Category Archives: songs

I Want Your Attention: Duran Songs for Friend

Last weekend, I spent about 30 hours in a  car with three of my colleagues and friends as we traveled to and from Washington D.C. for the Women’s March.  During the drive, two of us provided the music, the soundtrack for the trip.  While I had compiled playlists of social justice songs and songs about women and women’s power, I also played some of my favorite songs.  During a long stretch of horrible fog, my friend turned to me and said, “I like many of the Duran Duran songs I have heard but I just don’t know them that well.”  She went on to say that she likes Hungry Like the Wolf and Come Undone.  Ignoring those specific songs, my brain started reeling.  Which songs should I play for her, I wondered.

Before I started picking out Duran tunes, I looked to her music collection.  She had lots of Madonna, for example, especially 80s Madonna.  The Cure took up space in her collection.  Besides that, she had a lot of 90s music on there from the Verve Pipe to Oasis, which makes sense since she is about 10 years younger than me.  I took these songs to mean that she likes pop but the fact that she had a lot of the Cure makes me think that she would be open to some darker, more obscure Duran.  Here is what I came up with to play for her divided into pop and dark.

Pop:

Since she clearly knows some classics, I thought I would skip more of the obvious ones like Rio.

Hold Back the Rain:

New Moon on Monday:

I Don’t Want Your Love:

Sunrise:

All You Need Is Now:

What do you think of those choices?  I wanted feel good songs but also wanted to showcase the fact that all Duran, even those feel good songs, have substance behind them.

Darker Duran:

Before the Rain:

Out of my Mind:

Friends of Mine:

Secret Oktober:

The Chauffeur:

What did I miss?  What else should I include?

-A

Duran Song Title Themes

Are you someone who pays attention to our questions of the day?  If you are, you know that generally they are poll questions.  They are quick, easy opinion questions.  The goal is just to keep people thinking of Duran each and every day.  Plus, I find it fun to think about which songs or videos I like better and figure that others might, too.

Last weekend, we finished ranking the albums and I blogged about the results yesterday.  Then, I started asking about what might seem to be random songs.  Perhaps, some of you have figured out the connection between the songs I have asked about.  First, I asked about Astronaut or Big Bang Generation.  Then, Faster Than Light went up against Last Day on Earth.  I put these songs into the space, astronomy related Duran songs.  The complete list of those is as follows:

  • Astronaut
  • Big Bang Generation
  • Faster Than Light
  • Last Day on Earth
  • Mars Meets Venus
  • Midnight Sun
  • New Moon on Monday
  • Northern Lights
  • Planet Earth
  • Planet Roaring
  • The Sun Doesn’t Shine Forever
  • Sunrise
  • Too Close to the Sun
  • The Universe Alone

I grouped other Duran songs together in themes as well.  The other topics I found included violence, nature, weather, animals, places, religion, science and the calendar/time.  Could I have come up with more?  I’m certain that I could have.  Heck, many songs could be placed in multiple categories.  I am also concerned that I am forgetting songs.  Here is where I need your help.  I need you to send me titles of songs I missed.  First, let me share the lists I have so far.

Violence:

  • A View to a Kill
  • Of Crime and Passion
  • Red Carpet Massacre
  • Sin of the City
  • You Kill Me with Silence

Nature:

  • All Along the Water
  • Burning the Ground
  • Land
  • Night Boat
  • Skin Divers
  • The Valley
  • To the Shore

Weather:

  • Before the Rain
  • Hold Back the Rain
  • Salt in the Rainbow
  • Sound of Thunder

Animals:

  • Butterfly Girl
  • Hungry Like the Wolf
  • The Man Who Stole a Leopard
  • Palomino
  • Tiger Tiger
  • Union of the Snake

Places:

  • The Edge of America
  • Lake Shore Driving
  • Mediterranea
  • My Antarctica
  • Rio
  • Tel Aviv

Religion

  • Faith in This Colour
  • God
  • Like an Angel
  • New Religion
  • Paper Gods
  • Save a Prayer

Science

  • American Science
  • Blame the Machines
  • Breath After Breath
  • Lady Xanax
  • Networker Nation
  • Playing with Uraninum
  • Vertigo
  • Virus

Calendar/Time

  • Early Summer Nerves
  • Finest Hour
  • Secret Oktober
  • Taste the Summer
  • Valentine Stones
  • Violence of Summer
  • Winter Marches On

My questions now are simple.  What categories or themes did I leave out?  What did I miss?  Then, which songs did I miss or should I include that I didn’t?  I decided to stick with the titles of songs but should I include lyrics as well?  What do you think would be most fun?

-A

Definitively Duran Duran

Yesterday, as I was (supposed to be) working on paperwork, I noticed that Duran Duran threw a question out to the masses on social media. I like the idea of asking fans questions in order to stay engaged – we’ve done that on a regular basis now for the past few years (if not longer), and I really like seeing what kinds of discussions might be sparked, and sometimes – such as yesterday – the answers still surprise me!

The question yesterday was ” If you had to pick one track as THE definitive Duran Duran song, what would you choose?”

First of all, what does “definitive” mean?

Definitivemost reliable or complete, as of a text, author, criticism, study, or the like:

Definitive doesn’t necessarily mean your personal favorite song, although it could be one in the same.  Naturally, naming a definitive song tends to be purely based on opinion, even if widely accepted as “fact”.

Not so surprisingly,  fans have as many opinions of what songs meet the criteria of “definitive Duran Duran” as there might be actual Duran Duran songs recorded. Anything from “Planet Earth” to “Only in Dreams” was mentioned. At first, I tried to keep track – seeing if there was any sort of consensus to be had. Then I noticed there were 2600 responses on Facebook, not counting replies, and realized that my paperwork was actually more important (although not nearly as entertaining). So this morning I took another quick trip through the comments to see if I could pick out any major “themes” to share.

  • Many were frustrated that DDHQ only asked for “one” song. I chuckled when I saw the question first posted, full-well knowing what some of the comments would be. “One definitive song? Are you crazy?” Ah yes, they are actually asking you, dear Duran Duran fan, to make a choice. Choose wisely. (Do you ever get the feeling that Amanda and I take great joy in watching fans make a choice???? It is the little things that keep me going from day-to-day.)
  •  I saw several other people say that because Duran Duran redefines themselves with each album, there really isn’t just one song to define them. Fair answer?
  • Many…and I mean MANY…fans prefaced their answer by saying their choice was their favorite song. The one thing I know for sure is that each of the songs Duran has ever done has their own place secured in the collective history of this band. Does that make each of their songs definitive in their own right? Sure. But is that one particular favorite of yours, dear reader, equal to being the MOST definitive? Only you know for sure.
  • One of the most curious things I saw were several posts written by what appeared to be different Facebook profiles – that were worded exactly the same. Down to the same misspellings and chosen song. Odd.
  • Several people chose a song off Paper Gods as the most definitive. A few songs from the album were mentioned by many different people, so I guess my point is that if there was question about whether or not Paper Gods has hit home with fans, I would say the answer is definitively yes!
  • Another fan chides the fan base and DDHQ in one fell swoop by saying that we’re all missing the point. A definitive and/or quintessential” song cannot be chosen in hindsight, therefore the most current release would be the answer.  A thought worth pondering, for sure.

My own answer for the question became clear when I really thought over what the word “definitive” meant. In my opinion (yes, this is purely my own opinion here), I would think that the word “definitive”, in this case really means that the song defines the band. It is what most people – not necessarily fans  – but average, ordinary, every day people who have heard of Duran Duran, think of when they’re asked what song comes to mind. My own personal favorite song doesn’t necessarily define Duran Duran to anyone, and probably not even to me – at least not entirely. So it becomes pretty clear to me that what I might find to be definitive Duran Duran is not likely to be what the rest of the world would first mention.

In many ways, the answer for this question is likely more difficult for Duran Duran fans than it is the general public – and that’s because fans tend to concern themselves with a bit more of the minutia of Duran Duran than say, John Q. Public might. Many fans mentioned that the band couldn’t be defined by any one point in their career, insinuated that it was nearly a crime to ask such a question. I hardly think that if I asked my neighbor (assuming they in fact know who Duran Duran is) what song defines the band that they’d have difficulty answering in the same way that a hard-core fan might.

Thinking back at the band’s career, and remembering what gets mentioned most often when they’re being introduced at awards shows, or what songs are listed in articles or on television programs when the band is being announced. Invariably, Duran Duran seems to be equated with songs from the 80s, even though we all know they’ve done much more! The public knows Duran Duran as that band who did exotic videos for their songs, and the singles mentioned most often tend to be Hungry Like the Wolf and Rio, and it shouldn’t be a surprise that Hungry Like the Wolf was their breakthrough song here in the US. Do those songs define them? I’m sure many fans say no, with good and fair reason. However, for the public at large – those songs ARE Duran Duran. They are the songs people think of first, they are what will continue to be played on the radio long after I stop listening, and I really believe they are the songs that define Duran Duran to the rest of the world (or at least the part of the world that I occupy). To whittle down from those two songs to a single, firm answer – all I can say is that whenever Duran Duran is played on the radio here – nine times out of ten, it is Hungry Like the Wolf being played. Whenever they are introduced on a television program, or at an awards show, or hosts are talking about the band themselves, I notice that Hungry Like the Wolf is the song being mentioned. Does this make Hungry Like the Wolf the most definitive Duran Duran? Maybe so.

This is humorous to me only because of how much I enjoy the song. I’m still working arduously on not rolling my eyes as the opening chords are played when I’m at a show, and by the time John and Dom saunter over to center stage together, I’ve nearly forgotten how tired I am of hearing it. Alas…

The real irony here?

Hungry Like the Wolf is likely to be the song that out lives us all.

-R

 

Got Me Trapped

It’s time for another confessional, Daily Duranie-style!

Today was the last day of learning center for my kids before a much deserved winter break. Two weeks of not having to get up before it’s light outside, two glorious weeks of not dealing with traffic, having to listen to talk-radio (it’s all that my son will tolerate the first thing in the morning) or begging my youngest to please get up out of bed and get dressed, well after her alarm has gone off (and she’s shut it off only to go back to bed!).
As my two grabbed their backpacks and gifts for their teachers out of my car and made their way past the new guard gate to their classrooms,  I pulled out of the parking lot – I hit “shuffle” on my phone so that I could listen to music on the way home. I really do like having that little bit of time to just listen to my own music as I’m driving back home – while the drive to school takes about an hour most days, the drive home only takes about a half-hour, but it’s enough time to clear my head.  One of the songs that came up today was “All Along the Water” off of Liberty. I know many of our readers would have quickly hit “next”.  I didn’t.  In fact, and this is where the “confessional” comes in, I actually LIKE the song. A lot.

Yes, I know what the song is supposedly about. I can hear the lyrics and it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to decipher them. I don’t really care.  In fact, I don’t really care in the same way that I don’t really care that any time he’s asked about his lyrics, he likes to fall back on the whole “it’s about SEX” thing as an answer.  The thing is, the song usually wakes me up, gets me moving, and I like that it’s especially cheeky, too. Who cares??

I know many fans don’t like Liberty, and count it among their least favorite albums. Personally, I like it, and I’m totally OK with being an outsider on that one. I love “Serious”. I like “Violence of Summer”, particularly when I’m belting it at the top of my lungs while driving home at 2am (long story). “All Along the Water” is one of my favorites on the album. It’s fun, and there are times, this morning included, when I need a little frivolity to start the day! No, maybe it’s not the most serious piece of music the band has ever written. I guess it’s probably not going to be one of their masterpieces in the same way I would venture to guess “Paper Gods” or “The Universe Alone” will become. It doesn’t matter. Sometimes, music is just supposed to be FUN. For me, that song fits the description! I’d love to see them do it live. Can you imagine?? (No, you probably can’t…but I sure can!)

For me, this holiday season has not been especially easy. I’ve had to start being a little more creative in finding some enjoyment. It has been the small moments – things I overlooked in past years I think, that have put a smile on my face and made me appreciate the season and life in general. Things like watching The Polar Express with my youngest (and keeping her up WAY past her bedtime to do it!), listening to her sing “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch”, or listening to her sing her solo part in “What Does the Fox Say” over and over and over…and over…again (because of course she’d get a solo part in that song!), taking my son to see the college of his dreams and witnessing him practically beam over being there, playing “Uno” late at night with the two older kids,  seeing tweets from band members about shows they’ve done or are going to do next year, and yes…hearing songs like “All Along the Water” come up on shuffle.  It has been the little things that have kept me going lately.

Dear readers: name your guiltiest (DD song) pleasures! What song do you find yourself bopping your head to, even though you’re sure it would be met with scorn by the rest of the community?  I’ll be interested to read your responses!

-R

 

 

 

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?

-A

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.

-R

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

Musicality/Instrumentation:

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.

Vocals:

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.

Lyrics:

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.

Overall:

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:

Musicality/Instrumentation:

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.

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.

Lyrics:

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.

Overall:

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?

-A