King of Nowhere

So there it is…the new album title.  The news broke yesterday via an MTV blog, seen here.  Overall, great news for Duranies who are chomping at the bit for new music.

That leaves me to ponder over the album title, just a bit.  Without hearing the whole album it’s a little difficult to ascertain the reasoning behind choosing this song as the album title.  (I believe at this point I’ve heard 3 snippets of songs, although don’t quote me on that because I am honestly not positive.   Hey, I’m a mom – I lose count!)  However, I do have some early ideas.

Ultimately, we know that the title comes from a song on the album – as if it were that easy.  I know a lot of Duranies that take everything the band does at complete face value and never bother to look a little deeper – but that’s not my nature, and I’m certainly not going to be doing that in my blog.  The fact is, the band rarely does things that should be taken completely at face value – just like Simon’s lyrics truly are RARELY just about sex.  Yes, I realize that’s the party line answer he’s come up for giving whenever someone asks him about his lyrics.  That’s just the point though – it’s his pat answer because as Simon has said, approximately half a million times in interviews at this point, he doesn’t explain his lyrics – they are up to the listener to decide what they mean to his or her own self.  Quite frankly, I’m still amazed when I go on message boards and someone will ask what such and such song is about – only to be told by another brilliant Duranie that it’s about sex, because that’s what Simon said in _______ interview many years back.  It makes me both sad for the person who asked the question because they are only getting about 1/5 of the truth (and probably a whole lot less depending upon the song!), and annoyed at the person who answered.

In my mind, the album title is extremely telling about the state of affairs after the band finished up promoting what I consider to be one of their weaker albums, Red Carpet Massacre.   I realize that not everyone is going to agree with that statement, but the fact is – it did not do well on ANY front.  Musically, the album truly lacked a sense of balance.  Lyrically, I felt as though the album was written much differently than any of their other work.  Simon has some beautiful lines throughout the album, but as a whole many of the song lyrics felt very rushed and not polished.  Definitely not up to the caliber that I know Simon is capable of writing.  Yes, it was to be a “dance” album of sorts, but the way it was recorded and mixed made it seem as though there were no live instruments used in the production.  It truly could have been Simon and a synthesizer/beat box in a recording booth somewhere, and it would have sounded very much the same.  That’s all fine and good, change is great, and experimentation is what has set Duran Duran apart from the droves over the years and I continue to champion and applaud that – with one exception:  this is very much meant to be a 5 piece effort, and it is a shame that Timbaland had absolutely no idea how to record the band as such.  He did them a sincere injustice, as did their label for allowing it to happen.   With that in mind, when the band went on tour to promote the album, I think they were all very much aware of the uphill battle they had in front of them to convince their fans that it was still Duran Duran, and not Timbaland, that mattered.  Truth be told, some fans seemed to love RCM, and while I don’t agree, I can see how they might enjoy the updated sound.

Imagine what Duran Duran was working through at the time and you may see where I am going with my assessment of the title.  They had just come back from supporting Astronaut, their first effort with the original 5 since SATRT (Seven and the Ragged Tiger).  While the album itself may have not had nearly as much success as Rio, SATRT or their first album – they were indeed filling very large venues on tour.  Amazing what a reunion tour will do.  I can see how they may have started to believe they were on top of the world again.  They even played Madison Square Garden in New York again – a fantastic feat for an 80’s band!  I know from everything I’ve read that they went back into the studio in earnest to do another album, and from all indications at the time, they seemed to feel that Reportage was going to be the album their fans wanted.  As we all know, that album that has not seen the light of day, and it was announced Andy Taylor left the band once again.  Try as they might, the band cannot really convince me that they didn’t feel SOME sort of let down when that happened. I know that as a fan, it knocked me for a loop even though I knew it was coming.  Then of course, we all know they worked with Timbaland and Justin Timberlake to write and record Red Carpet Massacre.

My assertion is that the band went from feeling on top of the world, to feeling very much on the bottom of it, and that’s where the title comes from.  King of Nowhere.  Some might say – “how can you say that, you haven’t even heard the song!”  That’s true, I haven’t.  Then again, Red Carpet Massacre and Astronaut weren’t album titles purely because of the content of the song.  They were titles because they captured an overall feeling at the time.  Again, it’s up to us as fans to decide what that means for ourselves.  I look forward to reading what other Duranies think!

-R

 

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