Classic Pop Special Edition: Notorious and A Life Less Ordinary

This is the next installment of my (now) series on Classic Pop Magazine’s Special Edition for Duran Duran’s 40th Anniversary.  This weekend I will give some thoughts about the last album from the 1980s that the magazine covered, Notorious, as well as the summary of the 1990s with an article, “A Life Less Ordinary.”  I’m anxious to compare the review of Notorious to the ones on Rio and Seven and the Ragged Tiger.  I also wonder about how the 1990s will be discussed.  Will it just be about the Wedding Album or will there be discussion on Thank You and Medazzaland?  What about the Liberty album?  Read on, people.

Notorious:

Like Seven and the Ragged Tiger, this was a much shorter review in comparison to the one on Rio.  There is no extra sections on some specific songs or the videos.  The only extras within the article are the track listing and information on the players.

Like other articles within the magazine, I like that the author placed the album in context, which includes the band’s history but also the larger world of the music business and beyond.  In this case, there is an acknowledgment that Live Aid shifted the music business in a significant way.  Perhaps, more interesting is how the article described the departure of Andy Taylor.  According to what was written here, Andy, at one point, wanted to legally stop the band from using the name, Duran Duran.  That is a new insight to me.  A Simon quote indicated that all the meetings with lawyers hurt their creative process.  (I can imagine it would be.)  Of course, there is a positive spin, which is that the situation bonded the three of them.  (Again, that makes sense to me.  I have experienced similar things with colleagues when under attack, so to speak.)

The author then discusses Nile Rodgers’s role within the album and mentions the addition of Warren Cuccurullo and Steve Ferrone.  What is interesting is that they are referred to as members rather than hired musicians, which is less than precise.  The last part of the review mentions how the album had not done nearly as well as the previous ones, chart wise, and how this disappointed John Taylor, in particular.

A Life Less Ordinary:

This article starts out focusing on Liberty, the band’s first album of the 1990s.  In it, there is mention of the poor chart performance, indicating that this led to the decision not to tour and even canceled videos for First Impression and Liberty.  Yet, that is all that is said about that album as the author quickly moved on to the Wedding Album.  While I understand the decision, I always feel like Liberty is brushed over more than it should be.

Interestingly enough, the author did mention what Andy and Roger did during the 1990s.  I was not expecting that at all but I cheer that. Fans and readers who don’t know what they were up to probably appreciate the heck out of now knowing.  Likewise, John Taylor’s marriage to Amanda de Cadenet and birth of his daughter was mentioned.  (Note that there was no coverage of Simon and Nick’s marriages and children.  Hmmm….)

The article did discuss Thank You to some extent including which songs they chose to cover and how it did in the charts.  Sigh.  I have to admit that I wish more was discussed there.  I like the stories about which songs they chose and why.  How come an album that should have been done quickly wasn’t?  Why did it do so poorly in the charts?  I would like more information there and less basic facts.

That said, there was a lot about various moments within that time period.  For example, some topics included were the Power Station reunion, John’s struggle with addiction, the appearance of Roger in 1995, John’s solo album and more.  Similarly, Neurotic Outsiders was covered in this section.  This makes me wonder even more about why TV Mania was listed in the side projects article about the 1980s.  Why wasn’t that project in the 1990s or even beyond that?  Weird.

In many ways, the most interesting part of the summary of the 1990s was the discussion surrounding Pop Trash.  In that part, the author talked about how Simon was just unhappy and did not come to the studio much.  According to the article, Nick now accepts that they should have waited for Simon to “pull himself together” as he was missing John, still hurting from the death of Michael Hutchence and more.  I don’t know much about all that but it also claims that Simon and Warren’s friendship had “deteriorated.”

Like many of the previous articles, I did learn a few new tidbits about the band, which I appreciate.  In some cases, I wish that they had covered more of one thing over another but generally well-rounded and informed.

-A

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