Ignoring the question of are there shows or aren’t they for now, I will share my thoughts about the final two articles in Classic Pop’s Special Edition for Duran’s 40th Anniversary: Paper Cuts and Extraordinary World. Obviously, the first articles focused in on the Paper Gods album and Extraordinary World dealt with winning an award in 2016. Of course, I will give my overall thoughts about the magazine as a whole at the end as well.
This article starts out on an interesting, more somber note. The author states that it took Duran a long time to craft the Paper Gods album but quickly points out that Duran won’t be making many more albums. They quote John, “We’re not going to make many more albums. We have to make the most of it when we do…” Ouch. While I’m not stupid and recognize that none of us are getting younger, I still don’t like thinking or imagining a time when Duran no longer exists as the band does now. Emotionally, I cannot handle that thought.
The beginning of the article discussed how long the album took. One quote that grabbed my attention came from Simon, “At this point, if we make anything that’s at all less than our previous records, it would signal the beginning of the end.” Wow. If I had read that quote before, I didn’t pay it enough attention. I can see why he would say that or why they would feel that way. At the time, I was so anxious for more Duran Duran that I just wanted the album done. Now, I can recognize the need for quality. It is hard to rush art. John provided the counterargument indicating that he didn’t want to just tinker with the music for little to no reason. That’s a fair point, too. I’m sure it is a delicate balance.
While there is a lot of interesting information in this article, the part that drew my attention focused on the band’s history regarding female fans. The author describes their music as unisex, appealing to both men and women. Simon stated, “We had our noses absolutely rubbed in it that Duran was ‘music for girl’. But there’s something in our music that speaks of compassion, which insecure teenagers do need. I think our teenage audience picked up on that. A lot of bands at the time excluded women, by trying to a lads’ band.” Nick continued with, “We’re not frightened of our fragility and sensitivity, which a lot of rock artists are.” I completely appreciate this about them. Even as a kid I knew that I would be safe with Duran Duran. They were not looking to use me or other women in the way that I felt from other bands.
There was some discussion about the back catalog, especially since Duran had signed with Warner. The band indicated that they would like to release their old material “properly” while at the same time avoiding bad deals like having Hungry Like the Wolf used in all food commercials. There was mention of Reportage, the album recorded with Andy but never released. They seemed to think it would be possible if mixing was done and with Andy’s permission. I bet fans would be excited about that!
This article originally came out in 2016 when Duran received the ASCAP Golden Note Award for songwriting at a London ceremony. This particular award is given to artists who have achieved significant career milestones. Some other winners include Elton John, Tom Petty, Stevie Wonder and more. That’s pretty cool! I don’t remember hearing about this award before.
The author then gave credit to everything Duran has accomplished in their careers. Interestingly enough, Nick commented about how these days there is little “mystique” to pop music as artists and albums seem to be on some sort of assembly line in order to get released quickly. Needless to say, he is not a fan. As much as I would love to have new Duran music all the time, I recognize that I value things more when I have to wait and anticipate them. If I went to Duran concerts every day, I would probably cease to be excited about them and that would be super sad.
This article ended with a discussion about Duran playing festivals. Simon’s argument was that festivals are the real test. It is one thing to play to fans but to play at a festival, you have to be really good. That’s fair from their perspective. I can understand that. From a fan’s perspective, I hate festivals. Enough said.
I really think that this magazine was well put together. Clearly, there was a lot of attention to detail with little extras included frequently. Visually, it is very Duran with a lot of images, cool graphics, logos and more. In my opinion, it was well worth the money. What did the rest of you think?