Following up to Rio

On one of the boards I am a member of, there has been some discussion lately about the album that Duran Duran is currently working on with Mark Ronson.  Many things have been covered, but one sticking point that seems to keep popping up is that the album has been billed by Ronson himself as “The follow up to Rio”.  To be fair, the band hasn’t downplayed the comment, but I don’t think they’ve discounted it either.

The funny thing about that comment is not so much that I personally believe it to be relatively impossible, but that the entire Duranie community is up in arms over the idea.  I can just imagine what the band must be thinking as they peruse the internet… (and yes, I’m assuming they actually have the time and interest to see what we’re talking about.  Hey – it’s my blog today, my fantasy – just deal with it!)  they probably figured that by having Mark Ronson say at every possible moment that the album is a follow up to Rio that fans would automatically flock in anticipation.  What they are forgetting though, is that we’re DURANIES.  We (as a community) don’t react the way most people might think, and let’s be honest, I’m not sure that there is anything the band could possibly announce or do that would make all of us happy.  Even the very thought of the reunion of all 5 original members was met with scrutiny by some.  Rather than being excited by the possibility of the new album, especially after the outcry by many within the community to return to their roots, Duranies are completely pissed that Ronson would dare utter such words….and CONTINUE to utter them at every possible opportunity.

Why is that?  Collectively, why are we so resistant to the idea of following up Rio?   I have a few ideas:

1. To many within the community, Rio is the end-all.  It is the album that encompasses the band as a whole.  Image-wise, Rio is what many picture when they think of Duran Duran.  Yachts, champagne, Anthony Price suits….and possibly the picture of John throwing Andy off of the yacht.  😉   If in fact you buy into the idea that Rio was the pinnacle of Duran Duran’s career, nothing could possibly be on the same pedestal of this album.

2. Are they setting themselves up for certain failure by even saying it’s the follow up?  Let’s face it – most albums are created during a moment in time (even if it takes years for the album itself to be completed).  How can a band recreate that moment enough to even explore taking the album one step further to create a sequel?  It’s not likely to happen.   The band line-up isn’t even the same, and even IF you’re not a big Andy fan at this point, I don’t know many Duranies that would argue with the fact that it took all 5 of them to create the beauty that we know to be Rio.  That’s not the case this time around.  It seems incredibly ballsy to simply announce that it’s the follow up to Rio just because it leaves everyone in the community with a certain idea in their head as to what that might sound like.  A lofty goal, indeed.

3. If in fact this album IS the follow-up to Rio, what is all of that between Rio and this album?  A huge detour??  Some of the bands finest work can be found during that in between period, and you don’t even have to be a Duranie to recognize them.  To name a few obvious choices: Notorious, Ordinary World, and Come Undone…and to name a few more of my own personal favorites: Secret Oktober, Fallen Angel, Serious, Finest Hour, Land, Too Late Marlene, Virus, and even Red Carpet Massacre.   In this authors opinion, any and ALL of those songs are indeed follow ups to Rio.  Why?  Each one of those songs came later in their career, and by that definition – they all did in fact follow up to Rio!  Why wouldn’t the band continue to evolve musically from Rio?  Even if the music evolved in a direction that some of us didn’t always enjoy – they didn’t play it safe and stick to the same formula for each album, and I dare assert that there would be even less fans left if they had.

Lastly, Duranies have gotten quite tired of the way the band chooses certain talking points for each album.  Red Carpet Massacre included much about Timbaland and that the album was a dance album.  I myself got to the point where I could recite Nick’s “speech” whenever he was interviewed about what RCM was going to sound like.  The trouble, from what I’ve noticed, is that very few Duranies are really listening to the “spin” the band tends to give each album.  Even I come away from most interviews and album updates rolling my eyes.  I suppose it’s really unfair to the band in some respects because we’re dying (no really, we are at this point) for information about the album – but yet when they try to tell us, I think most people are sick of being fed the party line.  If Nick asked me what *I* want to hear – I’d tell them that I want each of them to look me in the eye (the camera) and tell the truth.  How is THIS album different? What does it feel like when they play the songs?  How excited are they (or aren’t they) to play it for us?  Did they have a rough time creating the songs, lyrics, etc.

Mostly, what I think Duran Duran needs to realize, is that they aren’t dealing with 12 year old girls (and guys) anymore.  We’re all at least nearing 40 by now (well, the large majority of us anyway), and musically speaking, we’re not an uneducated lot.  The “party line” isn’t going to work for us because we’re not going to buy it.  Why?  Well, I think at 12, we all were more than ready to accept the fantasy.  We all wanted to live like Rio, didn’t we?  Now at 40-something, we’ve had quite a life already.  We get that it’s not all sunshine and roses, and I think we all know the band is aging.  We can pretend it’s not happening, but what good is that really doing anyone?  Sit down and TALK to us about the band, about the album, about trying to find a label again, and why they aren’t ready to give up yet.  If the band just did that – no holds barred – I think that after we all picked ourselves up off of the floor, they might just find that there’s even more of us coming back to listen and support.

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