Today we are reviewing “I Don’t Want Your Love”, the second song on Big Thing and the album’s first single. The song debuted and peaked at #14 in the UK, but did much better throughout Europe, particularly in Italy where it spent 6 weeks (non-consecutively) at #1. In the US, the song also did well, where it peaked at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100, #1 on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play. The chart success of the song is evident, but what do a couple of US fans think?
From the first notes, you can tell this is going to be a big dance track. I very much like the “empty space” between the staccato notes and the way the song opens into a full, bright chorus with deep grooving bass to support the melody, and there just is no mistaking that this is Duran Duran. The guitar solo is gritty and adds just the right amount of texture. This is a song that very much feels like a natural progression from Notorious, keeping the heavy background vocals and even the horns as a hold-over, but still continuing to evolve the sound. The band did right by this song, because it would have been very easy for IDWYL to have gone too far over the edge into club/dance music for my taste. Touches like the bass, the rock guitar solo and the bits of horns help to keep the song from feeling too synthetic and –wait for it — contrived. 🙂
I like the vocals on this song because of the effect that Simon puts on them. His slight staccato (tenuto?) in the verse leaves this fantastic silence in between the notes that is really catchy. I also love the harmonizing because it provides a bit of depth. Then in the chorus, it is as though the floodgates fully open and you get an incredibly full music/vocal melody that I don’t think you can NOT physically react to by dancing. I’ve tried. Impossible.
There are so many lyrical “hooks” in this song…how can you not love it? The song as a whole though…it’s great writing. I think it’s pretty clear that the song is about a little something-something on the side between two people, really. (Yes, I’m really saying it’s about SEX this time.) Simon is saying that it’s not about “love”…and that whatever this person has to give is OK by him, even if it’s secret. Some favorite lines? “My obsessive fascination is in your imagination”…”I like noise, cuz I like waking up the house” “The rhythm is the power, to move me, it’s something you control, completely.” Whatever, Simon. I don’t know how you do what you do, but I love it.
Confession time – this is not one of my personal favorites, believe it or not. I’d actually forgotten how great the song is, primarily because it’s gotten to the point (for me) when they play it live, I nearly tune it out. That’s the risk when you overplay the songs in your set list that have been in the Top Ten. That said, it’s a great song. Well-balanced between melody and rhythm, fantastic lyrics, a great guitar section that I only WISH they’d allow to happen today, and if you can’t dance to this song…I just don’t know what your problem might be.
This is one of those songs that just screams “typical Duran dance/pop” to me. It feels like what people think of when they think of Duran. Instrumentation is present, meaning that it isn’t just a bunch of beats but uses actual instruments in order to create the predominant mood/feeling. In this case, the mood that is created is an uplifting one, a happy one, a get-up-and-dance one. A little more than half-way, Warren’s guitars are really present during the bridge of the song, which reminds me of what is done to John’s bass in a much later song, The Valley, on the Red Carpet Massacre album allowing the instrumentation to be placed in the musical spotlight. During the bridge, the music seems louder and more aggressive and I always wonder the same thing every time I hear it. Does it fit with the rest of the song? It isn’t the first time that Duran has had different instruments step into the spotlight during a bridge. Heck, the song, Rio, features saxophone. The question is does this particular bridge fit the song? I can’t imagine something different there and I do like that there is a bridge. I think that it’s good and provides the necessary contrast.
This is an interesting song, vocally. First of all, the verses are clearly Simon with cool vocals effects. Then, the chorus feels very full with Simon and backing vocals. I like that, at times, one of the two backing vocalists (Janiece Jamison or Carole Fredericks) is clearly heard, creating an additional element to the vocals. The different vocals fit well with the lyrics about a person of two minds or of two love interests. Overall, I think the vocal style of this song encourages people to sing along and join the party, so to speak.
The lyrics to this song don’t seem super deep or thought provoking. They don’t create a lot of emotions in me. That said, I love the lyrics as they are sort of a twist on a regular love song. The story here is obvious, right. There is an interest (*wink wink, nudge nudge*) between two people. One of those people is attached to someone else or can’t completely commit for whatever reason. Clearly, the narrator isn’t looking for “love”, per se, but some sort of understanding, some sort of affair, some sort of action. The narrator isn’t looking for a commitment as much as a good time. I also love the idea that the narrator feels it necessary to explain that this isn’t an obsession…yet, this other person still has an effect on him. I like that the lyrics don’t tell of a simple love interest or romance. No, it is about a complex attraction. While the song could just be your basic pop song, they didn’t just go for the obvious with the lyrics to match.
Is this song the most sophisticated? No. Is it the most intense or most beautiful? No. Is the production a bit too slick? A bit too polished? Perhaps. Yet, despite its faults, it is a fun song. It makes you want to dance and sing along. While I feel like the song was an attempt at some commercial success and/or radio play, I appreciate that they didn’t stick to some formula about what the song should be about or like. It still feels very much like Duran, as does each element of the song.