Leave A Light On – The Daily Duranie Review

The reviews continue with Leave a Light On.

Amanda’s take:
Musicality/Instrumentation:  When I listen to this song, the instrumentation tends to fade into the background for me.  That initial sound doesn’t grab my attention and even seems…well..weak.  The song continues with the addition of other sounds followed up by the rest of the instruments.  While that is more demanding of my attention, it doesn’t beg me to keep listening.  In this song, I notice the vocals a great deal more than the instruments.  What I do hear of instrumentation is good, but doesn’t go much beyond that.  Yet, I think this is purposeful so to not drown out the vocals and the lyrics.  

Vocals:  Much like the other songs we have reviewed in this album, Simon sounds beautiful to me, for the most part.  This song seems to be filled with much emotion which is shown by Simon’s singing.  He stresses the lines that need to be stressed in order to convey the feelings and mood of the song.  At the end of the song, he gets quieter, which is an interesting move as he is still singing lyrics connected to the chorus.  During the rest of the song, those lines are sung the loudest and with the most conviction.  Does he get quieter at the end to show that he isn’t so certain?  Maybe. 

Lyrics:  The lyrics make the song to me.  The music doesn’t seem to be anything extra special and the vocals are good but, if there weren’t lyrics like this, then the vocals wouldn’t carry any weight.  To me, this song represents fixing a mistake, redeeming oneself and being able to do that because the other person, or people, are willing to forgive.  So, what is Simon or the band trying to redeem themselves for and with whom?  Could it be something personal to one of them?  Absolutely.  Could it also be that they are saying this to the fans?  They have made mistakes and those of us hardcore fans have stayed by their sides and given forgiveness and always will.  To me, being a fan means that there is always love and support for the celebrity, or in this case the band, even when there might not be support for a specific career move or decision.  The fans will always “leave a light on” for them.  Simon sings about how he has “something to prove” and that “the kindness you’ve shown” will not be forgotten.  Thus, the power of our kindness and ability to forgive acts as the “sweet hand to bring me (Simon or the band) home”.  It is a two way relationship, in that sense.  Could it be that I’m looking way more into this than what is there?  Absolutely.  To me, that is Simon’s lyrics at their best.  They can be interpreted in many ways and with many different levels.

Production:  This song did not contain much of the smaller, subtle elements that the first three songs had.  At first, I thought this could have been a negative, but now believe that this makes the most sense.  Simon’s vocals and lyrics were able to rise to the surface and given the spotlight that they deserved.  If there was more little bits or even more noticeable instrumentation, the value of the song would have been lost.

Overall:  This song is carried by the lyrics and vocals.  The instrumentation provides the necessary background to allow the song to have the necessary flow.  While this one isn’t one that I will play over and over again on a regular basis, I still feel that it has touched me in an emotional way that often non-ballads can’t.

Cocktail Rating:

Rhonda’s take:

Musicality/Instrumentation:  I would be lying if I didn’t mention that within seconds of the first bar or two, I was thinking “Casio keyboard!” in my head.  That isn’t necessarily a horrible thing – it reminds me very much of a song by….another band that won’t be mentioned here (Clear Static) that I used to work with.  It also reminds me of a song by The Devils called Newhaven Dieppe, and I really am not sure why.  I don’t know if it’s the feel of song, which is truly decidedly different than this in most ways, but perhaps they used a similar keyboard set up?  The keyboards are very atmospheric to begin with, and while I do hear guitar, it’s very light.  The whole song plays much more like a lullaby than any other song on this particular album.  The drums are light, and truly I can’t hear a lot of bass.  That said, the way the song is recorded tends to demand that.  It would sound like a completely different song had there been a big rhythm section and/or guitar.  I don’t feel as though the music was much of a stretch on anyone’s part in the band, but to be fair – I really do believe it all works well together to create the sound they intended.

Vocals: If I could sing like Simon, I probably would have had a lot less trouble putting my two year old to sleep when she was an infant.  His voice is so soothing in this song, yet full of emotion.  His voice is like velvet in this song, and yet the only part of the song that is even mildly disappointing for me is the end where I do hear some whiny strain.  Had they recorded the song so that Simon’s voice could have continued in the same volume I think the impact would have been better at the end.
Lyrics: This is one of those songs where I have no ideas of what it could be about.  The lyrics don’t really tell much of a story for me – other than I know it must be about letting someone go, knowing that they will return.  It really could be about anyone or anything, but I think the issue for me with the lyrics is that they just don’t necessarily touch me or make me think the way some of the other songs on the album, and I do feel that they are a bit on the weak side.
Production:  I appreciate the fact that when I listen closely, I can still hear the various layers of instrumentation.  It’s not a flat wall of sound, and I can pick out Nick’s keys from a guitar – which sometimes is not easy to do.  Even ballads can be victims to technology, and while I wish they had allowed the guitar to play a little more of a starring role at times – I can’t fault them in this song.  It’s beautifully done.
Overall:  I find this song to be one of the weaker songs overall on this album, but on an album like this one – it’s very difficult to be a soft ballad such as this one and be a standout.  There are some glorious moments on this song, such as Simon’s voice most of the way through – and I still say it’s a gorgeous lullaby for those moments when you want music, but you want it to fade into the background.  Not every song needs to be a song that smacks you in the face when you listen, and I can appreciate that.  
Cocktail Rating: 

3 thoughts on “Leave A Light On – The Daily Duranie Review”

  1. I can't add much to both of your reviews–I completely agree with you that Simon's vocals carry this song. However, it definitely moved me more than it did both of you–I consider it one of the strongest songs on AYNIN (although there are many!). I wonder if either of you has changed your mind about this song now that some time has gone by? Would be interested in your take now, in August, 8 months later. I remember first hearing it and not liking it (which is a sure sign for me that I will love it!). As you both said, the instrumentation is simple. I remember hearing it and thinking how it's built around Nick's synth line (as so many Duran songs are) and it sounded very “live” to me–like they'd done it in a few takes and hadn't tinkered with it too much or over-produced it (as they are wont to do!). I was thrilled upon viewing the DVD that this pretty much was the case, as the band said the song came together very quickly. There's something to be said for that–that's a hallmark of their early writing and albums. Anyway, I think Leave a Light On is a beautiful song whose lyrics have special meaning for me—really about someone new coming into your life and healing you after a loss—“you breath the lost cause out of me”–anyway, I really was, and continue to be, moved by this simple but wonderful song. –Chris

  2. Chris-We LOVE that you are going back and reading some of our older posts! While I can't say that LALO has grown that much on me, I still think it is a beautiful song. I was surprised when I last saw the band in Chicago in April, they played this song. John gave it a wonderful introduction about how they had been coming to the city for 30 years and that this song is for the next 30. Wonderful sentiment that I really appreciated. Unfortunately, it didn't seem to catch people's attention that night. 🙁

    -A

  3. It's funny that you ask this, because I was thinking to myself about two weeks ago when I was listening to the album for the first time in a few months (a blog I'll leave for another day), I wondered if my reviews would change if I were to write them again now. I've often wondered that about other reviewers as well. (A clear sign that I'm not a professional music critic in any way, shape or form!)

    I have to say that this song has grown a little on me since my initial review. The truth of the matter is that the very first line of music on the song soured me a little on the entire thing, and it's only because it reminds me very much of a completely different piece of music by a completely different band. Unfair I'm sure, but at the time, it's what came to mind. That said, the song is very pretty, clean and clear – and I wish they'd do more of this nature. I still think my favorite ballad right now is Meditterranea though. 🙂 – R

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!

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