Yesterday’s winner: You Kill Me with Silence
Which song do you like better: All You Need Is Now or (I’m Looking for) Cracks in the Pavement?
Yesterday’s winner: You Kill Me with Silence
Which song do you like better: All You Need Is Now or (I’m Looking for) Cracks in the Pavement?
Yesterday’s winner: All You Need Is Now
Which song do you like better: Can You Deal With It or (I’m Looking For) Cracks in the Pavement?
Yesterday’s winner: Secret Oktober
Which song do you like better: All You Need Is Now or Be My Icon?
Last weekend, I spent about 30 hours in a car with three of my colleagues and friends as we traveled to and from Washington D.C. for the Women’s March. During the drive, two of us provided the music, the soundtrack for the trip. While I had compiled playlists of social justice songs and songs about women and women’s power, I also played some of my favorite songs. During a long stretch of horrible fog, my friend turned to me and said, “I like many of the Duran Duran songs I have heard but I just don’t know them that well.” She went on to say that she likes Hungry Like the Wolf and Come Undone. Ignoring those specific songs, my brain started reeling. Which songs should I play for her, I wondered.
Before I started picking out Duran tunes, I looked to her music collection. She had lots of Madonna, for example, especially 80s Madonna. The Cure took up space in her collection. Besides that, she had a lot of 90s music on there from the Verve Pipe to Oasis, which makes sense since she is about 10 years younger than me. I took these songs to mean that she likes pop but the fact that she had a lot of the Cure makes me think that she would be open to some darker, more obscure Duran. Here is what I came up with to play for her divided into pop and dark.
Since she clearly knows some classics, I thought I would skip more of the obvious ones like Rio.
What do you think of those choices? I wanted feel good songs but also wanted to showcase the fact that all Duran, even those feel good songs, have substance behind them.
What did I miss? What else should I include?
2010 does not seem like it was that long ago, does it? Yet, when I sit here and do the math – it was six years ago. How can that even be?
On this date in 2010, Duran Duran released the single “All You Need is Now” exclusively as an iTunes download. I can remember rushing to the computer to download it, and then listening to it and talking it over with Amanda. In fact, you can read our reviews of it here.
Now, I can remember listening to this song for the first time like it was yesterday. For the first time in quite a few years, I felt like my band was back. Sure, we can talk all about how All You Need is Now was too much of a bow to Rio, and I know a lot of people out there really didn’t care for Mark Ronson’s handiwork on the album.
I wasn’t one of those. I loved “All You Need is Now” as soon as I heard it. The only thing about the song that took me a bit longer to embrace were the first few jarring chords with Nick’s sound effects. I got over that pretty quickly. The words seemed like they were written for the fans, and the sound was exactly what I felt like Duran Duran should sound like in 2010. No, there weren’t necessarily huge surprises on the album (unless you consider the album prior – and that the band came back to embrace the sound that made them famous to begin with), but it was Duran Duran and I loved it. I still do.
I miss hearing “All You Need is Now” included in their live set. It was the type of song that fans could fully sing along with—and did—when they played it on tour. I think for a lot of us, the removal of the song from their set has left a bit of a hole. “All You Need is Now” has that same anthemic quality about it that many of their other most-loved songs have, and I really hope to hear it’s back in their set someday.
Until then, here’s a video of the band performing it live for one of the first times on Loose Women, just ten days after the single went live on iTunes.
Welcome to Monday. It is my first day back after a nearly a week of festivities, and so I’m going to start slow…by doing my own ranking of albums.
In full disclosure, I read diffuser.fm’s take on Duran’s career, as well as Amanda’s, prior to making my own choices. Both gave me a little more to think about, but neither swayed my decisions. I know we’ve done this before, but as Amanda mentioned, I haven’t even considered it since Paper Gods came out. Why not revisit?
My own countdown is devised so that I mention the album and the reasons for where it sits. Some albums may have a paragraph, others might have a sentence or two. I left Arena off of my list completely as it only has one studio song on it and if I were to rank live albums I would do them all.
I’ve learned that I cannot hem and haw around while I am ranking things or picking favorites. I feel a little like I’m mowing down the field of Duran Duran albums as I go through the process, quickly deciding what should go where and why – but I go with my first instinct, my gut, and don’t look back. I do fine as I begin, but somewhere around #8 I start worrying, but remind myself to go with my gut. I look back over the list as I’m finishing and realize that for now – today even – it’s how I feel. Tomorrow? Who knows. That’s kind of how it’s always been for me as a fan.
Perhaps it’s really gotten to the point that I identify so closely with their career – each album marking a particular point in my own life – that it’s difficult to be objective anymore. I don’t know, but I tried. I’m sure I’m not the first fan to be stumped by ranking albums or picking favorite songs. In fact, I know I’m not!
I just never felt they hit their stride here. While some songs, such as Perfect Day or Lay Lady Lay are so silky smooth you can’t help but enjoy them, others, such as 911 is a Joke, make no sense at all. Then there’s White Lines, which is great live, but on the album it tends to fall flat. I can’t fault the band too much for trying something few other bands of their calibre have done, but it just does not rank high on my list of favorites.
Anyone who knows me probably saw this coming, and I’m sorry for being predictable. I don’t think this album can or should be swept under the proverbial carpet and forgotten – because it is how we got here, to this place we all currently occupy. I can certainly see and hear the parallels between this album and Paper Gods. I’m glad they tried out some of the things they learned from RCM over again to get them right.
I would characterize Pop Trash as the fast food of Duran Duran’s career. Perhaps fitting? While the album is nowhere near “bad”, I never felt that there was a lot for me to sink my teeth into and devour. It lacks the depth of some of their other work, which is why it ended up in this place on my list.
Ah, Medazzaland. If there were any album that had changed for me over the years since it’s release – it would be this one. I just didn’t get it when it first came out. In fact, I listened to the album in full one time before shelving it for many years. Lately though, I’ve listened to it, and I’m finally starting to get it. No, I’m still not a fan of the title track (sorry Nick), or Silva Halo, but I do really like Big Bang Generation, Who Do You Think You Are, and Midnight Sun. There’s a lot hiding amongst the shadows on this album, and I think it’s worth a revisit.
How can I rank this above Pop Trash or Medazzaland? 2am drives from Hollywood, that’s how. Our personal experiences shape our listening choices, and for me – that’s why Liberty works. It kept me awake many times during college and beyond, so I’m going with it.
I have to admit that I agree with Amanda – while there are two songs on this album that are iconic for Duran Duran, the album as a whole isn’t nearly as impressive as others (which I recognize is tough to do when you’re Duran Duran and have had so many successes). So it’s not that I think the album is bad – it’s that the band has too many great ones!
Oh yes I did rank this one about The Wedding Album. Please see the line about personal experiences. For me, this album is all about the Fab Five. I can’t ignore it, I can’t get past that, and it was a dream come true for me. Yes, it’s pop. Sure, there are songs on it that I didn’t love and I still take it personally that they didn’t include Beautiful Colors, Salt in the Rainbow and Virus on it. Even so, I’ll take it.
I am pretty sure that at one point or another, I ranked this lower on my list. Again, I didn’t get it. But just a week ago, I pulled the album out and gave it a good listen. What is most remarkable to me about Notorious, is that it came after Rio and Seven and the Ragged Tiger. Those albums were hugely successful. Then they had two band members leave, and rather than sticking with what they knew, they took the opportunity to blaze new territory. It was like deciding to take a giant left turn out of nowhere. As a child, I had little respect for that sort of thing. In fact, I don’t think I really understood. Even as an adult I sometimes get caught up in what I think DD should be or should sound like – but I’m working on it.
Another album I didn’t really get until adulthood. The first half is as dance music as I’d expect from DD, and the latter is the culmination of some of their finest songwriting moments. The emotion that comes across threw the B side of this album is astounding, and in my opinion, it is the best DD album that no one has really heard.
Here’s the thing about Paper Gods for me – I like it. I don’t know that I love it, although I’ve tried. It ticks a lot of the boxes for plenty of people, but it is also an album that I really needed to come to terms with. I didn’t fall in instant love, but I would say I’ve grown to respect each song and the work that went into making the album overall. I can’t fault an album that hit top ten, if only for a brief, shining moment.
This goes bad to personal experiences for me. This album is my seventh grade wrapped in vinyl. Awkward, sometimes overdone, but still well-loved. Sure, it might not be their best songwriting, but I love it all the same, and that’s why it is near the top of my list. All I have to do is hear the opening notes to Union of the Snake and I’m back on the lawn with my friends at recess, gawking at the latest edition of Tiger Beat. For me, those memories are priceless, and that is what makes music so powerful.
I know what you all are thinking. Yes, I really did put Rio third. The trouble is, it could easily be second. Or first. The final three on my list here are probably interchangeable, if not completely tied. I cannot think about Duran Duran without thinking about Rio. If there were ever a reason why Hungry Like the Wolf is played at every single DD show – it is because of Rio. Try as we might, we simply cannot separate Rio (the album) from the band, in the same way that we cannot separate HLTW from them either. I get it. I may not always like it, but I get it. And I respect it.
It pains me that the band left this song, and many songs from this album, off of their set list this past year. For me personally, this album is easily as iconic as Rio. It describes the band, and their relationship with their audience, to a T. To think that Duran Duran wrote this album during their third decade together simply blows me away. It is an album that never got it’s justice, and it is still one of my very favorite.
I really don’t think it is all that surprising that one of my favorite albums is the one that started it all for them, and for me. I love the rawness, the lack of expectation, and the realness of the music. There is no ego here, no trying to outdo what has already been done. It is simply music from a band ready to take it’s place in the world. This is an album from Duran Duran before they were DURAN DURAN, and it is the most real we’ve ever gotten from them. that is why it remains number one for me.
My choices weren’t all that surprising, but the exercise was fun. I don’t anticipate others to agree with me – in fact, you shouldn’t. We all have had our own journey, and that is what makes it all fun. I’m no music expert, and I only have my own taste to rely on, so by all means make your own list and have fun with it.
There are days when I am so thankful for this blog, this safe, happy place, that I wish I could hug it. Today is one of those days.
Yes, we had an election in my country yesterday. Some may be happy with the results. Others may be very unhappy. I am concerned. I don’t know what to write, or how to feel. Mostly I want to move on, but I can’t seem to find the right way to go forward yet.
John voted in his first American election yesterday. He tweeted a picture from the @duranduran account. I am sure that must have been a very exciting and proud moment for him, despite the results not turning out as he may have wanted.
I know the rest of the world is sick of our politics right now. I live here and I’m sick of it too. I’ve seen many a friend and acquaintance comment in a variety of ways about the election, and I’ve come to the conclusion that there is nothing I can say to make people happy. Once again our country has come to a crossroads, voters have spoken, and we find ourselves waiting for the other shoe to drop. There are massive wounds left behind to heal, and I would be insane to think I could do anything to help with that process.
So, I’m watching videos today. I may not know much, but I do believe that music heals. It makes ME feel better. Our world is not perfect. My country may not have voted the way the rest of the world felt best, but watching a video or listening to my favorite band still has the power to make me feel better.
I’m just going to shut off my TV, shut down my computer, put down my phone, and try to enjoy some music for a while. I invite you to do the same. Sometimes, you just have to take time out to breathe.
Yesterday students arrived at the school I teach at for the first time this year. (I know that this blog is supposed to be about Duran fandom. This post will get there, too. I promise.) The beginning of the school year is always a little rough and this year is no exception. There are always changes and adjustments that need to be made no matter how much summer planning was done by school staff. In my case, this year, it is all about my class rosters and how many students I have.
For those not in the know, I teach 4 sections of freshmen United States History (along with the very welcomed Women’s Studies). This means that I spend most of my day trying to get 14 and 15 year olds to engage in activities and discussions surrounding U.S. History from 1865 to 1945. It is not the easiest task in the best of circumstances. This year, though, my class lists are pretty messed up. I have a small class that I’m team teaching with a colleague. Then, I have two HUGE classes. One of those classes I am also teaming with but not the other one, which makes no sense. I also have 25 more students than my colleagues, which is beyond not cool since we assign a lot of essays so I’ll be grading until the cows come home. Even weirder, still, is the fact that I have a class that has 25 boys and 5 girls. A lot of those boys have a history of getting themselves into trouble, on top of it all.
While the scheduling seems random, I would not be surprised if I was assigned the class of what I would lovingly call “naughty boys” because I have a long history of success with kids who fit that description. Part of me appreciates the weird sort of compliment. The other part of me just worries about being exhausted for the next 37.5 weeks. Therefore, it is pretty obvious that I’m going to need some energy, some motivation, something to keep me going. As with everything else in my life, I find myself turning to music, Duran Duran music. Can Duran give me what I need to be a successful teacher this year?
In order to see if Duran’s music can get me through, I have selected some songs that should work to motivate me.
The reasons for this song seems obvious, yes? If I’m going to have a class of “wild boys,” then the song of the same name better keep me going! I specifically chose the one with “Relax” in the middle because I will need to remind myself of that a lot!
This song will be used not so much for motivation but for validation. A teacher’s life in the present day United States is typically filled with a lot of “paper cuts,” both literally and figuratively. This song acknowledges that paper cuts of some form or another exist, which I often need and appreciate.
The thing I love about this song is how optimistic it is. I think most teachers need to feel that optimistic, that hope in the beginning of the year and I am no exception. Many, including myself, need to “feel the new day” as a positive. I chose the John version of the song because…well…I like his version for obvious reasons and because I stop thinking or worrying about anything else when I’m watching it.
This song always reminds me of being on the road, being on tour with “no time to worry.” While the school year gives plenty for me to worry about, I need to remember that there are times, moments when I don’t have to worry. I will need to recall fun times of this past summer and hope for more in the future when things start to weigh me down. This song will allow me to go to my happy place when I need it!
Of course, the school year features breaks and the summer when the pressure truly comes off. This song will me to remind of that during the long stretches without breaks.
While breaks are always welcomed, I have to remember to appreciate the now and live in the moment. While teaching is never an easy gig (I just read a stat that states how teachers make about 1,500 decisions in a day or more than 4 decisions in a minute!), I also want to appreciate the moments that remind me of why I got into this field to begin with and why I stay. I have already had a few this week, such as when I saw some former students who ran up to give me hugs.
So what about the rest of you? What Duran songs do you use to motivate yourself or to keep you going even when you are exhausted? Which songs keep you going at work? I would love to see everyone’s lists!
Our friend Manuela from Milan is back with a guest blog shortly reviewing the studio albums since Andy left the band for the second time. See how your thoughts match up with hers! -R
by Manuela Salvade
On September 26, it will mark ten years without Andy on guitars (or with Dom on guitars, depending on your point of view… Lol!).
(ed. note: Dom had played previously with Duran Duran, but Manuela means as a permanent member of the touring band instead of just as a stand-in for Andy)
While all the hard die fans are celebrating the lasting of this current line-up, I won’t share my feelings about it. Instead, I’m will review their studio albums released during this period. Overall, I really love the albums, they’re awesome and I don’t find there is the same sort of “re-invention” we had with the Notorious” days. That said, I love the wisdom they’ve acquired along the way. These three albums are part of a truly awesome legacy.
At first I just found the music funny, dance-y and groove-y. I rated it as one of the best pop “experiments” done with producers who really don’t share much with their DNA, think of Alex Sadkin, or Ian Little in 1983. Few years since its release, they had a tour—with that memorable electro-set, no less—now my thoughts are that it wasn’t an album to underrate. RCM actually was a seed for the following albums! The real “geniuses” weren’t the Timbaland’s team, but just the 4 guys who today could capitalize the RCM moment. The guitars are awesome and not many noticed, because they were too busy ranting on the Andy/the 4 guys affair.
Another awesome page of DD’s history. It features pop gems. There was chemistry with us fan—who can forget the interactions on the social platforms and during the concerts??—there was chemistry with Dom, whose guitars sounds fab. So, the main factors of “chemistry” and “peace-of-mind” made that period one of their best ones.
I love the accuracy in the arrangements, I love the wisdom in the lyrics, and I love the groove. It all brings me back to 1993 as I find in the same accuracy in the arrangements on the second self-titled album. This is the first “fruit” of Red Carpet Massacre. The tracks are strongly dance oriented, similarly to RCM. Under the surface, I did assume the boys wanted to use the Red Carpet Massacre days to fruition, as they didn’t seem to enjoy it much at the time.
These three albums are the real (awesome) legacy to me. The controversy on the Andy’s affair, the words sometimes spoken by the guys I found hard to acknowledge as the “down” moments that disappointed me. I won’t cry any tears for those things I have seen or heard and didn’t like. These three albums are what will survive. Words can pass by, music doesn’t. Both Negative and positive events took place in these past few years, but the music was the energy above all.
Manuela is a long time Duran fan and of pop rock music from the 70s right thru today. She is a public employee at the Milan Town Hall, for a Bureau that provides with a service of help, advice, moderation and support, but no PR, to all organizers of small and big events in her town: EXPO 2015, she is behind the scenes of Fashion Weeks, of MTV and other live concerts, big sport events like Champions League, NBA. She is also a loyal, kind and loving friend and partner.
Just a reminder that we graciously accept reviews from DD shows, as well as blogs on any topic that has to do with Duran Duran. Today Jason Lent shares a different perspective on the recent Las Vegas show. If you’re interested in submitting a blog, please check out our “Guest Blog” page for information.
For the next two weeks I will be on vacation with family (I’m doing nearly the polar opposite of “touring” by going camping with family in Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons), so I have a few guest blogs to take my place. Enjoy!! -R
By Jason Lent
My nostalgia drenched July wrapped up with Duran Duran at the Mandalay Events Center in Las Vegas. Seven nights earlier, I stood in a parking lot downtown while Howard Jones and OMD performed on what felt like the surface of the sun. After Duran Duran, Howard Jones and Thompson Twins were pivotal touchstones in my formative years of music while OMD were always on the edges of my life soundtrack. All three provided different reminders of why I love the synth pop sounds of the 1980s. I still find myself expecting more from Duran Duran overall because they were “my” band as an impressionable 11-year-old. As I walked to my car that night in a mad dash to escape a parking garage built by Satan himself, I realized that no matter what the band does now, all I ever needed from them was already given to me back then.
Touring in support of Paper Gods, I went into last night’s show having already seen the earliest incarnation of this tour in 2015 at the Hollywood Bowl and the Life Is Beautiful Festival in Las Vegas. Selfishly hoping for some radical updates to the set list (this was, after all, the second Vegas show in under a year), I knew that such dreams were foolish. At this point, the band has firmly entrenched itself into the legacy circuit where delivering the most appeal to the largest amount of people is job number one. With that as the goal, this current tour might be as effective as any they’ve undertaken in the last twenty years. That night in Las Vegas, the cheers of the arena were literally deafening and I awoke the following morning with a ringing in my ears that I’d have expected if I stood in front of the PA at a Five Finger Death Punch concert (on a side note, very cool that Chris Kael from Death Punch was at the Duran show last night!).
From the viewpoint of a casual fan, there is no denying the overall power of the current show. After the artsy run through of the new album’s title track, the hits come fast and furious. Wild Boys, Hungry Like The Wolf, and A View To A Kill lifted the crowd to their feet and had them screaming along. The band appeared to be thrilled by the reception and Simon LeBon stepped into the role of the saucy frontman, a role he was born to play. Come Undone, the finest single of their second career peak, sounded and looked brilliant, providing one of the many highlights.
For the more ardent Duranie, the disappointment with the current show resides in the lack of hope that each show provides. Maybe this always existed with Duran Duran but age and technology now infringe on the innocent hope we carried to shows as teenagers. There is no mystery to which songs might be played and the stage banter feels a little too comfortable as a result. The show is the show and the band delivers it night after night at a very high level. However, most of us know exactly when LeBon is about to ask the audience if anybody is hungry. This lack of spontaneity and a refusal to push themselves outside their comfort zone takes a little sparkle off the modern Duran Duran.
For those of us who lived and died with each album (and Liberty sometimes felt like it wanted to kill me), the current tour does offer a few moments of ecstasy such as a killer performance of I Don’t Want Your Love from Big Thing and a reworked take on Girls On Film that feels funky and fresh. Both of these choices do nothing to hamper the casual fan’s appreciation of the show while giving us more fanatical sorts the hope for more twists and turns in the future. The clock is forever ticking when a band sticks around for over three decades but Duran Duran has some gas left in the tank and the next tour could be truly special if they are willing to take a few more chances.
First and foremost in my mind would be to bring 25-30 songs on the tour and arrange each set list slightly differently from town to town. In doing so, the band would have to stay on their toes musically from night-to-night. Why does that matter? It brings out the best in musicians. What if Notorious and Pressure Off weren’t always side by side for example. The songs are too similar sitting next to each other. If Notorious dropped down into the encore, it’s not like Nile Rodgers isn’t going to come back on stage. From what I’ve seen, he’ll take any chance to get in front of the audience especially if he gets to remind us of all the #1 hits he worked on. God bless the man, but we know you’re a legend. Stop telling us each night.
If the band brought 30 songs on the road, those extra tracks could open up a whole new world to long time fans. It starts with the new material. Last Night In the City should be dropped. It’s a boring EDM track that feels like the band trying to appeal to the very people who aren’t buying concert tickets regardless. Sunset Garage, a far better track, with a video montage of the band over the years could be a show highlight. The fatal flaw with Paper Gods was the decision to put the most Duran sounding songs into the “bonus tracks” of different versions of the release. Ask a hundred Duran fans and we would choose Planet Roaring over Danceophobia almost 100% of the time.
In addition to a better mix of the new tracks, the band’s depth gets grossly overlooked in the current tour which can be fixed fairly easily. All You Need Is Now from 2010 was one of their best studio albums since Rio and not a single song makes the current tour. This is more ludicrous than the decision to cover Public Enemy’s 911 Is A Joke. The album that brought them back into arenas gets no attention while the band continues to play Reach Up For the Sunrise, a modest hit but hardly essential listening. To make matters worse, the band taunts us with a chorus from New Moon On Monday in the middle of Sunrise. Here’s an idea, just play Monday, one of the beloved singles from the band’s biggest period.
As a kid, collecting Duran Duran 12” records felt like my life mission. On the flip side of the Careless Memories 12” was a track called Fame. At that age, I didn’t know who David Bowie was and this was my first time hearing an artist whose career and life would greatly influence everything I love in music. If the band had added Fame to the set list for this tour, not only would it have paid tribute to our collective hero, it would have taken us all back to the early stages of fandom when we were full of hope and wonder. I chalk up the medley of Planet Earth and Space Oddity as a near miss but still a lot of fun last night.
So where do we go from here? Next year is the 35th anniversary of Rio and the trend of bands revisiting complete works shows no signs of dissipating. Rather than head back into the studio, I hope Duran Duran embraces their legacy fully and undertakes a summer tour to celebrate a landmark album in all our lives. Open each night with a handful of other hits, take an intermission with a short film of the band in the studio and on video sets over the years, play Rio in its entirety and finish the night with an encore of even more hits. The ticket sales would be monumental and those of us who stayed with them all along would be rewarded with rarely heard songs like Hold Back the Rain.
I look forward to new albums and new tours while continuing to want more of the past each show. Last night was an amazing experience and despite my many words above, I left with a huge smile on my face. The music critic in me will always explore every corner of my Duran Duran fandom but my passion never diminishes. The recent resurgence in interest for their work vindicates many of us who grew up being teased for loving five good-looking lads from England. Take away their youthful smiles, the expensive videos, and all the radio hits and you still have truly gifted musicians with a natural-born entertainer on the mic. Duran Duran forever.