Category Archives: songs

Picking Duran Duran Favorites!

Today’s poll question about people’s favorite song off of Duran Duran’s latest, Paper Gods, is getting quite a lot of attention.  I love how many people have voted and I love when people comment on one form of social networking or another about why their favorite song is their favorite.  It got me thinking.  (Always dangerous, I know!) What makes a favorite song, a favorite?  Then, I started to think about songs that I really bonded with as a kid vs. the songs I bonded with as an adult.  They have definitely changed.  Is it because my criteria for a favorite song has changed?  I think so!

When I was a kid, I remember getting certain songs in my head.  In fact, they were so in my head that I couldn’t get them out and I drove everyone around me crazy with them!  Let me give a couple of examples.  First, I remember having the chorus to Save a Prayer stuck in my head one afternoon when I was hanging out with my best friend, at the time.  It was summer and we were hanging out in my backyard.  I kept singing the chorus out loud over and over again. (Much like what my students do to me now!)  My childhood best friend was also a Duranie so you would think that she would appreciate this.  She did, too…for like the first two and a half hours.  Then, she had enough!  A similar situation happened when the Reflex came out.  Luckily, this time, both of us were completely addicted!  We were so addicted, in fact, that whenever and I mean whenever it was on MTV or the radio we would call each other up!!  We spent a lot of time on the phone in the spring of 1984!  Thus, as a kid, what made a favorite song was that it got stuck in my head!  It had to be catchy!  I didn’t think of the lyrics or dive deep into the instrumentation.  Now, though…

When I think of my favorite songs now, they tend to be ones in which the instrumentation really sticks out!  My favorite is Planet Earth, which has the fabulous call and answer between guitar and keyboard, not to mention that fabulous bass line!  I also love how the lyrics capture this spirit that Duran has with popular culture, science fiction, humanity.  Therefore, the lyrics tend to be super important to me as well now.  I might go so far as to say that, for the last couple of albums, what has really hooked me is the lyrics.  Let me give some examples.  All You Need Is Now, the song, took me a few listens to grasp the instrumentation with that jarring and unusual beginning.  What kept me listening, though, was the lyrics.  “Stay with the music.  Let it play a little longer” is a sentiment that most Duranies have felt or feel even now about the band.  Many of us loved that the song seemed to be about them and US and our history together.  Then, another one of my absolute favorite Duran songs of all time grabbed me, lyrically, from this album, too, which is Before the Rain.  In this case, I loved the feel of the song, musically, but didn’t have a connection to the lyrics until my beloved cat and grandma died ten days apart.  All of a sudden lines like, “On the bomb ticks that is my heartbeat.  In every life flash, in every car crash.  I hear the silence waiting to fall” took on new meaning as I watched two lives come to an end, leaving my broken heart beating and silence.

Lyrics have become so important to me that I do think they played a huge role in me really grasping and embracing Paper Gods.  I had been listening to the album for a week or so and had begun to really enjoy it but I wasn’t hooked yet.  All of a sudden, I was listening to it with earbuds on to really focus on the songs when I noticed the lyrics to Last Night in the City, a song that I had initially dismissed.  Lines like, “Hearts’ spinning all around on me (together).  Now they’re surrounding me.  This is how we get connected.  Running out the shadows into light!”  This is how I feel on tour!  Let me listen again!  More lines that feel like touring like, “I’m not gonna sleep tonight.  Till the morning fills the sky,” and “This is our time!”  Holy crap!  At that very minute, I got a text message from Rhonda who had realized the exact same thing!  For literally the next two hours, Rhonda and I went back through each song, listening to the lyrics, analyzing them, connecting to them.

Fast forward to a Sunday in October as I sat on a plane heading back home from tour and once again, I found myself listening to the album.  I had a piece of paper in front of me that held my flight info.  Throughout my flight, it became more than that.  It became a paper filled with more lyrics, more lines that now held new significance to me.  I still have that paper as it represents an even deeper connection to the album than I had before.  Each time I listen to Duran or really dive into the lyrics, I’m reminded of how SMART the lyrics really are.  They make me think.  They make me feel.  They also often feel like they are directly speaking to and/or about me.  Perhaps, this is why how I choose my favorite Duran songs have shifted.  Lyrics matter a lot more now.

What about the rest of you?  How do you choose your favorites?  Has the process changed?


Paper Gods: The Bonus Tracks

Like most of our readers, I’ve been settling in with Paper Gods for a couple of weeks now. During that time, I went from not feeling really sure about the album, to finding tracks that I really like, to falling in love with particular songs; and of course, to being able to list favorites. I have also done as Simon asked, and listened to the album the entire way through…. many times now. I have to say, listening to it all in a single sitting is worth the time. Not that the album literally tells a story – I don’t think it’s exactly a concept album in that regard, but I think that it does have its own tale to tell. Paper Gods gives a snapshot of a particular period of time in the lives of the people who created it, and I also think there is much to say about how the album translates to the history of the band in general – but that’s a topic for another time! Today, we’re talking bonus tracks!

For me, my favorites can almost all be found in the bonus tracks – whether we’re talking about the Target version or the Fan Deluxe version (and between them both you have ALL of the available bonus material).  I have to admit that I squealed more than once when I first listened to a couple of the songs, and I’ve really given a lot of thought as to why these songs weren’t included in the regular album.  I love Paper Gods, don’t get me wrong, but it wasn’t quite hitting all of my buttons, so to speak. I couldn’t put my finger on what was needed, which hindered me from truly embracing the album until I finally just decided it didn’t matter. My ears liked what I was hearing, and I felt like maybe I was just trying to pick out what might be wrong instead of enjoying what was there.

Fast forward to the day I had all of the bonus tracks at hand and sat down in my car to listen to them. The things I felt were missing seemed to be present in these songs, and for me, they round out the album beautifully and tick off all of the boxes that I still felt needed ticking. What was once an album I liked but didn’t love suddenly became an album I completely embraced. And in fairness, I really have thought a lot about why these are just bonus tracks. The truth is, as much as I love them – and they are all great songs on their own – they might not necessarily blend in that well with the album. In my head, the album – the 12 tracks that were released in the standard version of Paper Gods – create a full statement. I suppose in a lot of ways, it’s up to each of us to decide what the full meaning of that statement might be. Perhaps these extra songs, for whatever reason, don’t really add to that statement. Maybe they don’t blend as well as the others… but even so, I can count at least one of them on my “all time favorite songs” list.

Planet Roaring: At first, the song reminds me very much of “Flight of the Bumblebee,” 2015 edition.  The intro grabs your attention, and then suddenly Simon’s voice comes in, and I love the way he sounds. This is a song that, as far as my ears can tell, is meant for fans.  I love the uplifting sound, the words as only a real fan could recognize as our journey with this band.  I would absolutely be bowled over if they played it live – and the die hards would be singing right along, loud and proud.

Valentine Stones: This is a title that I’ve heard floating around for months…and I’m sure I’m not the only fan that thought to myself, “Valentine? That sounds vaguely familiar!” I have no idea what a Valentine Stone is, but I like it. I won’t lie, to me – this is essential Duran Duran. It’s the type of sound I expect, there’s no fancy featured vocalists, and it’s exactly what I needed to hear.

Northern Lights: I have read quite a few comments from people asking what that “walking around” part at the beginning is really about. I must be crazy, because I love it.  It reminds me of hiking, and yeah, I really like it when I’m wearing ear buds and hear it. I’m not super crazy about the beginning synthesizer notes – they remind me of what an alien ship would sound like if it were landing, but the rest of the song more than makes up for it.  THIS song reminds me of what “modern” Duran Duran should sound like.  The softness of the music with just a tinge of…I’m really not sure how to characterize it…darkness maybe(??)…in the vocals…it’s what I would expect Duran circa 2015 to be.

On Evil Beach: This song sounds like it could have been included on the bands very first album, albeit with perhaps a bit more technology involved than what the band may have had at hand back then. The lyrics are fairly simple and short, but the sound is as brand-Duran as anything I’ve heard in the past 37 years….and I like it.

Cinderella Ride: Without giving anything away (ha!)…this is my favorite of the bunch. Any element that I could have possibly missed from Paper Gods, as well as ALL of the elements I love best from a Duran Duran song are represented, along with gorgeous lyrics. I adore the guitar part (is that really a surprise?) and the strength of the drums – THIS is what I have missed.  In a word? Balance…with one of the best choruses I’ve heard since Duran Duran 1981. Modern, without completely losing the soul of what this band was, and is.

The bonus tracks have really filled out this album for me, and I find them playing them endlessly on repeat, going from one to another thinking to myself, “Oh, I love this one!” I can’t imagine I’m alone.


Daily Duranie Review – So Misled

This week, we return to the Notorious album to review “So Misled”.  Even though, this song was just an album track, do we think it is a quality song?  What are the positives?  What are the parts that we thought needed to be changed?  Read on to find out!

 Rhonda’s Review of So Misled


So Misled begins with a fantastic drum breakdown and then bass enters, creating a great funk. It’s unusual for a Duran song to begin that way, so it interests me immediately. I love the way they’ve got the bass up a little louder in the mix this time, because with the brightness of the horn section, the bass and drums add the right balance. The guitar, while still very present, is not overpowering and again, does not act as a true lead guitar.  What I don’t hear much of, which in some ways is almost refreshing, are synthesizers. I know they are there, because there are parts the very beginning where they act as melody, and they do present themselves for a quick instrumental ad lib section just about 2/3 of the way through the song, but for the most part they are way underneath the other instruments, coming out just to highlight.


There are two distinct sets of vocals on this song: Simon’s and those of the backup singers. Simon’s voice is bright and unchallenged, and it blends well with the melody of the song, as well as with the backup singers, which feel a smidgeon overpowering to me.  Many times throughout the song I feel as though Simon struggles to be heard over the top. The back up vocals do bring a sort of jazz or R&B element to the song that would likely be missing otherwise, but they just feel a little overpowering at times. I’m not a huge fan of the ad-lib vocals at the end where Simon just hands it to them to finish out, either.


Here’s my main problem with this song: there is literally one full stanza of verse, a chorus, about a half-stanza worth of another verse, and then the chorus along with some ad-libbing jazz vocals at the end. The song feels half-finished and tends to highlight instrumentals and back up vocals, which isn’t a bad thing  on it’s own merit, but that doesn’t stop the song from feeling as though it was never quite finished with whatever message it is trying to send.  As for the actual lyrics themselves, I think it’s pretty clear that the song is about being mistaken over someone’s intentions, but it’s definitely not a very deep or insightful message.  Oddly, other descriptions I’ve seen for the lyric on this song say that it’s about a conversation that a glamorous woman is having with her (dark) alter ego.  Personally I don’t think there’s enough lyric here to even draw that from the words, but if that was Simon’s intention, then there you have it. That said, I can’t knock the song for not being deep – after all, this isn’t meant to be Shakespeare, on the same token, compared to other pieces of lyric from this band, I can’t help but feel this song lacks a bit of substance.


I struggle with So Misled. On one hand, I do like the instrumentation. I love the slight jazzy/R&B/fusion feel, and I think the bass line is fantastic. It’s hard to say “No” to any of that. On the other hand, I’m just not a big fan of the loud backup vocals and I don’t think this is Simon’s finest hour when it comes to lyrics either. It isn’t a song that I necessarily skip, but it also isn’t a song I ever seek out to really listen either. So Misled tends to fade into the background.

Cocktail Rating:

3 cocktails! 3 cocktails


Amanda’s Review:


There is lots of instrumentation right away with this songs, especially before the vocals kick in.  Drums certainly call attention to themselves as does the bass.  Keyboards, as always, are present but less noticeable than they often are and the horns have returned for this one.  The guitar feels very buried or pushed to the back.  That said, the instrumentation catches your attention right away, that’s for sure, but I have to wonder if it is almost too much.  The activity of the instrumentation isn’t like Seven and the Ragged Tiger which has just lots of layers and additions added to the song.  No, in this case, there is just a lot going on musically, at all times.  In general, the musicality of this song almost overwhelms even the vocals.


Like the instrumentation, I feel like there is just too much going on.  At times, Simon is on his own with the vocals but there are a lot of times when those backing vocals are present.  I don’t mind backing vocals if they enhance the song or the performance but here the purpose seems to be to get attention.  Maybe, that attention is needed as the instrumentation of the song somewhat shadows the vocals.  It reminds me of my classroom when the kids are working in groups.  One group gets loud and the other groups have to either get louder or do something to make music in order to get attention.  In the case of the song, more does not always mean better.  Frankly, even when it is Simon on his own, I don’t think it is his strongest performance.  Perhaps, that is because of the emphasis on repetition or staying at an elevated key.  Then, I don’t really need the part with “do do do” and “la la la”.  The vocals just don’t work for me.


I have to admit that I have no real idea about what this song is about.  The only thing that comes to mind is advertising.  Is the purpose of advertising to mislead people into thinking that they must have a product?  Of course, there are a couple of lines directly related to advertising:  “Saw an advert in a magazine safe it said.  With the satisfaction guaranteed to cool your head”  Is it about something that seems like an easy cure to something but isn’t, really.  No matter the meaning, these lyrics don’t meet my basic standards for great lyrics.  Those standards are that the lyrics are either great poetry or move me to think or to feel.  These lyrics don’t really make me feel anything and the thinking stops at trying to figure out what they are about.  They definitely aren’t the best poetry Simon has ever written.  Thus, the lyrics are disappointing.


As I listen to this song, I have to wonder if the main issue isn’t either the production or the mix.  It feels like so much of the song is overwhelming. There is so much instrumentation, so much going on with the vocals.  It is like each element of the song is fighting for dominance but not in a way that makes me want to listen over and over again.  This isn’t about allowing each part to breathe or have space or take turns.  It is like they are all fighting to be heard.  That said, the song doesn’t bother me, either.  I just wish that it was different—less in your face and maybe then the elements could shine.

Cocktail Rating:

2.5 cocktails!

Two and half cocktails

Daily Duranie Review – Hold Me

It has been a long time since our last review.  We apologize and hope to get back into a routine.  For those of you who have been paying attention, we are in the middle of reviewing the songs off of the album, Notorious.  This review finds us looking at the song, Hold Me, the fifth song on the album.  This isn’t one that is mentioned often by critics, fans or the band.  Should it be talked about more or is it one of those lost album tracks?  Read and find out what we think.

Amanda’s Review

Musicality/Instrumentation for Hold Me:

It is hard to hear the first few notes and not recognize it as being off of Notorious.  It has the same feel, the same style as the rest of the album.  People might not recognize the exact SONG title but it is obvious that it is part of Notorious with the noticeable drums and guitars.  This is, obviously, very different from songs of Seven and the Ragged Tiger, for instance.  Bass is definitely there as well forming a solid framework which helps to enhance the horns that come through, periodically, and makes the verse feel very tight.  One unique element to Hold Me is how different the verse is in comparison to the chorus.  They almost feel like two different songs as the chorus is much softer and open and allows for Simon’s voice to take center stage.  I do like the transition from the chorus to the next verse, though.  The transition is very clear.  Hold Me also has a significant bridge about two-thirds of the way through.  The tempo is slower than the verse but still very tight feeling like no other sound could get in.

Vocals for Hold Me:

To me, Simon’s vocals don’t gather that much attention until the chorus, which is a shame since they sound very smooth here.  Perhaps, this is more of a problem with the mix in that the instrumentation during the verse is so dominant.  Maybe, it is because there are clearly layers of Simon’s vocals, harmonizing so well leading up and during the chorus.  This is a song that showcases Simon’s range well.  There are only one or two lines that I think push Simon too high.  In general, though, it shows that Simon is capable of hitting higher notes without straining.  I wonder if Simon would be able to sing this one now.  Then again, I don’t never remember seeing this one on any set list, even then. One other thing worth noting is that towards the end of the song, there is the repeating “Hold me” with a bit of “la-la-la” in the background.  I don’t mind the repeating of the song title but the “la-la-las” don’t feel necessary to me.

Lyrics for Hold Me:

These lyrics are interesting to me.  They don’t necessarily make me feel a lot, personally, but I suspect that if this was about a real life situation for someone than they would be very emotional.  It seems to me that is about someone who needed to be held, to be loved but then felt guilty afterwards.  Perhaps, it even led that person to hide, to deny.  Could this be based on a real life situation?  It could be.  It definitely makes me wonder.  Of course, while the lyrics seem more obvious than many of Simon’s lyrics, I realize that I could be interpreting the lyrics completely wrong.  While it may not be the poetry of some of his other lyrics, I’m  at least that they make me think, at least a little bit.

Overall Notes for Hold Me:

Hold Me is one of those songs that has some elements that I like.  In general, I like Simon’s vocals during the chorus.  I like the contrasting open feel of the chorus versus the tight feel of the verse.  The lyrics are, at least, somewhat interesting.  Then, there are other parts that I wonder couldn’t have been different.  For example, I wish that Simon’s vocals weren’t hidden so much until the chorus.  The “la-la-la”s at the end aren’t necessary.  Yet, none of the parts that are good seem great and none of the parts that are less likable to me are that bad.  To that end, it feels like a classic album track to me.  It won’t be loved but it also won’t be hated.

Cocktail Rating for Hold Me:

3 cocktails!  ff2be-threeglasses

Rhonda’s review:

Musicality/Instrumentation for Hold Me:

I think it is apparent from the first drum beat that this is not the same Duran Duran from the first album. This is a band that has grown, evolved, matured, and changed. It is clear that Hold Me belongs on the Notorious album with its very clear (and well-miked) drums, and it the bass funk.  Gone is the obvious sort of call and answer between keyboards and guitar – and instead guitar takes on a more muted role as a rhythm player (as opposed to lead).  Even in the mid-section where one might assume there would be a full guitar solo, there is only a subtle riff or two that would count as a lead guitar somewhere in the mix. Another obvious difference in this album from earlier records are the inclusions of horns throughout the song, which wasn’t necessarily found everywhere in rock during this period of time – but then I might argue that Notorious wasn’t your typical pop or rock album, either.  One thing that makes Hold Me a standout on the album for me personally is/are the changes in timing (tempo) as well as the clear and well-executed transitions throughout the song, including those between verse and chorus.  These give the song some texture that I enjoy and make Hold Me different from the rest of the Notorious album.

Vocals for Hold Me:

I really love Simon’s vocals on this song during the verses. They are so smooth and clear, he sings with ease. The chorus has the slightest of strain on the highest notes (HOLD me, SHOW me…etc.), but I suspect that is more for effect than actual strain. (in fact I can’t decide if he’s doing a slight glottal stop on those notes for effect or if it’s really just strain – Simon tends to do glottal stops often as a type of vocal effect, which many believe causes vocal issues down the line.) But, overall I really like the tone of his voice – it has a warmth to it that works really well with the music and lyrics. I also really like the background singing “why can’t you see” that is an undertone during the lines just prior to the chorus. They almost sound ghost-like, or like the voices in the back of one’s head speaking to them. I love it.

Lyrics for Hold Me:

Truthfully, I never once thought about these lyrics until today. Then I read them. I would love to know who Hold Me is about, because whomever it is, there’s guilt, ignored passion, and a whole lot of hiding going on. I actually feel sorry for whomever Simon is writing about is basically pretending they are someone who they most clearly are not, and I would imagine that person was really struggling at the time. Personally, I like that the lyrics are clear if you’re actually reading them and thinking – one can only handle so much of something like The Reflex! Let’s face it though, even what might seem to be the most obvious lyrics Duran has written are up to interpretation and chances are, they never mean what we think they do. That said, I like lines such as,  “Ashes, violations, who would they burn for? In your isolation what can’t you see?” or “When the passions you ignore, you can never hide. One of these days you’re gonna find out, ’cause one of these days you’re gonna try. And what did I say to make you wind up with this spear of guilt inside?”  No, perhaps it’s not pure poetry, but I think they say something remarkably emotional and painful. I like that feeling of discomfort and searching that is conveyed through the words.

Overall Notes for Hold Me:

Even before the review, Hold Me was one of my favorites off of Notorious, but one thing I really love about doing these reviews is that they force me to really listen to songs that I’d long since forgotten. I listen to the songs with renewed ears, and more often than not, I glean more out of the song. That can certainly be said with Hold Me. I find that I’m enjoying it even more so after having reviewed the song. I really love the smoothness of Simon’s voice – it’s soothing up against the lyrics that are clearly meant to force someone out of their comfort zone, to stop them from hiding. I also really love the slight funk to the rhythm and the clear drum beats. I’ve also surprised myself by not being completely annoyed that the guitar really does not take a lead – in fact in this song there really doesn’t feel like there is ANY lead melody other than Simon on vocals. A well-written and recorded track.

Cocktail Rating for Hold Me:

4 cocktails!

4 cocktails rating



Duran Duran Songs over Pictures

After months of asking people to choose favorite pictures of individual band members in our daily questions, we have finally chosen a favorite picture for each former and current member.  We wouldn’t be who we are if we didn’t then ask people to then choose between those favorites!  Now, of course, we aren’t really asking people to choose between the band members but between the selected favorite photos of individual band members.  As soon as I posted the very first poll, a response came through calling it “stupid”.  As always,  if people don’t like what they do, they are welcome to not participate or start their own blog to do what they want.

It amazes me that these picture polls have gotten so much attention after months of being asked.  In fact, yesterday’s question that asked people to choose between the pictures of Simon and John resulted in a ton of views!  A ton!  We had more page views yesterday than we had one the days that Rhonda covered the highlights of the Katy Kafes.  What is that about exactly?  Now, obviously, I think these polls are fun and I enjoy seeing the results but are they more interesting or important than what might be happening with the album, with the music?  Based on our page views, it seems like many fans think so. Perhaps, though, there were other factors like the holidays that affected people’s ability or chance to read the blog.  Thus, maybe, these page views aren’t indicative of the fans’ focus on image and looks over music.

To that end, after the individual band member pictures, we will pause on the images and focus on the music.  (Don’t worry, we will do group pictures later.)  In order to focus on the music, we, the fans, will create the ultimate Duran Duran album by deciding the best first track ever made, the best second track ever made, the best third track ever made, etc.  We will start by asking about all of the first tracks on albums until we get the favorite first track in the same method we always do the daily questions.  Then, we will start on the second track, etc.  Obviously, not all albums have the same number of tracks but that just means that there will be less songs to ask about for that track number.  All studio albums will be included, including Thank You, but greatest hits albums and live albums will be excluded.

I am looking forward to seeing what the fan community comes up with as the best album possible!  I’m also hoping that the song questions are just as popular, if not more popular than the pictures.  After all, we all love the band because of their music, right?


Duran Duran History – Arena

The Arena album makes Duran Duran history today by climbing all the way to #4 on US charts on this day in 1984. 1984 wasn’t a bad time to be a Duranie: from MTV to radio, magazines to board games, it seemed like the band was everywhere, and in many ways fans were spoiled into believing it would always be that way. There was little (if any) down time for the band during this period and it seemed that nothing but good times lay ahead. Little did fans realize that with the end of 1984 also came the veritable end of the band’s initial heyday…at least as far as chart success, and the general public was able to gauge.



Do They Know It’s Christmas – Memories

Do They Know It's Christmas - Band Aid

I know I’ve already done a date in history for today, but also on this date in 1984, Duran Duran, and particularly Simon LeBon, was featured in Bob Geldof’s and Midge Ure’s project “Do They Know It’s Christmas”, by Band Aid.

On a day where it’s pretty difficult to get into the holiday spirit…I think it’s uplifting to see that yes, we really can make a difference. Music matters. One single song, one single Duran Duran song (yes, I felt it was theirs) made a difference. I remember being 14 (goodness gracious) and feeling a sense of pride hearing that song on the radio. The band participated in something that mattered, something that was going to make a difference. Buying a single piece of music helped make the world better…all very lofty ideas for a kid. Never mind that Simon thought he was doing a solo with Sting or that he was pretty annoyed to realize he was going to be sharing the microphone with many, because I didn’t know any of that in 1984. I believed it was all for the greater good. Helping the world…hell, saving the world.

Nowadays, it’s impossible to miss what’s going on around us. I am sure most have read the headlines this morning, watched the videos, and were probably shocked by the photos coming from Ferguson.  It even has it’s own set of hashtags on Twitter, for crying out loud. It blows my mind, in some respects, that we’re still dealing with the same sorts of problems now that we were back in the sixties. Nothing seems to change fast enough, and yet everything seems to move way too quickly in this world. Well, back in 1984 I really did believe we were changing things, making a difference, doing good for the world with a single song. Call it naivety, innocence…maybe even a little ignorance, but I believed. I bought into the ideals. Hook, line, sinker.

For me, “Do They Know it’s Christmas” was the Christmas song to own. One single Duran Duran song turned Autumn into the holiday season for me, and what’s really funny is that it still happens to this very day. At some point just before Thanksgiving I will turn on the radio to our local “Holiday Music Station” (KOST 103.5) just to try and feel a little more in the spirit – and “Do They Know It’s Christmas” will come on, in all of it’s glory, and I’ll smile. I’ll forget the trials of being an adult, and something in me clicks. I’ll start thinking about how I felt sitting in the backseat of my parents old green longer-than-a-city-block Mercury as the song would start and we’d more than likely be out looking at Christmas lights, as we always did more than once during the holiday season. Sure, I was a kid and didn’t really know much about the world around me at the time – but I believed there was more good than bad.

Somehow, I think we all still need a bit of that today.




Today in Duran History – Serious

On today’s date in 1990, Serious peaked at number 48 on the charts in the UK.

I don’t care what Nick Rhodes says, Serious is yet another example of an underrated Duran Duran song.  I still love that opening groove. In fact, we’re gonna watch the video right now and celebrate right along with the Gum Chewing Controller.  (You’re welcome, Nicholas. Anytime!!)

Happy Monday!


American Science — The Daily Duranie Review

This week, we are continuing our review, our thoughts about the tracks off of Duran Duran’s 4th studio album, Notorious.  This time, we focus on the song, American Science, the second track on the album.  According to Duran Duran Wiki, this song was, at one time, rumored to be a fourth single off of Notorious, but that idea was shelved after the second (Skin Trade) and third (Meet el Presidente) singles did not do well.  Do we think it would have made a good single?  Read on and see!

Rhonda’s Review:

Musicality/Instrumentation: Even compared to Notorious, this song is strikingly different. Tons of horns, lots of slow, syncopated rhythm going on…definitely more of a “Nile Rodgers” feel than say…”1984-style Duran Duran”…but this is definitely Duran Duran. Grown-up Duran Duran.  It is slow, sultry with a jazzy, slightly R&B feel.  The instrumentation here is also completely different than on previous albums – the guitar, which is prominent throughout, takes on much more of a “guitar solo in the background” sort of sound…just like mellow jazz.  You can hear John’s bass in the mix, and the bass line isn’t nearly as frenetic as on previous albums, but still makes it’s mark with smooth rhythm. There is little in the way of stacked harmonies a la Rio, or the layers upon layers of sheer sound as found on Seven and the Ragged Tiger…or the darkness-tinged vocals on the first album.  American Science stands on it’s own, marking a new way for the band.

Vocals: Admittedly, I like Simon’s voice on this one.  There is no strain, and his voice sounds far more relaxed on this song than countless others – the song allows for the true genius of his voice to shine through.  I personally think the “oooohhh’s” at the beginning of the lines of chorus really do something to bring your attention to the words, and remind me very much of some of the better jazz tunes I’ve heard over the years. They work well with the parameters of the song and don’t sound at all like filler.

Lyrics: I’ve never understood this song on any sort of personal level. When I hear the words, I recognize the song to be about wanting a woman, and the things this woman makes him feel (the “daze” mentioned) I get the feeling that he feels like the woman controls him to a certain degree…but the title??  Is he talking about an American woman? I feel like a complete idiot even typing the words, but I don’t get it. I give, Simon. I give!! My favorite line is “A little megalomania becomes you evidently”…I’ve loved that line since before I really understood what “megalomania” even meant.  What can I say? I was a kid when this first came out!  Truthfully though, I never understood the words enough to really feel any connection with them.  They’re not bad, I just don’t feel anything from them.

Overall: I think this was a song where I had to grow up in order to really appreciate. I like the mood and I think the production is spot on. Not too much, not too raw…just enough. I wish I had a better feel for the lyrics, but the smooth and sultry rhythm makes up for it. It’s a song that I put on when I want Duran Duran but don’t know if I really want to listen to 80’s Duran Duran.  It is certainly a departure from their past, and opens the floodgates to the diversity we find in their catalog for decades to come.  It isn’t a close favorite of mine, but a solid effort nonetheless.

Cocktails:   Three cocktails!


Amanda’s Review:

Musicality/Instrumentation:  As soon as the song begins, you know that this isn’t going to be the Duran Duran of the early 80s.  Oh no…times have changed and it seems clear that Duran wants to sound more mature.  Thus, they included horns and lots of them.  They aren’t featured just in a bridge or in the background.  They are front and center to introduce the song and during the chorus.  Interestingly enough, after the first few seconds of the introduction, they give way to an almost mellow (in comparison) sounding verse with noticeable bass and keyboards.  The keyboards, in particular, are fascinating as it seems like every note is being held on to, again, not only helping to give that slower tempo but, perhaps, to seem more mature.  Once the vocals start, the instrumentation feels pushed to the back and every element seems more subtle, more muffled in a way.  This is not the 1st album era where different instruments are vying for attention at different times.  This isn’t the Seven and the Ragged Tiger era where there are layers upon layers of sound.  It is different.  Even the guitar solo to end the chorus and bring on the next verse is very different.  It seems clear that it isn’t Andy Taylor on guitar anymore.  Of course, there are also those moments when horns and guitars dominate the song.  The question then becomes is this change for the better?  Is it preferred to the past?  This is where it comes down to a matter of taste.

Vocals:  To me, Simon’s vocals are relatively smooth and match the mood of the song well through the verses.  He is at a good range and is able to really show feeling, as Simon is so known for.  The chorus, on the other hand, does not work for me.  There are way too many “ooh”s for me especially with the way it reaches towards higher notes.  I have always been way more of a fan of Simon’s vocals at a lower range.  Why fill up so much of the chorus with “ooh”s rather than words?  It is showing a problem with the lyrics?  Possibly but I never felt that Simon shows his real strength as a vocalist when he sings non-words.  Hungry Like the Wolf, anyone?

Lyrics:  This is one of those songs that the lyrics have never really caught my attention.  What is the song about?  Is it about a woman?  After all, there are lyrics about there is a “she” who can “two step and sway”.  Is she an American?  Is is a place?  If so, it is “lonely”.  Then, it seems like the narrator is in a “daze” because of this person or this place.  Now, typically, I like lyrics that either create an emotional response in me, for some reason, or really make me think.  This song isn’t going to cause an emotional response but it could certainly make me think (as in what the heck is he talking about?!).  Yet, for some reason, it has never captured my attention.  It is possible that because the music has never caught my attention, the lyrics have just been ignored.  They aren’t bad lyrics.  I just can’t get into them.

Overall:  I want to really like this song.  I want to embrace the new Duran Duran, the more mature Duran Duran that uses horns and has a different style.  Yet, there are too many things that don’t click with me.  I am not a fan of the horns in this song.  They are too dominant and detract from the cool instrumentation of the verses.  Likewise, all of the oooohs in the chorus take away from a solid vocal performance otherwise.  It is likely that these song elements distract me from really connecting, lyrically, to the song as well.

Cocktail Rating:  2.5 cocktails!