Here’s the reality: Amanda and I can’t review this in quite the academic sort of way that we normally might. Every single time I’ve watched the video today, I’ve seen something different and new that makes me see the whole video in a completely different light…not totally unlike the way I might look at a crystal or a diamond, come to think of it. With that in mind, you’re going to get a review unlike any other we may ever do here at Daily Duranie, and we may end up needing to revisit this subject several times before it’s finished. That said, off we go and it’s my turn (Rhonda) first!!
I have to write this review fairly quickly in between work and another meeting, but I will do my best to give anything Duran justice. That said, let me tell you that I watched the video this morning and HATED it. It is interesting that the initial reviews of it from other fans I saw, talked about how they were worried it was going to be like Falling Down, which apparently they all hated, whereas I LOVED and will blog about this weekend. What is funny, though, is that this stayed in my head and made me what to watch it again, which I did at work. The strange thing is that I found myself noticing SO much and thinking SO much that I began to think it was genius. Clearly, this isn’t going to be a basic video of Duran’s where the fans who are attracted to men will watch and squee. It isn’t one that is filled with a significant plot but one that I will watch over and over again just to try to see everything!
The video begins with a throbbing sound of sorts and a stark, black and white view of a city. Then, of course, this is followed up with the statement “tour’s over”. Is this how it feels to the band? Is this how it feels to the fans? Is this how we are supposed to think they feel? The video does not stay black and white and does shift back and forth between color and black and white. With this video and everything about it, I have to believe that it was intentional and one element that I hope to see what the connection is. Is black and white used to show reality and color used to show the perception? Yes, obviously, before I go much further I absolutely believe that this video is about perception and stereotypes. It is about stereotypes of the band and about rock and roll in general as they even used those words, “rock and roll”. Do I think that this is what it is like to be Duran? No, sorry, I don’t. Are there elements that exist? Sure. It’s possible. Is that what it was like back in the day? Maybe. Obviously, though, we are supposed to be thinking about the present as one of the first questions has to do with being a band for 30 years.
Speaking of the questions and comments, I thought they were brilliant and all of them from what I could tell could be broken into two camps: rock and roll, in general, or Duran, specifically. Some of the specific Duran questions: Nick was asked about being a metrosexual, Simon was asked about playing a role on stage, Roger was asked about addictions, John was asked about fashion. Even the question and statement about guitarist is very much about Duran and their long career. Then, of course, some of them were about rock in general, including something about how no one teaches about being famous, the rush of being on stage, and how they are doing what makes them and their fans be happy. The headlines that flashed across the screen after the statement about having some “truly shocking reviews” were also fitting of Duran: “Nick adopts alien baby”, ” 99% style 1% music”, and “Trash hotel room again”.
Of course, they attempted to show what people (press, fans, the world) think of them by having supermodels be the band. Is the use of models overdone in Duranland? Of course, it is. I think that was the point. They had to be predictable. It is one of the major stereotypes about their videos. This is one element I really liked about the video, the layers that were involved in both the stereotype element and in the production. They used film credits, which reminded me of New Moon on Monday, to start it and end it, which leads you to think it is the finished product. Yet, there were many other parts that showed that it wasn’t like the clapper indicating a take or the “behind the scenes” wording or seeing what the camera is filming. It was very post modern, in that way.
While there was a storyline of sorts, it wasn’t so straightforward in that people would get lost in the plot. Of course, clearly, it begins with Simon waking up, surrounded by girls as any proper frontman would. Clearly, there had been much partying and action taking place. Yet, Simon seems lonely as the curtains are opening. Then, of course, there are photoshoots and an afterparty at night. In between, before and after are all of the other trappings associated with being famous: press, pictures, people demanding autographs, champagne, partying, sex, and groupies/stalkers as Rhonda mentioned looking very cautious and very curious standing in stairwells and hallways. At the end of the clip, there is the video shoot for the song that they are clearly promoting as evidenced by all of the interviews being done. For the video, they are ultra glam.
I’m sure, by now, many people are talking about the use of women and the girl-on-girl action. My first reaction was…if we are going to see some same sex couple kissing how about a little JoSi, thankyouverymuch! Yet, to me, this makes sense for the purpose of the video. Obviously, in this video, the band was being played by women. The rest of the people surrounding the band, in reality, would be women, wouldn’t it? The people who are attractive enough to be welcomed into a hotel room would be women, right? The groupies would be women? The stalkers? Yes, they would be women again, at least if they are maintaining the stereotype/perception theme as this is what people would think about Duran. On top of that, the use of girls and models is what Duran is known for with their videos and, in case we didn’t remember that, they showed clips of videos like Girls on Film, the Chauffeur, Rio, Notorious to name a few. That part actually bothered me because they felt like they had to include that to remind us like we were too stupid to remember that without the reminder. Anyway, while I understand wanting to see less women and more of the guys, it doesn’t fit, for the most part, until as Rhonda mentioned, the end. They could have easily had the models turn into Duran, which could have made the end more normal video like.
So, now that I have had some time to watch it a few times and think about it, do I like it? Love it? Hate it? For me, it depends on what the purpose is. Again, I don’t think it is a video that I would watch with a bunch of other Duranies to squee over the guys as they just aren’t in it all that much. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t want John to drive me around or have Roger make me martinis! Thus, I doubt it will be a fan favorite as there are many fans out there who are just looking for that and who don’t want to think too much. Is it is quality video that will help sell the song? I doubt that, too. Yes, I think it will get some attention, initially, in certain circles but it isn’t a clip that can be really short and it doesn’t highlight the band or the song, especially since the song is stopped for dialogue. Yet, if I analyze it for quality. I would give it a big thumbs up. It is SO smart and really does show the stereotypes and should make people, including us fans, question their assumptions about what life is for the members of Duran and other famous people. I doubt it is really all of the over-the-top glamour and bling that is shown in the clip. As a piece of art, a film, I think it is brilliant.
What do the rest of you think? Are we crazy with our reviews? Did you love it? Hate it? Somewhere in between? Why? Let us know your thoughts!
-A and R