I’m sitting here writing as I listen to Brandon Flowers’ new album, The Desired Effect. Yes, I realize I’m writing for Daily Duranie, and so this choice in music while writing might seem off. Fair enough. The funny thing is that while listening, I was reading some of the reviews of his work, and that gave me the idea for this post.
Before I forget…so far, I really like the album…and if you’re a fan of The Killers, or Brandon himself…or you’re just dying for new music, I think you should check it out.
I don’t know if I’m really that unusual by reading a lot of music reviews when one of my favorite bands come out with a new album. I like reading what others think about the music. Granted, over the years reading those reviews has sometimes made me want to scream, but I still read. This morning, I read a particular review on Consequence of Sound that really set poorly with me. It really wasn’t that the reviewer gave The Desired Effect a “C+” because a review is merely an opinion, and not everyone is going to love everything that I might. The real problem was that the review had precious little to do with the album in question, and far too much about Brandon himself. I came away questioning whether she really reviewed the music or if she was reviewing Brandon’s personality, particularly his opinion of Kanye West. (Which I happen to share. Proudly.)
After reading the review, I read the comments. I knew there would be some scathing replies by fans, because let’s be honest, no one likes reading reviews that trash a favorite band or singer. Sure enough, there was more than one comment in favor of Brandon, but most, if not all of the comments were written by people who found the same issues with the review that I had. A few even agreed that she was entitled to her opinions, but that they wished she’d back up the grade she gave the album with reasons – and I had to agree, she certainly didn’t give any reasons for the grade. Instead, she wrote about Brandon’s tendency to have diarrhea of the mouth (her words, not mine) and the fact that he’s Mormon, which seemed out of place to me in an album review. I was genuinely surprised by the lack of venom, and there wasn’t a single calling for this woman’s head, which was refreshing. She didn’t feel the need to come back and answer the comments, nor did she run to call the fans and others who found fault “crazy”.
As I typed out a well-worded comment that I am sure will never be read by the reviewer, it struck me that very soon, I’ll probably be getting just as disgusted by reviews of Duran Duran’s new album. I can remember many times in recent memory where a show or even an album was reviewed less-than-favorably, and the Duranies came out in droves in defense of the band.
We fans are a loyal lot. We might really get down on the band for Durantime, and we might really be vocal about some of the things we don’t like from time to time (and I’m “speaking” collectively, not just about Daily Duranie!), but when push comes to shove – nobody had better screw with our band. (See that ownership?!?) The trouble is, Duran fans have been characterized as having a bit of a mob-mentality over the years. It’s not enough to simply disagree with someone’s opinion, we tend to want to tear them limb from limb for daring to cross Duran Duran. Instead of making our point(s) concise and clear, and sounding like intelligent people, sometimes Duranies come off sounding exactly as the world likes to characterize us, as “psycho fans”. Yes, we’re loyal…to a fault, really.
With that loyalty and “ownership” comes great responsibility. We must work to show the world that not only are we fans of the band, we’re also intelligent and understand music. We must illustrate that we not only know what we love(d) about the 80’s (Like it or not, reviewers and critics will ALWAYS be quick to remind us that the band were has-been pinups of the 80s, because that’s how they discount them), but we know what we like about current music…and before someone tells me there’s “nothing” If we really want to support the band and respond appropriately to critics, we have to get past the “I love you’s”, not be completely stuck in the 80’s, and explain what it really is about their music that makes it worthy and relevant. Hopefully in a few short months, we’ll all hear the new album and know how to put the answers to those questions in words. In other words, we might have to leave some of our more gushy fandom at the door. We can’t seek “blood”…. we must seek to first understand, and then educate. This band has been around for nearly 37 years at this point. Many of us have been fans for nearly all of that time, we aren’t wrong about our excitement and passion for this band. Their longevity proves that over and over again, before any of us even bothers to wield our fingers over our keyboards as possible weaponry.