New Duran Math

By Bart Van Bemmel

Math is the most universal language in the world.  It’s all around us.  It binds all living things together.  Even Duran Duran uses math….

On their recent Paper Gods Tour, Duran Duran went on record saying they use the mathematical formula of 3:1 for their set lists — for every three classics you get a new song.  But what if who ever runs Duran’s numbers didn’t take in account that their past two albums All You Need is Now and Paper Gods were going to be so magical that they created NEW CLASSICS?  Imagine that — a band that’s still around after almost forty years is still creating powerful and vibrant new music?  This modern material just can’t be locked away forever with no holdovers on future tours.  Not ONE song from All You Need is Now was held over on the Paper Gods Tour and I’m still not over it.  Fine, I’ll hold a grudge!  After all, it’s their fault they did this to me (and others).  And this is pretty much what inspired this blog post.  With a new album in the works and a prospective tour to follow, I’m here to show you why Duran’s set list “math” could be the way it is and why their common core needs to change.

Maybe I need to get all Stuart Smalley on Duran and give them my own daily affirmation: You’re good enough, you’re smart enoughand dog gone it — people like you.  But I understand why you are the way you are.  And I understand how you arrived at your 3:1 song ratio.  Some “Duranies” aren’t very forgiving when it comes to your band.  Often times they can be brutal — especially each time you to push yourselves, push boundaries, and be forwarding thinking with your music.  God forbid if your new album doesn’t sound just like Seven and the Ragged Tiger part two there will be hell to pay.  I often wonder if some in this fan base cripple your band with their own limitations.  It’s as if other artists and bands out there are allowed to grow up, but not you — NOT DURAN.  It’s as if some fans have fastened one of those retractable dog leash collars that they put on their kids in the mall around your neck.  You will NOT wander off, Simon!  Now add in the music media into the mix.  Are they any different?  When Bon Jovi re-invented themselves with the countrified sing-a-long, “Who Says You Can’t Come Home” and then soon after 2007’s Lost Highway album, it landed them their first ever release to debut on number one on Billboard.  But if DURAN were to ever be so bold to be something different (by all means I’m not saying country music here) — we will stand there — arms crossed, until you play one of your greatest hits.  

I get the whole Fab Five world domination effect you had, but we’re still here… and you’re still affecting us — 100 million albums sold later (ah — more numbers for you).  And I’m NOT sorry to say, but it’s highly unlikely that most casual Duran fans have been shelling out the dollars to fly from all around the world just to see you on your latest mini run of back-to-back sold out shows in New Orleans, Vegas, and others, just to hear you play the Reflex.  We aren’t the casual fans.  We’re the die-hards.  WE sold out those shows.  And we love all that YOU are — especially your “new” stuff.  

With that said, you have created NEW CLASSICS!  NEW MASTERPIECES beyond the greatest hits!  You have even said in an interview that the song What are the Chances from Paper Gods is the best ballad you’ve written since 1993’s Ordinary World.  That’s a pretty bold statement.  But, we’re here to tell you that we agree with you.  But what now?  Does this song fade away into Duran obscurity?  We can’t let this happen. 

So here’s my list of (4) NEW DURAN CLASSICS that should be considered and intermixed for future tours:

1. All You Need is Now (AYNIN)

2. The Man Who Stole a Leopard (AYNIN)

3. Pressure Off (Paper Gods)

4. What are the Chances? (Paper Gods)

Maybe factoring in “new” classics into the live-set ratio would create some kind of New Duran Math that could potentially throw this universe alone into some tailspin (see what I did there?).  But if any band was going to invent a new formula for rock and roll, Duran Duran would be the band to do it.  

I’m curious to see what you — the fans, think some of Duran’s new classics are in your comments!  

4 thoughts on “New Duran Math”

  1. Good stuff.

    Duran Duran is an incredible band.

    There are definitely songs from AYNIN and Paper Gods that serious fans will gladly accept into the set list. I thoroughly enjoyed Astronaut as well because all three albums capture what I think Duran Duran represents….sophisticated rock/pop that is substantive, well crafted, fun, danceable, and human/connective.

    As much as I like the title song, All You Need Is Now, I really enjoy Girl Panic and Mediterranea.

    From Paper Gods Pressure Off is a great tune especially live. Paper Gods as an intro and What Are The Chances are excellent.

    I really like Universe Alone… was happy that it fit so easily for the Moon landing anniversary concert in July.

    For me… from Rio, I’d love to hear My Own Way (American version) live. I’ve heard that DD just won’t play it live. Oh well.

  2. Food for thought and I sure wish the band could read this and believe it.So far they have played Pressure Off at every concert I’ve attended, so that’s fine. ‘d love to hear AYNIN live, as well as Before The Rain, which would be a great “power’ song for Simon to really let loose on.I concur about Girl Panic-a song that would be great to add to a new set list, and The Man Who Stole A Leopard.I wonder if they should consider giving
    a View To A Kill a rest because Simon struggled with it. His voice was a bit raspy last two concerts, and that song in particular seems to trouble him. He was smart and did not go for the high note at the end and dropped it down, it was still effective and I like that he clearly is a conscious singer and aware of his challenges.I love Universe
    alone and just wish they’d play the whole thing through.They always use it as a segue into another song kind of how the don’t play all of New Moon.From what I understand the band has bad feelings for ‘My Own Way’ because the record company basically demanded they write another hit song and they did not care for that kind of outside pressure, They pressure themselves enough.That’s what I heard somewhere, don’t know for sure but seems plausible.

  3. I really loved (and still do) AYNIN and every song was so good. Not as keen on Paper Gods but it ranks higher than RCM in my opinion. I am kind of mixed in the new classic song discussion. I’d love to hear songs from several of the older albums but unless the song became an actual hit they rarely play them after maybe the next album. For example, when I saw them during the Big Thing tour (not only my first ever DD concert but my first ever that wasn’t with my parents at a festival), they played songs from Notorious, I can’t remember if they played older songs on the Wedding Album tour but Pop Trash and several songs from Medazzaland. I saw them twice on that tour and each time played a different Medazzaland song. I don’t think they did that on the reunion or Astronaut or later tours though. Most bands don’t do it either, they play the hits because concerts aren’t just the hardcore fans but the casual ones who only want to hear HLTW or Rio.

    I do think that the hardcore fans can be harsh at times and stuck in their ways where they want to hear a particular sound. I am like that myself, I generally don’t want to hear them do hip hop or more dance than rock or many other styles of music. It’s not that I oppose different styles, I don’t want to hear them doing them, especially if I feel it doesn’t work for them. To me hip hop and dance without much instrumentation isn’t their style. I don’t expect Rio part 10 on every album but I don’t like when they are trying styles with the idea of being popular again. It’s one reason I love AYNIN so much, it had great songs and they sounded good.

  4. My new 4 classics would be:
    Liberty – Liberty
    Notorious – Skin trade
    Medazzaland – Big bang generation
    Arcadia – The Promise
    Thanks for an awesome topic to discuss on.

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