There are blogs that I begin to compose in my head before I even sit down to write. I know how they’re going to go, I know what I want to communicate, and I assume they’ll be very quick – in and out in under thirty minutes. All will go well, and I’ll go about my day.
That’s how today was going to go. I knew I was going to write about the sudden re-emergence of Andy Taylor, and I knew my feelings were rooted incredibly deep in a pond of cynicism and anger. As many point out, I’m an emotional sort of writer. After trusting Andy, even going as far to write several blogs touting the successes of Direct to Fan marketing to only have him (and his website) completely vanish without so much as a “Hey, we’ll talk again soon”, really stung. I clung to what I knew, which was Duran Duran, and I continue to embrace Dom as the band’s guitar player.
Then yesterday, someone asked if I’d heard Andy’s new version of Save a Prayer with Thomas Gandey – a name I didn’t know. I won’t lie, I immediately went all cynical in my head. After all, I’m no idiot. It wasn’t that long ago that the Paris attacks happened, I know the song has gained, at least temporarily, a new audience, and has probably seen a gain in online searches and traffic. Why not capitalize on that? And, if you’re going to do just that, why not take advantage of an upcoming Duran Duran world tour and the buzz off of a fairly-new released album at the same time? I floated those thoughts in my head as I finally decided to step out of the inner tube and dive right in, giving the song a listen (or twelve, as it currently stands).
My intention isn’t to review the song, after all in order to do that fairly, Amanda and I both would need to have input. But, I did listen. From the first downbeat I knew that I was going possibly drown in emotionality, something that I was not prepared to do so early on a Monday morning.
The music is designed to be a dance track, and I can hear that – but what I really like is that while it doesn’t lose the soul and/or charm of the original Save a Prayer, it is at the same time different. I like the way the song is deconstructed, and then seems to be built back together again with the addition of a bar or two of pronounced guitar. The vocals made me take pause, because for some reason – I still expected to hear Simon. That doesn’t typically happen when I hear covers and remixes, so I have to guess that the song keeps so much of the original spirit my brain expected Simon’s voice. The vocals, are soft and almost an afterthought as the music is the highlight. Lush and beautiful, it did not disappoint. Instead, I found myself wistful. I didn’t realize I’d missed Andy and his guitar until I heard it.
I’m glad Duran Duran has Dom for touring at the very least. I wish they included him more, particularly since they write (in the Paper Gods tour book under the bio section) “Manchester-born guitarist – Dom Brown – officially joined Duran Duran in 2006“. Fans still do not accept he belongs amongst John, Nick, Simon and Roger – and I place that blame squarely across the shoulders of the band and management – because they have the power to make that right. They simply choose not to, and as a result we all question his place and whether he’ll be along for the long ride. And yes, it matters. It is just tiring to always wonder whether he’ll continue to be around, or if the band will ditch him in favor of a bigger name. The ambiguous nature of his membership, at least to fans, makes it really difficult for anyone to accept his permanence.
On the other hand, fans cannot deny Andy’s history with the band. As a friend said today – Duran Duran is in his blood, and that is so true it hurts. I can’t help hear that spirit, his blood, in this song, and even in his own work of the past. I would imagine there are days when Andy would very much like to forget the whole thing, but he can’t. Nor can we. He lived it. Duran Duran lives in him. When I first heard this version of Save A Prayer, I couldn’t help but get misty-eyed as the guitar played, and there is very much a part of me that misses him. He is a part of the Duran Duran I fell in love with. At their best together, there was never any denying that chemistry, that fabulous tension between guitar, bass, and keyboards, and the beauty that could exist between them all, working as a bridge over a river, connecting two sides of the same town. On the other hand, when there have been so many storms that the river has taken out the bridge and sent it floating away in pieces, well – what can you do but rebuild?
I really don’t have answers here, and I don’t expect readers to understand or even agree with my assessment. I don’t know Andy’s mind or heart, and I don’t know why he decided to release this music now. It’s probably not something I need question, although anybody who knows me already recognizes I’m sitting here over thinking much of it. My mind speaks the realities I can’t ignore, my heart whispers that maybe he really did miss the music. Even in posting this and tagging it appropriately, I know that we are helping to drive traffic to hear the song – on Soundcloud – which is probably what he wants, even if only indirectly. Duran Duran fans still have sizable clout when it comes to these things, and I’m well aware of the power blogs such as these wield these days. I suppose if I really wanted to stick to my guns, I could have ignored the whole thing and never commented. I can’t help but love what I heard. Am I a bad fan for supporting Andy again? Maybe. Maybe not. It probably depends on what side of the Andy-argument you’re on, and I can’t lie – I’m really not sure where I sit today. I always loved him and respected his opinions – up until the day he trashed his own website without nary a glance back at those of us who fully supported him. I don’t know what happened, I only know that in the end, people like me really didn’t matter.
I’m curious to see what he does from here. I know that it’s only every few years we tend to hear from Andy in one way or another, and there’s no telling how long he’ll stick around, speaking through his music. I’m just interested in what he’ll have to say.