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.
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!