Early Summer Nerves – The Daily Duranie Review

It’s Thursday – and that means it’s time for another Daily Duranie Review!!  Today we bring you Early Summer Nerves, which is a track off of the Best Buy exclusive version of All You Need Is Now.

Rhonda’s take:

Musicality/Instrumentation:  This song me of something you might hear late, late, late at night at the after after party of a show by a band that did an awesome show earlier that night in a much bigger setting.  Maybe a band like Duran Duran, but maybe not.  It’s like the last song of the last set in the last bar that the band visited that evening.  It starts off with a lazy yet funky groove (that I completely adore) sound to it – almost as though the band is putting it together as the go along.  Not quite a full out “jam”, more of a drunken “let’s get together and play one for the road”.  Then Nick’s synths kick in around 55 seconds into the song and you realize – “oh wait, this is for REAL!”  It slows right back down as we enter the second course and we’re back to funknation.  (yes, that’s a Nick Rhodes term if I’ve ever heard it – but please don’t confuse it with “groooveworld”)  The song has almost a transcendental type feel to it around 1:50 seconds, almost later Beatlesque – it reminds me of several songs off of either the White Album or Abbey Road – but then it goes right back to lazy funk to finish out the song.  I have to wonder just how much more dirty, gritty funk could be had if it were less electronic/synthesizer and more bass, guitar & drums.

Vocals:  When I first heard this – I was completely appalled at Simon’s voice.  It sounded semi-whiney, VERY strained and way out of his vocal range.  I didn’t think it was necessary – and it sounded a lot like a one-take type of song.  Something they threw on the album just to finish it out.  Oh wait.  It’s on the “Best Buy” exclusive, isn’t it?  Now, before you all throw tomatoes, I have to say I’ve continued to force myself to listen to the song many, many more times since – and it’s honestly growing on me.  I think the vocal strain is probably part of the whole point.  It gives Simon’s voice an almost organic type of feel to it, rather than every note being rehearsed, practiced and polished.  I think the song was meant to feel more like a demo than it was anything else, and it does give the song that lazy type of feel – just like a hot, lazy summers evening…  Or, as *I* prefer to envision it – the last song of the last set, well after midnight (as in we’re almost, but not quite reaching up for the sunrise) in an almost empty bar in the middle of August.  Not one of those fancy schmancy bars either – I’m talking one of those bars with wood floors that haven’t been resurfaced in years, with wood stools and chairs, and the bar is in the middle of the room, with the “stage” set up in the corner of the room.  Just a couple of microphones, a stool, some speakers and some people sitting around nursing the last drinks of the night.  Simon is sitting on that stool, crooning away, and begins whistling the tune instead of singing,  as he gets up off of the stool and wanders out of the bar, onto the sidewalk – swaggering (or staggering, however you so choose to envision the moment) back up to his hotel for the night.  Or morning.   So yeah, I get it.

Lyrics:  You mean there are real lyrics to this song??  A small admission here is that I’ve gotten so into the pure funk of the moment that I have paid almost ZERO attention to what the heck the song is about.  Nice reviewing, huh?  I have to hand it to the musicality because it’s made me completely forget to notice what the band is trying to convey through lyrics.  Does it really matter?  Clearly, it’s about a guy/girl thing…aren’t they all??  It reminds me a little bit of a sort of “walk of shame” set up…  Kind of like the “morning after” sort of song – and the way it’s being sung is perfect for that sort of thing.  I love the line about “now as the memory hits me right between the eyes”.  I don’t know, it reminds me of some long last nights from college!  I can’t help but love ’em.  Perfect for those late, late nights when your head is wrapped up from earlier events that night!

Production: My only real complaint – and it’s not necessarily a complaint as much as it is more of a question – is that I wonder how this song would sound live.  Would I hear more guitar?  Would I feel more bass?  COULD I feel more bass?  Would the song have more swagger live than it does on the CD?  I’m not sure.  I think it might…  I think that for the way the song was arranged and written musically though, the production is perfect.  I still get the swagger, I still get plenty of funk and I think the balance between bass and treble is perfect.  Every track is able to be heard and I don’t feel as though I’ve been slapped in the face with noise…and yes, that matters!

Overall: I completely hated this song the first time I heard it.  I remember it clearly because within one single measure (4 counts) – I was yelling that they’d taken a masterpiece album and – as John had said that they still had time to do – they fucked up the ending.  I couldn’t understand why they bothered to include it on ANY version of the album, much less expect fans to pay for it.  (yes, I really said that.  Out loud even.)  But, then I forced myself to listen again, and again and again because – well – I refused to believe that there wasn’t at least one thing about this song that I couldn’t learn to respect.  I refuse to have another Night Runner on my hands from this group! I’m glad I did that, because in a very short amount of time I found that while this is definitely not a “typical” Duran Duran song in many ways – it’s a gem of its own right.  It’s like finding one of those obscure B-sides you’d never heard before, then playing it and at first saying “Oh god – now I know why I’ve never heard it before, it sucks!” , then with more listens it becomes one of your sentimental favorites.  That’s what this song is like for me.  I don’t ever expect to hear it live – but if I do – I’ll be nodding my head and swaggering right along with the band.


Amanda’s take:

Musicality/Instrumentation:  I have to admit that it has taken me a long time to separate the two bonus tracks featured on the Best Buy edition.  This was also true for the interludes.  I just couldn’t separate them.  Perhaps, in this case, it is because neither one hit me in a positive way, initially.  This song is a mixed bag for me, musically.  It has some elements that I love and others that drive me crazy.  For most of the song, it feels like a solid groove, one that creates a kind of mellow feeling to it, thanks to John Taylor’s bass playing.  Then, Nick’s keyboards enter to introduce the chorus and transition back to the verse.  I hate the keyboards.  I find them distracting and feel like they take away from the relaxed jam going on.   

Vocals:  I have tried to appreciate Simon’s vocals here.  I have.  I even heard a little Anyone Out There in the first verse with the line that ends with “night”, which gives me a warm feeling, but, in general, I’m not a fan.  The vocals seem to match the music well, which could be good.  Unfortunately, most of it acts as a compliment to the keyboards that drive me crazy.  Instead of being low and mellow like the bass, he sings in a range that sounds strained to me and concerns me that there might be damage (joking..kinda).  Like the keyboards themselves, I think the vocals hurt the quality of the song.

Lyrics:  Now, there isn’t anything extra special when it comes to the lyrics other than the fact that it took many, many listens for me to catch most of them.  They feel like a classic Duran song, though.  In fact, they could be a combination between something like Save a Prayer and Last Chance on the Stairway with the references to the morning light and trying to impress a girl.  Of course, like many Duran tracks, the hero of the song seems to fail at his task.  It seems to me that Simon does this kind of guy unable to get girl’s attention or affection well.  It has been a theme throughout their career, from the first album to this one and most in between.  While it may be something overdone, it is always done well and does represent a timeless and common situation in the dating world.

Production:  Okay.  I, generally, don’t have much to say about the production but not this time!  Why can’t they turn down the keyboards.  I understand that Nick wants to be featured, wants to be heard.  I get that, but why must they then be so noticeable?  In a song that could be ruled by the rhythm section, I find myself having to focus on the keyboards and keyboards that don’t make me happy.  Maybe they wouldn’t bother me as much if they didn’t seem so loud!  I will say one thing for this–it made what could have been a relaxed song one that feels more like someone’s “nerves” are a little frayed!

Overall:  This song had such potential.  I really like some elements to it.  The bass is great and creates a good atmosphere that is pushed to the side by overpowering keyboards and vocals that coincide.  The vocals actually make it so the lyrics aren’t as noticeable as well and they are classic Duran lyrics!  To me, this song ends up as a weird combination of separate elements instead of one strong unit with every band member working together to create a masterpiece.


7 thoughts on “Early Summer Nerves – The Daily Duranie Review”

  1. The best part about this review is that we SHOULD have done Too Close to the Sun before this one….

    but I forgot which one came first, so I went for this one.

    without giving my review away….I'll just say that there's a reason why I moved right on past TCTTS…. -R

  2. I am not one bit surprised that Jess likes this. After all, we did agree that we shared a brain at one point. I kind of think that at least when it comes to Duran – we still do. 😀

    I do love the song. It makes me sit back, relax, listen and drift away…and sometimes, I really need that. We all do! -R

  3. LOVE “Early Summer Nerves”. HATED “Too Close To The Sun” (cringe-worthy; I call it the “drunken Simon song” and skip it before the first note plays. Track #15 for all those with the Best Buy CD version of the AYNIN album).

    ESN is laid back, relaxed. I like the lilting in Simon's voice. It reminds me of a camera lens zooming in and out of focus or the gentle bobbing of a boat drifting on the sea. It's uneven, unsteady, not quite perfect but it does have a certain unique rhythm to it. At his worst, Simon's singing can sound like he's either yelling or braying. Thankfully, he doesn't sound like that here (at least to my ears). Out of the three bonus tracks (Networker Nation, ESN and TCTTS), this is my favourite.

  4. Thank you for reading our review and providing your own thoughts about these extra tracks! I love how, sometimes, we fans all think alike, and other times, have such different tastes!


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