Get in the system
Alright friends, it is time to get real. True confession time! My confession for today is that I never fell in love with “Danceophobia”.
I’m waiting for all of you to get over your shock. It’s okay. Take your time. I can be patient.
As difficult as that might be to come to terms with, it is true. Danceophobia is not on my “most played” list, even after I heard that Dom had writing credit on the song. For several months after the first listen, I only had to hear the first opening chord and I’d hit “skip”. I just couldn’t force myself to cringe my way through it, so I didn’t. Eventually, I started listening to the complete album to get the full experience, rather than skipping around.
Trying to get to you
As the muted sound for Danceophobia would begin, discomfort would settle into the pit of my belly. I’d have to fight the urge to turn up the volume because the sound was muted (I’d already made that mistake several times prior, nearly having my eardrums explode before remembering Duran’s cute little “trick” with first muting and then bringing the volume back to normal). Then I’d force myself to plow my way through it, trying to find something likable about the song.
The more I listened to it, the more I realized that the music itself wasn’t the issue. The lyrics are cheeseball and pretty cringy, but I’ve heard worse and still bobbed my head in time to the beat without a problem. Truthfully, I didn’t mind the music at all. It’s catchy, in it’s own sticky-sweet, popcorn ball sort of way. So what was my problem?
I can remember when that fateful picture of Nick and Simon with Lindsay and her sister first graced the internet. I was appalled. Why on earth would Duran Duran pick Lindsay, of all people on the planet, to do the voiceover for “The Doctor”? It was so gross. I saw it as a fairly blatant, desperate attempt to stay in the news. (I’m sorry!!) People certainly talked about the picture – Lindsay herself posted it on Instagram, and for whatever reason – people still follow her like she’s some sort of god. For a few weeks, that picture seemed to be everywhere. I still screw up my face and make squinty eyes whenever I think about it. I just couldn’t understand why this band needed Lindsay of all people. Wasn’t there anyone else with a throaty voice who could pull off the part?!?
I doubled down on my dislike when Lindsay appeared with the band at the O2 in London, and wasn’t quite able to remember all the words…and again in Brooklyn at the Barclays Center, when once again she was a little stumped. I just didn’t get the hype.
You don’t dance
I think that in the back of my mind, I knew there had to be a good reason why Duran Duran wanted Lindsay on that album, and I definitely wasn’t buying Simon’s story that they were friends and that she texted him asking to be on the album. It all seemed just a bit too contrived for me to believe. Maybe the band wanted to attract more male fans by having her appear. (Really though??) Was Lindsay really attracting THAT many more first time listeners? In my mind – she was a fairly washed-up American actress (I use that word lightly). Sure, she had followers. However, were they following because they really adored her? Or, were they following because they were voyeurs, wanting to witness the next time Lindsay fell down? I felt, and still feel, it’s the latter.
At some point, I gave up asking myself questions and just went with it. I couldn’t figure out their line of thinking, but I didn’t think I’d ever really get it. Until yesterday.
Sometimes, one has to take a step back away from a painting to really see the big picture. And other times, we need somebody else to point out the obvious. I needed both.
Am I getting through to you
During a friendly discussion about Paper Gods, the topic of Danceophobia came up. I immediately admitted that it was my least favorite on the album. I explained my feelings about the song, and didn’t think much of it until someone offered up a reason I’d never considered for Lindsay’s appearance.
“Maybe she’s supposed to make you cringe. The idea of her being a doctor is incredibly ironic”
Wait, did you just use my favorite word?? IRONY.
The fact that she hasn’t really been relevant or “cool” in over a decade was never lost on me….but did the band know that? Maybe so. I thought about how she still has so many followers, and yet I was convinced the majority of people were simply just there waiting for the next “show”. Even the way the song begins so uncomfortably quiet – like you’ve got to sit up and take notice that it’s different – began to make more sense. It was as though the possibility existed that the band was trying to use Lindsay as a perfect example of a Paper God, and I missed the entire point.
I am your doctor
To say I’m a little embarrassed wouldn’t be wrong. I don’t know why I didn’t think about this angle before now. I kind of feel like I should have listened more in school….
Duran Duran is a thinking band. Amanda and I have talked about that at length, and we’ve written about it on this blog many times over the years. The messages, and even the laughs and jokes are always hidden. If you think the video to Is There Something I Should Know is really about the military, for instance; or that Rio really IS just about a river in North America…or even that the video for Falling Down is ONLY about models in rehab, you’ve missed out on 90% of the message, and nearly 100% of the bands humor.
It is the same reason I chuckle when people tell me that Simon only writes about sex…”because that’s what he’s said in interviews for years.” (True, when he is avoiding questions about what his lyrics are about….)
You may be experiencing feelings of confusion
So, the next time you listen to “Danceophobia”, think about the irony of someone like Lindsay Lohan being brought in – someone who has had worldwide gossip paper notoriety and has millions of followers, to be “The Doctor”. Yet she hasn’t really been relevant beyond the crosshairs of the public eye for a long time, and I have to think the band knew that. While I don’t believe they purposely set out to make fun of Lindsay – I do think they may see her celebrity as a great example of what the word “Paper God” really is. When I think about the song in those terms, it makes so much more sense, and I can completely understand its placement on the album.
Paper is thin, is fragile, and can be destroyed easily. What is newsprint one day, becomes trash the next. I can think of several celebrities who have faced similar fates over the years, Britney and Lindsay among them. The irony of having someone with that sort of background (earned or otherwise) as “the doctor” makes far more sense.
We can beat this thing
I hang my head in shame only because I should have seen that coming. I was off my game and they got me good.
Bring it, boys.