Category Archives: songs

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

Guest Blog: Perfect

By Krissie Richardson

The other day, I was driving home from work, listening to a mix CD I’d made of my most favorite songs by Robert Palmer.  I’ve been a serious fan of his since the first Power Station album, and his death left a little hole in my musical soul.  The first song on the disc is “True Love” from the “Rhythm and Blues” album, and I found myself driving down I-75, singing along at the top of my lungs with tears rolling down my face.  It wasn’t grief over Robert’s passing, but rather that the song, in my musical opinion, is perfect.  Not “good”, not one loaded with memories and emotional attachment, but one that is so perfectly written and executed it moves me to tears.  There’s not a single note I would change, nothing in the arrangement or mix that irks me, not a single goofy lyric.  It’s just simply so perfect it moves me to tears with its beauty.
I had a good laugh at myself, realizing what I must look like to other drivers.  Thinking about it, I realized there are a handful of other songs in this perfect category, and they have the exact same effect on me.  “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” by Crosby, Stills, and Nash is the most perfect of perfect – it’s the song that, to me, is the end-all be-all of music.  “Rendez-Vous IV” by Jean-Michel Jarre, “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd, and “The Golden Age” by Beck all fall into the realm of perfect, too.  I can’t listen to them with strangers for fear of being committed into the nearest padded room.
As I went over my list, I realized that was no Duran Duran included on it.  That fact hit me like a punch to the diaphragm.  I’ve been a Duran Duran fan since I was 10 years old – three quarters of my life, for those doing the math.  For a long time, my fandom was my life – I worked not to keep a roof over my head, but rather to travel the world following Duran and/or John’s various solo projects.  I have multiple DD tattoos, half the stamps in my passport are there only because of Duran shows, I’ve helped to run fanzines and fan conventions.  I identify myself as an American first, a Duranie second, and everything else doesn’t much matter.
How could it be that Duran Duran music doesn’t move me as much as other music?  What in the world could have happened to me that the band I’ve built a fair portion of my life around just doesn’t move me like other artists can and do?
My hypothesis is that there are two reasons for this.  First, I think that just because a band is your favorite doesn’t mean they make the music that reaches you the most, and sometimes artists that aren’t your favorite manage to grab a hold of your soul with a song or two.  Take Beck as an example from my life.  I like some of Beck’s work, but his “Sea Change” album is by far my favorite of his catalog.  It’s a complete departure from the rest of his work, and his hard-core fans view it like we look at “Thank You”.  The first time I heard it, the very first song put me straight into tears with how perfect it is.  The rest of the album is hit and miss, but “The Golden Age” moves me to this day.  Beck probably wouldn’t appear on my top 10 favorite artists list, probably not even the top 20, but in that one song he created a moment where we understand each other implicitly.
Perhaps that discontinuity is why the music can be so powerful.  It’s completely unexpected.
The second reason is more interesting, and harder to understand.  I’ve come to believe that fandoms grow and change, almost like separate personalities.  My love of Duran Duran has changed from youthful lust to musical obsession to an all-consuming passion to a comfortable hobby.  I’ve evolved in my fandom, or rather my fandom has evolved around me.  I’m such a different person than I was in 1995, when I got heavily involved in “the scene”.  I’m different from who I was when I got out in 1999.  I don’t even reside in the same universe as the person I was at the reunion and during the planning and execution of the Friends of Mine convention.  It’s only logical that my passions would be different as well – in some ways it surprises me more that any of my interests remain the same as they were “before”.
I’ve come to think that Duran Duran may not be my favorite band anymore.  My Duran Duran fandom is my favorite (and I have many, across many interests), though.  I don’t think it’s contradictory to say it like that, either.  I do lots of different things that involve fandom, like sporting events and sci-fi cons as well as Duran Duran shows and fan gatherings.  The Duran events are still my favorite, but not because of the band.  Instead, it’s because of the friendships I’ve made because of Duran Duran.  Rhonda, Amanda, and many other people make my life better because of the friends they are to me, and we would have never met one another if not for Duran Duran.  I wouldn’t have heard of Robert Palmer, a man who was able to reach me so deeply with his music my life would be less without it, if it weren’t for Duran Duran.
So even though there isn’t a Duran Duran song yet that reaches me as deeply as a select few songs by other artists, my fandom is an entirely different animal than it was at any other point in my life, and is probably more important to me now.  The friendships and experiences I’ve had as a Duranie are themselves perfect, and are vastly more meaningful that what album I choose to put into the player first.

Krissie is originally from Ann Arbor, MI but currently resides in central Kentucky.  She is an almost life-long Duranie who spent several years as a co-board member of theICON in the mid to late 90s.  With over 70 Duran Duran shows and at least 10 Duran Duran fan conventions under her belt, you might have already met her.  At the moment, she is finishing her BS in computer science at Eastern Kentucky University.  Along with her extremely patient husband, Don, and her two 80 pound lapdogs, BJ and Bear, she is eagerly anticipating what adventures await after graduation!

Song Meanings

This week, as part of the Would You Rather Game, I started to ask people about their preferences between two songs.  Right now, I’m picking songs that are on the same album and ones that seem similar.  I am not putting a ballad against a fast song, for example.  I might, at some point, but not yet.  I have enjoyed this game immensely.  I like learning about what other Duranies think.  It is cool to have something that people can talk about each day, I think.  In fact, one of the things that I think is super cool about Duran is how much there really is to talk about.  Even if the band ended tomorrow, our discussions can continue for years, even decades to come.  Part of the reason that there is so much to talk about is, of course, that it is a band.  It isn’t about one person, but many.  On top of that, their musical catalog is quite extensive now.  They have released many, many albums, including the songs that I’m asking people to choose between.  While I like to find out which song is more popular, what is more interesting to me is the reasons that people give.  The reasons vary but one that I have seen a number of times is the history behind the songs.  I, then, started to think about whether or not the song history impacts my opinions and I have to say that it does.

This part of the game started with two album tracks off the self-titled first album:  Sound of Thunder and Friends of Mine.  It seemed that most people preferred Friends of Mine.  Yet, when thinking about Duran Duran, Sound of Thunder has a more significant history.  I’m sure that I’m not telling anyone anything new but it was the very first song that the Fab 5 wrote together.  The legend has it that the band wrote the song as soon as Simon came and auditioned.  On top of that, I remember reading, maybe in an Ask Katy question, that Sound of Thunder captured the sound that they hoped to create.  After all, Duran Duran was designed to be a combination of punk and disco, right?  I have heard that John wanted to combine the sounds of Chic’s Good Times with the Sex Pistols’ Pretty Vacant.  Apparently, they thought that Sound of Thunder did that the best.  As for Friends of Mine, I do know that Georgie Davis is a real person who was sentenced to prison and recently got out, I might add.  Yet, that story doesn’t strike me as much as Duran’s first song or the perfect combination of influences does.  Thus, in terms of sentimental value, Sound of Thunder wins the competition, hands down.  What do you think, Duranies?  Would you still vote on Friends of Mine?  Obviously, that’s cool if you would.  You might just think that the song sounds better. 

Then, yesterday, I asked about Last Chance on the Stairway and Hold Back the Rain.  Many people talked about how Hold Back the Rain was played at a gig where it was actually raining.  Some mentioned about how NASA used it in the hopes of keeping a storm away in order for the space shuttle to land.  Yet, a few more mentioned about Simon wrote the song about John.  Here’s a clip from a documentary that explains the story:
   

 Like the story behind Sound of Thunder, as a Duranie, I can’t ignore it.  It tells so much about the band.  It shows how much Simon cares about John.  It shows how far John Taylor has come.  It shows what life must have been like for them at this time with the partying and the women.  This history, this feeling speaks to me.  Of course, many people have personal connections to Duran songs.  Memories, feelings become attached to songs.  I can’t help but to think of touring life whenever I hear this song.  Specifically, the lyrics:  “No time for worry cause we’re on the roam again”.  For me, then, the personal connection combined with the Duran history puts this song way at the top of my list of favorites.  Of course, I think it sounds good as well!  😉

Maybe, my desire to know the story behind the song is strange.  Perhaps, I’m the only one who cares about stuff like this.  After all, I do have a history degree so I do tend to think about what is historically important.  Obviously, in my opinion, both Sound of Thunder and Hold Back the Rain are important to the Duran story.  What do you think?  Do you think the story behind a song matters?  How much does it matter?  Does it change the way you view a song?  Does it change how much you like or don’t like a song?  Then, do you think these two songs are important in understanding Duran Duran?  

-A

Personal Meanings

Music is a powerful force to many people, including myself.  Like many of you, I’m sure, music has always provided a kind of soundtrack to my life.  I have songs that will always mean something to me because they captured how I was feeling at a specific time in my life.  Obviously, in many cases, that soundtrack has included quite a bit of Duran Duran.  (Shocking, isn’t it?!  😀 ) Today, I was reminded of the power some songs have, for me.  This morning, I had coffee with a woman who is involved in a political group that I’m the leader for.  The goal of this morning’s meeting was to get this woman to become more active in my group.  We had a good conversation and much of the beginning focused on current affairs both locally and nationally.  The end of the conversation took a turn, however, as she discussed a family member who is reaching the end of his life.  I was instantly brought back to a recent time in my life.  As this woman was talking about her family member, I was thinking about my grandmother and my cat, both of whom passed away in December.  Those feelings of grief were brought up to the surface in such a deep and profound way.  After I left her, I drove over to my mother’s as I felt it necessary to be with her.  As I stood in my mother’s kitchen, I was reminded of a moment that took place this past December as we were both grieving.  This moment took place a few days after the digital version of All You Need Is Now was released.  I was playing the album for her as I had done with all of their previous albums since I became a fan in 1984.  We got to the song, Before the Rain, which seemed to fit our current state of being as we struggled with our losses.  From that moment forward, that song has represented grief to me.  Interestingly enough, a few days later, my family and I traveled to attend my grandmother’s funeral.  The song seemed fitting there, too, as it was raining while my brother, cousins, father, uncle and I carried her casket over to her final resting place.  Now, I highly doubt that my meaning for the song matches the intent of the lyrics.  Yet, I do appreciate how Duran’s lyrics are typically open to interpretation as many of us can and have done what I have done with Before the Rain.  We have added our own personal meaning to songs.

Another song that seems fitting today is Finest Hour.  This song, I’m sure, has meant many things to many people.  I remember hearing an interview in which Simon talked about how the lyrics refer to a speech given during World War II, expressing how Britain’s participation in attempting to defeat Hitler would be their “finest hour”, no matter the end result.  After hearing that interview, I have always connected “fight” to that song.  Obviously, the song could be used to talk about any kind of fight.  A personal battle or a political battle.  Today has also seen my political side come out in full force as my rights have seemingly come under attack by the leader of my state and more.  Instead of rolling over and giving up, I am doing what I need to do in order to stand up for myself and others like me.  I am fighting.  I may not get what I want but I know that I will still be proud of how I will battle.  Thus, Finest Hour fits my current mood.  I will “take back the life that I want to lead”.  Everyone can be sure of that.

I appreciate that Duran Duran has been there during life’s little moments, like today’s political and work related battles, and they have been there for big moments like losing a loved one.  For that, I can’t thank them enough as these songs have allowed me a chance to feel more deeply and they have pushed me into action.  I’m willing to bet that I’m not the only one who can say these things about their music.  I’m sure that most Duranies out there have songs that represent their moments, their lives.  No crappy presale and no political ideology and no setback can take that away from any of us. 

-A