Category Archives: survey

How do we really feel about Autumn Albums?

I think we can all agree it’s been pretty quiet recently. I can appreciate friends who post topics to get a conversation started, particularly when it comes to Duran Duran.  Personally, I love surveys and polls. They’re fun little “litmus” tests for the fan community, and they’re fun to look back on from year to year to see if there’s been any changes.

One of my Twitter friends, @BoysMakeNoise (you should follow him!) likes putting together surveys. This week, there was a survey on Autumn albums. Each of the albums that Duran Duran has released in Autumn months was given a star rating of 1 to 5, and then that information was compiled to find out what album was most liked.  He ran the same survey last year at about the same time, and now we’d have a comparison.

2017 Results  (average rating)

  1. Red Carpet Massacre  (2.95)

  2. Medazzaland (3.06)

  3. Astronaut (3.73)

  4. Big Thing (3.78)

  5. Paper Gods (3.96)

  6. Notorious (4.00)

  1. Seven and the Ragged Tiger (4.07)

2018 Results (average rating)

  1. Red Carpet Massacre (2.99)

  2. Medazzaland (3.06)

  3. Astronaut (3.63)

  4. Big Thing (3.74)

  5. Seven and the Ragged Tiger (3.86)

  6. Notorious (4.06)

  1. Paper Gods (4.28)

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that I like to extrapolate information from results like these.  There were 100 participants in the survey. The number isn’t enormous, but I think it is fairly representative. Chances are, the people who participated are not simply “fair-weather fans”. These are people who know the band’s catalog, and know it well-enough to debate the components.

Astonishingly, the real movement here was between Paper Gods and Seven and the Ragged Tiger – one of the “Holy Trinity” albums. (First album, Rio and SATRT). Rarely do I ever see any of the initial three knocked out of the top three of any survey ever taken. They tend to be considered Holy Grail, virtually untouchable. The rest of the results stayed within a reasonable range of last year’s survey results, but most did vary.  Medazzaland, pinpointed at an average rating of 3.06 stars each year, was the only album with stagnate results.

Nostalgia at Work

It is rare to see any of the first three albums removed from the top of any “favorites” list. There are a number of reasons for this. The album was released in 1983, there was a reasonably huge tour to support it, and it came out at the height of their popularity. This album marked the end of the initial “Fab Five” era, and for that reason alone, even post-1980’s fans hold it close to their hearts. The nostalgia for this album is enormous, and that alone keeps it afloat.

Over the years I’ve been participating in social media, I’ve been involved in more than one discussion about Seven and the Ragged Tiger. It is a difficult album for me, because I remember how much I adored it when it was released. The funny thing is that even in 1983, I don’t think I really “got” it. I can remember thinking how strange it sounded compared to anything else out at the time—and I liked it that way. Even today, I’m astounded by just how much is going on in every single song. There are no “empty spaces”.  There are layers upon layers of music and background effect. The question, is whether or not it was overdone, and that’s always up for debate.

I can see the first three albums in a definite progression. The first album was pretty raw and natural. In my opinion, that album remains the most uniquely untouched “Duran”. No egos, no fame, no fortune to muddy the picture. Rio, has far more finesse. A little more ego, but not too much. After all, they didn’t “hit” in the USA until much of Rio was remixed (Kershenbaum) and re-released here in the states. They were UK stars, but America was another challenge. Next was SATRT, and they pulled out all of the stops for this one. There’s a lot going on, and I don’t just mean musically. The band clearly had an ego by this time, and they felt like they had something to prove, with all the resources in the world to do it. I can hear the inner tug-of-war going on within the band, and if you listen closely – you can hear Simon tell you all about the struggles of fame, too.

The trouble is, at least in my opinion, as much as I loved this period of time – the album has its challenges. In hindsight, Seven and the Ragged Tiger is representative of the band’s excesses on nearly every level. Even so, I can’t quit it, and likely – neither can you.

What about Paper Gods?

In the other hand lies Paper Gods. Upon first glance, you might not even recognize that it’s the same band, particularly if you’re not a diehard fan. As I bow to my fellow nostalgia-nerds out there, I can’t help but say that Paper Gods is the better album. The quality of construction is there. It has all of the finesse of Rio, with the same quality of ingenuity that created Seven and the Ragged Tiger. On the same token, Paper Gods is not a one-listen album. In order to fully appreciate the music, it takes time. Once again, if you listen closely, you’ll even hear Simon tell you everything you need to know about their career. Paper Gods is truly a survey of their career, and a hallmark album. I believe these to be the reasons for the growth in the survey results for Autumn albums over last year.

In other words, it is not so much that Seven and the Ragged Tiger has lost a huge amount of favor with fans as it is that Paper Gods is becoming more beloved. I don’t think there will ever be a time when a significant number of fans won’t include SATRT in their top three or four list of favorite DD albums, much less Autumn album. The nostalgia for the time, paired with the album’s historic status (it was the last album with the original five until 2004) continue to keep it balanced on a narrow pedestal. Perhaps though, Paper Gods will occupy its own nearby pinnacle. Time will tell.

-R

And the Duran Duran Survey Says….

During the time I have been diligently writing, one tiny worry in the back of my mind has been research.  Let me explain: Amanda and I have researched when necessary, but much of our research has been “in the field”, by observing, making mental notes, and collaborating what we have discovered.  Neither Amanda nor myself have been especially keen on the idea of doing surveys or questionnaires, simply because it would feel as though it falsified the process rather than allowing things to happen organically.  I just wasn’t quite sure to explain what we’d done to arrive at some of our “big ideas”.  In social science research, it’s common to gain research by observing – the science comes from the methodology, not necessarily the facts, figures, graphs and charts, but for whatever reason I worried.  Amanda and I have never wanted our book to become the main reason for interacting in the community, rather we’d hoped the book would be the byproduct thereof, if that makes sense.  As such we try very hard not to sound clinical when we ask questions or put theories out there, hoping for them to be trampled by the masses.

What we’ve found is that a lot of fans don’t necessarily get the same enjoyment out of overthinking that Amanda and I do!  It is perfectly OK with most fans to remain delightfully superficial; only interested with the band, the music, and not question the rest.  I can’t blame them.  Music is meant to be enjoyed, and while Amanda and I might be totally intrigued with the inner workings, the rest of you are happy to watch a video and call it a day.  That’s fair, and it’s worth packing that into my brain for future reference.    Of course I’m over generalizing, and feel free to send me a note to call me on it.  Our inbox awaits!
Imagine my excitement and surprise this morning when I stumbled upon a Duran survey on Squidoo.com!  Granted, a survey is only as good, or as reliable, as the sample of people who answer, so I encourage all readers to go – go right now (well, after you’ve finished my blog of course!) – and grapple over such questions as “Which is your favorite Duran Duran song of all time?”  or “Who is your favorite Duran Duran member out of the original 5?”  
But please, while you’re doing that – do Daily Duranie a favor and answer the demographical questions at the beginning.  *I* want to know how old you were when you became a fan, and whether you’re male or female!
Here’s a link to the survey:  Duran Duran Survey!
No, I didn’t write it.  I promise.  I just stumbled upon it this morning, but now I’m curious to see how many Duranies out there will take the time to answer, and more excitingly (for me) what the answers will be!!
Til Monday….
-R