Musical Peer Pressure?

I love asking daily questions on Facebook and Twitter.  While I love reading the results, I also love that they provide me insight into our fan community.  It leads me to see patterns of thoughts and behaviors.  Do my observations show that there is a Duranie culture?  Defining culture as I do with my 7th grade students, culture is a way of life based on similar beliefs and customs.  Do we have similar beliefs?  I think we do.  From what I have seen with the daily questions, we definitely do have similar beliefs, especially when it comes to Duran Duran songs.  (Notice the word I used was similar, not the same.)

In case you aren’t following us on Twitter or aren’t friends with us on Facebook (you should be if you aren’t, by the way!), we have been doing brackets with songs on the albums.  What this means is that I put two songs against each other.  The song with the most votes win and continues on to go against a different song until a song defeats all of the rest of the songs on that album.  Eventually, we will have those album winners challenge other album winners.  Looking at the results, I am amazed how frequently the collective community really likes certain songs.  When those songs have been asked about, the vote is not at all close unless a beloved song goes up against another song in the very loved by most people category.  Of course, it isn’t surprising that there are some songs that everyone seems to love.  What is surprising is that these beloved songs are rarely the singles or songs that the general public knows Duran for, at least for the first few albums.   It is almost like the fan culture has embraced some more obscure songs as the best ones.  Let me give some examples.

As of this blog, we are in the Liberty album.  Some of the hit songs that were kicked off and kicked off easily, for the most part, included Girls on Film, Hungry Like the Wolf, the Reflex, Notorious, and more.  Instead, we were left with songs like Friends of Mine, Careless Memories, New Religion, the Chauffeur, Of Crime and Passion, the Seventh Stranger, Vertigo and more.  I wonder how many less-than-hardcore fans would know any of these songs.  This leads me to further questions.  Is this an example of us thinking that these more obscure songs are really better?  Are they really better?  Perhaps, it is a situation where we, as a whole community, seem to hate the singles.  If so, why?  Is it really about quality or about being overplayed?  Are we simply sick of these hits but that we loved them at one time?  Maybe, these album tracks show off the Duran sound better to us.  I don’t know.  What do you the rest of you think?

Then, for me, I always wonder if there is peer pressure for hardcore fans to pick the lesser known songs.  Would a hardcore fan be thought less of, if s/he thought that HLTW was the best song ever?  Of course, I realize that this system of voting isn’t perfect.  I don’t offer any real guidelines.  People don’t know if they are picking songs they like the best or the ones that they think might be great songs, in terms of the songwriting.  Our fan community is a tough and strong one, though.  Maybe we, collectively, have discussed songs so much that there is a consensus about how good or bad a song is.  I see this in the voting, too.  For example, today was Hothead vs. Serious.  Obviously, Serious is winning…by a landslide.  I think a number of us could have guessed this result. 

So, fellow fans, I am asking you.  Why do fans pick the more obscure album tracks over the single?  Is it because they are higher quality, because we are sick of the hits, or because we have collectively discussed and decided that some songs are better?  Maybe I should do a survey of that!

-A

Winners so far:
1st album-Careless Memories
Rio-New Religion
Seven and the Ragged Tiger-The Seventh Stranger
Wild Boys
Notorious:  Vertigo

10 thoughts on “Musical Peer Pressure?”

  1. That's so difficult to answer! Why do I like what I like? There are plenty of Duran songs that I don,t like either…and it's not because of AirPlay or pressure or whatever. If I had to vote between HLTW and The Chauffeur, I'd always vote The Chauffeur. Why? That song haunts me. It has special meaning to me. Mind you, just because I didnt choose HLTW doesnt mean I don't like it. Maybe another part of the equation that some Duranies attach special meaning to the songs that weren't released as singles. (or the more obscure ones)

  2. I used to feel it was deliberate in 04-05, on DDM. Some people would always pick some rare b-side or a demo when no one else had mentioned it. I often suspected that in a way, they felt they were winning some sort of fan competition, or somehow showing off that they had heard a rare song that many, at the time, hadn't. I thought it was silly, but some people are just like that. At this point, that assumption no longer enters my head since I think that for most of us huge fans, even the lesser-known stuff is just as familiar to us as the commercial hits, since we listen to it so much.

  3. … Now to actually answer your question, I'd hope it's simply because they're their favorite songs? I know, as adults, we do at times succumb to peer pressure, but I think that deciding ones fave song based on peer pressure or on others' opinions, as opposed to simply liking what one hears, is, well… kind of pathetic (I use that for lack of a similar, yet less harsh word).

  4. Well, I think part of it is that HLTW is a song that literally everybody knows, and if the only DD songs you can name are a few of the hits then you're not seen as a true fan. True fans want to get the respect of other true fans and part of that is displaying your knowledge of their material. But it isn't just one-upmanship, I think we've all fallen in love with DD songs that we feel may not have gotten the recognition they deserve, and so we'd like to plug our favorite under appreciated gems.

    Lee

  5. For me, it has absolutely NOTHING to do with what I think anyone else likes or what they might think of me. My choices have to do with what I listen to most and actually connect to. My choices may also vary depending on my mood the day I answer the question, especially on the ones where they are both songs I love. When I am torn like that, I often listen to both songs again before voting. The I choose the one that speaks to me on some level. My choice for Rio was also New Religion, but then it has ALWAYS been a favourite and is, in fact, my all-time favourite track. HLTW, while I DO enjoy it, is one I frankly get a bit tired of. It is overplayed, especially in concert. New Religion, on the other hand, has elements that are undeniable. Take just the bassline and isolate it. Play it back and it is instantly recognizable and I could listen to JUST that and still enjoy it. Then there is the dialogue. Some fans like to sing along to the slower parts. I always preferred the faster ones. I think musically, it is brilliant.

    And yes, some b-sides are HUGELY popular with fans. Late Bar, for instance. I mean the idea of an all night party with Duran Duran is alluring @ the least! Secret Oktober, or as I like to call it, the Arcadia precursor. Simon and Nick in studio creating something artsy and moody and beautiful. (And don't even get me started on the effect it had on me when Warren reworked it to perform live later. OMFG!) I personally always loved Like An Angel, but then I have a weird reaction to Simon whistling. It drives me crazy in a way I simply have no words for. As for the Liberty album, except for Serious, most of that album is ONLY known to hardcore fans. And many of them say they don't like it. I do NOT understand this. I love so many tracks on it. Not because they are obscure, but because they are dark and moody. I like dark and moody. I AM dark and moody, lol. It is interesting how some songs seem to completely draw us together as fans, while some tracks are polarizing. On AYNIN, one of the songs I love most is Safe. The bassline is killer and the vocals remind me of Pretty Ones, which I really wish had been finished properly. (And I am not mentioning a demo because I somehow think it makes me cooler or something. I honestly love that song. I think it is fun and I like the attitude it has.) Back to Safe. I see many fans, for some reason, most of them male, who HATE that song. I mean vehemently! I do not get it.

    Anyway, to answer the question, I think it is a combination of reasons why we pick the songs we do. As for why so many of us like a certain song, I think those songs either REALLY have a lot of meaning for us, or are also just constructed so well. And why we pick album tracks over singles, well there has been a lot of discussion, especially on the last few albums about the band's choice of singles maybe not always being the best choices. But that is for a WHOLE other blog!! LOL!

  6. I think that is fair. Maybe, for us, they pick the album track in order to win some invisible fan competition. I think you make a good point that, for many of us, the album tracks are as well known as the singles.

    -A

  7. I guess my point wasn't to say or imply that we have fans pointing at other fans saying that they must pick more obscure songs like what we think of in elementary school. I am thinking something more subtle. For example, when studying a culture, why might a certain culture use certain vocabulary? Obviously, it could be taught but it could be learned by observation. We, humans, adapt like that all the time. I just wondered if something similar is happening in our fan culture.

    -A

  8. I love that you listen to the songs given, at times, before deciding! I hope a lot of people do that. I agree that there are a lot of factors that go into choosing one song over the other.

    -A

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