the caveat that the artwork is not final (Warner store website). The images are no longer blurred, and they kind of look like stickers. Someone else said (very accurately) that they reminded him of Colorforms from back in, well…OUR day.

The cover artist is LA-based Alex Israel and was done as a collaboration with the band, overseen by China Chow. Alex’s work is very large scale and much of it might remind you of gorgeous soft sunsets across a blue sky, although he has a multitude of other work as well. What tickles me with a cover such as this, where it might be easy to discard it as just pop -whether pop art or pop culture or even pop music – Alex Israel puts those images right on a reproduction of one of his very fine art pieces. Those images are somewhat styled to look like stickers or Colorforms if you remember them, very much icons of pop culture, if you will. But, if you bother to look beyond the surface, you’ll also find real art.

If that doesn’t describe this band; well, you’re not looking hard enough. Yes, Duran Duran are a part of pop culture. Yes, they’ve been pin-ups and have not been taken seriously, very much like this cover is being taken by FANS right now, but if you look hard enough, if you really pay attention, you just might find something far more valuable underneath.  I think it’s genius, and I love that Duran Duran makes comment on the (supposed) paradox of their career in such a unique and subtle way.

I’ve seen many, many negative comments regarding the cover. There was even one or two comments suggesting that fans put together a sort of online petition so that the band reconsiders. Really?! Really??? First of all, the obvious: it is THEIR cover. The band can call the album whatever they want, put whatever they want on the cover, and the rest of us have to respect their choice. That’s the way this all works. This is the boundary between being a fan and being the band. It’s a slippery slope at times, and yes – there are moments when we have that sense of ownership, but this cannot be one of those times. We have not commissioned the band to go into the studio and make the album we want.  They wrote the music THEY wanted, created the package and message they wished to convey.  I’m as guilty as the next person, but enough is enough. Secondly, how about putting a little thought into the cover before condemnation?  Dig a little deeper and see what you might find.

Lastly…anyone ready to take some Pressure Off?!?  I sure am!  I can’t wait to hear that single!!!

-R