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Winter Marches On — The Daily Duranie Review

Our reviews continue with the ninth song off of the album, Notorious.  The song is Winter Marches On and definitely represents THE ballad off of this album.  Is this a good ballad or not?  See what we think below then let us know what you think!

Rhonda

Musicality/Instrumentation:

Is there really a more melancholy song in Duran’s catalog?  Probably. But for now, we haven’t gotten there yet!  I love the emotion produced by the music for this one. When I listen, I can hear the tambourine, keyboards, and of course bass…which really helps to provide a rhythm with the absence of any other percussion aside from the tambourine. I also really like the melody line – which sounds like it could be a synthesized woodwind (clarinet or even oboe…they should have called me!!).  The music is very slow, and I think that it’s easy to pass this song by unless you’re really in the mood to sit, listen and ponder. The song certainly isn’t boring (not by a long shot!), but it also isn’t the type of song you necessarily want to hear when you’re in the mood for playing Wild Boys loud and proud in the car.

Vocals:

I might be in the minority, but I wish a few more Duran songs were written in this key/range for Simon. He has a gorgeous voice. I know we’re all about the party, but I love this slightly darker and chilled timbre. His voice has a beautiful roundness, and he is really the best when it comes to portraying emotion in his singing. One doesn’t even have to know the words to recognize the emotion in the song – vocals and music work hand in hand here to do bring that home. I really can’t find anything to complain about here!

Lyrics:

Not gonna lie – I have no idea what this song is about. Lines like “Birth time rose; a thorn for coronation” or “Soon you’ll belong to the blest, spare us your lives while we need you”. In some ways it reminds me of motherhood. Mostly, I think I completely lost the plot somewhere. I really like the line, “dreams have frozen crystal in the morning”….beautiful.  I’ll admit that I read Amanda’s interpretation below, and she might be right. I wouldn’t be surprised that Simon used this sort of analogy to describe fame, especially given the changes the band has already seen by this point. I always think of the saying “Be careful what you wish for.”

Overall:

This is a song that I have to be in the right mood to enjoy. It isn’t a song I would belt out in the car, nor is a song that I find myself yearning to hear – but having done this review, I found new appreciation for it. (It is the best part of doing reviews!!) I love that the slowness of the song almost forces me to really listen to each subtle nuance, from the way the tambourine accents the beat to the deep bass. The song slows me down, encourages me to take the time to sink within the music and think.  The music and vocals work together to create a very different emotion from most Duran Duran songs, and I really enjoy that. The sounds are simple, but purposeful. Winter Marches On isn’t particularly loud, noisy or even overproduced – which I applaud. Well done and worth many listens!

Cocktail Rating:  4 cocktails!

4 cocktails rating

Amanda

Musicality/Instrumentation:

The first word that comes to mind as Winter Marches On begins is atmospheric with the melancholy keyboards and the slow hits of what sounds like a tambourine.  Right away, you know that this isn’t going to the happiest of Duran songs.  The song continues in this fashion even as the vocals begin with some additional keyboard sound until finally some other instrumentation is heard with the deep bass adding to the mood of the song.  At one point, it sounds like there is some strings included but it is clear that this isn’t the usual Duran song in that there is little noticeable guitar and drums.  That isn’t to say that it is boring.  It isn’t.  It is just different.  If the goal was to create a beautiful, haunting song, the music did its job.

Vocals:

This song starts out, vocally, with Simon’s “oh”, “ah”, “hmm”.  Normally, I’m not a fan of little vocal additions like that but, in this case, it sets a tone of emotion and sadness.  Then, his vocals are generally slow in tempo and much lower in his range than what he did for the rest of the album.  I love how he elongates a number of words to add emphasis and emotion.  This is one of those songs that Simon’s voice really adds almost additional instrumentation.

Lyrics:

These lyrics intrigue me.  Who is the she that is referenced in the first verse?  Could it be fame?  “She drains emotion.  To drink from her breast of fortune”.  Then, the rest of the song sounds like it is being addressed to the band.  “Spare us your lives while we need you.”  Could that be from the fans?  The industry?  The next couple of lines definitely sound like what they were experiencing:  “Loud is the music the crowd is bringing.”  While the lyrics are on the shorter side, I do like that they make me think.  I also always feel like I can relate to the line about sparing one’s live while needed.  I certainly feel that at work, when I have my teacher hat on.  I suspect others might feel that way with their lives or where they are in their lives.  Lyrics like this definitely show me the connection between this album and the previous one as so much of Seven and the Ragged Tiger subtly discussed fame, being in the spotlight, etc.

Overall:

Winter Marches On is one of those songs that I would have dismissed, if I had not done this review.  I’m generally not attracted to ballads unless they offer something more (think Before the Rain).  This one, though, has some merit.  The lyrics made me think and I enjoy Simon’s vocals on this one a lot.  Musically, it isn’t the most interesting or most complex, but definitely works to create a mood and an atmosphere.  Thinking about the individual elements of this song definitely made me appreciate it more.
Cocktail Rating:  4 cocktails
4 cocktails rating

The Dark Side of Social Media

Seriously, did he really just answer me?

I write about social media quite a bit. I’m continually astounded by its existence and the changes it has made for the entertainment industry as a whole. I remember the first time I realized that not only could I passively follow bands like Duran Duran, but I could interact with them. I would post responses to things they’d tweet whenever I felt like it, and figured that was as far as it would go, but it felt good to be able to say my piece. I remember being so puzzled when John Taylor actually responded to me for the first time, as I sat thinking to myself, seriously, did he really ANSWER me?? I mean let’s face it, I vibrated like a tuning fork at the idea that a member of Duran Duran actually noted my existence on this planet, my excitement was off the charts. Then it became a sort of challenge. I upped the ante for myself.  He answered me once, will he ever answer again??  Never MIND how I felt when other band members, or “not quite” band members answered, or still answer me. I don’t think it’s gotten old with me yet – even if they don’t necessarily talk TO you, just seeing them tweet and communicate remains exciting.  The possibility for interaction, the possibility that they might see or read tweets and/or Facebook posts makes it interesting.

Yes, I really AM <insert band member name here>.

Things have changed since the first days of social media. Does anyone remember My Space? I remember the platform well, as I handled the My Space account for a delightful little start-up band named Clear Static. That’s right, not only did I answer their mail, I interacted with fans. I answered fans as someone from Clear Static might answer them, because well, somebody had to do it. Let’s just say that the band was ready to be famous far before their music gave them the right to call themselves stars. They toured with Duran Duran, they gained attention and notoriety from Duran fans, and thought they had made the big time. They soon found out that being rock stars meant communicating with fans far more often than they wanted or felt was needed, so they hired me. I kept the enthusiasm going, put out the PR fires as necessary, and lied to fans on a regular basis, telling them that “Yes, I really am <insert band member name here>.” Remembering back to those days on My Space sheds a little light on the darker side of social media.

The band/artist is as big of a product as their music.

My Space was the very beginning of a time we still live in where the band/artist is easily as big of a product as their music. Their image,  online presence and personality matter as much as the music they create.  For a band like Duran Duran, that’s quite a change from the days of video – where we fans could SEE them, but they never had to actually interact, and certainly not with so many of us at one time. Image has always mattered to Duran Duran, but perhaps not the personal interaction. We fans were kept at arm’s length for the most part, and to be fair – can we really blame them? I still picture the scenes from Sing Blue Silver where they are in the limo and the fans are banging on the windows outside the limo.  Yes, it is likely a good thing that social media didn’t exist in the 1980s.

The connectivity piece has become an expected facet – and you know this because I write of it often. Fans want to know who it is behind the music, and let’s face it – the band was pretty interactive during the release of All You Need is Now.  We still want more. Maybe we expect too much, but I assure you – it isn’t just Duran Duran fans.  Have you seen Taylor Swift’s Twitter or Instagram lately? Those millions of fans aren’t following her because she never shares, I can guarantee you that. Interaction is expected. A daunting reality for a band that spent their earliest years running from the lot of us, wouldn’t you say? This is a time when so many other things matter besides the music, and yet if I asked any of you why you’re Duran Duran fans – I don’t think it’s likely that any of you would answer that it is social media.  But yet, for new bands out there – I read over and over again every single day that social media is easily as important as the music. Maybe even more so.  According to Wolfgang Gartner, a DJ, artist, producer and label founder, “an artist with a vibrant, thriving social media profile and personality and ‘so-so’ music may have a better shot at getting signed or achieving success than the artist with no social media presence and amazing music. It means that I don’t actually know if that person in my Twitter timeline composed that tweet, or if it was written by an intern at a social media management company.”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked how I “know” it’s really John, Simon, Roger, or even Dom that answers us. In reality? I have no idea. Wouldn’t we all like to believe we know their voices well enough to know the difference?? Even so, I have to trust it really is them talking to us on their individual accounts even though the strong possibility exists that they’ve hired social media people to do it all for them. Let us all hope we never find out otherwise.

Each piece is a pawn in the social media game.

The sales engine continues to run, according to Wolfgang Gartner. In an article written for the website Medium Gartner expands, “Artists are often contractually obligated to say specific things on their social networks as part of agreements or contracts; artists are often encouraged by their publicists or managers to be active on social media even if they don’t want to, because it helps sell records and tickets to shows; artists who are constantly on social media interacting with fans thrive, and are effectively helping sell their product.”

Each piece: the music, the image, the connectivity, the branding, the artist – is used as a pawn in the game of sales. A social game of sorts. Artists essentially must become the role they play online, and many don’t want to play the game at all. They’d prefer to be in the studio writing music; up on stage playing music, and leave the rest behind the velvet curtain, safe from view. Not all artists are social, not all artists are even that likable or personable, but in this day and age – one cannot afford to be antisocial.

Gartner goes even further to describe just how far some will go to use the social ladder to further their own game, “Some artists formed bonds with their musical idols, many contacts and collaborations were made, artists were able to give each other praise for their work, and everybody got to watch it happen in real-time. However, a darker side of this trend emerged: artists strategically interacting with other artists in attempts to boost their own careers. Of course musicians and entertainers have been doing this long before the internet, but social media took it to a new level.”

We’ve all seen this happening. Some of it is organic and beautiful, like when Nile Rodgers comments to a band member and they answer. I love that because I can see it happening right on my screen. For some reason, it makes me feel as though we’re all connected, and that it is all real. Conversely, there are the times when Duran Duran picks Pages of the Week that are purely just celebrities on Facebook, or favorites tweets from celebrities mentioning Duran Duran on Twitter. You know (and I know) it’s not “the band” actually doing that, and we ALL should recognize it is grossly fake. In some respects it is an attempt to put the band on equal level with those they respect and admire, and in others it feels just slightly smarmy. Part of the business? Probably. Does it really work? That’s a good question. Overall, it remains part of the social media game.

For Duran Duran, quality music is the end game.

In many ways, I must give proper admiration and respect to Duran Duran, because even with all of the extraneous details, the music continues to be central priority for the band. Yes, they care about their image, they delight in the visual, but the music matters. There is certainly a danger in getting caught up in the current of social media to the point where one forgets what really matters. Many an artist has allowed his/her social media fame to override the music – thus becoming more of an entertainer than musician. While I wouldn’t argue that social media is completely immaterial, I appreciate that the band knows that quality music is the end game. So I suppose I can forgive them for being largely absent for the past few years on social media, and delight in the few moments where they let me know I’m remembered in one way or another.

-R

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fandom Representation: SNL

It has been awhile since I took a long look at something in the media and how it represents fans and fandom.  Over the years, I have analyzed books, TV shows, and movies.  This past weekend, like many in America, I tuned into the SNL 40th Anniversary Show.  It reminded me that there have been a number of skits on Saturday Night Live over the years that focuses on fans.  What are some of those skits and how are fans represented?

When I think of the fandom most often covered on SNL, I think of Star Trek.  That fandom has been discussed a number of times.  There are two skits that really stick out to me.  This first one involves William Shatner (actor who played Captain Kirk) who attends a Star Trek convention.

https://screen.yahoo.com/star-trek-convention-000000768.html

As you can tell, the fans at the convention are dressed like characters from the show and ask questions as if Shatner is actually Kirk.  They are unable to keep actor and character separate.  How does Shatner respond to this and more?  He tells them to “Get a Life” and that it is weird to dress in character.  In fact, they are so weird that they would never be able to have romantic relationships.  While, obviously, the skit is supposed to be funny.  Taking that into consideration, what makes it funny?  Simple.  It is based on stereotypes of fans and science fiction/Star Trek fans, most specifically.  While we all might laugh at the skit, does a skit like this reinforce those stereotypes?  I am not sure.  Probably.  What I do think is interesting is that this skit came out at a time in which geekdom wasn’t popular.  It wasn’t popular at all.  Now, it is much cooler to be into something in that genre.  Would be fans be represented in the same way now?

Speaking of more modern times, there was another Star Trek skit that sticks out in my mind.  This skit features Zachary Quinto and Chris Pine (actors who most recently played Spock and Kirk in the newly rebooted Star Trek).  In this case, they addressed concerns that the fans had about how the Star Trek franchise was changing.

https://screen.yahoo.com/feature-star-trek-000000010.html

Clearly, the idea behind this skit is that fans take things too seriously and are unwilling to change.  They refuse to accept a new direction.  Hmm…I am sure that there aren’t Duranies who are stuck in thinking that the only good Duran albums were the first three, right?  Again, this skit is supposed to be funny because it focuses on the stereotypes of fans, including that they take the object of their fandom too seriously.  In fact, they are so serious that they cross the line into scary.  Is there truth to this?  Perhaps.  Does this reinforce stereotypes?  Again, probably.

Of course, other fandoms have been featured on Saturday Night Live over the years, including musical fandoms.  Not too long ago, SNL took on the hysteria following the band, One Direction.  In this skit, an adult tries to prove that he is the band’s number one fan over the pre-teen girls.

How does this clip do in terms of representing fandom?  Obviously, his behavior is supposed to look silly since he is an adult.  Thus, he should not be doing the things that the preteen fans do like know trivia, compete over who is going to marry which band member, plan to name children after them, push through the crowd to get an autograph and more.  Since this particular clip hits close to home for most of us reading this blog, I have to admit that I laughed and laughed at this one, too.  Again, the jokes are funny when they are based on stereotypes.  Clearly, there are a ton of stereotypes about young, female fans.  Are some of them true?  Sure.  Does it then reinforce the idea that fandom is only for young girls who do silly things?  It does that, too, I think.

It is difficult to analyze comedy in terms of how it does with fandom because it is MEANT to be funny.  It isn’t supposed to be taken seriously in the same way that documentaries are.  That said, it can reinforce stereotypes, even stereotypes involving fandom.  Now, on that note, I understand that there was a skit on SNL about Spring Break in the UK in which Duran Duran shows up.  I believe Chris Farley was playing Simon.  Clearly, if my understanding is correct, the stereotypes in that skit weren’t about fans but about the band, or at least Simon.  I tried desperately to find it online but couldn’t.  If anyone has it, please share!

What do the rest of you think?  Are these portrayals of fans accurate?  Are they exaggerations based on commonly held beliefs?  Do they reinforce negative assumptions?

-A

New Duran Duran Events Page

Duran Duran events are beginning to trickle in, and we’re finding ourselves slowly ramping up to keep track of what/where/when…and if you’re like us…HOW are we gonna get there!  Today we are unveiling a new calendar on Daily Duranie in order to track what the band is doing and what might be coming up in the future.

We are constantly trying to improve the site, making it more informational and interactive, while also keeping a good sense of community. Our hope is to keep up with all Duran Duran events, shows, and appearances so that our events page can be a one-stop “shop” for seeing “where in the world is the band today?!“.  Additionally, we are completely open to posting and promoting meet-up and Duranie-party information for our fellow fans.  Basically, if you have a Duranie get-together or other Duran Duran events coming up and you want the world to know about it, let us know and we’ll put the dates on the site for you, where it will then be publicized to the Duraniverse.

You may continue to see improvements in the events page as we learn to use and customize it ourselves in the coming months!

-R

Why Seeing Duran Duran Live Matters to Me

I went to a funeral this afternoon for a former colleague.  Obviously, I’m saddened by her passing and very sad that she did not get to enjoy her retirement from teaching much.  Death always seems to be a reminder, not about death but about living.  I am well aware that my time on this planet is finite.  It is limited.  This acknowledgement of reality always makes me think of my choices.  At the end of my life, will I look back on my life and appreciate the choices I have made or will I regret how I have spent my life.

This past Tuesday, I received a number of messages from my partner-in-crime about a live appearance that Duran Duran is doing in L.A. on April 1st entitled, “The Music of David Lynch”.  I didn’t hesitate one bit when I declared that I would go to the show with her.  Yes, this means buying a plane ticket and spending a big chunk of my spring break away from home.  Some have subtly or not-so-subtly questioned my motive for this.  Will the band play more than one song?  Will they even play their own music?  Will you be spending a lot of your touring money for just one song or a brief  appearance?  If so, will that be a problem later on for you?  I calmly answered those questions both to the people asking and to myself.

If you have been paying attention to this blog lately, you might have noticed that I haven’t said much about the band at all.  Rhonda has been voicing her dismay about Durantime, the lack of social media presence and more.  Have I been quiet because I feel differently than her?  Not really.  I found myself in a situation in which I was almost afraid to start talking, to start really talking, for a number of reasons. A few years ago, I posted my concerns about a lengthy time between albums.  I mentioned how the facts show that this will be the longest stretch ever in the history of Duran in which they haven’t either released an album or gone on tour.  The response was overwhelmingly critical towards me (and Rhonda when she voiced similar messages).  How dare I not be supportive?  Don’t I think they deserve a life?  Don’t I realize that art takes time?  (For the record:  My mom is an artist–I know about art and about how she has deadlines just like other professions, at least if she plans to show her work in art shows.)  Thus, I opted to keep my mouth shut for awhile.

Then, over the fall, I spent a lot of time putting together that book that Rhonda showcased in a post here last month.  It meant going back through all of my scrapbooks, this blog, massive amounts of emails and more to be able to tell the story of us, Rhonda and Amanda, to tell the story of our fandom.  I realized how much each and every tour, how each and every step of this journey has meant to me.  I was overwhelmed by the power of the memories.  I missed it all so much that I physically hurt, at times.  The grief I was experiencing was such that I actually went through the typical stages of grief, ones that the family and friends of my former colleague are now going through.  I tried to deny how long they have been “working” on the album.  I became angry–at them for not understanding how much they mean to so many of us and for not seeming like they care.  (By the way, I’m still amazed that there has never been an acknowledgement of this blog that we do each and every day or the fan events we have organized and held.)  Has all of this been a waste of my time?  My energy?  At the end of my life, will I look back at the choice to focus on my fandom so much as a mistake?  Then, of course, there was bargaining and depression.

I don’t think I ever truly got to the acceptance part.  I’m still disappointed in many of their choices.  So, why go, you might ask?  If I don’t go, who am I punishing?  Them?  They wouldn’t know or care if I didn’t go.  Heck, they wouldn’t know or care, if I didn’t do the Daily Duranie anymore either.  No, I would be punishing me.  I would be punishing Rhonda.  The truth is that touring and going to Duran related events have been some of the truly best times of my life.  I have had the most fun ever on tour.  I don’t want to let that go.  Yes, maybe, this is me denying that all of this has been a waste.  Maybe, all of this didn’t produce the results that I thought might happen.  I know this much.  I learned a lot about myself.  I learned so much about our fandom and fandom, in general, that it isn’t funny.  I gained friends and long lasting memories.

Here is what I hope for with my trip.  I’m hoping and expecting it to be fun.  After all, I get to hang out with my best friend for a few days. I get away from work and other responsibilities here at home.  And, yes, maybe, just maybe, I will have a moment that will allow me to lose some of that disappointment, some of that frustration with Duran Duran.  Maybe, I’ll remember what started me on this journey in the first place.

-A

Bestival 2015 with Duran Duran!

Bestival-line-up

Just announced today, Duran Duran will be performing at Bestival 2015 on the Isle of Wight in the UK.  Performing alongside The Chemical Brothers, The Underworld and many others,  Bestival 2015 takes place September 10-13 2015. As seems to be typical, tickets go on sale – yep, you guessed it – today!  (I don’t think the short notice is fault of DDHQ but instead on the shoulders of Bestival 2015 organizers and promoters – meaning, it’s by design.)

Those who surmised that the band would likely play some scattered festival dates this summer in the EU/UK seem to be on the right track!  Daily Duranie guesses that by this point, if not by summer – new music from #DD14 should likely be featured in the set list! It is wonderful to see new shows being announced, with what I am sure will be plenty more announcements to come.

-R

Happy Anniversary Between The Lines!

So today’s Duran Duran history is all about Ordinary World, but something else occurred on this date that is worth mention. Also on this date, but in the year 2008, Dom Brown released Between the Lines. Happy Anniversary!

I know you, fellow fans. I see you sitting there, squinting at your screen as though you have no idea to whom (or what) I may be referring.  That’s fine. Consider this your primer for Between the Lines…and if you really need catching up, check out the interview we did with Dom back in 2012 (yes, it’s really been that long).

A few things you must know up front:

  1. John and Roger guested on the album. They played on two tracks: Amazing and Crocodile Tears.  If that doesn’t grab your attention as Duran fans, I don’t know what will.

  2. This is not a Duran Duran record. Dom’s own style is a little more rock, a lot less pop, and a little blues. This is also not Blue to Brown, which is a true blues band/album. I would put Between the Lines more in the vein of classic rock, but it has modern feel.

  3. He dedicated the album to his son Floyd. How cute is that?

  4. This album, like his others, are a family affair. His wife Martha, a very talented musician in her own right, also guests on the album.

We really haven’t reviewed Between the Lines yet, but for me, the standout tracks are Amazing (which has a much different production feel than the rest of the album) – and Day Turned Black. Amazing is the closest to pop you’ll hear Dom play aside from his work in Duran Duran, with it’s catchy staccato opening. This song has a true hook and could really stand on it’s own to be a single in the right market. Day Turned Black; however, is more of a ballad, and it is the type of writing that you might find on a B-side. It’s a deeper track, both in musicianship as well as in subject, and if the lyrics don’t grab you – Dom’s soaring guitar solo certainly will. If you haven’t given his work a chance and assume that what he brings to stage with Duran Duran is all there is – you’re missing out.

Overall, Between the Lines was Dom’s second – the first being “Touch the Flames”. One thing I really appreciate is that I’m able to hear the improvements in his recording and production between the two albums. Just as Duran Duran’s second album sounded far slicker and less raw – Between the Lines is the same. To be fair to Dom, there is still enough of a hard edge to give Between the Lines grit. After all, this is rock.

If you’re looking for some new music (it’d be new to you!), I highly recommend checking Between the Lines out…and I know Dom would appreciate the support from Duran fans!

-R

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