Tag Archives: Duran Duran albums

Question of the Day: Friday, August 30, 2019

The best 9 tracks of Paper Gods, according to our voters:

  • Paper Gods
  • Pressure Off
  • Face for Today
  • What Are the Chances
  • Change the Skyline
  • Butterfly Girl
  • Only in Dreams
  • The Universe Alone
  • Northern Lights

The question of the day shifts into a new type of questions about what Duranies own, in terms of Duran music, etc.

Which formats of the first album do you own? Please click all that apply to you!

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Makes My Hair Stand Up On End

Synchronize but don’t comprehend

Lately, I’ve been stealing topics from Twitter. Shout-out to @BoysMakeNoise for drumming up such great discussion topics through his album surveys. (He’s also the brilliant mind from yesterday’s blog, and I failed to credit his genius directly!) They get me thinking, and that leads to writing.

The fact is, I have little to discussion in terms of actual “fandom” practices these days (give me time, because shows will be happening and I’m sure there will be much to discuss). So I’ve been going back through albums, listening and rethinking. Today is an Astronaut day.

What got me started on this particular album was a survey that @BoysMakeNoise posted on Twitter. It was a simple question – “What do you listen to more often?” The choices were Astronaut and All You Need Is Now.

All You Need is Now won by a virtual landslide, in case you were wondering.

Another moment I commit

The question itself is interesting because of its wording. He didn’t ask which album is preferred, just which one is listened to more often. Upon first thought, one might scoff and say it’s the same answer, but I’d challenge you to think again. For example, if you posed Notorious against Red Carpet Massacre and asked me – LATELY – I’d have to say RCM. I’ve been listening to that a lot lately for a number of reasons, but I still prefer Notorious!

So back to Astronaut. It was the first, and only album, for the fab five post reunion, and that alone caused me to listen to it non-stop for a long time. I knew every subtle nuance, every change in dynamics, and each drum fill. (probably just like anyone else reading!) However, after the Astronaut tour, I admittedly got tired of it. I put the album away, only to listen to a few songs here or there.

I’ve pulled Astronaut out every once in a while, and each time I do – I notice that I don’t need to hear it from start to finish. I tend to choose a few songs, skip around, and then I don’t need to hear it all again for a while. I can still remember how I felt when I first heard the album: mixtures of pride and excitement leveled with a teeny bit of disappointment that some of the demos I’d originally heard weren’t included or that songs were changed.

I’m addicted to the state you’re in

For a long time, I didn’t differentiate my excitement for being involved in the fan community, the joy of the band being back together, or even the elation of traveling to be with friends and go to shows, from the album itself. Those feelings were all entwined, tangled together, indecipherable from one another. Time has done it’s job, and I feel a bit less biased these days than I might have at the time it was released in 2004.

When I listen to Astronaut now, the album shows some age now. There are a few standout songs for me, like the title track, Sunrise, Chains, and even Still Breathing, but I find that a lot of the rest of the album is easy to leave behind. Unlike albums such as Paper Gods, or Rio, or even Seven and the Ragged Tiger, the songs don’t necessarily flow from one to the next. The theme of the album…if there is indeed one (I’d argue there is not), isn’t carried. There’s very little cohesion. Now, that’s not necessarily a fault of the band as much as it might have been the recording style of the day – I’m just glad that they’ve gone back to recording an album as though it is one complete story from the first song to the last.

Where it’s gonna end up, anybody knows

Oddly, these points don’t make Astronaut less endearing to me. I still love it because of what time it represents during the band’s history. I think there is much to love there – who would have thought in 1997 or 1998 that a brand new album from the original five members was just around the corner?? Instead, I find a great deal of satisfaction from being able to sit back and thoroughly examine Astronaut’s chapter in Duran Duran’s history.

I also think this discussion provides a great springboard into the topic of listening to complete albums versus playlists. Is there still merit to recording a full-album? I have to wonder how the band feels, as well as how fans feel about it in 2019…but that will have to wait for another day.

-R

Which Full Album Live Would You Prefer?

I like to check out set lists.  Before the Depeche Mode show, I spent time checking out the set list for this tour.  I guess I’m a little like those TV and movie fans who read spoilers online.  While in the case of Depeche or the Killers, I look at the set lists to have an idea of what they are playing.  Yet, in the case of Duran, I just like to know what they are playing even if I’m not going to be seeing them any time soon.  Naturally, then, I looked at the set lists from last week’s shows.  I like to see if there are any surprises and this time, there were!

At the Croatia show, they busted out a minute or so of the Universe Alone before diving into Save a Prayer.  As soon as I saw that, I wanted to see video since I never thought they would play that song from Paper Gods!  If you haven’t seen it, here is a little video.  The fans there were pretty excited!

Then, they played Face for Today at the Home Festival!  Here is a video of that:

This got me thinking.  How many songs from Paper Gods have they played live?  Let’s check!

Paper Gods?  Yes.  Last Night in the City?  Yes.  You Kill Me with Silence?  Yes.  Pressure Off?  Yes.  Face for Today?  Yes.  Danceophobia?  Yes.  What are the Chances?  Yes.  Sunset Garage?  No.  Change the Skyline?  No.  Butterfly Girl?  No.  Only in Dreams?  Yes.  The Universe Alone?  Yes.  Of course, they have not played any of the bonus tracks.  Ignoring those, they have played all but 3 tracks.  Is that common?  Was that the case of All You Need Is Now?  Astronaut?

For All You Need Is Now, they played every track except for the bonus tracks.  With Astronaut, they played all of the tracks except for One of Those Days, I think.  Red Carpet Massacre was a little different since they played the entire album in order on Broadway.  I was lucky to attend one of those shows, which definitely helped my appreciation of some tracks (Tricked Out!!).  Over the course of my fan career (is that such a thing?  Should it be?), I have also seen every track from the Rio album at some point or another, if I leave out b-sides.

It seems to me that one idea that has come up both in relation to the 40th anniversary and otherwise is the idea of Duran playing shows where they play an entire album.  Personally, I like that idea.  I think a lot of fans do.  Many fans might say that they would like them to play the entire Rio album.  I get that.  It is a fan favorite.  For me, though, I would choose an album that I haven’t seen most of the songs played live.  One of my favorite albums is the first album and there are lot of songs on that one that I haven’t heard.  Of course, I haven’t seen many songs off of Liberty, Medazzaland or Pop Trash.  In fact, there are VERY few songs off of those albums that I have seen live based on when I have seen Duran shows.  I missed the tours surrounding Medazzaland and Pop Trash.

I don’t have a good answer then to the question of which album I would prefer to hear live.  If my goal is to hear more songs that I haven’t before, then I should go with Pop Trash.  If I want a favorite album, then I should go for the first album or All You Need Is Now.  Interestingly, though, I think my final answer might be Seven and the Ragged Tiger.  I have only seen a few songs from that album–far less than the first album and it is one that I enjoy.  It might be a good compromise between the never heard and a big time favorite.

What album would you want to see performed in entirety live and why?

-A

The Ranking of the Albums

For the last couple of weeks, we asked fans to identify which Duran album is their favorite, second favorite, third, etc. all the way to the least favorite.  Based on the results, Duran’s albums ranked in this way:

  1. Rio (The favorite)
  2. 1st Album/Self-Titled
  3. Seven and the Ragged Tiger
  4. All You Need Is Now
  5. The Wedding Album
  6. Paper Gods
  7. Notorious
  8. Astronaut
  9. Big Thing
  10. Red Carpet Massacre
  11. Liberty
  12. Medazzaland
  13. Pop Trash
  14. Thank You

Of course, these results are based on those people who participated.  We had lots more people vote on the first day when the favorite album was asked with a lot less participation when we got to the 10th or 11th favorite.  People stated that they had a hard time remembering what was left on their lists.  I could relate, which is why I had to write my list down!

Not Surprising:

These results do not surprise me.  While I might find one or two placements interesting, I was definitely not shocked to find Rio at the top.  It routinely tops the list when we have asked this question before or something very similar to it.  In fact, 46% voted for Rio at the top.  Interestingly enough, the lowest placement it had in this set of polls is second.  Everyone who participated loves this album.

The bottom of the list did not catch me off guard either.  I knew that Medazzaland, Pop Trash and Thank You would be near the bottom.  It was really just a matter of which one would be where.  I recognize that many fans get frustrated by this as they feel that Rio is overrated and albums like Medazzaland are far underrated.  While I definitely feel that Rio gets a LOT of love and perhaps too much love, I have to recognize that the fans who participate feel the way they do.  If everyone who loves Medazzaland participated, maybe the results would be different.

Slightly Surprising:

Three albums did not get chosen for ANYONE’S favorite, which were Thank You, Pop Trash and Red Carpet Massacre.  I really didn’t think that Pop Trash or Thank You would be favorites.  Some fans defend Pop Trash but those fans are louder in their support over Medazzaland.  As for Thank You, it is a covers album.  Duranies, apparently, prefer the songs the band writes themselves.  Now, Red Carpet Massacre, on the other hand, does surprise me a little.  Every time we bring up this album and mention how divided the Duran fan base was, people come on to tell us about how great the album is and how much they love it, claiming how it was dealt with was the problem.  If that is the case, someone would have chosen it as his/her favorite.  No one chose RCM or Thank You until the 4th favorite album was mentioned.  Clearly, those albums are not generally loved.

I watched the placement of the post-reunion albums carefully.  Obviously, I just mentioned that Red Carpet Massacre placed the worst out of the four.  Astronaut was not that much better at 8th favorite.  Paper Gods picked up the 6th favorite and All You Need Is Now landed in the 4th spot.  The first three favorites were the first three albums.  This tells me that most Duranies became fans then and prefer the early 80s sound.  After the 80s were chosen was All You Need Is Now.  Think about that.  The fan favorite after the three albums of the early 80s, after the band’s most popular era was that one.  It was not the latest in Paper Gods.  Nor was it the one produced in part by Timbaland or featured Justin Timberlake.  Dom was on that album, not Andy.

What does this tell me about Duran fans?  As much as many fans appreciate experimentation, the general sound fans love is the 80s sound found on the first 3 albums and AYNIN.  As the band considers going back into the studio, perhaps, they will think about that.

What do the rest of you think about the results?

-A

Question of the Day: Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Album Rankings:

  1. Rio
  2. 1st Album/Self-Titled
  3. Seven and the Ragged Tiger
  4. All You Need Is Now
  5. The Wedding Album
  6. Paper Gods
  7. Notorious
  8. Astronaut
  9. Big Thing
  10. Red Carpet Massacre
  11. Liberty
  12. Medazzaland
  13. Pop Trash
  14. Thank You

Which song do you like better:  Arcadia’s Election Day or Duran’s New Religion?

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