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Duran Duran Mix Tape Vol 1 Side B

Back for the Duran Duran mix tape B-Side today,  just in time for your New Year’s extravaganzas tonight!

11. One of Those Days

This is the other sneaky good song on the “B” side of Astronaut. According to the liner notes, they wrote it last (only a few months before the album’s release).  I wonder if this song gives us a glimpse into the sound of Reportage. Much of Astronaut feels forced to me, like the band felt pressured to make Duran-sounding dance music for the 2000s. Where it works, it works well (Sunrise, Nice) but in other cases…it just doesn’t (for me). Yet “One of Those Days” has more of an indie rock 90s feel to it…not sure if Simon had the lyric first (probably not), or Andy first came up with the riff, but whatever they did, it worked. It feels out of place on the album but too good to exclude, which is why I’m guessing they buried it on the second side.   On a side note, the band was supposed to play this during the rehearsals for “Red Carpet Massacre” (in fact it’s even listed on the set list for those shows if you look it up), but alas, it actually got cut. I was there…those shows were played five minutes from my house…my one chance to hear this song live and they cut it.

12. Midnight Sun

I wanted to list two tracks on this Duran Duran mix tape that were both 10th on their respective albums…what’s wrong with that? Okay, not true, in actuality…wait for it…I LOVE THIS SONG. Like most of Medazzaland. Again. I’ll stop.

13. Land

This is probably the only mistake I made on this Duran Duran mix tape. I decided to get back to moody songs. Here’s the deal: on Big Thing, Land is a grand, sweeping ballad that is the perfect centerpiece to the second side. But it’s a clunker on any playlist like this. For the last 25 years I have tried to shoehorn it in and to no avail. Will delete it after I finish writing this.

14. Big Bang Generation

I think I’m done with moody songs. Aside from loving the song musically, lyrically it gets me too (more so as I get older). “Now all our heroes gone…” certainly resonates.

15. I Don’t Want Your Love (Shep Pettibone 7” Mix)

The late 80s hit single that NOBODY outside of Duran fandom remembers, until you play it for them. It was all over MTV and the radio in the fall/winter of 1988 but people have collective amnesia about it. Baffling.

16. Falling Down

I know, I know—the only thing worse than creating a playlist with most of Medazzaland included is overloading on RCM tracks. Buckle up, people, because I’m not done. And as tough as that album and its impact on the fandom was, this is a phenomenal song that deserved a better fate.

17. The Valley (2009 Songbook Live version)

An amazing live Duran song; especially the guitar. If you haven’t seen Songbook, go to YouTube and watch it…or buy the DVD, it isn’t hard to find. John’s description of this song and Simon’s lyric is fascinating. The short version is that Simon hated this song and everyone else (including Yasmin) thought it was the best song on the album. The album mix criminally turns down Dom’s guitars (a shot at Andy and the “new sound” the band was going for, which is unfortunate), thus you really need to get this live version.

18. Sunrise ( VH1 Live Special)

The hybrid Nevins remix/album version that they play. I’m glad that something the original lineup did in the early 2000s will at least remain a staple in the set list and resonates with the fans. This song has come light years from the early 2003 version (which Rhonda likes much more than me. It’s all good. We are a “big tent” fandom.) For all of the criticism Duran gets for being “over produced” (and in many cases it’s true), here is an example where production not only salvaged a song but turned it into something special. (Ironically, the complete opposite is true on “What Happens Tomorrow,” with the early 2003 live version being far superior to what ended up on Astronaut.).

19. Nice (2005 Hammersmith Palais)

Another one I wish would get played in the set going forward, although it probably won’t. One of the best songs from Astronaut. My wife and five-year old son heard it at the store recently, so at least it’s getting some satellite radio airplay.

20. Do You Believe in Shame? (Live 2009 Songbook)

I warned you that this Duran Duran mix tape would veer into something different…I wanted some live cuts…but decided to at least go back to the “slow and moody” theme. I may have screwed up by including “Land” but you can’t go wrong with DYBIS.

20. Leave a Light On (Unstaged)

Another favorite from AYNIN. When I first heard this song, I thought it was just a cheap “Save a Prayer” rip-off that Ronson made them do. But the lyrics and music grew on me and the song took on a much more personal meaning. I actually couldn’t listen to it without tearing up. To me, “Leave a Light On” is about hope and written from the perspective of someone who has made it back to the “Ordinary World” that he had to so desperately find. The promise of the “half-dreamed shade of yesterday/in bloom tomorrow” spoken of in “So Long Suicide” is delivered. This person who was grieving is healed now; the void in his life, and heart, is filled: “You ease the lost cause out of me/With your sweet hand to bring me home/I’m not alone.” Am I massively projecting? Yes. But as Simon says in the “Songbook” interview, these songs, once released, belong to us.

And on that note, you have…a December Duran Duran mix tape!

What say you? Should I have put more Medazzaland songs on? Should I be less moody during the holiday season?   And more importantly—what is on YOUR current Duran Duran mix tape?

Duran Duran Mix Tape Vol 1 Side A

This is the first in a series of ongoing articles about Duran Duran mix tapes created by fans.  Or maybe it’s a standalone thing like Arcadia—it’s really unknowable at this point.

To those of us old enough to remember, making a Duran Duran mix tape was an all-night affair that involved shuffling through cassettes, pressing pause at just the right time, and nervously trying to figure out how much space was left just by eyeballing the amount of tape remaining on the spool (because adding up the song times and subtracting them from 45:00 would be too hard).

This month, I was in a reflective mood…okay, I’ll admit, a Medazzaland mood.  Be warned.  However, one of the miracles of dragging and dropping songs is that what you start out with is often not what you end up with…

This Duran Duran mix tape is, of course…two sided… an A-side and a B-side. Today we’ll start with side-A, and follow-up with the B-side tomorrow, just in time for your New Year’s Eve party plans.

1.  Still Breathing

I was in the mood for something slow and moody (my wife would reply, “Just look in the mirror after you first wake up”), and I especially like the haunting synths and drums on this track.  I will admit that I don’t rank this in the upper tier of Duran ballads/slow songs, but maybe after ten years it’s growing on me.

2. She’s Too Much

Is it me or does this track get lost in the train wreck that is the B side of Red Carpet Massacre?  I find that I completely forget this song exists, then stumble upon it and realize how much I like it.  It flows very nicely after Still Breathing.  Exactly the mood I was going for.

3. So Long Suicide

Now we’re talking. My favorite song from the second side of Medazzaland. I’ve always viewed this song as the sequel to “Ordinary World.”  Despite the ominous “suicide” in the title, this remains hopeful —“I need you I don’t want to bleed for you” and “hello I’m alive!”—but there is also that line, “I’m scared of being ordinary” which I’ve viewed as a reference to “Ordinary World” and the fact that this person’s struggle goes on.  The conflict also comes through in the song’s structure, as the calm verses are interrupted by the raucous guitars in the up-tempo chorus, mirroring the ebb and flow that you go through when you’re grieving. I’ve probably thought way too much about this song in the 17 years it’s been out…but it’s a favorite of mine.

4. Chains

Astronaut has two sneaky good songs buried on its “B” side and this is one of them, the original line-up’s answer to “Out of my mind” in a weird way.  I especially like the classic Duran “na na na” during the bridge.   Makes things a tad more upbeat…

5. Who Do You Think You Are?

I told you I was in a “Medazzaland” mood.  This is a more straightforward power ballad than So Long Suicide, although it still has that slow/fast/slow thing going on.

6. Winter Marches On

You knew this would be on this Duran Duran mix tape somewhere, right?  It’s generally regarded as the closest thing Duran has to a Christmas song (this is according to Nick himself in an Ask Katy many years ago). It stands out as the slowest track on the otherwise heavily funk influenced Notorious. And, for the purposes of this list…it’s as far back in time as I go (what can I say? Classic Duran reminds me of the summer. It’s winter. Not in the mood for that…and this is all about mood!).

7. The Edge of America

Duran at their most U2-ish.  Perfect place to go after “Winter.”

8. Lake Shore Driving

I suppose I could have separated these two but that doesn’t feel right.  And I’m sick of adding all these slow songs. We need to pick things up.

9. Runway Runaway

After four years, I think we can now objectively review AYNIN and place it in context. And at this time…I believe this is my favorite song off that album and one of my favorites ever by the band. I would include this in any mix I make…

10.  Red Carpet Massacre

The heresy!  Look, this song is great…I was done with slow songs…stop judging.

11.  Be My Icon

Wickedly clever lyrics and awesome guitar.  I warned you that I was in a Medazzaland mood…

And in perfect Duran-style, I’m leaving you all hanging, wanting more…until tomorrow when I unveil the rest of this Duran Duran mix tape!

Be thinking of your own Duran Duran mix tape choices and let me know what your A-side would sound like in the comments!

-C.K.

Simon LeBon – Year End Katy Kafe

I am way, way late with the Katy Kafe highlights for Simon and Nick, and I apologize.  To begin with, for some reason I couldn’t get the audio to play on my laptop (I have a MacBook), which has never happened before, and then well, Christmas happened.  So I’m a little late, but never fear, I have the highlights!!

Simon LeBon and Katy settled in, Katy with Lemonade and Simon with whiskey for a pretend “fireside” chat about 2014.

Simon LeBon on Band Aid

Simon did a Rolling Stone interview on Band Aid, so if you’ve missed out on that, check it out. However, he did share his pride with being on the original. He was one of the first to agree to doing the record, along with Sting – and even after showing up that fateful morning to realize that it wasn’t just he and Sting on it, he feels as though the song has stood the test of time.

Simon LeBon on favorite album of 2014

This year, Simon really has enjoyed London Grammar‘s album “If You Wait”. Simon describes the album as ambient and soft without a set rhythm.  He also has enjoyed another Estonian artist that I can’t even spell…nor find phonetically online…but you can find it on his twitter if you care to search!

Simon LeBon on favorite concert of 2014

Simon said that he didn’t see too many concerts this year…something about being locked up in the dark of the studio for the past year I suppose… He did go see Leonard Cohen though, and also saw Fleetwood Mac, which he really enjoyed.

Simon LeBon on favorite film of 2014

Simon said that the only films he saw this year were on airplanes, and then mentioned Cold In July.

Simon LeBon on favorite TV of 2014

Hands down, it seems that Simon’s favorite TV show was Happy Valley – a UK show starring Sarah Lancashire. He says the show was very dark, which seemed to be an ongoing theme for Simon in 2014.

Simon LeBon on favorite book of 2014

Simon began his year with Donna Tartt and The Goldfinch, and ended it with Edward St. Aubyn’s Patrick Melrose novels, beginning with Never Mind.  These novels are considered autobiographical,  even though the main character has a fictional name.  We also learn that Simon reads more than one book at a time.  (Don’t we all? I have several going at one time, depending on what mood I’m in and whether I’m doing research or reading for fun.)

Simon LeBon on favorite event of 2014

You get one guess and it starts with “Fashion”.  You guessed it – for Simon, Fashion Rocks topped off 2014. As a personal favorite, Simon looks to celebrating his father’s 80th birthday as the event of the year.

Simon LeBon on DD14

OK, admit it – this is what you’ve been waiting for.  Simon says the album will be out in June or July (which really means Autumn at the earliest if you speak Duran Duran. We haven’t even made it through New Years Eve yet and we’ve already preempted half of next year.) He says the album is brilliant, (I am thrilled but I want to make that judgment for myself. Next year, thankyouverymuch.) but they need to cut down the songs to about 10 (right now they are at 13, according to Simon – and you’ll soon find that it depends on what band member you’re talking to as to how many songs they’ve got.) Best question of the Kafe? Katy asked Simon what they’ll do with the songs they have leftover after deciding upon the album. Simon’s answer, which is likely the best answer of 2014 no matter how you slice it – “We’ll sell them to One Direction.”

wild applause

Katy also asked if they had an album title. Simon said yes. Then he spoke “LeBon gibberish” and said that he gave the album title backwards.  Then he did it again, and again…each time sounding just a little different.  So, yeah.  It’s still #DD14 to me.  Yay.

And we’re off to 2015…

-R

 

Careless Memories – Is It Worth the Price?

Over the weekend, I found myself in a healthy discussion regarding the Denis O’Regan photo book – Careless Memories. I haven’t personally ordered a copy of the book, but I know a few other fans that ordered a copy of Careless Memories and seem very pleased. The discussion centered around whether or not we’d buy the book even if money were not an option. All who participated in the conversation felt the book to be incredibly expensive and certainly out of reach of many fans. There are always those that will buy whatever is being offered at whatever price point; but for many, price dictates.

Last week, someone sent a question in to Ask Katy about Careless Memories, inquiring whether it was truly worth the price (we’re talking anywhere from £250 on up to £2500). Katy’s reply gave details about the special nature of the book and it’s construction. She closed stating that while it is certainly an investment, isn’t all art (an investment)?

Not only do I appreciate art, I am a certified Decorative Arts Appraiser. That means I’ve been trained to learn how to use market data to assign value to decorative art (paintings and drawings, photographs, sculptures, pop culture memorabilia or yes…gems and jewelry). I know what art is, and to be completely fair, the very question of what is considered “art” is pretty subjective, although there is a vague framework to help define.  Art must be unique if not also rare, it must have beauty, and by some definitions it must be a human expression or application of emotion. The door is left VERY wide open as to what may or may not be considered art, and of course what might be art to one person might not be to someone else. Does Careless Memories fit that bill?

We traded ideas over whether or not the very fact that the book (or photos within) is mass-marketed should make a difference. After all, many works of art have millions of prints made – but are those prints still considered art, or mass-media representations?There’s definitely room for discussion over whether Careless Memories in it’s mass-marketed form (not the original photos themselves, but the book as a whole) really is a good example of art. Are they priced as such and do they hold that value well? In that case, are prints of artwork still an investment? The fact is, being willing to spend £1000 or more on a larger format photo book doesn’t necessarily make that book an investment…although I’d probably argue that to a willing fan, it absolutely is, regardless of whether it is a good investment, or otherwise. However, that is an emotional definition, not wholly factual.

While I hold no resentment about Careless Memories or my decision not purchase a copy, it is clearly being marketed AT fans with the pricing being out of the reach of most. Then again, isn’t most art that way? Warhol isn’t necessarily “cheap” pop art. Even Thomas Kincaid, one of the most mass-marketed kitsch artists ever – isn’t “cheap” by any means if you’re talking about Artist-handled prints. Let’s face it, the band knows exactly what they are doing here, and we really cannot fault them – because ultimately it is in the hands of each of us to decide whether or not to play the game and make these purchases. It puts fans in the position of having to decide how much the band means to them personally,  and it ends up being an emotionally charged purchase, one the band “banks” on, so to speak.

As is typical, there are always fans willing to pay. I checked the website for Careless Memories late last week, and the most expensive editions of the book (“Unique” and “Special” editions), ones that include things such as (not each book contains all things mentioned – these are simply examples) “golden tickets”, meet and greets with the band, special prints direct from 1984 negatives, and personally signed copies of photos and books, were sold out or “unavailable”.  These ranged in price from £1000-£2500.  Even the least expensive edition – “Collector”, has a very hefty price tag of £250 – not a price most fans can even consider, especially at this time of year. Yet when I look at how many books are available in that edition – very few are sold, perhaps an indication that the price is just out of reach.  Fandom continues, in many respects, to be an excellent real-life example of the “haves” and “have-nots”.

While I’ve had the good fortune to do many things consistent with the “haves” column, in the case of Careless Memories I am definitely in the “have-not” column. Not spiteful, not resentful (there’s no point), but I do find myself questioning the tag of  “investment”.  I suppose though, that makes the difference between a buyer and a bystander.

-R

Daily Duranie Review – A Matter of Feeling

It is time for another Daily Duranie review, a review of the song, A Matter of Feeling.  This song is the fourth song off of the album, Notorious.  This was an album track and one with a slower tempo to it.  What do we think of this song?  Was it a good addition to the album?  Should it have been more than an album track?

Rhonda on A Matter of Feeling

 Instrumentation:

A Matter of Feeling starts off with this smooth woodwind type sampling, almost like a flute, that provides the opening melody. Overall it’s a very easy, smooth song – but it’s not overly simple. There are many layers to the song and subtle sounds in the background. Where this type of recording seems to differ from Seven and the Ragged Tiger is that “the background” really does mean the background. The sounds are there, but they’re really put behind the main melody, so the listener doesn’t have that feeling of frenetic noise being thrown at them. This is one example of the maturity gained on this album.  This is definitely a ballad by Duran standards, and as I listen – I can hear the maturity that eventually grew into music like Ordinary World (Yes I am aware Warren wrote the melody for that song. My point is merely that there was a journey the band had to take in order to get to the point where that song could have ever been recorded, and A Matter of Feeling is one mile marker on that journey.) ‘t 5:57 in length, A Matter of Feeling seems very long, especially since the very end consists of the same melody, some improvisational vocals and the same melody.  I really feel they could have cut about a minute off of the song and still had a quality piece of music.

Vocals

I think Simon is at his best when the vocals feel unforced and easy. This song definitely gives him room to move without forcing him into octaves or keys where he’s not comfortable, and I respect that. I recently heard an interview from this same period of time where Simon mentions how uncomfortable he is singing in specific keys that were apparently “required” of him due to some inflexibility on behalf of a specific band member.  Unfortunately, it is incredibly obvious when those songs come up, and it’s really nice to listen to a song like A Matter of Feeling when you can hear Simon’s voice relaxed, open and full rather than choked off and strained. Even in the background improv vocals at the very end, which are admittedly higher in his range, he doesn’t have that same strain that I hear in other work. Well done.

Lyrics:

I’ve got to ask – is this song about John?  It sure reads like it. It’s been pretty well documented as to how “alone” John really felt – and the lines “Steal away in the morning, love’s already history to you. It’s a habit you’re forming. This body’s desperate for something new.”  I don’t know, I just sort of hear this as a call to John. (sorry if that’s not the case!) In any case, there are specific lines of this song that really hit me.  I love the lines at the beginning about feeling alone in a crowd or that acquaintances smile but it’s not understanding.  Sounds like comments about fame. As someone who isn’t famous, it’s true – it is incredibly difficult to have that understanding. I can’t imagine, but Simon writes about it often if you listen to the words. My favorite line in the song: “Whenever you slow down to see life is passing by”.  Sometimes I need reminding that life really is passing! When I really listen to songs like these, I sometimes wonder if the band hasn’t been trying to explain themselves to us for years, and nearly none of us really take the time to listen.  Confession time – I don’t think I ever really took the time to LISTEN to A Matter of Feeling and what it’s saying until today.

Overall:

I’m a little ashamed to say that this is a song I always tended to skip over. For me, it initially came off a little boring I suppose, I’m not really a ballad person, and especially not as a teenager when this album was released. I find that once I’ve decided that a song is in that realm, I don’t tend to listen to it often, even today. It’s a shame and I’ve missed out, because in doing this review, I realize just how much of a message this song and the band wanted to share.  It’s one of those underrated gems (and there are plenty) within the band’s catalog. The writing, the music, the vocals – they’re all top notch, and what’s more – I can identify with what is being conveyed to a certain extent. I may not be famous, but I know how I feel in a crowd, and after reading John’s autobiography – I’d be shocked if this song wasn’t about him, at least in part. It’s a special song, and if you haven’t listened to A Matter of Feeling lately – take the time.

Cocktail Rating:

4 cocktails!4 cocktails rating

 

 

Amanda on Matter of Feeling

Instrumentation:

The instrumentation of A Matter of Feeling has a smooth feel to it.  Some instrumentation changes throughout the song but there are many parts that remain constant that works to give it that smooth sense.  For example, in the beginning of the song, one can definitely hear the bass and drums but there is a higher-pitch, almost flute sounding layer that doesn’t last once Simon is singing, but the bass and drums are continuous.   Nick’s keyboards are soft sounding even during the chorus.  In fact, all of the instrumentation is soft and never get faster than a mid-tempo.  It is a classic Duran pseudo ballad in that way.  Of course, there are some additional sounds added, at times, but none of those additives take away from the general feeling of the song or distract the listener.

Vocals:

Much like the instrumentation, when I think of Simon’s vocal, I think of smooth.  While a lot of A Matter of Feeling is in a lower range, there moments when he hits some higher notes.  Unlike previous songs on this album, his voice sounds less strained and sounds more natural.  In fact, because of this, I think you can tell of the subtle vocal ability Simon has.  The vocals work well with the instrumentation, too.  One of the things I do like about A Matter of Feeling is that neither the vocals nor the instrumentation are dominant as both garner my attention, at different moments in the song.

Lyrics:

A Matter of Feeling reminds me of the lyrics of Seven and the Ragged Tiger in that it truly seems to be about their lives, including and especially, about being famous and the loneliness of fame.  Certainly, the first four lines indicate this:  “How does it feel when everyone surrounds you?  How do you deal?   Do crowds just make you feel lonely?”  Then, I have to wonder if the chorus isn’t a reference to one night stands with lines like, “Love’s already history to you.  It’s a habit you’re forming.  This body’s desperate for something new.”  Out of all of the lines, though, the one that sticks out to me the most is, “Who knows, you might find something to last.”  Is that what they would looking for then?  Stability?  Commitment?  If these lyrics are autobiographical, then, they really do make fame less than desirable.  One thing I will note is that, unlike Seven and the Ragged Tiger, these lyrics seem more obvious, more straight forward.  The lyrics aren’t wrapped in metaphor and poetry.  While many missed these qualities, I think these lyrics are still emotion filled.

Overall:

A Matter of Feeling  has a lot going for it.  It clearly falls into that not-quite a ballad but a slower tempo song.  Musically and vocally, it is pleasant and enjoyable to listen to.  While the lyrics might be about fame and Duran’s personal experiences, I think that many can relate to some of those lyrics of loneliness.  The production seems smooth.  Yet, it isn’t one that I’m immediately drawn to.  Is that because I tend to go for more upbeat songs?  Possibly.  That said, when I do go for something of this tempo, I don’t go for this one.  I think it is a good song but seems to lack something to make it a great song.  The only thing I can figure out is that it lacks that special, unique type of quality that I need to make it a favorite.

Cocktail Rating:

  1. 5 cocktail glasses

3.5 martini glasses

 

Kingdom – The Daily Duranie Review

Mockingjay Promo poster

Today we’re reviewing Kingdom, off of the soundtrack to the latest Hunger Games movie, called Mockingjay Pt. 1.  The soundtrack was released on November 17th.  “Kingdom” by Charli XCX, features Simon Le Bon. Yes, Duran’s Simon. While we are both super excited just to hear any new music from anyone in the Duran camp, we thought it would be good to take the time to really listen to the song and write about our overall thoughts.  Read our review and let us know what you think!

Rhonda’s Thoughts on Kingdom:

First of all, I must apologize for my tardiness in getting Kingdom reviewed.  I had asked Amanda to give her thoughts, but then completely forgot to add my own, and it has sat in our “drafts” box for quite a while now. Sorry!

I was somewhat familiar with Charli XCX prior to hearing that Simon would be featured on Kingdom – I have a teenage girl in the house, and so this artist has been mentioned by her before.  I was curious how the collaboration might sound, and I was very hopeful after hearing Simon’s own feelings about Kingdom in this interview on Yahoo! Music with Lori Majewski. He describes Kingdom as being a Nursery Rhyme musically, but lyrically being very, very dark.  After reading that, I was properly intrigued. Knowing the Hunger Games franchise, I felt that Kingdom would work really well in with the soundtrack, as well. Anyone who has read the books or seen the movies should understand the nuances between light (triumph) and darkness (loss) that occur throughout the series.

Although I am familiar with Charli XCX – it is by name only for the most part. I probably couldn’t pick her out of a lineup, and I doubt that I’d be able to recognize her music from others, so that is my disclaimer for this review.  As I listen to the beginning of Kingdom, the song reminds me of a child’s music box.  As promised, there is definitely a fairy-tale quality. The vocals are very well suited to the song – she has a child-like sweetness and innocence to her voice, which is such a fantastic texture to add to the darkness of the lyrics, which is also very reminiscent of a fairy-tale. (Have you really listened to a fairy tale or even Ring-Around-The-Rosey lately?? The plots and lyrics are freaking SCARY. I don’t think I realized until I became a parent. Talk about twisted..and we wonder why kids can’t sleep. Gee, I don’t know…maybe they’re afraid some witch is going to throw them into an oven, or feed them a poisoned apple…or they’re going to catch the plague and die!) There are some other little effects that go on here and there throughout Kingdom that, in my opinion, do little to benefit. In some ways the sound effects almost add humor to the song, and I don’t know that it’s needed. I just know that I love what was done with the song and the lyrics.  Now, about that Simon…. because I know that’s what you’re all wondering.  Simon’s voice is incredibly well-suited to this song, and it’s been SO long since I’ve heard and felt that timbre from his voice, there’s just this tasty depth that I don’t think he’s really used since the first Duran Duran album, but yet there’s still the light. Even here, his vocals have light, and the texture is unbelievably good.  My only small complaint is that they didn’t use him enough.  I love the way Charli XCX slowed the ending down, just as a music box runs out of steam, and the fairy tale of Kingdom ends.  Well done Simon, well done Charli XCX.

I haven’t caught the movie yet – and I enjoyed the books even though I bit my nails off from stress while reading, so I’m looking forward to hearing how this song might have been used. I bought the soundtrack off of iTunes just so that I could have Kingdom and it’s going to keep me going until Duran’s new album FINALLY COMES OUT…hopefully sometime this decade…. 🙂

-R

 Amanda’s Thoughts on Kingdom:

I will be the very first one to admit that I have no idea who Charli XCX is.  Is this someone I should know?  Will this artist blend well with Simon?  Will I care after not having any new music for so long?  Besides, I figured that Kingdom would just showcase Simon’s vocal skills.  I was definitely excited for that.  As much as I might give Simon a hard time about various things, I totally admit that he has some mad skills when it comes to that voice of his!  Of course, I also knew that Kingdom would be on a soundtrack.  Would it enhance the movie?  Will it match the mood of the movie or the scene that it will be featured in?  For me to answer those questions, I might need some additional time to actually see the movie.  All of that said, what did I think of the song without knowing how it is in the movie or without knowing anything about Charli XCX?

This is a strange song for me to review as it isn’t really Simon’s song.  He is just a guest, a featured artist.  Can I judge Charli XCX?  Do I know enough?  My guess is probably not but I will say what I think, anyway.  It wouldn’t be the first time that I offered an opinion here (ha!) and it won’t be the last (you can say that again!).  All that said, I love the opening notes to the song with the piano sound.  It reminds me of a Tori Amos.  The voice sort of reminds of Tori, too.  Clearly, Charli XCX does not have a common voice–it is more ethereal, more mystical.  This definitely fits with the description that Simon said about it being like a dark fairytale.  Normally, her voice isn’t a type I would choose to listen to, but, in this case, it really fits with the music and works to create a mood (much like Simon does at his best!).  Of course, about a minute in, the song shifts to include more instrumentation with an electronic feel along with the piano.  I love the music there–the militaristic drum sound really stands out to me. Then, Simon comes.  He is so smooth here and really does add something special to the song.  Yes, I’m a Duranie.  Does that mean I’m biased?  Maybe but I don’t think so.  He adds to the drama, to the emotion of the song.

Truly, Kingdom makes me  WANT to see the movie and see how it is used, which never happens. I only have two complaints. First, the song could be longer and Simon’s part definitely could be longer.  I didn’t get enough from his very brief appearance.  Second, I wish the song was available on its own off of iTunes.  I don’t know that I want the entire soundtrack but I would love to have a copy of this song.

What do the rest of you think?

Is John Taylor Really Sick of the Internet?

This is one of those days where I lay my head to rest on my kitchen table, enjoying the coolness of the wood, and hope that from somewhere – presumably out of thin air – a blog topic will pop into my head.

I’m desperately trying to get back into the habit of writing a real blog on a daily basis here. The band isn’t helping much (Thank you Simon for posting about the system being down while mixing your new album, your new motorcycle – nice Triumph, by the way – and whatever else, but nothing is spurring me yet.), although John Taylor did post something about being sick of the internet earlier today. I am going to assume this has absolutely nothing to do with my previous blogs this week, or the “spirited dialogue” on our Facebook page regarding Lindsay and Ali Lohan, and just figure this has everything to do with their “system” being down. Mainly because I’d hate to have pissed off John Taylor over a rumor. I’ll gladly take John Taylor or the band to task over music I’ve actually heard and accept that I’ve made them angry as a result of my opinion…but a rumor?

Sure, I commented. I lamented their possible choices. I complained and was downright snarky when I felt like. I even sat here and began drafting my resignation letter from Duraniehood. But as the day wore on, and into the next day, and that afternoon…I realized a few things:

  1. Talking about Duran Duran’s career all day is a little tiring.

  2. Talking about Lindsay Lohan all day is REALLY exhausting.

  3. I lived through Timbaland. I can do just about anything, even if I really don’t want.

Truth be told, John Taylor hit a nerve when he said he was sick of the internet. Now, it’s not because I think John Taylor is being ridiculous because he’s never online (that we can see) these days, and it’s not because the internet is here to stay and I think he needs to just get over and get on with it – although both of those things are true. He hit a nerve because for a long time now, I’ve felt that way myself.

Back when we first started blogging and doing Facebook and Twitter, everything was sparkly new. It was fun communicating with people, and I especially enjoyed watching people communicate with the band. Over the past four years or so though, the internet is showing some wear. It’s a lot less sparkly and a lot more dingy and rusty. I’ve seen some of the things fans and others have said, posted and tweeted to John Taylor over the past few years. It’s not always nice, kind or even respectful. Fandom has a similar feel as well. It’s difficult to be “up” when everything is down or quiet. It’s hard to be excited for the next tour when the album is taking what feels like an incredibly long time to finish. I know the band is in the studio a lot right now, and I appreciate that – I’m talking about the past four years as a whole. It’s disheartening to talk about how much we want new music and especially live shows again only to get the smack down from fans who tell us they’re happy to wait for as long as it takes, or to hear from yes…John Taylor…that he doesn’t feel the need to do shows or tour “just yet”, and to read from many others that Amanda and I are somehow horrible for missing the band and wishing they were around and accessible once again. So yes, Amanda and I have been VERY sick of the internet, and even the fandom to an extent, for quite a while. The trouble is, I don’t think we’re alone. I get the sense that the fan community at large could really use a spiritual “recharge” of sorts – one that only comes with exciting news from the band. Yet, we all know that mixing and getting the album finished takes time. I saw the stink-eye John Taylor gave on his Instagram post this morning as proof.  I suspect that when/if the band were to announce that the mixing is completely finished – we’d want to have a party. Shout it from the rooftops, celebrate however we can…because this means the drought may actually be coming to an end. Soon. For what I really think might be the very first time – we all lived the writing and recording of this album on Facebook and Twitter.

Each time John Taylor, Simon or Roger (or even Nick…by video or some other way!) would come online and give a short, vague update, I’d get excited. When they wouldn’t say anything on Katy Kafe or when we wouldn’t hear anything for months at a time, I’d grow weary and concerned. When I kept hearing name after name, I was confused and sometimes fearful of what was really going on in that studio. We fans feed directly off of the tone set by the band, and that can’t be said strongly enough.  That doesn’t mean the band should pretend to always be positive, and it certainly doesn’t mean it’s all gone belly up due to negativity. It just means that fans are tuned in. They’ve got our attention. We take what they say, do, and create, to heart and soul. Double-edged sword at times? Yes. (Just see my blogs over the past few days for evidence!)

Amanda and I tend to pay a lot of attention to what is or is not being said, primarily because of the blog, and for me – the past four years has felt like I’ve been chasing a carrot to no avail. In many ways I’m weary and tired…but I feel like I might be catching a second wind some days. Others, I’m back to square one. So yes, John Taylor, I’m sick of the internet. Sometimes. Other times, the internet really is looking up.

I don’t need to wait for comments to tell me that much of this is because Amanda and I write this blog, or because we need other hobbies, or because we over think things.  All of those things might be true on any given day.  Those things though, are what make up The Daily Duranie, and if I changed any one thing – our blog would be incredibly different and not what we’ve worked very hard to create over the past four years.

Today, the internet is looking up.

-R

 

Lindsay Lohan Rumors, Day Two

Some rumors refuse to die, and so when I got up this morning, I suppose I wasn’t all that surprised to see that yes – Lindsay Lohan was still in my Facebook newsfeed.  Turns out, a “source” told The Mirror that Lindsay was doing more of a spoken word part on the album while her sister Ali was doing the singing. They are to be featured on the same song.

Truth be told, until the album is in our hot little hands or DDHQ cares to respond to the rumors, we won’t really know who or what is on the album…and it’s not our job here at Daily Duranie to investigate the truthfulness of such rumors.  We do, however, respond as a sort of voice for the fans. So, after reading the rumor of the day, I threw it out to our Facebook and Twitter followers to gnash their teeth on.

Many fans are ever-supportive, saying that they trust the band’s choices, including that of Lindsay Lohan. I’m not exactly sure what that means, given that none of us have any control over what the band does. We can only control our purchasing power, and they’ve seen evidence, however limited that may be, of that power in the past. When I read that someone “trusts the band’s choices”, I don’t get the feeling that they’re reserving judgment until they hear the song – they just know they’re going to love whatever the band does because well, it’s Duran Duran. I am not that kind of fan, but there’s room for everyone in this fandom. Others though question not only the validity of the rumor (don’t we all?) but the fact that out of the billions on the planet – Lindsay Lohan has the right voice for the job. I throw up my own hands on that one because like any other fan – I have no idea what they’re going for. That would be my statement on the entire album at this particular point though, and not just from the rumor/announcement of the Lohan sisters. There has been quite a cacophony of names being paraded about over the last four years – and to those of us whom have never heard even a single note or snippet, connecting the dots from Mr. Hudson to John Frusciante and Nile Rodgers and now Lindsay Lohan may seem a little far-fetched. That doesn’t mean it can’t make sense and be completely cohesive, it just means we’re all going to have to wait until next spring or beyond before we really know what it all means. Still others feel that, if true, that it’s a stunt executed for marketing purposes. Once again I say that we can’t argue with the ten million followers Lindsay Lohan has between Twitter and Instagram. If you were in a band and wanted your music to get out to a wide audience of people, this might be one way to do it. After all, this is the same band who held up a sign at the end of Girls on Film saying that some people will do anything to sell records, which brings me to the question of selling out. The devils advocate in me posed the question if one is outraged by the idea of the band licensing their music to sell perfume or clothing or yogurt, or cars for that matter… is this any different? As one fan put it, “That ship sailed to Antigua a long, long time ago.”, I chuckled as I acknowledged the truth of the statement and wholeheartedly agreed.

It is difficult to maintain an open mind – I’m the first to say that here, and I recognize in some sense why the band has kept a lot of details beyond the names working on the album pretty mum. Once upon a time, I had all but made up my mind about Red Carpet Massacre, for instance, before the album ever hit the shelves. I never appreciated Timbaland before Duran Duran, and I still do not. My disdain for Justin Timberlake is well-documented in many places, although I’ve come around to some point on Justin these days. Truthfully I hated Red Carpet Massacre before I even held it in my hand. Thankfully for all of you, I didn’t blog back then. When I first read the article this morning that Duranasty shared, my immediate reaction was not filled with hearts and rainbows of positivity. In fact, I was considering how best to word this blog for the better part of the morning. As I told a few people this morning, I waiver between wanting to remain positive and formulating my fan resignation letter. I’m not perfect.

It all comes down to not knowing, doesn’t it? None of us really know where this album is headed. As someone pointed out earlier on Facebook, we have been given plenty of details as far as names go, but there is still enough mystery and time on our hands to overthink. Who doesn’t enjoy a great discussion on the finer points of Duran Duran?  In time, we’ll have the answers and have spirited discussions over our conclusions.

-R

Duran Duran on Twitter

Do you still wait to see Duran Duran on Twitter? How many still hang out on Twitter wondering when/if the band will show up?  I remember the good old days when John or Simon used to occasionally check Twitter. I remember when social engagement, interaction…or whatever you want to call it seemed to matter (even if it really didn’t).

I still use Twitter. I still read my timeline and I still comment whenever I feel like it. I think I got into the Twitter habit just before John came along, before I really noticed Duran Duran on Twitter, and I’m still there. I like the idea of it feeling sort of like a chat room that is occupied 24/7. I can go in there, post whatever I’m thinking at the time and leave. Sometimes I’ll get into short conversations with friends, and sometimes not. I also check out what other people are saying, and yes, I will even check on what fans are tweeting to the band. Call me masochistic, or even just curious. Sometimes I get the best blog ideas that way. Other times, and this seems to be happening far more often these days, I come away feeling melancholy…or even just sad.

The other day I was reading Twitter and saw so many posts congratulating Dom on his tenth anniversary and asking John where he was…so many leaving heartfelt notes of how much he means to them, or how they can’t wait for the next album. Weirdly, it struck me that at this point, I’m not even sure those tweets get read. It wasn’t that long ago when it was obvious that yes, they were getting read. There would be responses to things when Duran Duran was on Twitter that seemed to come out of nowhere. A question would be asked, sometimes even in jest, and suddenly without warning, an answer would appear. They might not even mention names or do a RT, but you knew that the intended band member had seen your tweet, and dammit – they were answering you. Duran Duran On Twitter. Incredulous! There was this magical moment when All You Need is Now came out – maybe it was because it was clear the title song was about our relationship with the band as fans, maybe it was because the band was active on Twitter and Facebook, and maybe it was because of all of those things – but it felt like there was some sort of really cool synergy taking place. It wasn’t “The Band” and then “The Fans”… it was “Us”.  How amazing was that??  Yes, it got crazy at times. I was on Twitter and Facebook and saw it firsthand. Fans would lose their shit when John Taylor would show up. Many of us would sit back, pop some corn and watch with interest. Others would join in. The thing about all of that though was that it generated interest, energy and joy, whether you were watching or participating. Frankly, I was curious about the change in tide…the change in relationship between the fans and the band at a critical time after Red Carpet Massacre. Utterly fascinating stuff if you’re me. It felt good to be a Duranie because Duran Duran was on Twitter…talking to fans!

The other day I made comment after reading some of these recent tweets to band members. I mentioned I thought it was so sad, because it is obvious that fans still care enough to try and engage without really much encouragement to do so from the band. I had some responses back that ran the gamut from “the band will be back when they’ve got something to promote” (which in turn felt very disingenuous to the person who responded) to the fact that despite the drawbacks (for the band) in being open and accessible with fans, that they should have realized what they got into with fame. All in all, I have to say there were very few responses that indicated (to me) much empathy towards the band. I can’t imagine this makes it an easy place for the band to start from when it comes to promoting this new album, so I have to ask – is it really that much trouble to say hi once in a while?  Is it really so horrible?? Is it really that unnatural?  If so, why is it so natural for the rest of us?  Maybe that’s the real question.

-R

Duran Duran in Birmingham

Duran Duran in Birmingham.

Duran Duran in Birmingham - Tweet
Our infamous tweet before the show in Brum

Three years ago today, I stood in a concert arena, anxiously awaiting the moment a lifelong dream – a dream so big I really didn’t even dare dream – would come true. Duran Duran would walk on the stage and play a gig in Birmingham. Their hometown. Mecca for all Duranies. In some not-quite-defined but strange, bizarre way, Birmingham is now as much a part of my history as theirs.

I remember that night seeing Duran Duran in Birmingham at the  LG Arena easily. At the time I can remember telling myself not to blink because I might miss something, and I wanted to be certain that I would remember every single second of the show, as well as later that night as I wandered around Birmingham…in search of…well, I’m not really sure, but I think I may have found it, although I’m not exactly sure how to describe what “it” really IS.  No, not the band…although at the time I’m pretty sure I was naively hoping to stumble across their path. The memories from that night come to mind so simply, easily, and yet I can tell you that getting there was no easy feat. Talk about roadblocks! Everything from Amanda’s job to my family,  December weather possibilities, and even a public workers strike seemed to be thrown in the way as possible detours, but somehow – we got to see Duran Duran in Birmingham. Amanda and I had taken a train to get from Bournemouth to Birmingham, and we soaked up as much of the English countryside as possible along the way.  When we arrived in Birmingham, both of us were practically beaming. We still had a show to get to that night, but we’d made it to their town.

Duran Duran in Birmingham
From our first trip in May of 2011 – we made it to Broad Street!

Their town.

What Duranie, especially those of us who aren’t graced with the good fortune of having grown up in the UK, doesn’t dream of going to see where the band started? Seeing Duran Duran in Birmingham? The idea always felt so completely foreign…not of this world. Well, not of my world anyway. I spent a remarkable amount of time as a teenager tucked away in my bedroom wondering what it was like in Birmingham. Was it really all that different from my life in Covina, California?  Probably. I mean, these were rock stars. They were British. I was a clarinet player in my junior high band. I said things with that annoying American/Southern California accent.  I said “like” and “awesome” a lot.  (I never said “tubular, man”….even I had my limits.) I was convinced that they had to have come from a much more exciting life, and that I would never, ever get to Birmingham to see it for myself.  Flash ahead about 28 years, and there I was, having a conference call with friends to plan the trip!

I’d heard many things about Birmingham by the time All You Need is Now came out.  I won’t lie, not many of the things I heard were at all kind. As far as I could tell, the only reason to ever go there was to see the band’s history, and perhaps to see Duran Duran in Birmingham. In fact, when I came through customs on the way into the UK for our first trip in 2011, the officer who looked at my passport and talked to me about why I’d traveled to London strongly recommended that I avoid the city, saying that it was (and I really am quoting here) “the armpit of England and the UK.”  Well then.  I definitely needed to see the city at that point then! I was really expecting the worst of the worst – take Compton or Inglewood and give it a British accent.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.

One thing I learned about my British friends – and perhaps anyone from the UK, including the band, was that you’re incredibly hard on yourselves. Birmingham is not even remotely close to an armpit. In fact, it is pretty. I liked the canals.  Granted, that canal water is deathly black…and I sure as hell wouldn’t want to fall in there…but they’re unique. My city barely has water, much less canals. I liked the architecture. The red brick. The way that I didn’t dare step off a sidewalk because I was never sure which way the traffic was coming (an American issue for those of us who might be directionally challenged.), and of course – Duran Duran. Memories of that band are everywhere throughout that city. From reading street signs that have been mentioned to searching for the exact spot where the Rum Runner once stood – if you’re a fan you can’t walk around that city without feeling the energy, the excitement that surges through you when you know the band must be nearby. I love history, anyone who knows me realizes that – music history in particular is a passion, and Birmingham is chalk full of that. It is beautiful, and now I dare to wish that I can go back again.

Duran Duran in Birmingham - Rhonda by a canal
Oh look, an American tourist!!

Duran Duran in Birmingham - canalways

Duran Duran in Birmingham - night lights!
Beautiful street lights in Birmingham

What did I really find that night, aside from seeing Duran Duran in Birmingham on that LG Arena stage in front of me? I’m not sure I’m ever going to be able to pinpoint what I gained. A sense of perspective, perhaps?  Maybe a realization that yes, sometimes dreams really do come true, even if they take thirty years longer than you’d ever thought?  Maybe what I really found was a part of myself. Answered questions…closure? A circle made complete?  Maybe all of that, and then again, maybe none of it.

What I do know, without a doubt, is that as I sit here typing this, watching the rain (!?!) come down in Southern California, that my life was made just a little more complete on that fateful evening in 2011…and I do openly hope and wish that I have the chance to return.

-R