Tag Archives: Cinderella Ride

Paper Gods – Which Is Your Favorite?

As I continue to kind of sort out my final thoughts on all things Paper Gods, I’ve been thinking about the album itself.  This album took a while to grow on me.  Amanda and I spoke about it on the way home from San Francisco, and she surmised that this was a ‘thinking person’s’ album.

I think she’s right about that. In my case, it wasn’t an album that reached out and grabbed me, but instead it kind of sat bubbling in my head, percolating away. For what seemed like months, I’d listen to the album on repeat in the car, and then I’d put it away for a bit. Then I’d pull it back out, and listen to it again on repeat. I would think about the lyrics, the meaning, the possible story, and the music itself.

There were a few things about the album that just didn’t sit well with me. I struggled with the idea that Dom was barely on it, for instance. Yeah, I’m loyal. I know he’s not an “official band member”.  Whatever. He’s been with them for so long, it sure feels like he’s official. It bugged me. I wasn’t totally in love with the feel of the album at first, either. It felt very electronic in parts, and oddly un-Duran Duran like in others. I kept listening. I did not want a repeat of Red Carpet Massacre – an album that I never really enjoyed – so I kept at it, trying to bond.

Somewhere along the line, I must have done just that. The songs no longer sound foreign to me. They no longer feel too electronic, or not DD “enough”.  I don’t even think about who played or wrote what song. They feel just right. Even so, I have favorite songs on every single Duran Duran album. I think we all must have tunes we enjoy more than others, and this one is no different. I also think that looking back on this tour has kind of given new meaning to at least a few of the songs I once struggled with.

When I think of Paper Gods though, a few songs come to mind: Pressure Off, Last Night in the City, and What are the Chances. I am certain this is because the band played all of them on tour, and so they come to mind easily. I also think about The Universe Alone, Planet Roaring, and Cinderella Ride. It’s kind of hard to pick a favorite from that list, but in the end it is purely sentiment that drives me.

While I know he didn’t write it, there’s no arguing that Dom owns the guitar solo in What are the Chances when he plays it live. He took something that wasn’t really his and made it so, and the album version is every bit as beautiful, of course. I feel just a teensy bit guilty that I had to remind myself on the way home from San Francisco that John Frusciante actually wrote the guitar part – I’d gotten so used to Dom doing it that I’d forgotten.  I’m not normally a ballad person, but on this album it’s the two ballads (What are the Chances and Cinderella Ride) that I love hearing most when I’m at home.  The words for both ring very close to home for me in completely different ways – which is something I can say for 99% of the album. The lyrics really hit me.

There is a lot to like on this album, and since it’s release, I’ve fallen in love with much of it. It may not have been an album that knocked me over upon first listen, but it is definitely one that made me think, reconsider, and ultimately embrace. It’s been a great ride.

-R

What in the heck is a B-side anyway?

Do you ever get the feeling that you’ve completely lost the plot? I’m right there with all of you feeling that way today. Like many, I’ve noticed the stylish instagram pics that DDHQ has posted of Wendy Laister’s (DD’s manager) son and his buddies wearing the “latest in DD fashion”.  I  commented on it before because quite a few fans were upset.  My position is that I don’t care. Sure, if it gets kids interested – by all means, who am I to argue?

That said, sometimes, I really think the message gets lost in translation.

Here’s an example: on one hand, we’ve got the kids wearing the DD gear, and the band seems to enjoy playing festivals. I’m no genius, but I think it’s probably fair to say that those types of things are designed to help to get this band heard by a younger generation….like the generation of my kids.  On the other hand, they’re playing places like Capri for very secretive, very private parties for billionaires.  Nothing like perpetuating that air of exclusivity that I grew up recognizing to be part of Duran Duran. I’m not complaining, either. In fact – that exclusivity was one of the many things that intrigued me about Duran Duran. The idea of jetting off to Sorrento and Capri, the private parties, and even the “untouchableness” (probably not a word, but it is today!!) of this band, were all things that attracted me to this band from day one.  Well, maybe since the Rio video.   These are all things I’ve said on this blog  before, correct?  But does it attract millennials?  Aren’t they all about access (hence social media)?

Here’s the thing – most of this stuff, I’ve decided, doesn’t matter. I mean, singularly, yes – going to Capri to play a private party matters. Wendy’s son and his friends “modeling” t-shirts matters.  Even those festivals matter.  Some people like the ideas, a lot of others don’t, but in the end – these things don ‘t REALLY matter, or probably shouldn’t matter, to fans, unless you’re like Amanda and I and feel it necessary to give commentary.  <wide grin here> All together, these things add up to one band trying to reach a multitude of different people.  Whether that is actually working for or against the band depends upon who you ask, and today – I’m taking a giant step back from that subject because I really don’t know. Does anyone??

What I do know today is that DDHQ posts some sort of an “engagement” type question every day or so on social media. These questions, not entirely unlike what Amanda and I used to post (and still do through our polls), are designed to keep the fan base talking about the band, even when they’re not doing much. Or when they’re traveling from Capri to who-knows-where-before-they-have-to-play-in-Oakland-on-Friday.  Today’s question asked what your favorite B-side or bonus track might be.

Before answering, I thought about the question, because I think it’s really very telling, oddly enough.  I get the point that we have to keep trying to expand our listening audience (there I go, using the word “we” as though I’m somehow “on the team”….but after this many years being a fan, doesn’t it sometimes feel that way??).  The only feasible way to do that is to become relevant to a younger demographic, because the one I belong with is shrinking, both in size and in strength. We don’t buy. (which is part of the reason why they’re trying to market the t-shirts and things to kids to begin with!) But, when they ask questions like this, trying to engage their audience, they’re talking to people like you and I because of one semi-obvious detail:

What’s a B-Side???

Millennials, such as my two older kids, don’t really know what a B-side is. They grew up after vinyl. (Although rest assured my kids know what in the hell a b-side is, even though they think the idea of having to get up and flip a record over is dumb. Too bad for them that Sony has decided to start pressing vinyl again!)  For that matter, kids today don’t really have the same understanding about what a single might be. To them, they’re ALL singles. You go and buy a song on iTunes. Done.  Never mind the bonus tracks!

So, to the young ones that may or may not stumble upon this question and others like it in the future, and may or may not be reading this blog, allow me to help.

Back in MY day, when we trudged through snow, uphill, both ways, to school each day, we had records, which were flat disks with grooves and a hole in the middle. You’d play them on a record player, and a needle would go down into the groove, and as the record spun – music would magically spill out through the speakers.  There were two sides to these records: the A side and the B side.  Now, I can’t speak for all people here, but in my case – I was convinced that the more well-known songs were on the A side, and the stuff I didn’t really know as well would be on the B. I may have developed this theory back when I was a mere child because when I’d buy singles at the record store (they were also called 45s), the song I’d know from the radio would be on the A side, and the back side would have another song I didn’t necessarily know. Duran Duran was famous (infamous?) for putting an entirely different song – one that wasn’t even included on the full album – on that B side.

As I grew up, I realized that the REAL gems on an album were often on those B sides. And bonus tracks?  Well, those are the songs that were so good they couldn’t even put them on the album!! They were like SECRET gems!!  (Just go with it, people)

So for many of us “old folk” (I hear some of you talk about us in GA lines or at shows!), the very best songs in the catalog are the B-sides and bonus tracks that they almost never play. Even better? We’d almost rather hear a concert filled with THOSE songs than the stuff many of you have heard your parents play over the years. Hungry Like the Wolf?  A View to a Kill?  Nah.  We want Late Bar or Secret Oktober, or even Virus!

And I’d fall over in a dead faint if they ever pulled out something like  Cinderella Ride.

But I digress. If anyone needs help understanding what is or is not a B-side or bonus, I’d direct you to the discography section on the DD website as a good place to start!

-R