Category Archives: songs

Interpretations of Of Crime and Passion

I figured that it has been awhile since I last dived into a song and attempted to interpret the song’s lyrics.  I have a list of songs that had been suggested to me to analyze.  This song was one of them.  Interestingly enough, many of the songs suggested to me were ones off of Seven and the Ragged Tiger.  This song is the fifth song off that album.  I believe it ended side A on the vinyl.  It is one of those songs that the fans seem to adore and yet never seems to get played live.  Personally, I never had a strong connection to the song but enjoy it, nonetheless.  While there isn’t an official video, here is a little youtube clip that includes a live version of the song and some nice pictures from the 1984 era.

Here are the lyrics before we dive into possible interpretations:

Why did you let me run
When you knew I’d fall for the gaping hole
Where your heart should be
Liar-couldn’t cut me deeper with a knife if you tried
Just take a look (before you run off and hide)
At your victim
arise

Clouds on your shoulder
Aren’t they grazed by the afterglow
How quiet they gather
When the storm is about to blow

[CHORUS]
No don’t look away
Caught in the crossfire
And it ain’t no wind of change
I’m talking of crime and passion’s rage

Summer of madness or the undertow
Dragged me up an alley for the blossoming fire
On a stranger’s smile
Bride of wire-how disguise so easily cracked
Saw your heart turn spade
This orchid’s turned to black

Graze on your shoulder
Like the clouds in the afterglow
How quiet they gather
When the storm is about to blow

[CHORUS]

Way down by the shoulder
In the haze of the afterglow
Stranded together
And the storm is about to blow

[CHORUS]

There aren’t many interpretations of this song on the internet, for some reason.  Is that because it wasn’t a big single?  Is it because it seems more obvious than many other Duran tracks?  Your guess is as good as mine.  The only one I could find is the idea that a man had fallen in love with a woman who was playing games.  The man plans then to get back at her, according to this theory.  Does this theory make sense?  Well, there definitely are lyrics that could fit this idea.  The first verse, in particular, fits.  Obviously, the lines about someone being a liar and having a hole where one’s heart should be definitely indicates that someone, perhaps a lover, could have betrayed someone.  Was it a game?  An emotional game?  Sure.  It seems possible.  The second verse indicates that a storm of some sort is building.  Is this storm around the victim?  Maybe it would be the victim getting ready to seek revenge.  Is the storm building around the liar?  Not sure.  What about the third verse?  Once again, the narrator is like the victim.  In this case, the liar seemed to have a heart, seemed wonderful and then wasn’t.  Thus, the victim fell for the liar and was terribly hurt by the liar.  Then, I suppose the assumption is that the storm will result in a crime.  Overall, this scenario seems to make some sense.  It seems possible.  
Is there any other possible explanation to the meaning of this song?  Honestly, I can’t really think of it.  For me, this song has always felt like a song that could accompany a movie because it does seem like there is a set storyline.  Perhaps, the title seems movie like as well, which is what makes me think this.  When I hear this song, I always assume that the victim is a man who has been hurt by a woman.  Yet, there is truly nothing that says this.  It could be the other way around.  It could be a woman who has been hurt by a man or even a man who has been hurt by another man or a woman who has been hurt by another woman.  Yet, why do I assume that the liar is a woman hurting a man?  Is it because Simon is singing, thus taking on the role of the narrator?  Maybe.  Is it because I assume that a man is more likely to seek some sort of pay back?  That’s possible, too.  
What do the rest of you think?  Is this story likely to be what the song is about?  Could it be something completely different?  Speaking of completely different, what other songs should I discuss/attempt to interpret?  
-A
On a side note, hope that all you moms out there have a fabulous day!!


Interpretations of A Matter of Feeling

It’s Sunday and I’m trying to adjust to the new time as we had to “spring forward” today by an hour.  Painful.  My brain isn’t feeling super creative with coming up with a cool, new, interesting topic.  Thus, it might be time to look at a Duran song, lyrically.  Create, I cannot do.  Analyze, I can.  Anyway, I took a look at the songs that people suggested we focus on and picked the song, A Matter of Feeling.  This song is off of Notorious and not one that gets a lot of attention as it wasn’t a single.  I also don’t hear it mentioned as a fan favorite at all.  Nonetheless, it is worthy of a look.

Here are the lyrics:
How does it feel, when everyone surrounds you?
How do you deal, Do crowds make you feel lonely?
What do you say?
When people come and try to pin you down?
Aquaintainces smile, but that’s no understanding.
How after a while, you keep falling off the same mountain.
Try to explain it, but nothing really gets that high.
Steal away in the morning, love’s already history to you
Just a habit you’re forming, this body’s desperate for something new
Just a matter of feeling.
This moment’s madness sure to pass
And tears will dry as you’re leaving
Who knows you might find something to last..
Emotion’s a game , saved up for a rainy Monday
But you laugh just the same, ’cause it’s been pouring on Sunday;
Call up your numbers and never let the zeros let you down.
How does it feel?
Is time to heavy to hold, whatever you decide for the moment is holy,
whenever you slow down to see life is passing by.

Steal away in the morning, love’s already history to you
Just a habit you’re forming, this body’s desperate for something new
Just a matter of feeling.
This moment’s madness sure to pass
And tears will dry as you’re leaving
Who knows you might find something to last..

(You can..)
Steal away in the morning, love’s already history to you
Just a habit you’re forming, this body’s desperate for something new
Just a matter of feeling.
This moment’s madness sure to pass
And tears will dry as you’re leaving
Who knows you might find something to last..

A matter of feeling..
A matter of feeling..
A matter of feeling..
A matter of feeling..

So, what are the various interpretations out there and are they logical ones?  Here are the few I could find:
*About the band’s attempt to gain respect but how that isn’t their real focus
*Positivity towards the future
*The end of a relationship that got into a rut and resulted in cheating
*Financial fall out connected to the end of a relationship
*A person looking for love and a real connection through one night stands
Hm…Do these interpretations make sense?  Let’s take them one at a time.  Could it be about the band’s lack of desire to gain respect?  The only line that I could relate to this idea is the line about never letting “zeros get you down”.  That could mean that it shouldn’t or doesn’t matter if they get hits.  Yet, I struggle to figure out how the rest of the lyrics relate to that idea.  Why would the body be desperate for something new, if they were content with not having respect?  Nope.  That one doesn’t work for me.  
The positivity towards the future interpretation doesn’t really work for me, either.  Where’s the positive?  “Tears will dry as you leave” doesn’t feel all that positive to me.  “This moment’s madness sure to pass” could be that the bad times won’t last forever.  Okay.  I’ll go with that.  If the song is describing rock bottom, which I could get, that line about how the madness won’t last forever and the line about never letting the zeros get you down could be about holding on until it gets better, I guess.  I will say this much.  This interpretation works better than the first one.  
What about the idea that it is about the end of a relationship that involved cheating and financial problems?  So far, this one works for me the best.  There are many lyrics that could work for this one.  The beginning verse describes a person feeling lonely despite being surrounded by others and that there is not understanding.  I also get the idea of cheating with lines like, “Steal away in the morning, love’s already history to you.”  The lines about tears falling could relate as well.  Yet, of course, these affairs don’t cut it as there is still desperation for something new.  Nothing is working.  Of course, all of these same lyrics could be used to describe someone looking for a real connection.  This person might be lonely, not because of a failed relationship, but just because no one has really connected with him/her.  Therefore, the last theory could work as well.
My thoughts about this song were a little different.  I always thought it was about Duran during that time.  Crowds surrounded them.  Yet, they felt lonely.  The general population could not understand what their lives were like and people were always trying to get something from them.  The high could a real high, I suppose, or the high that comes from performing.  Zeros could be about the lack of hits.  Now, we all know that many members of the band weren’t exactly saints when it came to the love and sex department.  One night stands were not unheard of.  Perhaps, in fact, they were pretty common and were becoming a bad habit at that point. 
What do the rest of you think?  How do you interpret the song?  Do one these interpretations work for you?  Do you have a different theory?
-A

Interpretations of Box Full O’ Honey

When I started examining the lyrics of various Duran Duran songs, a number of songs were suggested to me.  Box Full O’Honey, off of the Red Carpet Massacre album, was one.  I wasn’t so excited to tackle this one for a few reasons.  First, it is a more recent song, which makes it harder to analyze, I think.  Second, it is a song off an album that still creates very strong feelings among many members of the fan community.  Will discussing it become a debate about RCM?  Third, it isn’t a song that I have a strong connection with.  In fact, the only connection I can think of is that I saw the song performed live during the band’s run on Broadway to introduce the album.  It didn’t move me much then.  I remember that the background video for it was simple.  That’s it.  That said, I do have my thoughts about the song and about the lyrics.  Before I dive into possible interpretations, I give you a clip of the song and the lyrics.

“Box Full O’ Honey”

Box full o’ honey
At the sharp end of the view
The edge of me and you
And all good sense had tread no further
And as the ghost will shiver trees
How I’m trembling on my knees
But I’m still drawn on by the murmur

Are you laughing at me now
In my circumstance
When still I wear I your crown
My life’s penitence
And for what
What’s so funny
A box full o honey

What I thought a pretty tune
Was howling at the moon
To keep me company this evening
It’s so lonely in the dirt
A scratching at the hurt
But I so generously did leave you

Are you laughing at me now
In my circumstance
When still I wear I your crown
Some cruel penitence
for what
What’s so funny
Box full o honey

Is she flirting with me now
Ohh
Is she dallying with me now
Ohh
ohhh
Are you flirting with me now
You’ll always be my queen of tumble down
Miss melancholy

Are you laughing at me now
In my circumstance
When still I wear I your crown
And my life’s a penitence
And for what
What’s so funny
Ain’t it funny
A box full o honey

Since this song was released in the fall of 2007, will there even be any interpretations of it out there?  There are not many interpretations but I did find a couple.

*Confusion and loneliness

*About a guy who is in a relationship where the woman has a hold on him

*Yasmin

Could the song be about confusion and/or loneliness?  If there is loneliness, I don’t think it is the I’m by myself kind of loneliness.  It could be that this she is someone who rejected the narrator with lines like “Are you laughing at me now” or in which the narrator does not get what he emotionally needs from the relationship.  Both situations could lead to straight up loneliness.  Yet, I think confusion is a much better description since on one hand she is laughing but then she might be flirting.  It might be the narrator has no real idea what the other person thinks or feels as they demonstrate behavior that contradicts. 

What about the second theory that this guy is held, emotionally, by a woman?  That seems to fit with lines like “When still I wear your crown”.  Perhaps, he stays despite himself as a line like “And all good sense has tread no further”.  The use of the word, “circumstance” also implies that it isn’t always smooth sailing and that there are problems surrounding the relationship.  Whatever the situation is, he does not seem like he is ready to leave any time soon with lines like, “You’ll always be my queen of tumble down” or “But I’m still drawn on by the murmur.”

Is the song about Yasmin?  I have no idea.  Could all of the lyrics involving a woman be directed at her?  It is possible.  We know that Come Undone was written with Yasmin in mind.  I offer a slightly different interpretation and one that I prefer to think of.  What if it is about fans?  What if it is about female fans, specifically?  Now, before I dive into how that would fit, I’ll be honest that if I can make any of their lyrics about fans and fandom I will.  I am a sap that way.  The murmur could be our voices and our voices could cause Simon and the rest of the band to be “drawn on”.  It could make them continue.  The crown could be this idea that we have fans have made them idols, celebrities.  Does being a subject of fandom or being a fan make you someone to be made fun of?  It certainly can.  The songs keep us company as the line about the “pretty tune” would imply.  Then, the next verse with flirting definitely fits.  Fans definitely do flirt.

Do I really think the song is about Simon and the band’s relationship with the fans and how we keep them going?  Probably not but I prefer to think of it that way.  It gives me a connection to the song that I wouldn’t have otherwise and isn’t that what songs are supposed to do?  Aren’t they supposed to connect to the listeners?  What do you think?  Is my idea far fetched?  Are the other theories better?

-A

Interpretations of New Moon on Monday

Today is my last blog of the weekend as I’m going out of town for the Inauguration.  Do not fret, dear readers, there will be a blog tomorrow.  It is a gem of a guest blog so make sure to check it out.  Likewise, there will still be updates to Today in Duran’s History and the question of the day.  Yet, I hope to be leaving you with a blog that both bring a smile to your face and make you think a bit.  This blog will continue the new series of interpretations of various Duran songs.  This week, I tackle another song off of Seven and the Ragged Tiger, which is New Moon on Monday.  This song is one that many fans seem to like and one that I often hear requested to be paid live, despite the difficult notes that Simon would have to sing.  Personally, I like the song and, like many of you, I adore this video.  In fact, I would go so far as to say that it is my all-time favorite video.  The video has become so connected to the song for me that I can’t separate the two, really.  In fact, if asked what the song means, I would probably pop out with an underground movement pushing for a revolution against a tyrannical government.  Do the lyrics support that idea?  Let’s take a look and see but before we do that, let’s watch that fun video first!

So, what about those lyrics?

Shake up the picture the lizard mixture
With your dance on the eventide
You got me coming up with answers
All of which I deny
I said it again
Could I please rephrase it
Maybe I can catch a ride
I couldn’t really put it much plainer
But I’ll wait till you decide
Send me your warning siren
As if I could ever hide
Last time La Luna

[CHORUS]

I light my torch and wave it for the
New moon on Monday
And a firedance through the night
I stayed the cold day with a lonely satellite

Breaking away with the best of both worlds
A smile that you can’t disguise
Every minute I keep finding
Clues that you leave behind
Save me from these reminders
As if I’d forget tonight
This time La Luna

[CHORUS]

Now, what are the online theories about what this song means?  There are a few main theories about what the song could mean.  These theories are as follows:

*About an ex-girlfiriend who the guy is interested in getting back together

*Trying to date a shy or indecisive girl

*Revolutions or attempted revolutions

*Guy Fawkes conspiracy

It seems to me that these theories fall into two main categories:  relationships or revolutions.  Could the song be about trying to get back together with an ex-girlfriend or trying to get together with a shy or indecisive girl?  Well, the line about waiting for you to decide in the first verse could indicate these theories.  Heck, the line about coming up with answers that are denied could imply that the guy could have gotten an answer and is ignoring it or denying it.  The second verse could be about how the guy is looking for clues that says that the female really is interested.  Perhaps, he is remembering time spent together when they were together, which the line about “save me from these reminders” could be about.  What about the chorus?  Could the chorus be about the decision being told on Monday, which starts a whole “new” life?  After all, the guy has survived being “cold” or alone and “lonely”.  This theory seems possible.

What about the other major theory that the song really is about a revolution?  After all, the video showed that.  Did they come to that storyline because that actually matched the meaning?  Let’s see if the lyrics fit.  Shaking up the picture definitely could be a reference to changing something.  I’m not sure about the lizard part as the lizard symbolizes really different things in different cultures.  In Western cultures, it has been used like a snake to indicate evil.  The next couple of lines could be about how the government gives answers or statements to the people in order to get the people to think something.  Yet, this person denies the truth to these statements.  Perhaps, this person sheds light on to the propaganda or the lies.  Of course, there are warning sirens as a result.  The chorus definitely could indicate a change, which is what a new moon implies.  This change could be celebrated with a dance.  Then, what about the second verse?  It begins with the idea of “breaking away”.  Again, this could indicate a change.  This breaking away is also keeping the best of both worlds–maybe some elements of the old government would stay when combined with the new government.  I’m not sure about the clues part.

Then, there is the possibility that it has to do with Guy Fawkes.  Who was that, many of you might be wondering.  Well, from what I understand, Guy Fawkes was one of 13 men who plotted to blow up the House of Parliament in 1605 because they felt the King was mistreating Catholics.  The plan was simple.  They would store gunpowder in the cellar.  Yet, some of these men had second thoughts and sent out warnings.  This resulted in their arrest and execution.  That night, bonfires were set to celebrate the safety of the king.  Typically, these bonfires were accompanied with a fireworks display.  This story is fascinating to me since there seems to be a lot in common with the video.  Hmm…

Which theory do I like best?  I don’t know.  As a historian who has focused on social movements and political revolutions, I love the idea that it is indeed about a revolution or an underground movement.  Plus, I admit that I have a hard time separating the video from the song.  Thus, I immediately go there.  That said, I could definitely see it being about the attempt to getting with or back with a girl.  Could it be about something else?  Of course.  What do you the rest of you think?

-A   

P.S.  Suggestions for the next song?

Interpretations of Palomino

This week, for my weekly analysis of Duran song lyrics, I decided to tackle the song, Palomino off of the Big Thing album.  Why choose this song of all their songs?  Simple.  It has been suggested a few times.  Now, I have to admit that when this song was requested, I wasn’t that excited.  I don’t feel like I have a connection at all to this song.  It is one of those Duran songs that I would have to go through album lists to come up with.  It is one, for me, that faded into the background.  It isn’t that I don’t like the song.  It just isn’t one that I love or hate.  No strong emotional reactions pop up when it comes on.  Perhaps, though, this is the best reason to analyze it.  Maybe, I will get more of a connection by doing so.

As always, I begin my analysis by posting a video of the song and the lyrics.  Now, this track did not have an official video but I was able to find this live gem from the Milan show in 1988:

Lyrics:
She lays on the wall watching the strangers drift away. Mid-day’s o’er thick with the sun of Arabia. She surrenders her voices; they gather on the wind – talking, chanting, breathing into her body. Yesterdays. Mmm mmm mmm mmm. Awaken beside the scent of burnt sugar on her skin. Painting eyes -thick- with the colour she brings in. Oh, it’s sure and strong as the lightning tumbles down. Don’t you frown. Everything will be in time for this evening.

(bridge)
If there’s secrets she has to be party to everyone of them. If there’s heaven she gets to the heart and you’ll wonder…

(chorus)
Why she stays when I run out of blue
Help me rise and stand – now I can run to you.
Why she stays when I run out of blue.
Give me red instead -now let me run.

(bridge)
If there’s secrets she has to be party to everyone of them. If there’s heaven she gets to the heart and you’ll know just…

(chorus)
Why she stays when I run out of blue
Help me rise and stand – now I can run to you.
Why she stays when I run out of blue.
Give me red instead -now let me run.

Hey! Hey!

(chorus)
Why she stays when I run out of blue
Help me rise and stand – now I can run to you.
Why she stays when I run out of blue.
Give me red instead -now let me run.

What kind of theories are out there about what this song means?  Well, interestingly enough, this song was the topic of 2 Ask Katy questions.  In those answers, Simon mentioned that the chorus came from a quote from the famous artist, Pablo Picasso.  The quote was a response to a question that asked Picasso what he did when he ran out of blue paint to which he responded, “Why, I use red instead!”  The connection to this quote of Picasso’s is obvious.  The other Ask Katy response by Simon mentioned that the song is about a beautiful girl he has known.  Would that make sense?  Well, the pronoun used is a she.

The internet theories about this one aren’t numerous but do include the following:

*A Horse

*Drugs

As always, let’s take them one at a time.  Palomino is a coat color in horses in which the horse has a gold coat and a white mane.  These types of horses are often featured in movies and in parades.  Their origin is most likely European/Asian with a rich history in Spain and is a Spanish word.  Do the lyrics fit this type of  horse?  The first verse could be talking about a horse spending her day outside with the wind.  Color is emphasized as well with the line “Painting eyes -thick – with the colour she brings in”.  The only line that throws me slightly is the line about Arabia.  The image then that pops into my mind is that of a desert and bright sunshine.  Were Palomino horses found in Arabia?  Maybe, they were in the Crusades??  A horse could definitely take in secrets in that she would be around to hear all the people talking and she could, as any animal like this could, get into someone’s heart and be loved by that person.  The chorus could also fit this with the image of letting someone run.  Does this mesh with Simon’s statement that it is about a beautiful girl.  Sure could.  That beautiful girl could be a horse.

What about the other commonly suggested theory that it was about drugs?  According to the theory, the burning of sugar is related to drug use.  To me, this is quite a stretch.  Yes, I realize that the use of some drugs require burning them in a spoon to liquify them.  Yet, it isn’t sugar that this is done with.  Could sugar stand for the drug?  I suppose but there doesn’t seem to be much else in the song to indicate drug use.  On the other hand, that sugar could be referring to the white mane of a palomino horse or even sugar cubes that the horse could have.

To summarize, I think in all likelihood the song is about a horse.  Could it be about a woman who is outside, is told secrets, is able to be loved, and is able to let someone run or be free?  Absolutely, it could.  We find this pattern throughout Duran’s history, haven’t we?  Take Leopard for example.  Is it about a leopard or a woman?  Either way, those theories make a lot more sense than the drug use one!  Now, what should I analyze next?!

-A  

Our “Top Ten”…

If the world only worked according to us….

We would vote things off our island. Indefinitely. Some of those things would be songs from the DD catalog. That’s right. Hey now – don’t choke on your Wheaties – but it’s true. There are songs that Duran Duran has written that we absolutely cannot stand. We might even…. *gasp*…. hate. EEK!

Here is the beauty of the situation though – you too can vote things off of your island!  Your list doesn’t even need to match ours, and you certainly don’t need to agree with us.  We would expect nothing less from our fellow fans, and we fully expect all of you to come after us with pitchforks in tow. We don’t post this crap for merely our own amusement, you know!

Before we begin, I must explain two things. First of all, if you are in the band right now and you’re taking precious time from your own personal “hiatus” (We call it “vacation”, but that’s just us) to read this – look away!!  Look away!! We know that these songs are probably like your own children in some way – and we recognize that we’re basically saying we would forcibly rip your child out of your arms and send them off on a boat off into the sunset. (As opposed to tossing them overboard. We’re humorous and sarcastic, not sick minded!!)  So I warn you now – this is not the blog for you today. Secondly, let me explain our methodology.  Simply put, we each made a list of ten songs we’d vote the hell out of here and then compared our lists. Amazingly enough, most of our lists matched! *more gasping* Once we finished marveling over the coincidence, we saw a few discrepancies. There was some cursing, campaigning and crying (Well, we were laughing pretty hard…), and then a list was arranged. There might have been some bargaining around which song would in fact BE number one, which will be explained as we go.

Without further adieu, we give you the Top Ten List of Songs Daily Duranie Would Vote Off Of the Island!

10. Silva Halo.  We feel this was an LSD trip gone awry.

9. Medazzaland.  Just not sure that Simon’s bad medicine trip needed to be commemorated in song, even though this was Nick’s first foray into being the lead voice. Sorry Nick.

8. Hothead.  Rhonda hears this song in her nightmares sometimes.

7. Shotgun.  This song is stupid short.  Why even bother?!?

6. Yo Bad Azizi.  Rhonda takes this one personally. Not only is the song ridiculous, but it is a direct insult of one of her most favorites. Who came up with this plan?? OFF THE ISLAND!

5. Ordinary World.  *gasp* That’s right. We would vote this off, and we would do it while smiling.  We clearly have no hearts or souls. We know. Now, before you hit “send” on that death threat – here is the thing: we both used to like this song. Rhonda even loved it one point.  It helped Amanda get through a hard time once upon a time.  It has been overplayed past it’s prime and it’s just time. It’s time to let the past go, even if only for a little while. All You Need is Now, right?!?  *runs*

4. Zoom In.  Amanda has near constant nightmares of avatars from Second Life coming through her window after her after seeing this performed live as part of the Broadway run. It is no wonder she isn’t rocking in a corner somewhere. We blame this song, and quite honestly – the band too. Besides, it’s a Timbaland song and we’re over him. Also, she campaigned hard for this one to be included….and she is pretty good at that campaigning thing!

3. Night Runner. Rhonda doesn’t believe this one even needs further comment and both of them still shudder from seeing that first “performance” of this one at the fan only show in June of 2007.

2. Skin Divers.  We’ll vote this song off and Timbaland too!!

And that brings us to our number one….Before we get there, let us explain how we arrived at this being the number one, as opposed to the songs in the #2 and #3 slot. The fact is, as much as those songs are indeed despised by at least one of us who happens to reside on the west coast of the US…they don’t receive a lot of play in #duranlive. (thank goodness.  Thank whatever higher power is out there….*knocks wood, starts thinking about what can be sacrificed to please the gods…*)  Number one though, does get an awful lot of live play.

Therefore…we vote off in a final act of defiance…

1. Come Undone!   We are simply over this song. Over. It. Neither of us started off hating this song, well…maybe Amanda did…but the fact is, it’s time to retire this one in favor of others that almost never get played. So we’re voting it off and doing the dirty work for the band. We look at it as doing a public service, really. We know a few of you like the finger licking (Durantigger – we are looking at you), but we are absolutely positively OVER IT. Time to give it up and move on to something written in the current century. Might we suggest some Mediterranea or Too Bad You’re So Beautiful instead???

We can hardly wait for the hate mail to roll on in….but we ask you, before you tar and feather us, isn’t there just ONE song you could do without hearing again?  If you say a quick no – we have to wonder why. Being a fan isn’t about loving absolutely everything. It’s being supportive, but it’s also about being willing to stand up and say “You’ve done so much better than this.”  Call us crazy, but we prefer it when our friends are honest with us. If we all really believe we’re connected to the band, then why isn’t OK not to love something, or to even hate or despise it? We love this band.  (We hope that is pretty obvious by now.  We write a daily blog on being their fans.  If that isn’t enough proof, we don’t know what is.)  We also think they’ve made some mistakes over the years. Mistakes that may have gotten them right where they are nonetheless, but we’re not afraid to make good fun of them as a result.

Truth of the matter is, we hope you not only grumble when you read this, but you laugh. It’s just a blog. We are just a couple of fans that are entirely too outspoken. We don’t make the laws (be thankful for that), and we certainly don’t choose the songs for the band. So much for the dare on the part of friends of ours who think we are far too diplomatic here. (Rhonda just spent a great deal of time looking up the exact post on Facebook to find the right word that was used…)

Wait…is that Come Undone that we see out there in that lifeboat paddling furiously towards (to?) the shore???

-A & R

Interpretations of the Reflex

I knew that as soon as I mentioned diving into the various songs and their meanings one song in particular would come up.  Of course, that song is the Reflex, Duran’s first number one in the US way back in 1984.  This song means a lot to me and not because of what it means or how I interpret it but because of where it fits into my Duranie history.  In the spring of 1984, I was pretty young.  I was very young.  My best friend and I were spending a lot of time watching MTV and singing Duran Duran songs.  Yet, I wasn’t a Duranie, officially, until the Reflex came out and began its non-stop playing on the radio and on every video show imaginable.  My best friend and I were pathetic about it.  Why?  We would actually call each other up whenever we saw the video even if that was during dinner time or if it was the 15th call of the day.  To say that we were addicted would be an understatement.  Perhaps, more importantly to my Duranie history, it was this video that made me a John Taylor fan.  One look into the camera and I was a goner.  A complete goner.  Before that, I might have even said that I liked Simon best (*gasp*).  After that, though, I was a John girl all the way and still am, twenty-eight, almost twenty-nine years, later.  Thus, this song is an important one to me and one that I have thought quite a bit about, both musically and lyrically.  Today’s blog, of course, focuses more on the lyrics.  Before we get into it, let’s take a look at the video and check out the lyrics.

Here are the lyrics:

You’ve gone too far this time
But I’m dancing on the valentine
I tell you somebody’s fooling around
With my chances on the dangerline
I’ll cross that bridge when I find it
Another day to make my stand
High time is no time for deciding
If I should find a helping hand

CHORUS
So why don’t you use it?
Try not to bruise it
Buy time don’t lose it
The reflex is an only child he’s waiting in the park
The reflex is in charge of finding treasure in the dark
And watching over lucky clover isn’t that bizarre
Every little thing the reflex does
Leaves you answered with a question mark

I’m on a ride and I want to get off
But they won’t slow down the roundabout
I sold the Renoir and the TV set
Don’t want to be around when this gets out

CHORUS

Oh the reflex what a game he’s hiding all the cards
The reflex is in charge of finding treasure in the dark
And watching over lucky clover isn’t that bizarre
Every little thing the reflex does
Leaves you answered with a question mark

Now, of course, because I’m a researcher, I was curious as to the interpretations that can found on the internet.  There are many.  I will list the ones I found that were either plausible and/or interesting.

*About an erection/sex/masturbation

*Gaining confidence

*Drugs-use and/or selling

*About Nick

*Following instincts

The majority of interpretations online seem to either be about the erection idea or the drug idea.  What, of course, is interesting, in and of itself, is that no one really knows and yet the discussion, even after this blog, will remain.  Let’s comb through the lyrics and see which of these theories make the most sense.

Do the lyrics support the idea of something sexual, maybe an erection, maybe masturbation?  Could “dancing on the valentine” refer to something sexual?  Valentine could refer to affairs of the heart and dancing could lead to sexual activity or could be a metaphor for sex.  “Make my stand” definitely could be a reference to an erection.   “High time” could also be a reference to an erection and “helping hand” could refer to masturbation, specifically.  What about the other verses?  Do those match with this idea?  “I’m on a ride and I want to get off” definitely could be a reference to sexual activity.  I’m not sure what the Renoir or the TV set would have to do with sex other than, maybe, people get sexually aroused by what they see in art or on TV.  Now, what about the chorus?  An erection is definitely something that is used and, certainly, stretching time during sexual activity is something appreciated.  The only child part could be more of a reference to masturbation again.  The treasure in the dark seems like it could be sexual.  I’m not sure why it would be left with a question mark but, in general, the song really could be about sexual activity, specifically masturbation.

The next theory as to the song’s meaning is about gaining confidence.  Making a stand could be about standing up with pride, with confidence.  Would help be something wanted to get confidence or when one has confidence?  Not sure.  That first verse doesn’t hold up as well.  The second verse doesn’t help much either.  Why wouldn’t you want to be around when “it” gets out if the “it” is confidence?  That doesn’t make much sense to me.  What about the chorus?  Would confidence leave you with questions?  I get that you would want to use it and wouldn’t want to bruise it but that still feels like a stretch. Likewise, the idea that it is about following instincts seem like a stretch, too.  I get how the word “reflex” means just reacting, which could be an instinct but I struggle with the rest of the lyrics beyond the chorus of using it and trying not to bruise it.  What about dancing on the valentine or high time?  That doesn’t seem to follow easily, either.

I’m not sure what to say about the idea that it is Nick.  There are some lines that fit.  He is an only child, for example.  We all know that Nick likes art and was collecting art in the 80s.  Likewise, he took many photographs for his book, Interference, from TV sets.  Is Nick in charge of finding treasure in the dark?  Musically, that might be the case.  Does Nick’s behavior leave us or the band with questions?  Maybe so.  What is the “it” in the chorus, though?  Nick’s talent?  Maybe.  I’m not sure how to evaluate the first verse.  Who has gone too far?  Nick?  Who is fooling around?  Was the band fooling around when Nick wanted to work?  Maybe.  From what I have read, the song was written on John’s birthday after enjoying some wine or champagne.  Thus, it is possible that some members weren’t very focused when they should have been.  Maybe they were a bit drunk and/or high and that wouldn’t be a good time to battle Nick.

Speaking of the partying, a lot of people on the internet seemed to think that it really could be about drugs.  Is that possible?  “Gone too far this time” could mean that someone enjoyed a little too much.  “Dancing on the valentine” could translate to being high.  Using alcohol or drugs could be dangerous, for sure.  Yes, decisions probably shouldn’t be made during “high time”.  The next verse could imply that the “high” went wrong and that the person isn’t enjoying the high anymore with the line, “I’m on a ride and I want to get off”.  Also, one could sell art and TVs in order to pay for the drugs.  What about the chorus?  The “it” could be drugs and using it is obvious then.  Why would time need to be bought?  What about the bruising part?  Is that a reference to using needles?  As for the reflex “waiting in the park” that could be the drug deal and the treasure could be the drug.  The use would leave many with questions.

So, what’s the conclusion?  Honestly, it could be about drugs, masturbation or Nick.  There are lines that could translate well to those theories.  Of course, the reality is that the song could be about none of those or it could be about all of those.  We won’t ever really know.  Yet, if pushed, I can’t imagine that they would make a song about drugs despite their use of drugs.  It just doesn’t feel like Simon’s style.  Could it be about sex or about masturbation?  That seems like a likely topic of Simon’s, especially in 1983.  I could also see Simon writing a song about Nick, especially one done in a cheeky fashion.  Which theory do you think makes the most sense or do you have a different idea?

-A

P.S. Which song should I tackle next week?

Ho Ho Holiday Rush

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m starting to feel the holiday panic. A week from today my sister arrives, and after that it will likely be a whirlwind through New Years. Every year I hope to make this time relaxing, and every year I fail miserably. This week is crunch week for my family because it’s the last week of school for my oldest, my middle kid is trying to finish some writing projects to turn in next week for home school, and my youngest is just trying to keep up. She is very excited, then very exhausted, and in turn very grumpy. It is time to slow down, yet time seems to be speeding up!

Today’s blog is going to be rather short out of basic necessity, but I ask you a timely question. Let’s pretend the band is Santa. (Ok, just so we’re clear, I am NOT suggesting you should attempt to climb on any one of their laps the next time you see them…boundaries…boundaries would be good here.) If you could ask the band for anything – what would you ask?

Would it be something music related – for example you might ask that the next album be similar in style to say, Pop Trash or even Medazzaland.  Perhaps you’re ready for another album like Notorious or even Red Carpet Massacre. Or maybe you’d ask them to play a specific song in a set list for a show?  Maybe you’d ask for a re-do of a specific concert?  Even better – you’d ask them to go a specific city on a tour.  How about giving them an entire list of cities for a tour!

Perhaps music isn’t your thing. You want something more personal. (Again, remove thy self from gutter….) I always hear of people asking them for a hug when they meet. Maybe you want a picture with a band member or two. Coffee and conversation? Musical advice for those musicians amongst us?

Maybe the answer is that you’d ask for nothing at all….and you’d be happy with whatever 2013 brings. That’s probably the noblest answer, but highly unlikely for this crowd, and quite honestly – this is all in good fun anyway!

What would *I* ask for? Truthfully, I would probably ask them to include a few more of the obscurities on the set list should they play some shows this year. Songs that I’ve mentioned here before about a zillion times. It’s funny because when I think of songs, my mind immediately goes back to the beginnings of Duran Duran, but the fact is there are many songs even from recent albums that simply don’t get played. Oh, to narrow it down for this moment…. Let me go with a list of top 5:

1. Late Bar
2. Secret Oktober
3. Last Chance on the Stairway
4. Make Me Smile
5. The Edge of America  (I hear a big time guitar jam coming….)

So really, what would you ask?  Just for fun!  

-R

Album Favorites!

As I am sure many/most/all of you know, we do a “daily” question on our facebook and on twitter.  The question is usually a this or that type question.  For quite awhile now, we have been doing a poll of sorts about songs on the albums.  Thus, we simply ask, “This song or that?”  In reality, this has been a bracket of sorts with losing songs being eliminated until we get the favorite song per album.  Because Duran has such a large catalog and so many songs, this process of going through each and every album has taken quite a while.  Yet, finally, today we have the results, of our friends/followers collective album favorites.  We will present them here with clips for everyone to enjoy!

Duran Duran (self-titled) winner:  Careless Memories

Clip is from the Chichester Festival in 1981 (November 30, 1981)


Rio winner:  New Religion

Clip is from Hammersmith ’82 (November 16, 1982)

Seven and the Ragged Tiger winner:  The Seventh Stranger

Clip is from As the Lights Go Down (Spring 1984)

Non-album tracks winner:  Wild Boys

Clip is from the Montreux Pop Festival (May 10, 1985)
Notorious winner:  Vertigo

 
Clip is from Working for the Skin Trade (1987-1988)

Big Thing winner:  Do You Believe in Shame?

Clip is from Seoul, South Korea (February 11, 1989)

Liberty winner:  Serious 

Clip is from Italian TV (1990)

Wedding Album winner:  Come Undone

Clip is from MTV’s Unplugged (November 17, 1993)

Thank You winner:  White Lines

Clip is from a live broadcast (1995)

Medazzaland winner:  Out of my Mind

Clip is from Greatest:  Live at Wembly 1998 (December 21, 1998)

Pop Trash winner:  Someone Else Not Me

Clip is from Italy (2000)

Astronaut winner:  Sunrise

Clip is from Live from London (Wembly Arena Spring 2004)

Red Carpet Massacre winner:  The Valley

Clip is from Songbook (January 28, 2009)

All You Need is Now winner:  The Man Who Stole a Leopard

Clip from A Diamond in the Mind (December 16, 2011)

On that note, I did want to acknowledge the runner ups.  They are in order from the first album to the most recent album:  Sound of Thunder, The Chauffeur, Of Crime and Passion, A View to a Kill, Winter Marches On, I Don’t Want Your Love, First Impression, Ordinary World, Thank You, Midnight Sun, Last Day on Earth, Chains, She’s Too Much and Too Bad You’re So Beautiful.  Now, many of you might be wondering what we will be doing next.  First, I plan to have the winners battle each other so that we know the order of album favorites.  After that, I will be asking about b-sides.  Perhaps, I will look into demos.  Then, of course, we have a ton of songs left with the various side and solo projects (Power Station, Arcadia, Neurotic Outsides, The Devils, Andy Taylor, John Taylor, and Simon LeBon).  As always, I have enjoyed seeing which songs people prefer and look forward to the ones to come!

-A

Musical Peer Pressure?

I love asking daily questions on Facebook and Twitter.  While I love reading the results, I also love that they provide me insight into our fan community.  It leads me to see patterns of thoughts and behaviors.  Do my observations show that there is a Duranie culture?  Defining culture as I do with my 7th grade students, culture is a way of life based on similar beliefs and customs.  Do we have similar beliefs?  I think we do.  From what I have seen with the daily questions, we definitely do have similar beliefs, especially when it comes to Duran Duran songs.  (Notice the word I used was similar, not the same.)

In case you aren’t following us on Twitter or aren’t friends with us on Facebook (you should be if you aren’t, by the way!), we have been doing brackets with songs on the albums.  What this means is that I put two songs against each other.  The song with the most votes win and continues on to go against a different song until a song defeats all of the rest of the songs on that album.  Eventually, we will have those album winners challenge other album winners.  Looking at the results, I am amazed how frequently the collective community really likes certain songs.  When those songs have been asked about, the vote is not at all close unless a beloved song goes up against another song in the very loved by most people category.  Of course, it isn’t surprising that there are some songs that everyone seems to love.  What is surprising is that these beloved songs are rarely the singles or songs that the general public knows Duran for, at least for the first few albums.   It is almost like the fan culture has embraced some more obscure songs as the best ones.  Let me give some examples.

As of this blog, we are in the Liberty album.  Some of the hit songs that were kicked off and kicked off easily, for the most part, included Girls on Film, Hungry Like the Wolf, the Reflex, Notorious, and more.  Instead, we were left with songs like Friends of Mine, Careless Memories, New Religion, the Chauffeur, Of Crime and Passion, the Seventh Stranger, Vertigo and more.  I wonder how many less-than-hardcore fans would know any of these songs.  This leads me to further questions.  Is this an example of us thinking that these more obscure songs are really better?  Are they really better?  Perhaps, it is a situation where we, as a whole community, seem to hate the singles.  If so, why?  Is it really about quality or about being overplayed?  Are we simply sick of these hits but that we loved them at one time?  Maybe, these album tracks show off the Duran sound better to us.  I don’t know.  What do you the rest of you think?

Then, for me, I always wonder if there is peer pressure for hardcore fans to pick the lesser known songs.  Would a hardcore fan be thought less of, if s/he thought that HLTW was the best song ever?  Of course, I realize that this system of voting isn’t perfect.  I don’t offer any real guidelines.  People don’t know if they are picking songs they like the best or the ones that they think might be great songs, in terms of the songwriting.  Our fan community is a tough and strong one, though.  Maybe we, collectively, have discussed songs so much that there is a consensus about how good or bad a song is.  I see this in the voting, too.  For example, today was Hothead vs. Serious.  Obviously, Serious is winning…by a landslide.  I think a number of us could have guessed this result. 

So, fellow fans, I am asking you.  Why do fans pick the more obscure album tracks over the single?  Is it because they are higher quality, because we are sick of the hits, or because we have collectively discussed and decided that some songs are better?  Maybe I should do a survey of that!

-A

Winners so far:
1st album-Careless Memories
Rio-New Religion
Seven and the Ragged Tiger-The Seventh Stranger
Wild Boys
Notorious:  Vertigo