Category Archives: Remastered editions

Her Name is Still Rio.

Who wants another remaster of Rio?  Anyone??  Buehler??

Recently, Duran Duran announced that the band was about to set sail with another remaster of everyone’s favorite album….Rio. As explained through the band’s Facebook page:

The only difference between this and the 2009 Special Edition (which is no longer available) is that this is in a digipak and not in booklet form. So it is a sort of repackage/reissue of that release.

That said, many in the community are wondering pretty loudly as to why this release is so necessary. The overwhelming majority of comments I’ve seen have had this sentiment, “With all due respect, how about stopping the reissues and finishing the new album?”

Fair enough. I suppose that upon first glance it does seem a little…well, overdone at this point. After all, it’s been wisely pointed out by more than one fan that Liberty, The Wedding Album, Thank You, Medazzaland and Pop Trash have yet to receive this kind of treatment. Is it really smart to reissue Rio again?

Originally Rio was owned/distributed/etc. by EMI – a label that is no longer in existence. The 2009 remastering was also done by EMI (with very little input from the band, as I seem to recall).  The remasters of Rio, along with the others done by EMI, did not continue to be printed after EMI was sold off.

So where did that portion of Duran’s catalog end up?  At Warner. For the first time in many years, the band has been reunited with their catalog, which is something John in particular has mentioned.  I don’t think it’s really much of a surprise to see that Rio is being reissued once again. The album continues to sell well for the band because it is the music that made them most popular, so why not reissue it under the Warner label?  Warner didn’t buy the catalog for it to sit somewhere and just collect dust, after all.

Also, Isn’t it the least bit interesting that this summer, Duran Duran will play festivals, introducing that music to people who, unlike the rest of us, might not have been around to hear it in the 80s? Even if they never play a single new song from the “yet-to-be-named-publicly” album that we call DD14 at any of these festivals, they will expose new audiences to songs like Rio and Save a Prayer…and those songs can be found where?? On a fantastic remastered digipack of Rio. This reminds me a little of the summer TV reruns, “If you’ve never seen it, it’s new to you!” ….”If you’ve never heard it, it’s new to you!”  Say what you will about reissues, if they’re trying to find a new audience, it’s not a bad way to go.

Furthermore, if you were a band from the 80s that is looking to reinvigorate your fan base and bring in some new lifeblood…why wouldn’t you play festivals known for attracting young people, and reissue your biggest selling album at the same time?  You play some festivals, get people interested and talking about you, make some sales on an older, yet still very viable release, and then release your brand new album…which is reportedly meant for a much wider audience than their current fan base.  (I’ve had people ask where I’m getting that – listen to the final 20th Anniversary Katy Kafe with Simon. They talk quite a bit about it, and yes, it really DOES make sense!) Those same people who bought your older music, thinking they’ve found a new band, will then hear new music and make those purchases. It happens all the time with plenty of bands, and it is a proven marketing method. Whether it will work as well for Duran Duran or not is yet to be seen, but I’m very curious to see if it will.

I know that there are many in the community that scoff at the idea of Duran Duran’s attempts to bring in new vitality to their long time fan base. I can understand why. We all were witness to what happened with some of their previous attempts, and I think to a certain degree, we’re selfish as all get out. We don’t necessarily want to share the band with new generations of fans. We’ve loved them since Day One, and dammit they’re OURS. Those are honest feelings, and I get it. I don’t know if the band or label really gets that, but I’m not sure it’s necessarily important that they do. Is it really healthy though to expect the band to cater solely to their long time fans and NOT grow their fan base? Is it really smart for them not to try? I don’t think so.

Selling music is a business. The band has to make money or else it’s really just a very expensive hobby. Duran Duran, while they say they’re not in it for the money, they are definitely accustomed to living a certain type of lifestyle that is beyond the reach of most. They want to see their music reach as many people as possible…and last I checked, the population of 40-somethings in the world isn’t necessarily growing. It isn’t as though we’re all going to bring a friend who has never heard Duran Duran to their next shows and suddenly convert them. No…it’s younger people coming up in the world that they’ve got to expand and reach to find. Like it or not, that’s the reality. If they want to sell their album beyond the 300,000 or so copies that they might be able to sell to their fan base in varying forms…they’d better come up with some music that has a snowball’s chance in hell of being played by people who aren’t already their fans. Again, like it or not, that’s the cold, stark truth.

While sure, I sit back and wonder aloud here on the blog about whether they’re going to alienate long time fans in the process, there is a huge part of me that wants to see them do well. Why wouldn’t I? I’m a FAN and I support this band. Isn’t that the point? I’d love to see the album take the world by storm, all the while knowing that I’ve been around to watch the entire plot unfold. I haven’t heard the album yet, I don’t really know what they’ve got up their sleeve(s), but I’m trying to keep an open mind. It really is what we should all be doing, and yes, it can sometimes be difficult.

I think that as long time fans, Duranies, die hards….whatever you’d like to call us, we have a habit of being overly cynical. I certainly fall into that ditch on occasion, without question! We think we’ve seen it all and we think we know the band’s career better than they might – because you know, we’re objective. <wink, wink> There are a good number of fans out there that believe the band has already reached the apex of what they can hope to achieve. I’ve witnessed the discussion, I’ve heard the chuckles when the idea of reaching beyond the fan base and finding a younger audience is mentioned, and I’ve read the comments of, “good luck with that. Hope you don’t end up losing your entire fan base in the process.” I’m ever-so cautiously thinking that maybe we shouldn’t all be quite so sure. This is a band that I wouldn’t necessarily count out, and wouldn’t it be AMAZING to see them take off like a rocket or hear them on the radio again? It’s not wrong to hope for that, or at least be open to the possibility. After all, I still love them, and I want to see them do well with music that they are really and truly proud of creating. Don’t you?

-R

Today in Duran History – Hammersmith & Rio Revisited

On today’s date in 2009,  the remastered versions of Live at Hammersmith ’82 and Rio were released.  Do you have them?

What is really great about the remastered Rio is that the Carnival mixes stand next to the originals (and even the night versions and some demos) here – so if you ever had a question about their sounds, here was your chance to really hear the subtle, yet significant differences. While I think that for most people, the CD set was probably overkill, for the Duranies I’m probably writing for out there loved it. I know I still play these in my car, which yes – means I love them. Which do you prefer – the UK originals, Kershenbaum mixes or the night versions?

Hammersmith, on the other hand, is a fascinating show to have and hold.  If you think about this show, it was recorded in November, just before the band took over the US charts by storm. Yes, they were already famous, but in 1983 they were about to take over the entire world. Go ahead, take another listen. When you experience the show with that frame of mind, it puts an entirely different emotion into your listening, not to mention that the set itself is really kind of kick-ass. Thirty-one years later and they can still put on a show that will knock you out flat if you’re not expecting it. Not that I really need it, but the CD reminds me why I’m still a fan.

Happy Monday!

-R

Back to Basics

Today is Tuesday, and for me – that means it’s a morning of priceless independence.  I leave the house at about 8:25, drop my son off at school (which is literally down the hill from my house…my son is nothing if not spoiled sometimes!), and then I continue on to drop my little one off at preschool for the morning.  It’s a precious 3 hours of time that I have to myself, and typically that means coming home, writing this blog and perhaps perusing the message boards a bit before leaving to go and get her from school.  It’s a short amount of time, but I’ll take it!  Anyway, this morning as I pulled out of my driveway I switched the CD changer to slot #1 – which infamously holds Duran Duran’s newly remastered first album.  Naturally Girls on Film began, and since I had two kids in the car with me, it drifted off into the background noise – which is what typically happens whenever I’m in the car.  After I dropped the youngest off, I did something I rarely have a chance to do anymore – I turned the volume up.  🙂  I skipped Girls on Film (Yes, I like the song, but as happens with any song after 30 years – I’m a little tired of it these days) and went straight to Planet Earth.

First of all, I have to say that it is rare that I have the chance to really LISTEN to any song on my car stereo, much less enjoy it.  I’m never alone, nor am I really in the car for long stretches without stopping 50 times for kid drop-offs, pick-ups and runs to the grocery store, so it could take me hours to get through one single song, I kid you not.  Regardless, turning up the sound and sitting quietly is something to savor, which I did.  I was almost shocked at the clarity.  Funny how much differently an MP3 file sounds from a CD…. it’s nice to hear the song in an uncompressed state for a change, never mind that I had the opportunity to fully appreciate the Mark Levinson stereo system that came with my car!

As I listened, I marveled over just how perfect the first album really is.  Andy said rather recently somewhere that the first album is the best because it all happened before they all had egos. (I’m politely paraphrasing for him)  I can’t really argue that, given that I don’t know any of them personally, but I can definitely agree that it SOUNDS as though it were recorded without ego or judgement.   My personal opinion is that if I can hear each instrument without having to strain…and that none of it (collectively and or individually) make my ears bleed or give me a headache – it’s recorded well.  You’d think that would give the band, or any band for that matter, a wide range of fuck-up-ability (yes, it IS is a word…my blog…my dictionary.), but I can say that this first album is the ONE album where the band gets it totally right.   There is something stunning and beautiful in the way this album comes about.  Planet Earth, for example:  Nick provides this beautiful, exquisite atmosphere, and you can hear Andy playing call and answer with another layer of Nick’s synths, and John has this gorgeous bass groove (and nobody out there does it better) that just ties it all together, yet you can hear every single instrument with complete clarity.  Of course Simon’s lyrics are outstanding and Roger’s drums are as perfect as ever.  The one thing I thoroughly enjoy about this remastering is that you can totally hear Roger’s hi-hat.  I don’t know how to describe it, but you can hear the brass in those cymbals – it’s not just a crash, but it’s the metallic sound to it that makes it perfect.  You never get that in an MP3, or even on the album itself – it’s just not quite as clear.  If you can’t hear what I’m talking about on Planet Earth, try listening to Anyone Out There and you should really be able to hear what I mean.   John’s bass on Anyone Out There should truly be (and IS, in my mind) a testament to his sheer talent as a musician.  Yeah, the groove might be simple to some of you out there – but it’s not just the notes, it’s the accents he plays, and more specifically, it’s the emotion that comes through as he’s playing.  Anyone can play a freaking instrument.  ANYONE.  Not many can be a real musician.  The difference between being able to play a piano or a clarinet or a bass is that where the player plays the notes in front of him or the ones in his head – the musician adds the emotion.  There’s where the true talent comes in.  You can hear that in John’s playing, even at a live show.  When you listen to this album, not only do you get all of that emotion and the great bass grooves he’s known for – the recording is so smooth – there’s a “roundness” to the notes he’s playing.  They don’t have that electric flatness to them that seems to prevail when I listen to an MP3.  It just sounds round and whole, for lack of a better way to describe it. That, my friends, is PERFECT recording, from production through engineering and straight on through mixing.  I miss the days when they used to allow the instruments to speak for themselves.  I think it’s a case, and I’ve mentioned this before, where nowadays they can change anything and everything – there is so much available technology out there, that during recording no one knows how to hold back – they want to put every possible bell and whistle to use, to the point where the song ends up sounding like a wall of noise. (as opposed to a Wall of Sound )  Don’t get me started on auto-tune.  That’s an example of something that was a great idea, a fantastic invention and has been so abused by people that shouldn’t even be allowed in a recording studio that now it’s a joke.

It’s been a long time since I’ve had the opportunity to really listen to their first album like that – and I only got through Planet Earth and Anyone Out There.  I’m really looking forward to getting the CD of All You Need Is Now and listening to that intently for about 6 months on my car stereo, I’m hoping that it lives up to the spirit of their first couple albums.  I know that the MP3’s are pretty good, but I’m betting that the CD will sound even better.  Here’s hoping!

-R

An introduction is in order!

So, this is the first of what we hope will be many years worth of The Daily Duranie blogs!  The two authors of this blog are your basic everyday fans.  Both of us have been fans for years, and it’s only been recently that we’ve decided to start subjecting the universe to our opinions, rants, excitement and theories.  Watch out, world.

The fact is, this isn’t going to be a basic blog about the happenings surrounding the band.  This is really more about THE FANS. There are already a million places to find out about what the band is doing, like how long Nick is taking to mix the next album, and how much of a fan Mark Ronson really is. We aren’t looking to replace those sites – the fact is, we read them too!  This blog is about our community.  It’s about how the news of the day or reflections of the past affects us as fans – and how we (the authors) feel about it.  It’s about how being a Duranie fits into daily life, and it’s about how we fans see one another.  It’s important to note that this blog is purely opinion, and we don’t anticipate that everyone who reads this blog every day will agree with everything we say.  We simply hope that the blog creates an arena (pun totally intended – old habits die hard!) for discussion, learning, and celebration of the fact that one band brought us together as a community.  Enjoy!!

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With that, I’m going to jump right in and post the first State of the Union (for Duranies anyway). Today, Duran Duran reported that the remastered re-releases of Notorious and Big Thing will not be released in the US (North America) until October 13.  The original release date was to be September 27.  The funniest part of this post is the middle sentence of the news byte – apparently one of the geniuses at EMI says that slow shipping is to blame…

and so that is why the release is pushed back 3 weeks?  Wow.  When did they ship from the UK – yesterday??  Of course, I’m only assuming that the remastering, and therefore the shipping, originated in the UK, since the European re-release is still on schedule for the 27th.  That said, I have to wonder just how much of a priority these re-releases really are to EMI.  The fact is – many Duranies have posted scathing reviews of the re-released version of GOF due to the muddy sounding opening camera clicks at the beginning of the song.  The original version that any Duranie has had in their collection since they were in their preteens sounds MUCH better than what was sent out in the “re-mastered” version, and yet EMI met the criticism with barely a blink.  Basically they told the fan community that they weren’t concerned about it – almost as though they were telling us to “buck up” and deal.  Really?? That’s all we deserved?  I just have to think that yes, financially – I can see the point in not being willing to take back the hundreds (thousands if I’m feeling especially positive and optimistic) of CD’s that had already been sold, that just doesn’t make good sense; but conversely, to try and make it sound as though we’re all just splitting hairs over the quality is a little unfair.  The camera click sound is what helps to MAKE THE DAMN SONG!!!.

So now, we’re looking at a pushed back re-release date, and while that’s obviously never going to make national or world news – I have to wonder why.  I really do picture some worker bee over at the EMI shipping department (if there really is one) looking over the traffic and logistics printout for the month and realizing – “Crap!  I forgot all about the carton of Duran Duran CD’s gathering dust in the corner!! Oh well – so it’ll hit the US a little late.  Whatever.”   No, it’s not the end of the world, but it’s just another little bit of injustice for a band that, at one point, practically owned that label.  It’s sad, really.  Sure, we can all be thankful the CD’s are being re-released at all….just as long as the re-release holds up to the original at the very least!    What’s even sadder is that this topic isn’t even getting talked about much on the boards.  Is it because every other Duranie out there has flown the coop, or is it because we’re so used to the slap we expect the backhand, duck, and then go about our business as usual?

As a Duranie myself, once again I found myself pausing and trying to find a sensible reason why EMI basically didn’t give a crap.  Sure, the band isn’t quite up in the charts these days, and sure, I can see why they didn’t want to spend a ton of time on the re-release – the band isn’t even currently signed with them. (but hey – it’s a great thing that EMI can continue to milk them for all their worth, isn’t it??)   However, can’t we at least make sure what we’re sending out sounds good?  If not for the sake of Duran Duran, for at least the professionalism of the label?  I would think that the band and their sales during the 80’s are worth at least that much.  

-R