This review finds us examining the song, All She Wants Is. This song was the second single off of the Big Thing album and peaked at number 22 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart (but spent a total of 13 weeks on the charts in some fashion). Should it have done better? Should it have even been a single? Read and find out what we think then share your thoughts!
I’ve always thought it was interesting and unique how the song begins solely with tracks of Simon’s voice, slightly out of sync. The instrumentation grows from there, with drums and background percussion, then a distorted guitar, some bass and keyboards following. Oddly, for this song, the instrumentation is rather simple by Duran Duran standards. I like the roughness of the guitar – because here you’ve got a sound that is very much “club-like”, almost like house music, and yet Duran Duran adds a soaring rock guitar “solo” (so to speak) right over the top. Risky? Maybe, but it works brilliantly for a song that could otherwise be boring.
I like the way Simon opens up the song with the monotone “chant” of “all she wants is”. I agree with Amanda when she says the song reminds her of Big Thing – I think it’s because of the chanting. Out of all of the songs on Big Thing, this one reminds me most of House or Industrial club music that was popular in the 1990’s. (am I dating myself?? Goodness…) Vocally for Simon, I don’t think the the song is particularly difficult – it’s within his range, and really the song is far more a testament to the band’s willingness to take risks and try new styles than it is about vocal ability for Simon.
I think the song is fairly obvious in that it’s about women who have to use whatever means possible to get ahead in the world. Rather than focusing on the task at hand, they’re thinking about the goal farther down the line. This is a song that I can sing word for word, but I never really THINK about the words at hand. The band has always been very good at that – giving rather benign words to even the most controversial of subjects so that the listener can find whatever they need to find (or not find) in the lyrics.
This is one of those songs that is easy to use as a club mix because it can blend well with other songs. That said, it is also easy to tune it out because of the fact it is incredibly repetitive throughout, but it has also earned its way as a crowd pleaser with the DD catalog for many fans. It does grab your attention, and is by far the best representation of industrial or house music within their catalog. Who knew Duran Duran could pull that off?!? Lyrically, it is easy to forget what the song is really about, which is unfortunate. I think the lyrics tend to get lost within all of the “All she wants is” chanting. My favorite part of the entire song though is the guitar – that saves it all for me because it is so different and really very unexpected within this genre. Overall however, this song has never been a favorite of mine, although I give high props to the band for going this route and trying something so different. Duran Duran is nothing if not versatile and willing to take risks.
Like the first track on this album, it is difficult to even think about the music/instrumentation, especially in the beginning because the vocals are SO front and center. It is really interesting, though, when you do focus on it to realize how minimized the instrumentation is for the first 15 seconds or so. Then, of course, there is more instrumentation and then a few seconds after that even more. The music builds and it creates a level of intensity, musically. Once the song gets going, a couple of elements stick out to me. First, there is the clapping sound that showcases the song’s rhythm. Then, the instrumentation, especially guitars, sounds distorted in a way, creating almost an industrial feel. Yet, the top layer of drums remind me of drums that would be found on Notorious. The effects create a very danceable sound, even if a bit darker than the usual Duran sound.
Immediately, this song reminds me of the song, Big Thing. You can instantly tell that they are from the same album/era. Before the music totally kicks in, there is the chanting of “All She Wants Is” done with quite a bit of vocal effect. Then, of course, there is the female moaning done mostly in the beginning but some towards the end, which definitely implies this something is sexual in nature. This is a much more in your face sexuality than the Duran in the past. Yet, Simon’s vocals during the verses remain smooth, easy. The song ends with the chanting chorus, moaning and more creating a bookend to the beginning of the song, showing that the chorus really does dominate.
This is one of those songs that I sing every word when I hear but never really thought about what the lyrics might mean. When I stop and really look at them, it seems to me that it is about a woman who is trying to figure out a way to make it in the world. Perhaps, this person is all alone and looking for that special job or that break. Until that happens, though, she is left to do what she must do. Could she be a prostitute or something similar? I suppose it is possible with lines like, “You’ve been pulling ‘em by the hand inside”. Yet, clearly, she wants so much more than she has. What I find interesting is how easily the chorus and the repeating of the phrase “all she wants is” really works for Duranies and for fandom, in general. It seems to me that the goal could have been to lure people, fans to the song by getting them to think it is about the band and about how Duranies want them. Yet, of course, when you actually look at the lyrics, it has nothing to do with that. They did the same thing with Big Thing. Clever.
This song definitely matches the other tracks on side A of the Big Thing album. It has in-your-face vocals and lyrics that catch your attention. Is it the most intellectual song? Probably not. Is it the most fun song in the Duran catalog? Probably not. Nonetheless, it is one that catches your attention and one that you can sing along with. That said, it has also easily pass beyond the fun to the annoying. I tend to appreciate the song more after not hearing it for awhile.