Tag Archives: Duran Duran studio

Some New Romantic Looking For the TV Sound

I heard you making patterns rhyme

If you had to categorize Duran Duran in a word, what word would you pick?

Are they pop? Rock? New Wave? Synthpop? Electronic? New Romantic? I think Nick described the band as Modernist once or twice?? What would you say?

My head is stuck on something precious

Yesterday, there were a few tweets going back and forth between several fans about DD’s music. Classic Pop Magazine has a Synthpop issue out on newsstands now. Although Duran Duran aren’t really mentioned in the magazine much, one of the editors put Ordinary World in their top ten synthpop songs. I find that interesting, because I wouldn’t characterize Ordinary World that way at all.

That got me thinking, of course. If Ordinary World isn’t truly synthpop, then what? I don’t think I ever came up with a reasonable answer for that. I always struggle with calling them a pop band because in my head – they’re not. They’re not music you’d hear on Top 40 radio (although we certainly did once). They might have some pop songs in their catalog, but I really hate the idea of categorizing them just as pop. It seems so pedestrian, boring and kind of cringy. Clearly, they’re not rock either. I mean, yeah, they’ve got guitar, but they don’t rely on it. I’d say similar for Synthpop – in my head, a synthpop group relies on the synthesizer for the melody lines. Is that the case with DD? I’d argue no on that.

Does it help to take one album at a time? I’d say no. For example, I mean, what do you call their debut? New Romantic? The problem with that, of course, is that the moniker isn’t as much about the music as it is about the fashion of the time. The reason we think of Planet Earth as New Romantic (aside from the words being in the lyrics…thank you Duran Duran…) is because of the ruffled shirts, the over the top hair and make up, the pirate look. To use a similar idea to what was discussed yesterday on Twitter, bands who were classified as New Romantic had synthesizers, but not all bands who had synthesizers were New Romantic. (nor were they New Wave – thanks @GuyFansofDuran!)

My eyes so cloudy, I can’t see

I think that for me, one of the reasons I’ve always valued Duran Duran so highly is that they didn’t CARE about boxes marked “New Wave” or “New Romantic”, or even “Pop” or “Rock”. The one thing I loved most about the band was also the one thing that challenged me from album to album. I never knew what a finished, new album would sound like, and there was never any way to prepare. As an aside, I’ve learned to never, EVER review one of their songs publicly after only a few listens. I have to sit with the music for a while. Paper Gods took me a good solid two or three weeks before I finally had that light bulb “I GET IT!” moment. I still don’t know what I’d characterize Paper Gods as, musically, though. Does it matter?

For those of us who tend to value a sense of routine and normalcy, Duran Duran has sometimes been the very opposite.

They’ve created music they liked. In their purist, most raw moments as a band in the very beginning, I don’t think they were worried about marketing or labels. Sure, they wanted fame and fortune. They wanted to be the biggest band in the world. But I don’t know that they were overly concerned with the minutia in getting there.

Can you hear me now?

What do I mean by that? Well, what I’m NOT saying is that they were careless for detail. That isn’t it at all. I just don’t think that they consciously sat back and tried to figure out what music might sell best, or get radio time the easiest. There was a certain kind of bliss with industry ignorance in that respect. How self-aware was the band before they really “made it”? I believe it was simple enough for them to get out of their own way back then.

Writing and recording under those conditions had to have been easier in that aspect. I mean, once you know who you are, and what you’ve done in the past, I suspect that has the potential to set the bar incredibly high. When I compare Rio and Seven and the Ragged Tiger, I see the latter as evidence of being far too self-aware, despite my undying love for the work.

I’m not sure how Duran Duran gets past all of the mind games that come along with recording nowadays. The ghosts of albums past, the requirements of record labels to deliver at least one verifiable, marketable, top 40 hit coupled with the notions of playlists, streaming, and the idea of how much differently music is consumed these days than forty years earlier. On top of all that, deciding what kind of music they’re actually going to record, and fighting whatever label people want to put on them now? Pop? Rock? Electronic? EDM? Urban? Contemporary? Oh hell no. How can anybody be creative in that environment?

Is there anybody out there trying to get through?

If I were them, I’d want to throw my phone in the trash compactor, unplug from society, and forget the labels. It seems to me that it might be the only way to record an album with honest, pure, organic intentions.

Of course, if they did that, then they wouldn’t be able to read my incredibly humorous and intelligent fodder.

Hmm.

Throw your electronic devices away, gentlemen… and good luck!

-R

Don’t You Just Wonder? #DD15 Here We Go!

Imagine popping online and seeing this:

Duran Duran graces the studio once again!
DD 2018, in the studio working on new music #DD2018

You don’t need to imagine it, because yesterday – it happened!  Sure enough, Duran Duran is back at it! #DD15

Yes, they’re all together in the same room. They certainly look quite pleased with themselves for remembering to provide photographic evidence of such a meeting. Don’t you kinda wonder??

I sure do. I wonder what they’re thinking about.

The blank screen I see when I click on “post new” each day serves to equally daunt and empower. Even when I know what I want to write, typing it and seeing the words appear doesn’t always go smoothly. Some people have coffee in the morning, others need a shower – I need both. There are mornings when I have stood there under the water, letting it wake me up and giving me a minute or so to think about the day ahead, and have completely composed a blog.  I rush to get ready, only to begin writing and realize I can’t exactly remember the genius idea I had running through my head ten minutes earlier.  Then there are the days when I have nothing to say at all, and it doesn’t become any clearer when I sit down to the computer.

When Amanda and I were diligently writing manuscripts, each new chapter brought equal amounts of anxiety and excitement. We would try to map out our manuscripts, knowing what each chapter needed to convey and how we planned to get from point A to point Z. Invariably though, I would need to have a phone session during which we would brainstorm over points to consider and include within the chapters. Only then could I settle down enough to begin writing. It was as though I was so excited to write that I couldn’t sort through how to begin.

When I look at that picture with the four of them, I wonder how they feel. Are they nervous about starting again? Do they know what they want to do for #DD15? Is jamming for them similar to what Amanda and I might do as we chat about whatever we’re about to write?

As a clarinet player, I was never one of those who could improv well. I have a difficult time coming up with melodies on the spot, I suppose. Sight-reading is a skill I’m far more comfortable with. Clarinet players are typically orchestra people, for the most part. The idea of sitting down and composing an entire song, or a complete album, sounds an awful lot like climbing Mount Everest for the fun of it…and then doing it again, just for kicks. Thinking of the task on those terms reminds me of how remarkable it is to be blogging about the potential for a 15th studio album.

Whatever they might be feeling or doing in this moment, I love the energy surging through the fandom right now. It pulses like an electric current, supplying life, and waking us up out of a dreamy slumber. None of us know what is coming, but we’re excited by the possibilities. #DD15, here we go!

-R

Duran Duran and Lindsay Lohan?

Not sure about everyone else in the world, but I really was not ready to be greeted by the sight of a photo of Duran Duran and Lindsay Lohan this morning.  Moreover, I was definitely not ready to deal with the speculation that somehow because that photo exists – Lindsay must be singing in the studio with the band for #DD14.

Duran Duran Lindsay Lohan
Lindsay Lohan – Instagram

So that’s my Monday so far.  How’s yours?

Let me be clear (and fair).  I don’t care about Ali Lohan (Lindsay’s sister and the other female in the photo on the far right). She is entitled to her own career, and I wish her well. If out of the 3 or 4 billion people that are on the planet – it was HER voice that they needed for this album to make it perfect – then you know, great. I think it’s rather unfortunate that her sister’s reputation will continue to follow her, but those are the breaks. On the other hand, I don’t know that I care that much about Lindsay Lohan either. I think her relevance to the world is way overstated, but apparently she still has fans that grab on to her every word.  You can’t argue that she’s got 2.4 million followers on Instagram and another 8.64 million on Twitter…where she made sure to mention that she was “recording with some greats”.  Those greats being of course, Duran Duran. Duran Duran and Lindsay Lohan. Good Lord.

Speculation is a funny thing.  It was my understanding over the weekend that it was only Ali, or Aliana as she goes by now professionally, that would be working with the band, but then this photo comes out and yes, the internet seems to have grabbed onto the idea that Lindsay didn’t learn enough from her debut that no – singing probably isn’t a proper career choice for her, and that maybe she’s really singing with Duran Duran.  She even made sure to repost a photo of her album, Speak on Instagram…as though she was spending serious time contemplating her past and getting her followers excited by the prospects of another album. (If I were her, I would be looking at my past and trying to remember where it all went ass over teakettle so I wouldn’t do it again, but again – that’s just me.)  So the run down as I know it stands at: Mr. Hudson, John Frusciante, Nile Rodgers, Mark Ronson, then of course Spike Stent and whomever else worked on the engineering, production and mixing…and maybe Aliana and Lindsay Lohan. Talk about an all-star cast.  You’d almost think they were looking for a hit.

I won’t lie, when I saw the picture of Duran Duran and Lindsay Lohan this morning (that was originally taken for Linsday and posted on her Instagram), I balked. I recoiled a bit. I even posted on Duran Duran’s Facebook status (where even DDHQ said they were surprised by this one) that I thought it was gross. I did, however, go back and delete my comment because I realized that posting something unkind on the band’s Facebook post did nothing but insult the post. The band doesn’t care, and I really don’t blame them. It’s probably fair to say I’m not the only fan out there that was a little disgusted by the idea of Duran Duran and Lindsay Lohan being in the studio together, judging from the comments I saw – but still others were ever supportive of the band’s choices as always, saying that Lindsay deserved another chance and that of course she thinks it’s cool to hang with Duran Duran because they’re the best. In all fairness, it hasn’t been confirmed, denied or even mentioned by DDHQ whether or not Lindsay Lohan was just visiting or if she was truly recording, and I still suspect it’s only her sister that was doing any vocals, and maybe Lindsay herself was capitalizing on some possible press by posting the Instagram photo and commenting on being in the studio.

I think one person summed it up best on Duran Duran’s Facebook though, by simply saying “Oh no” as their comment on the photo with Duran Duran and Lindsay Lohan.  My feelings exactly.

-R