I have been sitting back and waiting patiently for the first single from Making Patterns Rhyme to emerge, and today we received a taster of Moby’s cover of “Rio”. It’s not the entire song, but it’s a minute and a half of something that is incredibly different from what fans know to be Rio, and for that, I need to applaud Moby.
Personally, I think the first clue that this cover was not going to be a rehash of “Rio” came from the fact that this is a COVER album. When I first heard of this tribute being created, I knew this would go one of two ways: either the songs would sound very similar to the originals and fans would hate them…or they’d sound very different from the originals, and fans would hate them. Why?
Well, that’s really the easy question to answer. The fans of which I am speaking (and they’re not difficult to find – just look at Duran Duran’s Facebook page today and find the post of Moby’s Rio cover. Check out the comments. They’re scathing.) are diehard fans. To them, Rio is the Holy Grail. I knew this was going to be a hard sell for many a Duran fan out there, and while I can understand why – I think you have to go into each song (and no, you absolutely might not like them all, and that’s OK!) with a pretty clear head and heart. Listen to each song on it’s own merits – not those of Duran Duran. It isn’t easy to listen to a song that you have adored for thirty years be completely redone into something that isn’t automatically recognizable, and I understand how fans feel in that regard. The knee jerk reaction is to automatically say you can’t stand it, shut it off, and then listen to the original as some sort of “cleanse”. I’ve had those moments myself. Not necessarily for this particular cover…but for others, absolutely.
Maybe I’m crazy, but I don’t want to hear Moby be Duran Duran, because that’s just some sort of twisted karaoke. I want to hear Moby’s interpretation of Rio.
Moby’s version is nothing like the original, except in spirit, and I’m honestly a little surprised that fans can’t at least hear that. I would say that one need not look further for artistic inspiration than to the graphic design for the cover. (Beautifully created by none other than Patty Palazzo – and I mean it from the heart when I say it’s brilliant. That one image is exactly how I hear the song.) When I listen to the song, rather than the song actually reminding me of the way Duran Duran recorded the song, it reminds me of the ocean itself. I like that the cover is softer, dreamy…lazy like a summer day. Do I love it as much as the original? I have to be honest – for me it’s a completely different song altogether. It’s not really something I can compare. I can say though that I have played it more than once, and with each listen I like it more. I would have been very disappointed if it had sounded like the original, because that just isn’t the point of a cover at all. (This reminds me of the discussion I saw among Tears for Fears fans when Lorde did a cover of “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”. Fans were ready to start burning effigies of her because she dared to try something new and made the song dark and haunting.)
I suspect that the intention with this tribute album was to have the artists completely reinterpret the originals, and I’m betting that Manimal Records doesn’t really care what the diehard Duranies really think of the finished product(s), nor should they. We’re not necessarily the audience they’re going after, and that’s OK. The trouble for fans is that it’s really not 1983 or 1984, and times have changed. If Moby came out with Rio, Karaoke style – who’d play it today? No one. So this is his 2014 interpretation. You don’t have to love it, hell…you don’t even have to like it, but you should at least respect the space from which it’s been done.
I did go through and read the comments on Facebook. As I said before, they’re scathing, and I have to wonder what people may have thought they were going to hear. I think some were aghast that someone would dare to cover a Duran Duran song to begin with, and plenty of others said that while they’re fans of Moby – they think this is terrible.
Wanna hear it for yourself? Here ya go…the full version!