A few months ago or so, I asked people for songs that people might a discussion around the lyrics, specifically to try and analyze the lyrics to figure out the meanings of them. I got a list of songs that I have been slowly moving through. (By the way, I would welcome other songs for this so if you have a song that you want me to blog about, just let me know!) One of the songs mentioned was “Yo Bad Azizi”. I just put it on the list and didn’t think too much about it until today when I checked that list. This song was a strange one to mention in terms of lyrics, since there really aren’t lyrics in the same way as we would think of a normal song. This then led me to think about the era in which this song was made (1989-1990). Obviously, this era saw quite a few songs that were “experimental” in nature, including Burning the Ground and Decadance along with Yo Bad Azizi. So, instead of having a blog in which lyrics are discussed, analyzed, and interpreted, I thought I would talk about these three songs and what is known about them and their histories.
Burning the Ground-
This was a “stand alone” single that was released in December 1989 to go along with Decade, the greatest hits album. Strangely enough, Burning the Ground wasn’t featured on that album. If you are unfamiliar with this song, when you hear it, you will recognize that it is just like a mix of Duran hits in the 1980s. Some of the features include some very well-known lines from the hits like, “Can you hear me now” from Planet Earth and some of the sounds like “flex flex flex” from The Reflex. The one thing that I remember sticking out to me when I first heard it were the samples from the movie, Barbarella, which, of course, every fan knows is the movie in which the band took their name from. Those samples put a big smile on my face as they chose the ones I would have chosen, including, “Your mission. Find Duran Duran.” Every Duranie I know, responds with, “Okay! I will find them!” It made sense to include those samples in a song like this, too, since it really was about their history up to that point. Barbarella was part of that history. Despite the focus on the band’s history and hits, I don’t know that it has ever been a big fan favorite. Maybe, it was in 1989. I don’t remember. They did use the song to open their shows in 2006. When I heard that, I wasn’t sure how it was going to go over but once I heard it in person that way, I thought it worked to get the audience excited. Here is the video, which is similar in that it uses mostly old footage along with some shots of the space shuttle, both as a tribute to Duran’s history and focus on recurring space theme along with the album cover for Decade. What do you think of the song?
Before you know anything about this song, you can tell that is dance focused based on the name. It isn’t Decadence. Instead it is a play on that word, which means indulgence in pleasure or luxury. No, this indulgence is about dance and about music. Clever. This song was the b-side to Burning the Ground and similar in nature. It feels a bit more experimental, which is probably why it was chosen to be the b-side. Nonetheless, it still is like a big mix of Duran material. Here is a clip of the song. What do you think of this one?
Yo Bad Azizi-
This song is a little bit different than the other two. In this case, it was the b-side to Serious, a single off of Liberty. The title is, obviously, a funny way of stating the line “You’re about as easy as a nuclear war” from the song, Is There Something I Should Know. According to Duran’s wiki, which you can find here, this song was a response to a fan letter that Simon received in which the fan asked what “yo bad azizi” meant. Clearly, this fan didn’t think that Simon was singing the real line very clearly. Technically, I suppose that this song has lyrics of sorts, which you could read here. Basically, they are the same lines about “yo bad azizi”, “yo bad azizi nuclear war” and “nuclear war”. Clearly, they didn’t take time to write real lyrics for this one. Thoughts on this one? Here is the link to a mix of the song on youtube: Yo Bad Azizi (Gets Made Mix).
Looking at these songs, a couple of ideas pop into my head. First, it seems clear that this time was such that songs like these, remixes like songs, must have been popular then. I wonder why. Was technology such that they could remix songs better at that time? Was this in connection to the rise of house and techno music? Second, while part of me can appreciate them for what they are, another part of me can’t help but to think…they didn’t have to write new songs or lyrics for these, did they? Was that helpful, especially for the ones surrounding Decade, which from what I heard the band wasn’t that excited about in the first place? No matter what we think of these songs, they definitely make for an interesting little piece to Duran’s musical history.