Category Archives: singles

A Look Back at Girl Panic and Singles in 2011

I came by invitation

Remember the days when we’d hear of new singles? The internet – or at least our little Duran Duran corner of it – would be ablaze with excitement? Those days are hopefully coming just around the corner again, my friends.

I believe it was mentioned that the band would reconvene in the studio in the spring. (hopefully they do a better job of “hiding” this time than they did in December!)

That timeframe gave them a few weeks to themselves this month. Then they’ll have time to prepare and do the shows in February. Then perhaps they’ll be inspired once they settle back into life at home. I am still betting that we’ll hear new music in 2020, despite what DDHQ may have tweeted. Good music cannot be rushed. I can’t imagine that the band was in the studio long enough during November to release an album in eight or nine months. It’s possible, just not probable! I’ll wait patiently…and I won’t even go visit them at the yet-to-be-found studio if it helps! <wink>

General Chelsea mayhem

On this date in 2011, it was announced that “Girl Panic” would be the next single from All You Need is Now. I can remember taking part in a spirited debate on social media regarding that very announcement. Were singles even necessary? What purpose did a single serve in 2011, anyway? Why choose “Girl Panic”? These were all viable questions that came up back then, and they still make a good case today.

I am not sure that “Girl Panic” really got any sort of radio-time. There were two times that I know “All You Need is Now” was played before it dropped off of the radar for the LA area radio stations, but “Girl Panic”? I don’t know that I ever heard it, which is sad, really. There didn’t seem to be any sort of market or proper channel for Duran Duran, and that holds true even today.

I know I’m going nowhere

At least in Los Angeles, unless you’re U2, or The Rolling Stones, or maybe even Madonna…it is tough to find a station willing to play your new music. There are stations to play your music from the 80s and even the 90s, but new music? It’s really tough to say, and honestly the answer seems to change each week as Arbitron ratings are released. In this moment, there are two “Alternative” stations in Los Angeles, and both of them lean “male” friendly. (read: they’re not playing a lot of bands like Duran Duran, instead leaning towards Nirvana, Green Day, RHCP and even bands like The Killers, Foo Fighters and Linkin Park) While the characterization is 100% offensive to me personally, it also explains a lot about Duran Duran’s marketing as of late.

Anyone with a decent memory (I’m hoping that covers most of us), should recall during the promotion for Paper Gods, that the band relied heavily upon the use of how much their audience had changed to include males during their interviews. If we weren’t hearing about the guys in the audience, we were hearing about how YOUNG their audiences are now.

That was not mentioned by chance, my friends.

Clever words I never said

It is unfortunate, but even in 2015, it was better to have young males in your audience than hoards of women wiling to spend big dollars to be there. Don’t believe me? Excellent! Go and do some simple research on radio markets. See what and whom the stations in large metropolitan areas are catering to, and how. It took me all of five minutes to read up on the Los Angeles area.

I think this goes without saying, but just in case – I want to make it clear that I’m not really blaming Duran Duran here. It is the system, and I can’t help but understand what DDHQ (management) was trying to do. It IS a bit funny when you think about just how contrived it all really was. And is.

A crush panic

In 2011, Duran Duran tried to market a song about women being willing to fall all over themselves for them, to men. The video for the song was shot in a fancy hotel with supermodels acting as the band, while the band themselves were filmed in secondary-type shots as butlers, photographers, chauffeurs, and baggage carriers with women (who were all models of course) “in a panic” over them, complete with over-the-top parties, 1980’s-volumes of alcohol, and other sorts of debauchery. I can still remember reading comments regarding the disappointment of the video by fans – who in fact were still primarily female.

Don’t get me wrong, here. I actually liked the video, and felt it was very well done. The symbolism was hysterical, and I loved the cheekiness. I felt that the story of the video was smart, and perhaps people didn’t pick up on the subtle points they were trying to make. In hindsight though, it is also terribly easy to see what, or whom, they were trying to appeal to…without turning off anyone else in the process.

…and the title of the song was “Girl Panic”. Is that a dream for most men, then? Gee.

You just let it happen

Ultimately though, I still need to understand what the point of releasing a single really is, today. While I recognize the same can be said about albums in general (on platforms like iTunes – where individual songs can be purchased, what good is an album?), I think at least the purpose of an album can be to group songs together under a common umbrella or theme. The same doesn’t exactly hold true for a single.

It all makes me wonder what the future has in store. What about you?

-R


Ultimate Box Set: Singles Results

Last week, I asked Duranies, our readers, to pick 7 Duran Duran singles that they believe should be included on an “Ultimate Box Set”.  I didn’t give any other directions.  For example, I did not suggestion that fans include songs that represent all Duran eras or songs that show the full spectrum of the band’s catalog.  I just let people choose what songs they would want to have, if Duran released such a thing.

Before I dive into the results, one thing is certain.  Fans chose more than 7 songs based on the total vote count, which could not be divided into 7 evenly.  The teacher part of me both appreciated and was frustrated by people’s lack of direction following.  On one hand, I’m glad that my students are not the only ones who cannot follow directions.  On the other hand, really, adults?!  Because of this extra voting, the results might not be slightly off.  I apologize in advance and fixed that for future results.

The Singles in Order of Votes:

  1. Planet Earth
  2. Save a Prayer
  3. Ordinary World
  4. Girls on Film
  5. Pressure Off
  6. Rio
  7. New Moon on Monday

Analysis:

Overall, the results captured Duran Duran pretty well, in my opinion.  The list includes the first single and one of the most recent singles.  There are songs that are upbeat and force people to dance and there are ballads.  Songs from 5 albums are included (Self-titled, Rio, Seven and the Ragged Tiger, The Wedding Album and Paper Gods).  Many albums were left out, though (Notorious, Big Thing, Liberty, Thank You, Medazzaland, Pop Trash, Astronaut, Red Carpet Massacre, and All You Need Is Now).

Other Results:

Interestingly enough, every song was chosen at least once.  This shows the diversity of favorites that Duranies have.  It wasn’t like only 7 songs got picked.  All of the singles were selected.  If we pushed the list to 14, the next 7 singles would have been:

  • The Reflex
  • A View to a Kill/All You Need Is Now
  • Hungry Like the Wolf/Serious/Sunrise
  • Careless Memories

What is interesting there is that there were a lot more ties at this point of the survey.  The votes were very close between those 7 singles.

What do the rest of you think of the results?  How many of the singles you chose were on the list?

-A

Ultimate Box Set: Singles

A couple of weeks ago, I passed out a homework assignment to all Duranies out there, which you can read about here.  The task asked fans to put together their ultimate Duran Duran box set.  This special set of songs needed to include 7 songs that were released as singles, 7 album tracks or non-singles, 7 b-sides or demos, 7 live tracks, and 7 side and solo project songs.  I looked forward to each person’s “box set” and I assumed that I would have enjoyed compiling the results.  Unfortunately, I haven’t received many assignments.  This is not good and it is not fun.

Of course, I wonder why I didn’t get more results.  Did I not give enough time for people to complete the assignment?  Was it too hard?  Did I ask too much or give too many categories?  Did I make the assignment too complicated or difficult to turn in?  No matter, the teacher in me will not give up.  I will ask the question in a different way with a new way to share one’s opinion.

First, let’s take one category at a time.  The first part was to find out which singles people would want to include.  Each person is allowed 7 songs out of the entire list of singles.  Instead of asking people to figure out which songs were singles and then produce a list, I thought I would create a poll instead.  Then, people can just check the 7 singles they would want included in a Duran Duran Ultimate Box Set.  Easy enough, right?  Let’s hope.

So, here is the poll for all of you to pick the 7 singles you would include in a box set.  Please ONLY VOTE FOR 7!  If you vote for more than 7 singles, the results might be off.  Thanks!!!

Next week, we will do the next question, which is favorite album tracks.  I look forward to all the results.  Have fun!

-A

Do you remember: All You Need is Now Released on iTunes

2010 does not seem like it was that long ago, does it?  Yet, when I sit here and do the math – it was six years ago.  How can that even be?

On this date in 2010, Duran Duran released the single “All You Need is Now” exclusively as an iTunes download.  I can remember rushing to the computer to download it, and then listening to it and talking it over with Amanda. In fact, you can read our reviews of it here.

Now, I can remember listening to this song for the first time like it was yesterday.  For the first time in quite a few years, I felt like my band was back. Sure, we can talk all about how All You Need is Now was too much of a bow to Rio, and I know a lot of people out there really didn’t care for Mark Ronson’s handiwork on the album.

I wasn’t one of those.  I loved “All You Need is Now” as soon as I heard it. The only thing about the song that took me a bit longer to embrace were the first few jarring chords with Nick’s sound effects.  I got over that pretty quickly.  The words seemed like they were written for the fans, and the sound was exactly what I felt like Duran Duran should sound like in 2010. No, there weren’t necessarily huge surprises on the album (unless you consider the album prior – and that the band came back to embrace the sound that made them famous to begin with), but it was Duran Duran and I loved it.  I still do.

I miss hearing “All You Need is Now” included in their live set. It was the type of song that fans could fully sing along with—and did—when they played it on tour. I think for a lot of us, the removal of the song from their set has left a bit of a hole. “All You Need is Now” has that same anthemic quality about it that many of their other most-loved songs have, and I really hope to hear it’s back in their set someday.

Until then, here’s a video of the band performing it live for one of the first times on Loose Women, just ten days after the single went live on iTunes.

-R

 

 

 

Just Me, I Couldn’t Be Anyone Else

I reiterate that I believe Pressure Off is one of the best Duran Duran radio-ready singles in DECADES. In saying that, I think fans need to understand a few things:

Singles need radio time in order to compete as a hit.

People still listen to radio.  I know, I know… you don’t listen to top 40…you don’t listen to internet radio…you only do Spotify…so on, and so on. Good for you. Here’s the thing: the band doesn’t have to market their music to you and I, because we probably ALREADY BOUGHT IT.  It’s the other 7 and a half billion people (approx!) in the world that they need to hear their music. In order to get it heard, they’ve got to get it out to land radio, internet radio, Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music…etc. etc. Even YouTube! People have to hear the music over and over in order to learn to love it and buy it.

Radio singles are not always the most engrossing songs on an album, and aren’t necessarily the songs that fans are most drawn to.

A lot of times, a song is reworked for radio in order to get it played. Do I need to remind everyone the Kershenbaum remixes for Rio? If I had a dollar for every time I’ve seen a fan say that they love the deeper cuts off of the Duran albums and that they wished they’d play those types of songs live instead of all the hits, I’d be able to afford platinum VIP at every single show and then some! The point is, we’re hardcore fans. I think singles, for the most part, are the tool to get the other people interested. Once you’ve whetted that interest, you are either just going to stick with the surface or you’re going to dig in a little deeper and find the music that really defines the band for the rest of us. I don’t personally think it’s any surprise that a lot of fans scratch their heads in wonder at the singles that have been chosen over the years. Again, if I had a dollar for every fan that thought Falling Down was a poor choice for a single, I’d be rich. Yes, I know that once upon a time Rio, Hungry Like the Wolf, Is There Something I Should Know, etc, etc were all singles that had heavy radio rotation and we all loved them. We were also (mainly) kids back then, and our tastes are what defined what was on the radio. We were the golden demographic, so to speak. Things have changed since 1984.

It is a VERY different world, both on radio and off, in 2015… from 1984.

We didn’t have internet during my formative years, we didn’t have satellite radio, and we certainly didn’t form opinions on bands or videos from watching YouTube. We watched MTV, we listened to land-based radio, and we had brick and mortar record stores to spend hours wandering and listening within. Now we have a 24-hour news cycle, and information is literally at our fingertips. There is no such thing as downtime, from the moment we wake until the time our heads hit the pillow. If you’re like most people, your phone is beside you at the ready, should anything pressing happen at 3am. Nothing holds our interest for very long these days. It used to be that a band could release a single like Pressure Off and then allow it to “stew” for months, getting radio time, having videos up on MTV…and charts would respond accordingly. Top 40 radio played what we liked. I remember stations like KROQ, KIQQ, and even KIIS FM here in Los Angeles…they ALL had DD on heavy rotation, and even when they weren’t playing DD, they were playing music I knew and loved.

The music that you and I listened and loved in 1984 is not music that would get much airtime today on a typical (top 40) radio station.

I don’t think it’s any surprise that just about the time I really stopped enjoying the music on top 40 radio that I was nearly out of my twenties. No longer do my tastes, or those of my peers, dictate what is being played. The band has really had quite a challenge in front of them, trying to get air play in an ageist world where radio has already decided they are not the right demographic. How can they stay relevant and STILL remain true to themselves, their longtime fans, and their musical history?

Do you all remember Red Carpet Massacre? From the first listen to Night Runner,  I was thoroughly convinced that the band was trying incredibly hard to fit into a space that they really had no business owning. I saw them playing Night Runner more than once, and their discomfort was palatable. It never felt like the band was completely comfortable with the music; in turn, I was never comfortable with much off that album (although there are still songs such as The Valley that are outstanding). I remain incredulous that they choose Timbaland as a producer. I still feel that the songs he produced are among the weakest on the album.  I was (and am!) public with my scrutiny, and I took massive heat on a few message boards at the time for doing so. “How can you call yourself a fan?”…”You have to stop expecting the band to remake Rio”…”They are trying to remain relevant, why don’t you support that?”…and my favorite, “Maybe you just don’t get modern music.”  (Maybe not!!)

I can accept a lot of that scrutiny. The band was trying to be a little more urban, so to speak. They took a great risk, musically. They wanted to glean a little of that modern music attitude from Timbaland and Timberlake. Maybe they got what they wanted out of that album, and maybe they realized that while it was a great experiment, they are better off in another direction. I don’t know and I don’t claim otherwise. It’s all part of their ongoing narrative. Oh, and maybe I just don’t get modern music.  Definitely.

The funny thing is, I’ve been reading Facebook and Twitter, and I’ve read and responded to  comments on our YouTube review. (Yes, it’s long. It’s unabashedly Amanda and I. We had fun with it which is why it works!) Some of the very same people who took great pleasure in  flaming me on various message boards back in the days of Night Runner and RCM are among the people that are openly panning Pressure Off…for a lot the very same reasons I knocked Night Runner.

“They’re trying too hard to be on radio.” 

“It’s not intricate enough, too simple. Too plain”

“It’s not a good first single”

“It doesn’t sound like Duran Duran”

 

Some fans have even compared Pressure Off to songs off of RCM in that the band still hasn’t learned their lesson, and continues to try way too hard to create a hit single rather than just writing music they want to write. That criticism would be far more respected (by me) if it weren’t for the fact that some of these same fans openly applauded Night Runner and RCM when it was released.

So about the complaint that Pressure Off doesn’t sound like Duran Duran…I have an experiment to try. Put Pressure Off in a playlist and listen on random like this one here.  (Thanks @expired_data!)

I can accept that argument for a song like Night Runner, at least to some extent because the typical Duran Duran instrumentation definitely isn’t there, and aside from hearing Simon’s voice, there really isn’t a lot to that song that makes it Duran Duran.  In the case of Pressure Off? Listen to Notorious for the guitar. Listen to All You Need is Now for the keyboards and other production aspects. Listen to Astronaut for the clear vocals during the verses, and listen to just about ANY Duran Duran song from 1982 onward for stacked harmonies in the chorus. Those elements, among many, many others, make Pressure Off a Duran Duran song.

Ultimately though, Pressure Off is the first single off of an album that most of us haven’t even heard. Of course it’s OK not to like a particular song – Daily Duranie would among the very last to say otherwise. As Simon himself said on a previous Katy Kafe, they want Paper Gods to be heard by listeners beyond the core fan base. They need us: the hardcore, long time fans, to help bring this album to the masses. We may not immediately fall in love with everything on it, but I’d be very careful not to write the entire album off due to one song. As with most DD albums, I’d guess that the real gems, particular for long time fans, are yet to be discovered.

-R

Today in Duran History – Violence of Summer

On today’s date in 1990, Duran Duran released Violence of Summer in the United States.  As an aside…I’m feeling pretty violent that summer hasn’t quite left Southern CA yet (I am SO over these 90-100 degree temperatures!)…but back to DD…

This was the 21st single for the band (WOW!) and it was the first single off of Liberty, and as most Duranies know – this single did not do well for the band, and that lack of success followed them until Ordinary World.

All that said, I can personally attest to the fact that it is the *perfect* song for blasting on the radio at 2am as you’re driving home from a late night clubbing.  Trust me on that.

Let’s just watch the video, shall we?

-R

The Daily Duranie Ranking of the Singles

Last week, I revealed the results of this month’s Duranie homework in which I asked fans to take the list of the 35 most common Duran Duran singles and rank them in order from least favorite to most favorite.  Then, I compiled the results in order to get the fan community’s overall ranking of the singles.  The least favorite singles from the fans were Meet el Presidente, Someone Else Not Me and Violence of Summer.  The favorites were All You Need Is Now, Save a Prayer and Planet Earth.  To see the complete list in order, go to the post here.  This week, I will reveal how WE ranked the singles.  Then, you can compare our lists to each other.  You can examine how similar we were or how different we were.  Likewise, you can also compare our lists to the final list or even to your personal list.  Before I post the lists, it is important to note that both Rhonda and myself completed the homework assignment quickly.  We didn’t take a lot of time, in order to not overthink.  This means, of course, that if we were to complete the task today, they might be very different.

Rhonda’s list from least favorite to most favorite:

All She Wants Is
Meet el Presidente
My Own Way
Out of my Mind
Skin Trade
Someone Else Not Me
Electric Barbarella
I Don’t Want Your Love
Do You Believe in Shame?
A View to a Kill
Burning the Ground
Ordinary World
Hungry Like the Wolf
Wild Boys
What Happens Tomorrow
Notorious
Perfect Day
Falling Down
Come Undone
Save a Prayer
Union of the Snake
White Lines
Girl Panic
Violence of Summer
Girls on Film
The Reflex
Too Much Information
Serious
New Moon on Monday
Planet Earth
Sunrise
Rio
Careless Memories
Is There Something I Should Know?
All You Need Is Now

 Amanda’s List from Least to Most Favorite:

Come Undone
Electric Barbarella
Meet el Presidente
Skin Trade
Burning the Ground
Someone Else Not Me
Ordinary World
Violence of Summer
A View to a Kill
All She Wants Is
Falling Down
Hungry Like the Wolf
What Happens Tomorrow
My Own Way
Notorious
Do You Believe in Shame?
Perfect Day
Union of the Snake
Serious
Girl Panic
Is There Something I Should Know?
Girls on Film
The Reflex
I Don’t Want Your Love
Out of my Mind
White Lines
Too Much Information
Rio
Save a Prayer
New Moon on Monday
Sunrise
Wild Boys
All You Need Is Now
Careless Memories
Planet Earth

What do you think?  Any surprises?  How similar are we?  Well, next week, I’ll take some time to analyze the results of the overall ranking.

-A

Today in Duran History – Violence of Summer

On today’s date in 1990, Duran Duran celebrated the US release of the single Violence of Summer off of their Liberty album.

I realize that for many fans, Violence of Summer might not be a favorite, but to me – it’s the perfect track to sing along with as you’re driving home late at night from say, The Key Club in Hollywood.  It’s a happy, upbeat tune, and keeps you awake.  What more could you want?!?

Before I slip this blog post into an all-out review…here’s the video.  Enjoy!!

-R

Today in Duran History – Last Day on Earth

On this date in 2000, Last Day on Earth was released as a single in Japan.  As far as I know, it was only released as a single there and marked only the second single off the Pop Trash album with Someone Else Not Me being the first.  I wonder why they decided to release this song only in Japan.  Anyone know?  As for the song itself, it is a track off Pop Trash that I do enjoy and really seems to fit the Duran philosophy of living in the moment since this song asks what you would do if this was the last day left.  It is all about the idea of seizing the moment and living one’s life fully each and everyday.  The same philosophy  was more recently heard in the song, All You Need Is Now.

Like All You Need Is Now, it is a song that often opened up the band’s shows on the Pop Trash tour.  Here is a live clip of it here:

This particular clip was recorded at the House of Blues in Los Angeles.

What does everyone think of this song?  What do you think of this live performance?

-A