Got Your Picture

One of the most common criticisms of Duran Duran and their fans is that their music isn’t good and that the only reason that they have a lot of fans is because they look good.  I think about that infamous press conference filmed in Sing Blue Silver.  During that press conference, the band was asked if they thought they would sell as many albums if they didn’t look good.  The band was always good about blowing off those kind of questions with a joke and a laugh, but I can imagine that it didn’t feel good to people working hard to create fabulous songs.  This is an insulting stereotype to both the band who writes and performs the music and to the fans who are assumed to be musical idiots.  We wouldn’t know good music, right?  It is all about how the band looks, or so it is believed.  I hate this stereotype because I completely believe that I’m a fan because I like their music.  I believe that most fans are the same, right?  Now, of course, I think that the band members look good.  I think most fans would agree.  Did that make me a fan?  I would say no but did their looks reinforce my fandom?  It probably did.  I won’t lie.  Yet, I will always say that the music matters more and it does.  Always.  Rhonda and I review their songs and not their photographs, after all.  Again, I assume that every fan is like me in that the music matters a lot more.  But does it???

As anyone who reads this blog regularly or is connected with us on social networking sites knows that we ask a daily question of this or that about a variety of topics related to the band.  We started out by asking about songs.  Girls on Film or Planet Earth?  We got quite a few responses to that.  In fact, when we asked about regular Duran songs (singles or album tracks), we would get about 60-75 responses or votes.  That isn’t bad.  More people could have contributed since we had a lot more than 75 friends/followers, but whatever.  Then, we started asking about Duran videos.  Those would get about 50-65 votes.  I was reassured that the stereotypes about Duranies was wrong.  We care more about the songs than we do about the videos.  Cool.  Then, we asked about side and solo projects.  Once we got passed Power Station and Arcadia, the responses, the votes decreased dramatically.  Then, we would get about 10-15 votes.  How did the side and solo project videos go then?  Even worse.  We would get about 5-7 votes.  I already hear people responding by saying that we aren’t all fans of every side/solo project and that we aren’t all familiar with those.  While it is true that not every Duran fan is a fan of every side/solo project, it still seems strange to me that the numbers would decrease THAT much.  As for familiarity, that argument doesn’t hold up to me.  In this day and age, we have so many songs at our fingertips.  We have instant downloads, online music sources and YouTube.  On top of that, for the side/solo projects videos, I went and put every single one of them up on a blog and referenced that blog every single day.  People didn’t even have to search to watch them.  Anyway, we have moved past the music and videos.  Now, we are asking about people’s preferences about pictures.  That’s right.  We are asking about image and image alone.

Since we have been asking about pictures of Simon, how many responses have we been getting and how do they compare to the music or videos?  We have been getting between 70-100 responses when we asked which pictures people like better.  This is 10 to 30 more than we got about Duran tracks and 20-35 more for videos.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love to have people participate.  We want that.  Ideally, I would love to have every single friend/follower vote.  We want people to say what they think.  That said, I have to wonder why more people participate when we asked about pictures over songs.  What is that about?  I fear that this might say that the stereotype about Duranies is true.  We do care more about what they look like than what they sound like.  Their looks appear to matter to us more.  Many of you reading this, I’m sure, are saying that this isn’t you because you participated through all of the questions.  Obviously, there are always exceptions to every stereotype.  Every assumed belief about a large group has many people in that group that doesn’t fit the assumption. My goal here is not to criticize anyone or to get anyone to stop participating.  I’m just trying to point out something that I realized about our fandom that makes me uncomfortable.

Maybe, I’m the only fan who is uncomfortable with this.  Maybe, for everyone else, this is completely fine.  After all, fandom is fun, right?  I’m all for having fun.  I appreciate how the band looks.  I’m not blind.  I’m human.  Yet, I just wish that what they create matters just as much, if not more.

-A

7 thoughts on “Got Your Picture”

  1. It is far easier to pick a “favorite” picture, than it is a song. I have to really think about which songs or videos I like better, but can instantly tell you which picture I prefer. Sometimes asking which song or video is better is like asking me which of my kids is my favorite!

  2. I wholeheartedly agree that it is “easier” to pick a favorite picture. I am just surprised that fans who put the music first wouldn't want to take the time to listen to the songs, to debate to pick a favorite.

    -A

  3. I didn't become a fan of this band because of looks. If I were interested in looks, I'd be a fan of the supermodel band in the Girl Panic! video instead. Side projects and solo performances don't interest me much either. For example, my favorite band is Jethro Tull. Ian Anderson writes almost all the music and lyrics for the band, plays several instruments besides the flute, which he's best known for, and is the vocalist. Yet his solo efforts are much more on the acoustic side, with a definite lack of the dynamism inspired by the regular Tull lineup. There's something lacking.

    What I'm trying to say is band members going on their own don't necessarily produce as good a product as when they're with their band. Only Sting, Phil Collins, and Beyonce really come to mind as those who broke away to become extremely successful solo artists. I'm convinced in most cases when band members don't have the benefit of input from their fellow musicians and are calling the shots themselves, they don't make very good musical decisions. They try something either too ordinary or too far outside the musical mainstream. I've sampled Arcadia and Andy's solo work in the past and it didn't do much for me. That's just not as good as Duran Duran.

    So my interest in rock music isn't about looks, it's about whether I like the songs. And whether it's Jethro Tull or Duran Duran or many other bands whose members try to go solo, to me the whole almost always adds up to something much greater than the sum of the individual parts.

    –Randy

  4. I honestly don't think we can measure this truly on social media. I also post many question and polls on my page and depending on the day, time, if they see it in their feed, and if it's during the week or the weekend, I saw made a big difference. I think the other issue is that the music is more personal to everyone where we can vote on a visual reference in a second. I've been voting almost every day on your photos of Simon…it literally takes me .5 seconds to do that. The music however is more difficult to judge and if people don't have the time they won't get involved in the question. I believe first and foremost that the music is why we are still here, plus millions of great memories and great friends. Yes they are gorgeous men and always have been, but the music and memories keep us fans. RCM is a prime example of when fans didn't respond to the music well they were upset. The guys were still as gorgeous as ever, but some fans made it known that they weren't happy. I myself thought they were done at that point and stopped paying attention. Yes bad fan I might have been, but that's how important the music was and still is for me. I love that you brought this topic up since social media can give us the wrong perception on what's real and what isn't real. Love what you do and love that you give us a voice to discuss these things. – Lynn

  5. Randy–I'm sure that there are many individuals like you who did and are fans because of the music. I was looking more at the fan community as a whole and from what I was looking at, it appears that many DO care more about image.

    -A

  6. Lynn–

    Many things to respond to here. First, I thought that about social media and how some days people aren't on, don't see the question, etc. Yet, even on Christmas, a day I would assume there are a lot less people online, there were still a ton of votes on the picture question. Second, you bring up a good point using RCM as an example. Clearly, there are fans who DO care about the music. I know that. Maybe time will tell.

    -A

  7. When I became a DD fan, some 30 years ago, I approached to the band thanks to the “Reflex” clip: that’s true, but I feel in love with the waterfall, not with Roger’s face!! I must confess during the very first months in the fandom I didn’t really know who my fave DD boy was, I picked up one boy every week …. LOL. Years later it was Roger's smile during the MTV night at the Lifetime Achievement Awards, in 2003 that “turned the light on again”.
    Having said that, no fan can deny he likes his fave DD member ALSO for the face: we’re human, but what we get first is music, then calendars, pictures, blah, blah ….
    If the rest of the band members were just sex symbols only, from 1981 on no album wouldn’t have been a flop, instead …
    No! Roger's 2003 smile and the balcony pictures are “accessories” so to speak; as the rest of the fans do, my feedback is on the music, on his drumming.

We (Amanda and Rhonda) appreciate discussion and differences of opinion. We respectfully ask that you fully read the blog before bitching us out. If you're only here to take us down a notch, note that we moderate replies (meaning we're not printing rude comments). Thanks a bunch!