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This Duran Duran Blog – An open letter

Dear Readers,

There are many different types of Duran Duran blogs and websites out there. Some focus on news. Some on music reviews. Still others are a constant love note to whatever band/artist/etc they are following. Some are like magazines or fanzines. Others are message boards. The Duran Duran community, fortunately – has a place for all.

When creating the concept behind Daily Duranie, Amanda and I envisioned a Duran Duran blog or website that would bring fans together. We knew that other areas, such as news or fanzines, were already handled beautifully – so the challenge for Daily Duranie was to find our niche. We also recognized that with the rise of Facebook and even of Twitter, there didn’t seem to be a central gathering place for fans, and even less so of a place where fans could allow their voices to be heard.  Let’s be honest: Amanda and I had plenty to say all on our own. We didn’t want to do what others had done, we wanted to be unique, and we really wanted to fill the void for fans like ourselves. I suppose we realized that not everything we said would be embraced by the community as a whole – and our project would most likely go unnoticed by the band. After all, we were writing for the fans, not for the band.  We reached out to other Duran Duran blogs, we made sure to let them know we wanted to work with them and not drive traffic away from them, and we still feel that way to this day. We came up with our own original ideas for content, and we pride ourselves on the fact that this Duran Duran blog is completely our own.

Speaking of that journey, we’ve also been very outspoken, and sometimes – very critical of the band. Amanda and I do not see it as our job to cast sunshine, rainbows and perhaps the occasional unicorn, on anyone. The band already employs a good many people to do that for them. We live in the land of reality.  That doesn’t mean we are hopeless, and it doesn’t mean we hate the band. (If we hated the band, believe me when I say we wouldn’t bother with a Duran Duran blog and website that takes upwards of 20-30 hours a week to manage.)  It also does not mean that we are faithless or do not trust in the process. It does mean though, that we tell the truth as we see it at the time.  But our blog is not only opinion – we do a variety of different things: polls, the date in history (which is NOT a regurgitation of what is already available to anyone who looks at duranduran.com but instead a timeline that we’ve compiled over the years from a variety of sources), reviews, and yes – our super special commentaries that are designed to get you, the reader, thinking and commenting, which we sincerely appreciate whether you like what we’re saying or hate it. We love the conversation even if we come away wanting to pull our hair out, because it’s proof that our site is WORKING. We didn’t just create a Duran Duran blog or website based on the ideas that someone else came up with, looking for glory – we did this on our own.

We recognize that what we say here as well as on Twitter and Facebook, is not always what fans want to read. There are some fans out there that only see the good things, they honestly believe that the band is perfect in every single way. That just isn’t what Daily Duranie is about, even if it would be far easier (and gain us far more love and attention from the powers that be and the band members we idolize) to sit here each day and write an “I will love you forever” note to the band. We also realize that the band and management can see what we’re saying even on Facebook or Twitter as we criticize the band for ignoring social media or not putting out a single faster, to site some examples. We have nothing to hide, and we’re proud of the fact that any reader should know that when we say we don’t like something – we mean it.  In turn, when we say we love something, they can rest assured knowing we mean it 100%. There is no smoke being blown up anyone’s posterior on this Duran Duran blog, and that is the way this site will always stay, whether the band, management, or specific band members retweet us, repost our blogs, or not. I guess what I’m saying is that we’re willing to pay the price to stay true to ourselves and that damn band rather than spout niceties that we don’t always mean. I hate fake. I would never make it in Hollywood or as a politician, and I’m proud of that.

That said, I think that as we’ve gone along, there have been moments when we’ve forgotten our own objectives or intentions. Instead of being concerned about what our fellow fans are saying, we’ve lamented over whom the band chooses to support, repost, or retweet. I suppose if anything, that should go to show that at the end of it all, we ARE still fans. We still look for their approval, their support, and validation – which continues to be our downfall.  We continue to struggle, rise above, and remember why we began writing in the first place – and that reason definitely wasn’t so that the band would ever retweet us, no matter how fabulous it feels when that happens. I try to remind myself that once upon a time, I wisely said that if the band ever recognized me and knew my full name, I knew it was time for me to go. (words I need to carve into wood somewhere!)

Truth be told, it is not easy to commit to something for over four years, 20-30 hours each week and never have feedback from your idols (even when you’ve interviewed them); but, Amanda and I agree that even though we are likely not among the “chosen ones”
that the band chooses to acknowledge or validate, we will continue and remember WHY this Duran Duran blog really matters. It matters for us. The fans. It does not matter that others seek to imitate or have gained attention from doing so. We refuse to allow fans who cannot be bothered, instead using the same ideas we employ, the same niche we occupy, to deter us from moving on. We wish them well, but the truth is – there is only one Daily Duranie. Whether or not fellow fans choose to dilate their minds wide enough to come up with new ideas of their own instead of imitating what we’ve created, we will carry on as we’ve always done.

For a few years now, Amanda and I have envisioned something that moves beyond Duran Duran. That doesn’t mean Daily Duranie would change. Instead, she and I would create a new place where other bands could be celebrated and supported by fans. Every year we threaten (to one another) that we’re going to get it started, and each year, it gets put on the back burner…until this year. So as I type, I’m working on a website for Discord & Rhyme, our new blog-venture. The site isn’t ready yet, but once it is, we’ll have a proper unveiling. If you see something you like, perhaps you’ll help us out by sending us topic and interview ideas, sharing our blog with others, suggesting bands to follow, and join us on that journey. Just as we did for Daily Duranie, we are starting from scratch, deciding what works and what does not – and we look forward to the challenge. This will not be a goodbye to Duran Duran – we still plan to operate Daily Duranie with the same bravado, laughter, and JOY as always! Instead we look forward to saying hello again to other bands that we grew up with (and then some) that continue to work and spellbind as they tour, create music, and connect with their fans.

Hear this: WE LOVE DURAN DURAN. Fandom can be a bit of a roller coaster at times – sometimes you’re feeling really good, sometimes you’re down the hill, catching speed and momentum for the next hill, and still other times you’re back in the shed being worked on. Amanda and I have always been very vocal about where we are – our own State of the Union for Duranies, and maybe at some points that’s been our mistake – we wear our hearts, thoughts and feelings on our sleeves, but that is exactly the premise of this Duran Duran blog, and it is how we will continue to go forward from here – imitators or not.

-R

Duranies’ Touring Behavior

After a very busy fall and early winter with a new job and a massive project, I am, finally, finding myself in a spot in which I can catch my breath, tie up loose ends and move on to new projects.  (Let that be a warning—that’s right.  Amanda has time.  This is always dangerous.)  One of those loose ends is a long promised blog in which I summarize what I learned about Duranies and their touring behavior/history.  For a long time, I asked questions about specific tours, traveling, age, etc. all in hopes of understanding our fandom a bit more.  Overall, I am not sure that I learned something shocking or even something that surprised me.  More often than not, the responses I got confirmed patterns I believed to be true from years of observing, discussing, thinking about our fandom.  Here are the patterns I found to be true based on the various polls I conducted.  Please note.  These are the patterns I saw.  That does not mean that every fan fits into the patterns.  These patterns are the generalities I found.  I am also well aware that the people who responded are most likely pretty intense Duranies.  They are not casual fans.  Their fandom is probably a big part of their lives.  Plus, I’m no expert when it comes to polls/polling.

Traveling

Overall, Duranies seem willing and able to travel to see the band perform live.  When asked, 36% of the responders said that they have traveled outside of their country to see the band.  Then, an addition 60% have traveled outside of their own city/town to see the band.  Only 3% of the people who responded said that they stick close to home.

Number of Shows

The overwhelming response to this question was that most Duranies are willing and able to see more than one show per tour.  69% of those who answered the poll said that they see 2 or more shows per tour.  What was interesting to me was that most people see 2-3 shows per tour but there is still a good percentage who will see up to 7-10 shows per tour.

Specific Tours

Over the course of months, I asked people to share how many shows of various tours people attended in hopes of really understanding which tours were most popular with the fans.  Participation in these questions decreased over time.  Is that because people were sick of answering them?  Is that because no one attended those tours?  Is it because the fan base has changed so dramatically since those early tours?  All of the above?  Maybe.  Probably.  Nonetheless, this is what I found.

*No one who attended one of the band’s very early shows, the Hazel O’Connor shows, the first UK Tour, the Faster Than Light Tour, the First European Tour, or the first North American Tour.  At least, no one who is still around today, according to the poll.

*The earliest tour that any current fan attended was the First German Tour in 1981.

*The first tour that had over 10 current fans attend was, indeed, the Sing Blue Silver tour.  That did not surprise me as this was the height of Duran Duran’s popularity.

*With current fans, it seems that the Strange Behaviour Tour was more popular, though, as over 20 fans said that they attended at least one show on that tour and one person said s/he went to over 10!

*Big Live Thing Tour seemed to keep the same number of fans in attendance or close to the same number as the Strange Behaviour Tour, based on my informal polls.  That said, for the second run of shows supporting Big Thing, the numbers seemed to decrease.

*The number of fans who went to see shows during the tours for the Wedding Album did not significantly change in comparison to the Big Thing tours, which surprised me.  After all, Duran had hits and radio play during this era.

*Likewise, there wasn’t a big change in the number of fans who attended the Let It Flow tour, which was in support of Medazzaland. The same is true for the Pop Trash Tour.  Fascinating.

*Interestingly enough, there was a noticeable decrease in the number of fans who attended the Up Close and Personal Tour of 2001.

*The reunion tour of 2003-2004 saw a significant increase in fans who attended not only the tour itself but many shows in that tour.  A lot more fans saw 2 or 3 shows than in previous tours.

*The increase continued through the Astronaut era as the majority of fans who voted saw more than one show.  Clearly, people were excited by having the Fab Five back.

*The Red Carpet Massacre Tour continued to have a large number of fans who attended.  The majority, though, only attended one show during the tour.  There were less people willing to go to multiple shows for that tour.

*The All You Need Is Now Tour saw the number of fans jump back up to Astronaut numbers in the majority of fans who participated saw 2 or more shows.

*Overall, it seems that attendance for Duran Duran tours was consistent between Sing Blue Silver (1984) and the Pop Trash Tour (2000-2001).  There was a drop for Up Close and Personal (2001) until a jump for the Reunion and Astronaut Tours.  Red Carpet Massacre saw a slight decline but there was a bounce back for All You Need Is Now, from all that I saw from my informal polls and imprecise stats.

Firsts:

Based on the poll, most fans first saw Duran Duran play live when they were teenagers or close to it.  The vast majority saw the band when they were between the ages of 11 to 22.  The first tour was usually either Sing Blue Silver or Strange Behaviour.  Generally, if a fan didn’t see them in 1984 or 1987, then s/he saw them for Big Thing, the Wedding Album, or post reunion show.

How well do you fit into these patterns?  Anything surprise you?

-A

Daily Duranie Review – Hold Me

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

Amanda’s Review

Musicality/Instrumentation for Hold Me:

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

Vocals for Hold Me:

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

Lyrics for Hold Me:

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

Overall Notes for Hold Me:

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

Cocktail Rating for Hold Me:

3 cocktails!  ff2be-threeglasses

Rhonda’s review:

Musicality/Instrumentation for Hold Me:

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

Vocals for Hold Me:

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

Lyrics for Hold Me:

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

Overall Notes for Hold Me:

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

Cocktail Rating for Hold Me:

4 cocktails!

4 cocktails rating

 

 

Symbiosis and the Duran Duran fan

The word of the day is “Symbiosis”.

I know many of you haven’t heard that word since middle school biology, so let’s do a refresher.  Symbiosis is any interdependent or mutually beneficial relationship between two persons, groups, etc.

Something miraculous happened today – my little write-up of the Spandau Ballet show was reposted and retweeted by the band themselves!! Spandau Ballet. That’s right. They took the time and interest to repost something a mere Spandau Ballet and/or Duran Duran fan had written. Call me flabbergasted.

There are moments in life where something happens and it feels like the filter that had been there diffusing the light and creating shadows has been removed. The view of everything around you completely changes. That’s kind of what today has been like for me as a Duran Duran fan. Over and over, I have had fans, fellow Duran Duran fans, tell me that they’ve met bands and artists…The Fixx, Spandau Ballet, Rick Springfield, Bryan Adams, among many many others. The one thing each Duran Duran fan noted was their shock that these bands and artists really wanted to meet their fans, the people who support them. At one point, it dawned on me that I really don’t have any idea what that  is like.

On one hand this morning, I was overjoyed. We have never had blogs posted by a band like Spandau Ballet before. (All due respect to Rio- the Duran Duran tribute band though, because they support this blog by reposting our reviews and interviews about them, and we truly appreciate the effort!) While I maintain that we write this blog for the Duran Duran fan out there – it feels very good to be acknowledged by the people we idolize. That small acknowledgement is validation for a tremendous amount hard work, of which there is plenty – both seen and unseen. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing on Facebook. Spandau Ballet actually reposted my article?? I dashed off a quick note to Amanda to share in my joy. I don’t know why, but it never occurred to me that another band would repost a review of ours before Duran Duran ever did. Then again, it never occurred to me that any band would acknowledge our work because I’ve been trained to expect far, far less in the 4.5 years I’ve been blogging, not to mention the decades of being a Duran Duran fan prior. It has always been our choice to write. It has always been our choice to support – we chose to do this completely on our own, without being encouraged or forced to continue. But isn’t that also the point?

I suppose it’s vaguely similar to the surprise of having one’s photo taken with the President of the United States before ever having one with Duran Duran.

I’m thrilled that Spandau Ballet thought enough to repost my review as a Duran Duran fan of their show. Of course it was a glowing review they deserved, and of course that in turn helped their cause – which is to create interest and ultimately ticket sales. The thing is, it helps OUR interest too. We are always happy to expand our reading audience and support fantastic bands that are appreciative in the process, which is something we plan to do more often. Daily Duranie is about curating and cultivating symbiotic or even cyclical relationships between bands and their fans.

Food for thought.

-R

Duran Duran Summer Shows!

It is ALWAYS a good day when I see Duran Duran Summer Shows in my Twitter timeline and Facebook News feed!

Are your passports and credit cards at the ready, Duran fans??  This is not a drill!  Duran Duran Summer shows are coming! Today, Duran Duran announced that they will be doing two summer festivals, both in Europe in the month of June. According to the ever-trusty duranduran.com, the band will be doing the Sonar Festival in Barcelona, Spain on June 20th (celebrate John’s birthday with him in Spain!), and on June 27th, the band will play at Night at the Park in The Hague, Netherlands.

As was suggested by many a Duran fan – it was no surprise to see the first Duran Duran Summer shows of 2015 announced as European festivals, and we look forward to seeing what more may take place in the months ahead.  Take heart, US fans (and anyone willing to make the trip!!), you can come to my house.  I’m baking cookies with my new mixer.  -R

January 2015 Katy Kafe – John Taylor

There are times when I’m really nervous to listen to the Katy Kafe. Chalk this up – the January 2015 Katy Kafe – as being one of those times. I know what I’ve written lately here on the blog. I know that while my heart is definitely in the right place, sometimes my faith in the band is shaken, and I just wasn’t up for more of that. But I listened. My comments are typically in parentheses and italicized, in case you’re curious.

Before I dive into the January 2015 Katy Kafe, I just want to say that if you haven’t listened to it yet, I really think you should. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there’s something there in John’s voice that I haven’t heard in a long time. Maybe it’s passion. Maybe it is that he isn’t bored, maybe he’s just thankful they aren’t still writing music??? Whatever it was, I’m glad I heard it. Do yourself a favor, get yourself a membership to DDM and listen to the January 2015 Katy Kafe. My highlights here aren’t going to do it justice, and if you’re planning to see any shows this year…and I hear that there might be at least a couple this summer, you’re going to want pre-sale ticket access anyway.

New Album

John is in LA for a couple of weeks, having flown in after New Years. He’s recharging a bit, and if the band holds up to what I (Rhonda) have seen historically – they take January off and reconvene in February.  (This is my own guesstimate!!)  So what about that new album? John says they are excited, and this time – I can hear the emotion in his words. It isn’t an “excited” like you’d hear at a show, it is more of a passion-filled urging us to stick with them.

“We’re facing up to an end-of-summer release” 

Not the greatest words any Duran fan – least of all myself – is ready to hear, but it is what it is at this point. (I still say it will be Autumn before that album ever sees its way into the hands of fans) John says they are still in process, having finished the first round of mixes in December. Katy chimes in, saying that she’s heard the album (And no Katy, it is NOT unfair that you’ve heard it – don’t let a few wayward fans railroad you into believing that. How can you honestly promote an album you haven’t heard? ) and that she was “pleasantly surprised at how funky it was.”  She comments to John about how it must have been great to record this type of album. John is quick to say that especially today, records have to be molded and shaped, but that the groovy feeling there is inherent…quintessential Duran Duran.

“This is a very important album for us” 

John says that at this point everyone really has to love what they’re doing or else it’s not worth it. He comments that it was never their intention for people to think they’re in it for the money (he may have said “still” in it for the money but I’m not positive) or that they’re not totally committed to their craft. (As a blogger, there are a lot of times when I wonder if anyone is reading this blog. I mean, I can see our stats, but I really mean I wonder if the BAND reads. This is one of those times, as I’ve commented about both of those topics before. I am not without a conscience when I write – I don’t say things purely to hurt anyone, least of all Duran Duran – but yes, there have been times as of recent when I’ve put the thought out there. I suppose I’ve written what I’ve written as a sort of “nudge” to the band, because quite frankly if I’m thinking it – I KNOW others are as well. It’s tough love, but if I can’t be honest, who really can?!? That said, I also know what I hear, and I believe John’s passion.)  John also comments, and he stumbles a bit here, but he says that “There aren’t that many…..they don’t come every year.”  (Let’s just be clear, I think most of us know there aren’t THAT many albums left to be made here. If you’re not already realizing that, you should be. Even if they made FIVE more albums, which might be a stretch to say, that’s a lot less than the 13 or 14 they’ve already released. Capiche??) He goes on to say that he thinks they might even care more today than when the band started out. Back then, there was no sense of legacy, which is challenging for the band. He says the band wants to play to their best. Be their best.

“…struggle to make something that is classic Duran Duran but current.” 

Katy asks a question that I think is brilliant and worthy of a blog all on its own. “Do you think there’s a difference between being relevant and being current?”  John answers the way I would suspect, but suggesting that not everything that is current is good. (100% agreed. I have plenty more I could add here, but I will refrain. I’m already at just under 900 words and there’s more to be written. EEK!) 

They finish this topic in the January 2015 Katy Kafe by talking about the pressure and anxiety of putting out this record. (Again, I’ve talked about this right here on the blog. I have to admit I wonder if the pressure gets to them. The anxiety of having something worthy, and believing they’ve got something to prove – does it get to them and that’s why they’ve recorded and re-recorded?? John clearly doesn’t buy into this theory. He says that at the end of the day, they’ve got to let it out. They had an album they could have released a year ago, but they kept reworking it. (I guess my question is, how do you know when you’re done???) John likens it to cooking a stew, you keep toying with it, adding more salt, more chile, until it’s gotten down the essence of what you want.  (I get it. Kind of…)

Before I forget, they did talk a little bit about the business of releasing a record these days. The fact is, it is a very different planet than it was back in the day of Ordinary World…and a completely different galaxy from Planet Earth. As they finish the record, they do have to think about how they are going to release it. How will they make the biggest impact – the maximum impact.  (Well John, I have a few ideas…one of which involves a listening party for fans…)

War Child Gig in London

This will be a super intimate show that I personally will try not to be jealous that I cannot be in the audience to enjoy. John says that this is a really nice way to play London for a charity, a feel-good all-around event. One thing that concert-goers should know though is that there will be NO NEW MUSIC played. (Don’t say I didn’t warn you!) John talks about the various one-off shows they’ve done lately – like those in Austin or the one in Monterey, CA and says that they keep the blood pumping.  He still holds firm to the fact that these shows satiate the band.

Touring

“None of us are dying to get out and do lengthy tours.” 

John is quick to say that whatever shows they do for this album – and he does say they’ll make it around the world…eventually – won’t be like old tours. The way John spoke, it was as though the band is looking for more quality, less quantity when it comes to touring. (Given what John is saying, I would venture to guess that if you’re a fan who has never traveled for a show and expects the band to make it to your town or close to it – you are bound to be disappointed. I am fully expecting to hear whining like I’ve never heard or seen before when dates are announced. Duranies – get your travel funds ready and be willing to go out of your comfort zone a bit. This is your warning!) 

Now, if you were looking for some hints as to what might be coming – John and Katy were kind. They didn’t say WHEN, and they didn’t say WHERE, but they DID say in this January 2015 Katy Kafe that there might be a couple of shows this SUMMER (THIS IS YOUR OFFICIAL DAILY DURANIE ALERT!). Katy has the dates, and while she said she was being as nebulous as possible – the fact is people, shows are coming. Shows are coming!!! (and as a personal aside – if you’ve been reading my personal twitter lately, you will know that these shows will be announced soon. Not because I have an insiders knowledge, but because I just SPENT MY DURAN FUND on a brand new kitchen mixer. That’s right, you all go and buy your summer show tickets. I’ll be making baked goods in my kitchen. Crying.) 

Denis O’Regan’s Careless Memories

Katy comments a little on this book, talking about the “Then” and “Now” statements that John includes throughout the book.  I did not know this, but John and Denis are best friends. John talks about how seeing Denis with a camera makes him smile, and that he was a bright spot during a very stressful time.  John calls himself a sharer, and introspective by nature, and that the book opened him up (I wasn’t sure if he meant this book or his autobiography, but in either case – it does make me at least wish I could afford THIS book.) Katy expands, saying that the book is the most exhaustive photo book she thinks she’s ever seen, and she again calls it a piece of art, saying that she was completely blown away by how well put together and thought out it was. (I have no doubt that the book would be a wonderful addition to any fan’s collection – my only problem with it is that it’s extraordinarily priced, and while I’m sure the most exclusive editions are truly “art” – even the most “mass-marketed” version, which really isn’t meant for mass market at all – is far too much money for most fans to purchase. It becomes a case of the haves and have-nots, which is unfortunate, especially since for many fans, their history has in a sense been our OWN history.)

The January 2015 Katy Kafe with John rounds itself out by the final comments that John thinks Birdman should get Best Picture at the Oscars, and that the album….forever entitled DD14 (in MY head, anyway!)….still does not have a title.  I suppose though, if it’s not done, the band doesn’t think they can name it yet.

Late summer….although John thinks we’ll have new music in the spring….  But hey, there will be a few summer SHOWS!!!

Words and hopes that will get us through the doldrums of Winter, I am certain.

-R

Spandau Ballet US tour : Too Much Mis-information?

This is dedicated to any fan who has ever had the frustration of not knowing what is really going on…or that the “official” website is always the last to make a statement on rumor…etc.  (Basically, this means you.)

I have a fondness for 80s “alternative” bands. Unlike many Duran fans – I was blissfully ignorant of the apparent “rampant” discord between DD and Spandau Ballet. I liked both bands. Granted, Duran Duran came first in my heart and always will, but I did like Spandau. I owned more than one Spandau record, and would have loved seeing them live. When they announced a tour here in the states – I jumped at my chance for tickets and waited my four months (or however long it’s been!) for the Spandau Ballet US tour time to arrive.

Over the weekend however, it seemed as though I might miss my chance for the Spandau Ballet US tour after all. Timing is everything, and Spandau has struggled to release their movie documentary, Soul Boys of the Western World in a timely manner with their tour. As a result, some of their tour dates have been rescheduled, and for a while, it appeared that the Los Angeles and San Francisco dates were going on the chopping block altogether, as in completely canceled without a chance to reschedule the dates.

Interestingly enough, it was NOT the official Spandau website that broke the news (do I hear a collective gasp?!?), but instead a few “fan-managed” websites that grasped hold of what appeared to be a press release written by their concert promoter.  Not the band. (again, I should hear gasping)  Not only was the news not really official…or unofficial…but it was not concisely written or easily understood. Instead of explaining the situation at hand, the news was simply that the Spandau Ballet US tour dates that could be rescheduled were listed below, and that the first three dates: LA and SF dates, couldn’t be rescheduled. So were they canceled with refunds available at the point of purchase? Some sites assumed that yes, they were. Others said otherwise, and Spandau’s site?  Still not updated.  (Let’s have a slow clap for the band’s website, shall we?)

I went to bed whatever night that was figuring that I probably didn’t have a show to attend and that I’d just get a refund. As sad as this news was for me, on the scale of I’m-going-to-miss-a show up to I’ve-just-traveled-5,437-miles-to-London-only-to-have-the-band-cancel-every-show-I-have-tickets-to-attend…I felt as though I might live. If nothing else, at least Duran Duran was not going to be the only band to ever cancel on me now. I went to bed that night thinking of how I might spend my refund money. (I wish I were joking…)

That next morning though, the news was much different. Turns out that no, LA and SF dates for the Spandau Ballet US tour were still on. Where did I get that news? No, not from Spandauballet.com as you might expect, at least not right away. Nope. I got the news from Richard Blade, thankyouverymuch.  He talked to the band, got the scoop, and shared it with a good many anxious fans who were far more confused and/or angrier than I was at the time. It wasn’t until that afternoon my time that I finally began to see links to the band’s website, which posted an official statement about the Spandau Ballet US tour that makes everything completely clear….as mud…to all fans about what was really happening. What became obvious to me is that the band’s website used the same press release as what must have gone out on the wires prior, and whomever is responsible for that press release should go back to school. I don’t know why it was so difficult to clearly say that the Los Angeles and San Francisco dates were staying exactly as is, that they would not be changing…but that didn’t happen until later, after continued fan uproar… when someone from the band’s management decided to post on Facebook and Twitter to “clarify” that those dates were unaffected.

What interested me most about the entire exercise was how angry  fans were about the lack of information on the band’s website, as well as the misinformation going out about the Spandau Ballet US tour dates. We Duran fans have a nasty habit of assuming that we have it so much worse than any other fan community out there: we don’t get information in a timely manner, we hear the rumors and leaks well-before the band ever decides to respond (if ever), and when things really go wrong – like an entire tour gets canceled, or a band members decides to leave the band, it feels like light years go by before the band figures out what to say as vaguely as possible to make things as clear as…you guessed it…mud! It turns out though, we’re not alone. I would venture to guess that if you asked other fan communities, you’d hear very similar complaints.

I have to wonder…are fans just impossible to please? Far too crafty and investigative for our own good? Entirely too judgmental?? All of the above?

Absolutely.

-R

Social Media: Could Less Really Be More?

During my typical morning social media read-through, I noticed an item of interest that I thought I’d share with my fellow Duranies. AskKaty on Facebook (who actually works for more artists than just Duran Duran!) retweeted a comment from Miss Taylor Swift about her bestselling album, “1989”.

“1989 became the year’s bestselling album in the very last days of 2014, helped in part by absence from streaming services.” @taylorswift13

I thought this quote was interesting for a number of reasons, not in small part due to my lack of knowledge when it comes to streaming – I do have Spotify, but in truth I rarely have time to sit and listen (a small allowance to make when you are a homeschooling parent).  I seem to recall hearing that Taylor Swift had chosen to stop streaming her music through such services, but I don’t think I ever gave the idea much thought beyond wondering what purpose it would really serve. I have to wonder if her above statement really holds any kind of water…and assuming that yes, removing her music from streaming created huge demand…would it work for others?

Let’s be honest: Taylor Swift is a hot commodity in today’s music whether you like her or hate her. My own daughter fell in love with her writing back when Taylor was still singing about prince charming, and that hasn’t stopped. It is difficult to argue that 1989 was an unlikely success, given the sheer amount of fans that seem to be behind Swift…but even so…to go platinum four times?? If we agree that removing her music from streaming services somehow created a sense of demand that made the sales of 1989 go off the charts in an unprecedented amount of time…could it be that a similar idea is being used for Duran Duran?

Celebrities and artists today are far more accessible now than any time prior, and many believe that ease of accessibility is more harmful than helpful. I’m not sure I necessarily agree, but I’m also,not ready to cry foul just yet.  On one hand, Taylor Swift, for example, seems to love social media, Instagram and Twitter most notably. While she has removed her music from streaming – the songstress continues to remain very connected to her loyal fans, and not just while trying to sell her latest record. On the other hand, many other artists – such as Nick Rhodes, for instance, abhor social media of any kind and yet Duran Duran does allow their music to be streamed.

Sure, Duran Duran could easily remove themselves from streaming. I certainly wouldn’t notice – like most diehard or longtime fans, I already own their entire catalog and having them disappear from Spotify wouldn’t be a game changer for me. Perhaps though such a move might also cause potential fans to make a purchase rather than just stream the new album for free. Whether or not the percentage of potential “seeking” fans would prove to be large enough to make a notable difference or not is up for debate. However, if they were advised to stop engaging and connecting through social media – how might that change the overall narrative?

-R

Duran Duran Fans: Skeptics?

Some may have noticed I was late with the date in history for yesterday. At this point, it might just be safer for mankind if they wrap my house in orange biohazard plastic and call it a day. I used to say that there is nothing worse than having two kids get the stomach flu at the same time. I was wrong. THREE kids with stomach flu is in fact worse. Most of us have moved on to sore throats, coughing and all of that fun now, so I’m back to blogging.

I try to comment and make sense of things I see being said around the Duran Duran fan community. I suspect the band doesn’t bother reading or cares much about what is being said these days, and perhaps the same goes for management. I just believe that our voices deserve the right to be seen and heard.

I used to see many shout-outs of 2015 being the band’s year (and prior to that – 2014!) Lately, I see a whole lot more of “Maybe mid 2015…or beginning 2016, but it could be a lot longer” than I do anything else. Not many Duran Duran fans believe that the band will tour this year, and still fewer believe that the album will actually come out during the summer. Yes, I know what the band has said. The band has done it’s job incredibly well over the past few years – letting Duran Duran fans know at each turn that they’re in no hurry to finish the album, that they aren’t necessarily ready to get back on the road, and that we fans should just get used to it.  Duran Duran fans have lived through the band’s comments of not knowing when the album would be completed to “maybe late-2014”, to “early 2015” and most recently, “June at the earliest” and “definitely sometime in 2015”. Ambiguity reigns. We’re almost through to Autumn 2015 and it’s not even the end of January yet.

The one thing I’ve always known about Duran Duran fans – the vast majority, anyway – they are an incredibly optimistic lot. One might say their fandom LIES in their optimism. After all, this is a fan community that rallied for the fab five to reunite many years before it actually happened. Once that reunion was announced, it was believed that just about anything could happen with this band. This wasn’t just optimism…we all believed it. We LIVED it. Duran Duran fans were mostly undeterred by Andy’s eventual second departure, believing that the band was still very far from finished. Duran fans are positive, uplifting people – likely because they took that cue directly from the band.

At this point it’s clear that the Great Duran Duran Fan Optimism Train has made it’s way over the Great Hill and is now powering downhill straight into the Valley of Darkness. Some of the most positive people I know (and I’m not counting myself in that crowd) in the Duraniverse are openly and publicly questioning the year(s) to come – and I can’t really blame them. After all, they listen to the band  – whether that is through interviews, tweets, notes or news. They fear that even as the band says the words of excitement for this album, the emotion doesn’t quite match their voice. Even the most optimistic amongst us takes notice after a while.

It is 100% possible that Duran Duran fans have misread the band. Perhaps it isn’t a lack of interest, but exhaustion. Maybe not boredom, but instead the effects of spending entirely too long in the studio. Isn’t that still a problem? After all, it is not just the voices heard in Katy Kafes that fans question – it is the collective retreat from social media, lack of engagement with fans, news or updates from the studio (as opposed to prior albums we have heard precious little about this one, other than that big names they’ve had in the studio) and the lack of interest in giving album info on Katy Kafe that has led many to this point of skepticism.

In order to make fans believe in this project and shout about it from rooftops, the band has to first sell Duran Duran fans. I cannot help but recall the days before Red Carpet Massacre was released, as more and more often I am seeing direct parallels. The sense of skepticism in the community was palatable. In hindsight, I really believe the band was completely unaware of just how unsure Duran Duran fans were of the project. Instead of taking our connection to them as real and powerful – fans were mostly ignored. We didn’t matter in the long run because to the band, we were really just some sort of vague entity instead of real, live people that walked hand-in-hand alongside them. They didn’t see us that way, and if the past few years are any firm example – they still don’t, which is unfortunate. The fan show at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City 2007 was some sort of partially tethered life-preserver thrown to the fan community. Some caught the life line and many others never did, forced to make their own way or drown. I dislike seeing similarities between the two projects, but they are out there.

I would like to believe this next album to be different. After all, it is far easier to see the overall “state of the fan base” these days. Between Facebook and Twitter, not to mention this blog, it’s fairly simple to get an idea, if one cares to pay attention. That of course, is key: you’ve got to pay attention in order to see what is in-between the lines. Some Duran Duran fans will never be deterred because for them, the band IS their life preserver. Many others will simply move on, because life does not stop. Even personally, I have to force myself to make the time to stay present in this fandom. I make the time, because otherwise, it would be simple to fade away.

This is not 1984. Duran Duran fans don’t automatically believe and worship every thing they say…and if the current prevailing attitude and skepticism over what the band is really going to do in 2015 doesn’t prove that, nothing will.

-R

 

 

Duran Duran Albums A-Z

Daily Duranie welcomes new opinions and we wish to give all fans a voice. Today we feature a brand new guest blogger to Daily Duranie.  Enjoy!!

By Jason Lent

Understanding the impact of Duran Duran is near impossible if you did not experience it firsthand. They were pioneers of the New Romantic movement (which pulled its artistic aspirations from the likes of David Bowie and Roxy Music) and almost singlehandedly turned the music video into art. As a young kid discovering music, it was hard not to be lured into a world of exotic locations and mostly naked models set to exciting synth pop music.

Over the last thirty years, I’ve taken my share of jokes for sticking by Duran Duran through their musical highs and lows and I understand that the band will always be divisive amongst serious music fans. However, there is more depth and substance to their career than the majority of what passes for popular music in 2014. With that in mind, I dusted off every studio Duran Duran album they’ve recorded and ranked them from the most essential to the, um, best forgotten. I decided to skip the live album Arena (it’s a pleasant reminder of an epic tour but offers little to listeners) and the covers album Thank You which was disappointing but not quite as bad as most remember.

Rio (1982)

The point at which New Romantic music crossed into the mainstream and simultaneously established the fledgling MTV as a creative outlet that would shape the future of music. The impact of videos such as “Rio” and “Hungry Like The Wolf” are so culturally significant that the music gets slightly overlooked, which is criminal. As a band, Duran Duran hit on all cylinders throughout the record with John Taylor’s exquisite bass lines serving as the glue that holds the synths and electric guitar together to form one of the finest records of the decade. The album artwork also captured the decade perfectly adding to the overall aesthetic of a young band rising to the top of the world to define a generation. Quite simply, there are no weak songs on Rio making it the band’s preeminent album. At the time, “Hold Back the Rain” was just a kick-ass pop-rock tune but it takes on more meaning now knowing it was Simon’s plea to John to get control of his substance abuse, something that wouldn’t happen for another decade. The ballad “Save A Prayer” will always be the band’s most delicate moment while “The Chauffeur” closes the album on an artistic road that kept the band’s pop success balanced with their more artistic interests. This Duran Duran album is essential to any music collection.

Duran Duran (1981)

The perfect example of the New Romantic movement in music, Duran Duran’s debut sounded fresh and exciting even before the artfully conceived videos took the band to larger audiences. While “Planet Earth” and “Girls On Film” remain some of the band’s most notable songs, the album has a whole captures the essence of Duran Duran. The second side of this Duran Duran album edged into darker, moodier territory that revealed a depth to the music that critics have often overlooked. The opening two minutes of “Night Boat” strike a sinister mood while “Friends Of Mine” and “Careless Memories” are spirited punk songs filtered through the New Romantic prism. When released as the second single, “Careless Memories” faired poorly and the accompanying video remains one of the few misfires in the band’s catalogue. Listening now, that song was far from disappointing and, like the rest of the record, has aged quite well. When the album was re-released in 1983, the hit single “Is There Something I Should Know?” replaced “To The Shore” which made sense for the band and record company though it doesn’t fit the flow of the album.

All You Need Is Now (2010)

How do you make a Duran Duran album that almost matches the greatness of the band’s early work? You dust off the old instruments and allow the talented Mark Ronson to guide the recording process. From the title single on, the band recreates the magic of their first three records while updating it for 2010. The hook of “All You Need Is Now” recalls the sway of “New Moon Monday” and there are plenty of other sonic touchstones that harken back to the biggest days of Duran. The opening synth of “The Man Who Stole The Leopard” recall the band’s instrumental track “Tel Aviv” from their debut album while the opening drums of “Girl Panic” are “Girls On Film” redux. Who gives a shit?! It’s shimmering pop-rock beauty that the band once did better than anyone on planet earth.

Notorious (1986)

Three years is a long time in music. For Duran Duran, it meant one live album (Arena), a troubled live performance at Live Aid, and a breakdown in the line-up. “Who gives a damn for a flaky bandit” sang Simon Le Bon in the title track letting the world know how the remaining members viewed departed guitarist Andy Taylor. The album was a departure for the band as the age gap between them and their fans was suddenly felt in the music. For a thirteen year old, Nile Rodgers was just a name the band occasionally dropped as an influence. With little understanding of Chic and the other bands that shaped the band’s style, Notorious felt like a sudden shift away from the new wave glory of MTV that they did better than others. Over time, this Duran Duran album has matured well and reveals a talented group of musicians finding space to write smarter songs. The title track and “Skin Trade” are two of their tightest singles and the feisty “Meet El Presidente” finds a new groove for the Duran sound. The album’s strength lies in the quality of the songs throughout. “Vertigo (Do The Demolition)” and “American Science” are stylish pop tracks that hold their own with the singles. Closer “Proposition” (placed at the opposite end from the title track that takes a dig at him) gives us a final taste of the band with Andy Taylor (at least for a few decades) and it’s clear that the band’s sound needs his razor edge on guitar to compliment the synth explorations of Nick Rhodes. An album that has held up very well in the Duran Duran story.

Big Thing (1988)

To this day, I’m not sure why this Duran Duran album was such a disconnect for audiences. The singles didn’t make a lasting impact on the charts and the tour (at least at the Miami Arena, my first concert, finally!) played to less than full venues. After Notorious, I thought this was a bold step forward as the band pushed the music into new territory. “All She Wants Is” incorporates house music into the Duran sound to create a hypnotic tone and the accompanying video was one of the last great reasons to watch MTV. One of the band’s best ballads to this day, “Do You Believe In Shame?” opens a second half of the album which slides away from the dance floor towards the art house. The razor-sharp guitar the closes out “Lake Shore Driving” is the sort of six string showcase Andy Taylor would have eaten up had he not become a disillusioned guitar hero and left for a disappointing solo career (yes, I own Thunder on vinyl and yes, I’m still disappointed).  Why the b-side “I Believe/All I Need To Know” failed to make Big Thing while the dreadful “Drug (It’s Just A State Of Mind)” secured a spot mystifies me. Swapping those tracks would move this further up my list.

Seven And the Ragged Tiger (1983)

A complicated album from inception to completion, Seven is a difficult album for me to view through a lens not colored by nostalgia. After the monumental Rio, the band could do know wrong in my eyes and this record held my fascination. The lead single “The Reflex” needed a snappy remix to really bring it alive (“Whyyy-y-y-y-y-y-y-y-y- -don’t you use it”) and the live video helped showcase a slightly disappointing hit single. “Union Of the Snake” remains my favorite moment on the album. Andy adds some excellent guitar to the synth melody, the kind of small touch that future records would often be missing. While all quite fine, the non-singles tend to run together in my brain. “I Take The Dice” and “Shadows On Your Side” are interchangeable Duran songs. Heavily produced and sometimes sounding like a challenge to write, the success of this Duran Duran album resided more on the band’s name at that point in music.

Duran Duran – The Wedding Album (1993)

I remember exactly where I was when I first heard “Ordinary World” on the radio. I was returning from my girlfriend’s house and passing over Dixie Highway in West Palm Beach, FL. I pulled over after crossing the railroad tracks knowing Duran Duran was about to return to the charts. The song sat perfectly on the radio and remains a classic pop song. However, it’s not one of the better Duran Duran songs. It could have been recorded by just about any pop rock band at the time and lacked the unique Duran alchemy. “Come Undone” felt more like a classic Duran single and sounds beautiful with a slippery bass line and sexy rhythm. Opener “Too Much Information” still holds up as one of their better rock songs though the line “a cola manufacturer is sponsoring the war” feels a little uncomfortable coming from a band that Coca Cola sponsored in the 1980’s.  The rest of this Duran Duran album falters and suffers from an indistinctive sameness. The disappointing Lou Reed cover (“Femme Fatale”) serves as a harbinger of the Thank You album that would follow. In the end, a stylish Duran Duran album with three excellent singles is hardly a disappointing trip.

Astronaut (2004)

With the dismal performance of Pop Trash and no record label, it was a widely held assumption that Duran Duran were finished. The reunion nobody saw coming became reality (I figured Roger Taylor had retired from music forever and Andy always seemed like a loose cannon who resented his role in the band). To their credit, the band went into the studio instead of just filling arenas with the same reunion tour for a few summers. Opening track “(Reach Up For) The Sunrise” is a powerful reminder that, at its core, the rhythm section of Roger and John Taylor anchors Duran Duran. A driving chorus with Andy’s guitar jostling with Nick’s synths is Duran at their best. On the whole, the album proves a successful reunion of the Fab Five. “Nice” sounds like an updated Duran Duran, which is better than the slightly misguided band of the late 1990’s. This Duran Duran album suffers on the production side with just too much happening at once. It gives the record a cluttered atmosphere that they would sort out on their most recent work. At the time, any Duran Duran album from the original line-up would have been welcome but this album has aged well and remains sneaky good.

Medazzaland (1997)

By 1997, Duran Duran had crumbled as the creative entity that launched so many memorable albums. After the hugely disappointing Thank You record, the band was down to Nick and Simon with guitarist Warren Cucurrullo. Nick and Warren were the creative force giving this and it’s follow-up, Pop Trash, a unique place within the Duran canon. “Out Of Mind” completed Simon’s trilogy for a lost friend (“Ordinary World” and “Do You Believe In Shame” were the others) and sounded like an extension of earlier albums. However, the rest of the music moves into electronic dance sounds that felt alien to where Duran Duran started as a live unit. On a whole, Cucurrullo’s contributions to Duran Duran are difficult to assess. A gifted guitarist, it feels like he pushed the band into creative areas they might have been best to not explore. With the release of him and Nick’s side project TV Mania in 2013, some of this experimentation does make a bit more sense but Medazzaland is lacking in memorable moments.

Pop Trash (2000)

Album opener “Someone Else Not Me” hints at a return to form for Duran Duran but it was the only song written by Simon Le Bon for the album and it shows. With Warren Cuccurullo and Nick Rhodes in creative control of the music, this Duran Duran album feels like more of Medazzaland with a few less highlights. “Last Day On Earth” (written but rejected for a Bond film) gives the album a little more muscle and overall, the album does have a little more guitar pop than the more electronic Medazzaland. The acoustic driven “Starting To Remember” shows promise and is one of the better songs written during this period for the band but ultimately gets lost in a record of uninspired songs. At the end of the road with the record label, this was the first album I didn’t immediately buy from Duran Duran and I assumed (again, like I did after Liberty) that Duran Duran were at their creative end.

Red Carpet Massacre (2007)

The momentum of Astronaut may have corrupted the direction of the band when they returned to the studio. The original five worked on an album titled Reportage, which eventually reached the record label only to be rejected until the band recorded an obvious lead single. In their search for that single, the band began working with Timbaland and Justin Timberlake minus Andy Taylor, who would not return. The result is a trend-chasing Duran Duran album of club music that simply doesn’t work. The drums are heavily processed and the band’s more rocking edges are smoothed over until they are gone. Without hearing Reportage, it’s still safe to say the band would have fared better with their original plans. For a Duran Duran album trying to be dark and sexy, the album sounds embarrassingly bland.

Liberty (1990)

After Big Thing, I had high hopes for the slimmed down version of Duran Duran to remain relevant in popular music. Liberty seriously hampered my belief. For the first time, it sounded like the band was chasing trends and losing touch with who they were. Declining sales and success can do that to a band’s confidence. For the most part, this Duran Duran album attempts to capture the adult pop market in 1990, which was the least interesting direction the band could have pursued. The label eventually cut and run on the album’s poor sales and the album’s best track (“First Impressions”) never reached audiences. Even if it had, there’s not enough of Duran Duran in this album to ignite much interest. John Taylor, to this day under appreciated as a bass player, never found his groove with Sterling Campbell. It’s not a knock on Campbell, rhythm sections either click or they don’t. Without that, the band could not achieve the foundation for greatness that they had on earlier records. At the time, I remember thinking this was the end of the road for Duran Duran.

Jason Lent Guest Blogger thumbnailJason Lent discovered Duran Duran on MTV 1983 and a lifelong musical love affair was born. In 2010, he left a job in Hawaii to tour with Cowboy Junkies as a music writer and his work has appeared in various online music outlets. He currently resides in Las Vegas managing a music venue while trying to learn John Taylor’s bass line from Rio.