Mark Ronson: What Fans Want

I was on Twitter this morning and a quote from a recent interview that Mark Ronson did with an Italian website (I think it’s a TV station website??) caught my eye.  They were discussing #DD14 and what the album might have in-store).  Here are the direct quotes and my (very rusty) translations.

Nei mesi scorsi sei tornato a lavorare con i Duran Duran. Dopo “All You Need Is Now” produrrai anche il nuovo album?  (Translation: In recent months, you’ve come back to work with Duran Duran. After “All You Need is Now”, will you be producing this album?)
In realtà ho scritto, prodotto e suonato solo alcuni brani con Nile Rodgers, non l’intero lavoro. A livello di sound credo siano grandiosi, perché sono esattamente quello che ciascun fan vorrebbe dai Duran e Nile Rodgers quando lavorano insieme, quella chimica che si sentiva in “The Reflex” e “Notorious”. (Translation: “Actually I wrote, produced and performed on only a few songs with Nile Rodgers, not the entire album. In terms of sound I think they are great because they are exactly what every fan wants from Duran and Nile Rodgers when they collaborate, that chemistry present in “The Reflex” and “Notorious“.

Overall, I don’t think there is any “news” here. It’s been known for months (years?) now that Mark was not going to be producing the entire album as a whole, and we all have known that Nile and Mark were a part of the “dream team” assembled.  What I found curious though, was Mark’s comment about the sound being everything that fans want from a Nile Rodgers/Duran Duran collaboration like “Notorious” or “The Reflex”.

When I read that line, my mind skipped back to the days just prior to All You Need is Now, when Mark did press and said he was going for a follow-up to Rio. I panned that idea here on the blog, saying that he was practically setting himself up to failure because Rio didn’t need to be replicated. I meant that at the time, and although I thoroughly enjoy All You Need is Now, there are some songs on the album that I know were a huge reach back to embrace what was done on Rio (I’m thinking of Leopard here, for starters).  Even before we’ve heard solid details about this album aside from a virtual glitterati parade of names and a few vague abstractions (everything from a “dance” album to “70’s driving songs”), we’re being brought back to Notorious and The Reflex. Mind you, neither the Notorious album or The Reflex are poor examples of creativity by any means, but is it really effective marketing to compare this effort to those of the past?

At least partially, that answer depends on whether fans really loved Notorious and/or The Reflex. In past surveys we’ve done, Notorious has never scored that high overall….I’m not saying that nobody loves the album, but I am saying that for those who cared to answer, Notorious didn’t typically score that high. Instead, it was an album that fans neither loved (overall) nor hated (overall). It tends to fall smack in the middle when ranked with other Duran Duran albums, whereas the first album or even Rio always ranks near or at the top.  So do fans really want more of Notorious or The Reflex, or is it the happy, friendly, nostalgic chemistry that gives us all the good feels?

Purely on a personal note, I would just like the album finished so that I could hear it for myself. I enjoy conjecture and guesswork as much as the next blogger – but we’ve been doing this for nearly three years now (even before the band committed themselves to hard studio time!), I am ready for the end-product. I’m looking forward to hearing what Duran Duran, Nile, Mark, Mr. Hudson and the full “cast of thousands” have conjured!



5 thoughts on “Mark Ronson: What Fans Want”

  1. I just want the new album. As far as I’m concerned, I don’t necessarily want/need a nod to any previous albums. I just want good solid music from my boys (and Dom). When will they wise up and make him a FULL-TIME member already? I’m starting to get really mad about this.

    I appreciate the fact that DD have always not tried to replicate the sound from any previous albums. Why all of a sudden are they going back on that word? Their motto has always been…”Styles change, style doesn’t”.

    Also – have you heard the rumor on FB (a fan site) that talks are under way to bring Andy back again? The posts were from 2010 so I don’t hold any validity in them, but why is someone ALWAYS trying to stir that pot???


    1. As far as I know…and certainly from as far back as 2010, that Andy isn’t coming back. I just think that’s over, but you’re right – the bigger question is why that pot continues to get stirred.

      It’s really difficult to make any sort of assessment about this album until I’ve heard it – I mean, I had no difficulty panning Mark for saying that All You Need is Now was going to be the follow-up to Rio because in my head, that did nothing to help the band. That was like saying that Rio was the pinnacle of their career, and so now the idea is to try and match it. But, once I heard All You Need is Now, I could see that Mark used that thought – of doing the follow-up to Rio – merely as his motivation. It was the way he wanted to steer the ship.

      I think the same may end up likely being said for this effort – that they had a certain sort of energy/chemistry/motivation that they wanted to match from those songs. We also have to remember that Mark was not the sole producer for the entire album – others have also had their own influences, and I’m really curious as to how well the album will flow from start to finish. They’ve certainly had a wide variety of names working here. Will the finished product sound like a full, complete album or like bits and pieces from a variety of places? That’s what I will be looking for when I finally get to listen.

      In many ways, I think that one of the issues that has plagued the band to some extent is their insistence that don’t do the same album twice. Rather than completely owning their musical space and working within those walls, they say that they like to experiment and try new things, and like you – I do appreciate that this band is innovative. I can understand wanting to explore different styles and methods. However, I also can understand the importance of knowing who and what you are, and integrating sound with identity. It is an important part of branding. There have been many times over the years that they have been successful with all of that – and there have been other times where they have been less so, and I don’t think it’s any surprise which albums resonate best with the fan base as a result. I am extremely hopeful that this album truly will be everything we’ve all been waiting for.

  2. I couldn’t agree more with all that you have said. Instead of Simon’s “Just give me a wristband”…I think ours is now “Just give me DD14”.


    1. I think you’re probably right on that one. I’m over it. I don’t even CARE who is on the album…they’ve dragged this out entirely too long and they’ve LOST the attention of countless Duranies at this point. Nobody has to trust me on that – all they have to do is go and look at Twitter. Nobody cares, and that blame I can put squarely on management because when you give the fans NOTHING to talk about, they go away and talk about something else. It’s really that simple. *shrugs* – R

  3. I read about the interview and I want to put my trust on the artistic wisdom the 4 guys have acquired so far, to make #DD14 the possible best follow up to All You Need is Now.
    Do we need another “Notorious” record? Yes, I think they wanted to give a chance to Roger to play on a funky record, as he wasn’t on Notorious and I think his drumbeat is close to Mr. Nile Rodgers’s band.

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