Tag Archives: commercial success

Ms. MoJo’s Top 10 Duran DUran Songs

Are you familiar with the YouTube channel Ms.Mojo? It is a channel that likes to have countdowns of pretty much everything pop culture. I have seen it pop up most often when it comes to TV shows, movies or actors but the other day YouTube recommended the Top 10 Duran Duran songs. Well, then. I’m a sucker for Top 10 lists, especially when it comes to Duran so I figured I would give it a try. Unsurprisingly, I had some opinions about the choices.

Before I dive into the choices, I do appreciate that the channel not only counts down from 10 but also includes honorable mentions and some information about the song. In this case, they made the list based on “fan favorites” and commercial success. I wish I knew what they meant by fan favorites. Who did they ask? I suspect that the responses might be different if they questioned the readers of this blog, for example. On that note, let’s begin.

Honorable Mentions

The honorable mentions were New Religion, Notorious, Out of my Mind, The Chauffeur, and Union of the Snake. Overall, I thought the honorable mentions were solid. In particular, I was pleased to see Out of my Mind on the list because there are so many albums and songs from the less popular eras that get ignored but should not.

Number 10: Planet Earth

The argument here is that the song showcased both the combination of new wave and synth pop. It was also a Top 20 UK hit. It is my personal favorite song so I’m glad that it is on the list.

Number 9: Come Undone

Ms.Mojo referred to Come Undone as an alternative rock sound with male and female vocals. Of course, it also did well commercially. Now, you all know that I’m not the biggest fan of this song but I was not surprised that this made the list.

Number 8: A View to a Kill

This song will almost always be featured on top 10 lists like this forever due to being the only number one James Bond theme song. The channel described the song as a mix between rock and new wave. This was a song that I loved as a kid but have not loved as much as I have gotten older.

Number 7: Ordinary World

I would have been shocked if this wasn’t on the list. It is probably one of the Duran’s most well-known songs. While there are times that I am tired of the song, I cannot deny the quality.

Number 6: Wild Boys

Honestly, I was surprised that this one made the list. While I think it is fun live, it doesn’t tend to grab critical acclaim.

Number 5: The Reflex

Like Ordinary World, this song will always be on lists like this because it was their first number one song. I thought it was interesting that they mentioned how it was a layered track.

Number 4: Girls on Film

After mentioning that this is a new wave dance song, the rest of the focus was on the video. As we all know, there are two versions, a clean one and a x-rated version. They mentioned that there was some BDSM in the naughty version. Hmm…really?

Number 3: Rio


According to Ms. Mojo, the song represents the 80s with the video and the “driving bassline and synthesize hooks”. This one really is a fan favorite that is also well-known to the general public.

Number 2: Save a Prayer

I love how this song was described as creating an atmosphere of taking a journey to a foreign and beautiful place. I completely agree. I would have a hard time arguing against this one.

Number 1: Hungry Like the Wolf

As I watched the video of this countdown, I realized that HLTW would be the number one song before this video popped up. My reaction, “Oh geez.” The channel explained that the song was the one to put the band on the map in terms of commercial success and it shows the band’s musical chemistry. I suppose all of that is true.

So, what do the rest of you think? Is this a good list? Would you make some changes? If you look at the comments, there were lots of songs mentioned that could have been included but weren’t, including New Moon on Monday and Is There Something I Should Know? I get why they chose what they did but, obviously, I would not have used the commercial success to determine the list.

-A

Hungry Like the Wolf: Straddle the LIne

According to Wikipedia, the song Hungry Like the Wolf was released in the UK on this day. This, of course, makes me both smile and cringe as the same time. Am I the only one who responds in that way? I’m sure that there are a lot of Duranies who love, love, love that song and others who might express outright annoyance or dislike. Why is there so many mixed emotions, though, within the fandom, at least from what I have seen?

Let’s start with the positives and why this song might make Duranies smile. It goes without saying that this song played a significant role in breaking the band in the U.S. We all know the story. It was all about the video, really, that did it. Before the video was released, Duran was getting minimal attention and radio play. Then, the video began to play on MTV, which I suspect the network was excited about. After all, it was an interesting video to watch with a adventurous storyline, exotic location and attractive people. I’m sure it would got more viewers than a basic boring in the studio performance. After the video got more play, then the band started to sell more albums and to get more radio play. So, I think we can all appreciate that this song/video helped make the band more popular in the States.

Speaking of the video, I’m willing to bet that it is a video that many fans fell for the band with. I’m not in the same boat on that but I will admit that the video is one that is hard not to love. I fell for the storyline and the Indiana Jones vibe with it, not to mention how good all the guys look in it.


So, if the song and video helped the band reach tremendous success and made people fans, why do so many cringe now when they hear it? If I had to summarize what I think the reason is in one sentence, I would mention how it is too often the ONLY song/video that people think when they did Duran. Let me give a couple of examples to prove my point. Recently, my school had a staff development day. The administration decided to welcome us to the day by playing songs to represent the staff. My song? Of course, it was Hungry Like the Wolf. People know I’m a Duran fan and the only song they could think of was that. Then, I think about the various Howl at the Moons I have been in. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, Howl at the Moon is a chain of dueling piano bars where the audience makes requests and the musicians play them. Whenever I have asked for Duran, the song that has always been chosen is HLTW.

Then, there is the fact that Hungry Like the Wolf is the song Duran Duran has played most in concert, according to Setlist.fm. Why is that a problem? I think it frustrates some fans that the song is almost always played. Setlists are not limitless. The band cannot play as many songs as they want. They have to limit the number for obvious reasons. If the band didn’t always include HLTW, they could add a different song in its place. Fans could hear something different. Now, the reason that is often played include what I mentioned above. Fans get it but they aren’t always thrilled about it. All that said, in fairness, the band has tried to change it up a bit throughout the years as seen by the following videos:


There have been times that I really got annoyed when the song appeared in the setlist and allowed it to sap some of my enthusiasm. Now, I just try to remind myself that the song is played because it is well-known by fans and non-fans alike. It is a song that is significant to the band’s history and success. I cannot ignore that. Would I like something different in the setlist? Sure but it is not going to happen so I would be smart just to accept that and try to appreciate it. Of course, it really helps now that there is a lot of DoJo during the song. For some reason, that really helps make it better…

What about the rest of you? How are you feeling bout Hungry Like the Wolf these days?

-A

Must Read: Duran Duran Article

It is a quiet time in Duranland as it will be months before Duran Duran is set to play in Cancun and even longer before those festivals in South America.  No new music is on the horizon.  Fans often get anxious for any news or talking points on the band.  (Maybe, that’s just me since I want to have something to blog about!)  Luckily, an article about Duran Duran popped up that is worthy of a read and worthy of a response.  That article written by Duran Duran fan, Lyndsey Parker, and can be and should be read here.

As soon as I read it, I knew that I had to blog about it.  The premise of the article is that Duran Duran has always been a fabulous band even when the band was criticized, demeaned, and put down in the 80s.  Before I even started reading the article, I found myself nodding in agreement.  Of course, they were great!  Duh!  That said, I always appreciate anyone willing to take the time to prove that.

The article begins by stating how they had all of the ingredients of being a cool and well-respected band when the band formed.  After all, they had great influences and worked with amazing people.  Then, a John Taylor quote pops up stating that something went “wrong”.  I never heard or read that quote before and it definitely caught my attention.  Then, of course, the author explains what went wrong or why Duran didn’t get the credit they deserved.

The obvious answer has to do with the marketing to teens, especially to teen girls.  Once that happened, it seemed like every other  move the band made fed into this negative image that music journalists and critics had for the band.  Of course, this is something that Rhonda and I have discussed on here many, many times.  Be careful for what you wish for, I guess.  In this case, while looking good, having an attractive image, being willing to appear on teen magazines, etc. helped to sell a ton of albums and got the band thousands of female fans from around the world, it also meant that the band wouldn’t get the credit they deserve.  I appreciated the quote at the end of this section of the article, one in which Simon discussed how the music industry was run by men but how girls liked Duran.

I couldn’t agree more with Simon there.  The problem isn’t really that the band allowed themselves to be marketed to teen girls.  The problem is the disrespect and dismissal of females, especially young females as men assume that girls cannot determine quality music.  It seems to me to be an obvious case of sexism, which sounds weird to say when describing a male band’s career success.  Basically, I believe that if Duran had a male audience, they would have received critical acclaim.  Instead, they got treated like women and girls often are.  Thus, it isn’t that the band made a wrong career move but that society, in this case, sucks.

Then, Ms. Parker’s article explains how wrong the critics were for dismissing the band.  She didn’t dive into my sexism theory but instead proved how amazing Duran’s career has been from the very first album through the most recent.  For Duranies, her arguments weren’t new but always welcomed.  Not only does she describe the quality of their music, including the fabulous skills that each member brings to the table, but she also applauds their career moves that challenged their status quo.  She lists both side projects and even musical changes between albums.  The risks, many unnecessary, should be cheered rather than jeered, according to the article.  I have to agree.

Many long lasting bands find a formula that works for them and repeat it over and over.  Some bands that come to mind include U2 and Depeche Mode.  When a new album of theirs comes out, fans generally know what to expect.  That is not the case with Duran.  Sometimes, they hit and other times they make more of a miss and Ms. Parker isn’t afraid to point that out, either, which I appreciated.  I agree with all of that.  Duran’s risks should be praised.  They refuse to stay in a corner that is comfortable but instead choose to push themselves.  To me, that is the sign of a real artist.  Artists are willing to try something new and fail.

All in all, this article really explained a lot about why people dismissed Duran and why they shouldn’t have.  In my opinion, it is a must read article for any Duran fan but also one that non-Duran fans need to read.

-A

I Live in Doubt

Duran Duran has been a very successful band in their almost forty year career.  One does not have to look far to see statistics backing up this claim.  Wikipedia states the following, “Since the 1980s they have placed 14 in the Top 10 of the UK Singles Chart and 21 in the US Billboard Hot 100 and have sold more than 100 million records.[1][2]“. 

If that wasn’t enough, Duran Duran has been nominated for countless awards and won many of them, including lifetime achievement awards.  In an industry in which many careers are short lived, this band has been around for decades showing their staying power.  Clearly, they are not content to just sit home and enjoy their rewards as they spend months writing and recording new albums.  They still tour the world selling out arenas.

Despite this success, I’m willing to bet that Duran Duran experiences self-doubt.  I’m thinking about those times in the studio when they are writing and recording new material.  At times, they might think that they have found the beginnings of a great track.  At other times, they might decide that they can’t create anything new that is worthy.  Then, I’m sure that looking at current charts or album sales might lead to self-doubt.  After all, they haven’t been as successful, commercially lately in comparison to the early 80s.  Does that get to them?  Does it bother them?  If so, how do they deal with these feelings of self-doubt?

I have been thinking about this a lot lately in my own life.  Over the course of my life, I can’t say that I have been successful with everything that I have done.  I’m not that lucky or that good, but I have usually been successful when it comes to school and work (as opposed to my social life).  As a kid, I figured that if I worked hard and studied a lot then the good grades and high praise from teachers would follow, which indeed was the case.  Other students saw me as “smart” and “articulate”.  Teachers recommended me for various tasks, usually not given to students.  Academics generally made me feel good about myself, which continued through college where I earned accolades as well as attention from peers and administrators for my political activism.

After college, I immediately began teaching, which is the reason that I’m in my 19th year of teaching now.  I grew up very quickly and took on responsibilities in my early 20s while my peers typically were exploring relationships and careers.  Instead, I laser focused on my teaching career, determined to be the best teacher ever.  After a rocky start, I found myself experiencing similar success as I did as a student.  Principals filled my evaluations with positive comments and many students declared that they liked having me as a teacher.

This feeling of success stretched into the political world as I began campaigning in earnest in 2008 resulting in good turnout and high votes for the candidates I campaigned for.  Even here, I felt successful more often than not.  Our numbers grew as time went by. On top of that, people attended our events and expressed satisfaction in doing so.  All of this resulted in a lot of confidence on my part, at least when it came to my work life.

While I never felt great about myself, socially, I always had work to fall back on.  Lately, though, my confidence with work has wavered.  I have a couple of classes that are making me question my skills as a teacher.  My campaign team this year is much smaller than the past years.  Likewise, I am not sure that as many people are reading our blog as before.  I get few comments on the ones that I do write.  Now, of course, I can give reasons for all of this.  My classes are unbalanced with too many tough kids in just two classes.  This year features different candidates than in the past and a lot of people in Wisconsin are tired of campaigning.  We are in the midst of Duran downtime.  All combined, though, makes it difficult for me to dismiss my feeling of self-doubt.

Is this the same for Duran Duran?  Do the members experience the same feeling when they look at album sales or the chart positions that do not match what they once were?  Do they question their skills as musicians?  As artists?  What do they do with those feelings to keep going?  I wish I knew.  I wish I had a better plan to deal with my own self-confidence beyond just trying to make it through one day at a time.

I know that many Duran critics believe that their best is long behind them, that they should have stopped in the 1980s.  I have always admired Duran’s ability to fight this, to prove that what they do still matters.  Now, I would love to know how they do it because there are days lately that I have found myself thinking that my best days at work are behind me.  I would like to be like Duran, who refuse to listen to those voices that tell them to quit.

-A

You’ve Got That Thing Which Makes Us Smile

I’m still reeling from the video for Pressure Off!  Tell me that I’m not the only one!  I can see many, many, many fans express nothing but excitement and joy after watching it.  There are people who are making and posting screenshots and gifs from the video.  Clearly, it is a hit with fans!!!  Yes, I realize that there are a few people out there who might have tiny criticisms but, for the most part, there is nothing but praise from Duranies!  While I generally choose to focus on our fan community, seeing a new Duran video that is super fun, super sexy connected a very catchy song, I have to wonder.  Will it catch attention of the not-yet-converted, those non-Duranies-as-of-yet?  I think it could.  It definitely could.  It definitely should.

I think this is especially true as it seems that Duran is experiencing more and more commercial success with this album.  As we know, Paper Gods placed in the top 10 in the Billboard Album Chart after it debuted and just recently, Pressure Off entered the American Top 40.  I had to look.  When is the last time Duran placed in the top 10 for albums and top 40 for singles?
Based on what I could see from Billboard.com, the last album to hit the top 10 album chart was the Wedding Album.  Holy crap. Notorious came close in 1987 at number 12.  Then, I saw a tweet on October 17th from American Top 40, which stated, “.@DuranDuran debut at #39 with their 20th hit, “Pressure Off.” They pass up U2 (1984) as the longest charting act this week (since 1983).”  WOW!!!  This tweet came out BEFORE the video premiered.  Could Duran really be doing what people often accuse them of not doing, which is capitalizing on momentum?  If the single was already on an upwards trend, the video could only help, right?  That’s my theory!
I have often thought about what it would be like if Duran enjoyed the commercial success like they did in the early 80s or even the early 90s with the Wedding Album.  While, yes, I was around during both of those times, I wasn’t old enough (I’m a young Duranie and proud!) in the early 80s to really pay attention like that.  I just knew that I loved them and thought that everyone should!  Duh!  In fact, you can picture ME arguing with kids at the lunch table about how cool they were!!  I know that I used their commercial success (at least to whatever extent a 10 year old could muster) as part of my argument about how cool they were.  During the Wedding Album era, I was just about to leave home for college.  I was in too much of a daze.  Once I got to college, I really didn’t pay attention to much beyond trying to survive, academically, in my classes and getting to know people.  Then, for a long time, the post college me doubted that the general public would ever come to their collective senses to realize how fabulous Duran still is.  Now, though, I’m hopeful.
I know that Simon mentioned in that Yahoo interview last week about how Duran’s current success helps validate the longtime fans.  He’s right.  It does but I don’t know that any of us really NEED that validation.  I know that they are amazing and always have.  I don’t require others to tell me they are great in order to feel right.  I KNOW I’m right.  I appreciate that Simon is looking out for all of us.  I really do.  The thing is that I really do want them to have commercial success right now.  Why?  Two simple reasons.  First, they freaking deserve it.  That really goes without saying but I feel compelled to mention it a time or two.  They work hard at creating new music.  Clearly, they worked hard at making Paper Gods.  I am a firm believer that if you work hard, you SHOULD get rewarded for that.  On top of working hard, they created an amazing album.  Shouldn’t that get rewarded?  I think so!  While Simon is worried about our validation as fans, we are wanting the band to be validated.  The other reason I would really love to see them experience success is so they (the band) get the message LOUD and CLEAR that the world needs them around for a LONG, LONG time to come.  While, yes, I need them around for a long time to come, it has also become obvious that the rest of the world does, too.
So, come on world, let’s give Duran Duran the commercial success they so deserve!!!
-A

Duran Singles: US vs. UK

About a month ago, I wrote a blog here where I compared and analyzed the fans’ ranking of Duran Duran singles to their actual chart position (in the US).  While people were interested in the results, they were also interested in how the fans’ ranking compared to the UK charts.  After all, Duran Duran is from the UK and we know that their chart success there was different.  While I absolutely plan on comparing the fans’ result to the UK charts, I also want to take the time to really compare the UK charts to the US charts.

Single                               Chart Peak in US                        Chart Peak in UK

All She Wants Is                22                                                    9

All You Need Is Now       Did not chart                            Unknown

A View to a Kill                  1                                                        2

Burning the Ground      Did not chart                               31

Careless Memories        Did not chart                               37

Come Undone                   7                                                         13

Do You Believe in Shame   72                                               30

Electric Barbarella          52                                                      23

Falling Down                     Did not chart                               52

Girls on Film                       Did not chart                               5

Girl Panic                             Did not chart                               Unknown

Hungry Like the Wolf    3                                                         5

I Don’t Want Your Love   4                                                      14

Is There Something…       4                                                       1

Meet el Presidente           70                                                     24

My Own Way                       Did not chart                             14

New Moon on Monday    10                                                   9

Notorious                                 2                                                      7

Ordinary World                   3                                                       6

Out of my Mind                  Did not chart                             21

Perfect Day                           Did not chart                             28

Planet Earth                          Did not chart                             12

The Reflex                              1                                                       1

Rio                                              14                                                     9

Save a Prayer                        16                                                    2

Serious                                     Did not chart                            48

Skin Trade                                39                                                  22

Someone Else Not Me    Did not chart                            54

Sunrise                                       89                                                  5

Too Much Information      45                                                 35

Union of the Snake             3                                                     3

Violence of Summer         64                                                    20

What Happens Tomorrow  Did not chart                      11

White Lines                           Did not chart                             17

Wild Boys                               2                                                      2

While I knew that Duran had a lot more success in the UK for the singles accompanying their first album, I didn’t realize how successful those reunion singles were in the UK.  Here in the US, Duran Duran couldn’t get played on a radio station no matter what in 2004.  I distinctly remember how much The Killers were getting played during the Astronaut era but Duran couldn’t get played.  I didn’t get it.  I still don’t.  Musically, there isn’t much difference between the two bands.  Why play one and not the other?  Is it the age thing?  What does this say about America versus the UK?

Across the board, the UK has been MUCH, MUCH kinder to Duran Duran.  For example, there are a number of songs that charted in the UK that didn’t here.  Likewise, the ones that charted in both places tended to do better there than here.  In fact, the only songs that Duran did better in the US were:  Ordinary World (3 vs. 6–still very close results), Notorious (2 vs. 7–still close), I Don’t Want Your Love (4 vs. 14—Hmmm…), Hungry Like the Wolf (3 vs. 5–super close), Come Undone (7 vs. 13–close), and A View to a Kill (1 vs. 2).  Thus, the only times that Duran did better in the US was when they had a super successful hit on BOTH sides of the Atlantic.  There has never been a song that has been successful in the US that hasn’t been successful in the UK.  The only song that really surprised me, in terms of its success was I Don’t Want Your Love.  I’m surprised that it did that well since it followed Meet el Presidente, which went no where.  That said, I do remember it getting played quite a bit on MTV.  I wish I also had the number of times the video was played on MTV to  compare.  That would be super fascinating.

So, what  jumps out at you?  What did you learn?

-A

Analysis of the Ranking of the Singles

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a blog, which listed the results of how the fans (at least those who participated!) rank Duran Duran’s singles with one being the favorite and 35 being the least favorite of their singles.  To read that entire blog, go here.  On that post, I promised that I would take some time to analyze the results.  What did the results say about the preferences of the fans?  How did those results compare with how the singles actually did in the US charts, according to Billboard?  Let’s start there.

Single                               Chart Peak                             How Fans Ranked

All She Wants Is                22                                                    28th

All You Need Is Now       Did not chart                             3rd

A View to a Kill                  1                                                        14th

Burning the Ground      Did not chart                               30th

Careless Memories        Did not chart                               8th

Come Undone                   7                                                         13th

Do You Believe in Shame   72                                               15th

Electric Barbarella          52                                                      32nd

Falling Down                     Did not chart                               27th

Girls on Film                       Did not chart                               6th

Girl Panic                             Did not chart                               16th

Hungry Like the Wolf    3                                                         17th

I Don’t Want Your Love   4                                                      22nd

Is There Something…       4                                                       11th

Meet el Presidente           70                                                     35th

My Own Way                       Did not chart                             25th

New Moon on Monday    10                                                   12th

Notorious                                 2                                                      18th

Ordinary World                   3                                                       5th

Out of my Mind                  Did not chart                             29th

Perfect Day                           Did not chart                             24th

Planet Earth                          Did not chart                              1st

The Reflex                              1                                                       7th

Rio                                              14                                                     4th

Save a Prayer                        16                                                    2nd

Serious                                     Did not chart                            25th

Skin Trade                                39                                                  30th

Someone Else Not Me    Did not chart                            34th

Sunrise                                       89                                                  9th

Too Much Information      45                                                 20th

Union of the Snake             3                                                     19th

Violence of Summer         64                                                    33rd

What Happens Tomorrow  Did not chart                      23rd

White Lines                           Did not chart                             21st

Wild Boys                               2                                                      9th

So, how did we compare?  Were the numbers ones our favorites?   Duran’s two number hits here were A View to a Kill and the Reflex.  AVTAK was only in the top 40th percentile for us, the FANS.  When I say percentile, it means that it is higher than 40% of the rest of the singles.  Clearly, that single isn’t a big fan favorite.  What about the Reflex?  That did much better.  It was in the 20th percentile.  Still, there were others that the fans seemed to think should have been big hits.  What about the rest of those songs who made it to the top 5 on Billboard charts:  Wild Boys (26%tile), Union of the Snake (54%tile), Ordinary World (14%tile), Notorious (51%tile), ITSISK (31%tile), IDWYL (63%tile), and HLTW (49%tile).  Based on that, the only singles that we feel deserve their fabulous chart success are the Reflex and Ordinary World.  (Obviously, we would love for all Duran singles to be hits, right?  I know that.  My point here is that the singles that were loved by everyone weren’t necessarily our favorites!)

Instead, the fans think that Planet Earth, Save a Prayer, All You Need Is Now, Rio and Girls on Film should have also done extremely well in the charts.  Some of those didn’t even chart at all, including Planet Earth, All You Need Is Now and Girls on Film.  In the case of those two off the first album, they were released before Duran Duran got real airplay or video play here in the States.  All You Need Is Now, unfortunately, was released in an era in which Duran can’t seem to get chart success for anything!

What does this all show?  Simple.  Chart success does not equal what fans love.  At times, fans have loved the songs that have done well.  At other times, the preferences go for songs that have never fared well or did not even make it onto the charts at all!  Obviously, if Duranies made these decisions, their chart success history would look very, very different.

-A