Tag Archives: Duran Duran

A Crack in the Ocean

Hello, world. It’s Thursday, March 26. I’m still surviving. At my house, the sky is brilliant blue with a few scattered clouds in the distance, and it’s about 46 degrees (F) this morning. I’ve already been out, feeding my chickens and breathing some fresh morning air. When I go outside, it seems unthinkable that there’s a pandemic. The world almost feels normal, and I can nearly trick myself into believing it’s just a regular day. Only when I come back inside and see the belongings of my oldest strewn throughout, notice the time – it’s well past when I would have normally driven Sabrina to school – and hear my husband on a conference call in his office, that I stop to think about the enormity of what is going on. It’s not just my family, my city, or even my state or country. The entire world is fighting.

Surely, this is a once in a lifetime experience (and not a good one, I might add). Not that long ago, I might have said that living through the days of 9/11 would be the one “mark” on my life. It would be the one “thing” of my generation. Never in my dreams – I mean sure, I watched the movie Outbreak, and I’ve even watched the cable show “Doomsday Preppers” enough to know that some people plan for this sort of deal. I just never did. I mean, not really. A global pandemic just seemed like something out of a sci-fi movie. And here we are.

The good news, if there is any to be had here, is that we really are all in this together. Right now, we’re really all one another have. I know that when Jason came up with his brilliant idea to host a DJ session later today, and when Amanda and I talked about hosting an online video party, our thought was to try and connect with fans – or to provide a vehicle for fans to connect with one another. Most people are social – even if only to a limited extent. It is bizarre to go for weeks on end without really seeing a single soul, even if it’s just to see someone when you’re out shopping for groceries. Which is why each and every time someone comes up with a new idea to pass the day – we jump at it as though it were a lifeline.

Yesterday, one of those lifelines was thrown to us by Duran Duran – DDHQ – as they suggested we watch Sing Blue Silver together as a community. The idea was simple – watch your own copy of SBS, or find it online somewhere, then use a hashtag to tweet about it. Follow the hashtag, and join the conversation. Commune with your fellow DD fans. Easy, and fun! These online events don’t have to be a big thing. We’re pretty self-sufficient – we watch a video, chat about it, and suddenly the day doesn’t seem so darn gloomy. And it didn’t.

I was having a tough time yesterday, and to be fair – I’m having a tough time period. I am thankful I have room to walk here (although I question my intelligence in buying a property that is so damn hilly as I struggle to make my way up to the mailbox or front gate for a wine delivery. (thank goodness our local wineries have started a delivery service – it keeps them in business, not to mention my own mood!) Food? Who needs food? Wine though? Listen, I have seven people living here (including myself), four cats, two dogs and 20 chickens. I’ll take the wine, thank you. So, when DDHQ sent out the tweet about this vaguely familiar type event, I was giddy.

Ok, so I was giddy for a couple of reasons. First, it was something new to break up the monotony of the day, and who doesn’t want to watch Sing Blue Silver? As I tweeted yesterday, I have seen that movie probably a hundred times now – and yet there are moments I still forget about being in there. I never get tired of seeing it! Second, I’m not going to lie, nor will I mince words – watching videos online together and chatting via Twitter? Yeah, that’s Daily Duranie territory. We have been doing those parties for a long time now, and it made me happy to see the band use the idea and put it to good use. We weren’t so crazy for thinking that kind of thing was fun after all, I guess.

Naturally, real life doesn’t stop here. The aforementioned full house keeps me kind of busy. Right as my clock struck two and I clicked on the link to SBS (YouTube), I was working to shape some dough into hamburger buns for dinner. Yes, I’ve taken to making my own bread rather than run to the store – more on that another time. Then there was a tussle between the two dogs. My dog Gizmo seems to have lost most of his eyesight now, and so noises scare him, as does Mallie, my daughter’s sweet Alaskan Husky. It’s my job to keep them quiet and happy. I forget what else was going on here, but it was very hard for me to take more than a glance or two at the television while I ran around the house, but I managed. I’d do it again in a heartbeat just to give myself a little bit of normalcy and levity, that is for sure.

This afternoon, I will be doing more of that, as I tune in for the live streaming DJ session that my buddy Jason (Velvet Rebel) will be hosting. I may not be able to have it turned up as loudly as I might like, but I’ll definitely listen while I clean up around here. He’s going to post the web address to his stream a bit later – look for it. Come hang out and enjoy!

I’m a little sad this is my last blog for the week. It’s the one way I consistently connect with people beyond my family. Last night I got a text from our neighbors and nearly cried – they’ve become such close friends of ours that we would routinely meet up after dinner, or spend time on the weekends doing anything from wine tasting to listening to records, and I miss them. This blog has come to serve as my major connection to the outside world. Thank goodness there is our Zoom video party to look forward to on Sunday! Hope to see everyone there!

-R

Daily Duranie Zoom Meetup!

During a time when video meetings are quickly becoming the norm, Daily Duranie has jumped on board the train! As we brainstormed of ways to try and connect with other fans, even while concerts and tours are being cancelled. We thought about how we could incorporate videos and chat together in one single place.

Previously, we’d have these video parties by putting together a YouTube playlist, then chatting on Twitter, making sure to use a hashtag so that others could follow along. It wasn’t easy, particularly if you only had use of a single screen. We found that we could either watch the videos OR chat, unless we had a phone and a laptop or some other combination of screens.

Suddenly, it hit us that maybe we could use Zoom, particularly now while it is free for people to try it out. So, we are going to set up a meeting on Zoom for next Sunday 3/29. The party is scheduled to begin around 11:30 am PST so that way perhaps we can reach at least some people around the globe (we’ll start the meet up by explaining how to use Zoom for video viewing), and we’ll go from there. Our plan is to have a 3-4 hour video party, same rules as always – participate, have fun, and if you’re so inclined – have a cocktail or two! We’re trying to give everyone notice so that if you do not already have Zoom on your laptop, you can get it downloaded. Once we have the meeting details (there’s an ID number and password for each meeting), we will post those details on our FB event page that is going up this afternoon.

Hope to see many of you on Sunday – what better way to spend time than with Duran Duran and friends?!?

– A & R

March Katy Kafe with Simon!

The studio, a cocktail, and some very timely television recommendations are all on tap with this month’s Kafe!

Cocktail of the month – Espresso Martini

While this is totally out of order, given our worldwide circumstances at this time – we should probably all start with a cocktail (if so inclined!). In a shaker, add the following:

  • 1 oz vodka
  • 1 oz Kahlua or Tia Maria
  • 1 oz (or more) of espresso
  • cream
  • 3 coffee beans

Shake the drink “to wake it to life, not put it to bed”. (Listen, I took that straight from the Absolut website. Feel free to interpret that however you want!) Pour the drink from the shaker into a coupe glass and garnish with the 3 coffee beans. Enjoy!!

(my original notes from the Kafe didn’t include the espresso, so I looked it up online and most recipes include it)

Notes from the studio

Simon says he’s been laying down lots of vocal tracks. Personally, I wish they’d do something… ANYTHING…to share with us just so that I could take my mind off of the craziness outside, but I know that’s a virtual impossibility, and an admittedly selfish one at that.

As quickly as he mentioned the vocal tracks, he reminded Katy that he wasn’t going to be giving any information about the album, remarking, “it’s the nature of the business.” He said that these are the final vocals for the album, and that as a band they’re very much in that “determined” phase.

He did say later as part of a radio interview that there is a EuroDisco song which makes my heart soar with hope and anticipation, and that they worked with Giorgio Moroder, Mark Ronson, along with a a duet with Lykke Li – all points destined to make longtime Duranies squeal with excitement.

(I only question why Simon was so willing and able to share such juicy info to a radio interviewer and not to his own die hard fan base. Probably best for me not to think too much about that.)

Back in the Kafe, Katy steered the conversation towards how the band must feel, whether they’re excited or just nervous about the new music. Simon pointedly commented that “Some members of the band are half empty, while others are half full.”

Don’t you just wonder….or do you think you know… who sits on which side of the glass??

For Simon’s part, he considers himself to be half full, and Katy believes that Simon’s enthusiasm can change other people’s minds. He is happy about what it IS, not unhappy about what it is not. (Reasonable point to remember in the coming months!)

Upcoming shows

During the summer, assuming those shows and festivals take place, Simon believes they’ll undoubtedly do some new songs, but not a lot of new songs until the album is released. (I am hearing September as the current date, but one has to wonder if the coronavirus will end up causing a delay.)

Speaking of shows, Simon and Katy commented how there has been an excitement for Duran Duran during the past 10 years or so, and that energy has allowed them the prestige to play in some fantastic venues, including the Hyde Park festival happening this summer. They believe that this is because Duran Duran plays the hits, instead of just playing new material. They tend to rely on those hits to reach a wide audience.

I would not be doing my job if I didn’t point out that they seem to do a lot of festivals these days, and they didn’t play many dedicated shows outside of the US on the last tour for Paper Gods. Now, perhaps what they meant was that they’re being offered prestigious festival appearances as headliners, along with a few very special gigs like the Apollo 50th. Katy herself mentioned during the Paper Gods album cycle that promoters were not coming to them with great packages for actual tours, outside of those for the US – and it made her sad to see so many fans begging for the band to come to their country. It’s Also, Las Vegas feels like a residence at this point, they’ve been there so incredibly often. Yet…

Katy asked Simon if he’d be interested in doing a Vegas residency. At this point, I have to wonder why they haven’t signed on for one – it has certainly felt that way, albeit the shows are spaced out so they come back every six-eight months for a couple of shows. Simon himself is up for one, while others in the band consider it a cliché.

From my own biased point of view, I contemplate the set lists I’ve seen performed. The band plays their hits, and I think they tend to rely on them to sell shows, depending upon the type of show and venue they’re performing. Vegas audiences don’t necessarily know the band’s new music, uses of course we consider the somewhat few die hard Duranies in the audience. That means the majority of the audience comes to the see the band play the music they know best – which is obviously that of the 80s. They’d never get away with not playing Hungry Like the Wolf at this point. Like it or not, that does make them a bit of a nostalgia act, at least in Vegas. Isn’t that what they had hoped to avoid?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not finding fault, but I am saying that it’s time we accept the space we’re in. After all, just like Simon, I’m happy about what it IS, not unhappy about what it is NOT. I just think it’s interesting to see the evolution of what the band has become, and embraced during the last decade. They still create new music, and I believe they embrace those studio opportunities, but they’re also very realistic about what sells to a more mainstream, middle-of-the-road listening audience looking for a night out. We – you, me, and other Duranies around the world – are the exception, not the rule.

Television picks

If you’re like me – and you should be – staying at home these days is the priority. So, what shows does Simon recommend? Here’s a list:

  • Chernobyl
  • Killing Eve
  • Baghdad Central
  • Outsider
  • The Young Pope
  • Good Omen
  • Fake Heiress

Happy watching! Take care of yourself and those around you!!

-R

Sure as Silence Follows Rain


Fingers in my brain

So, I’m going to open this post by saying I’m an idiot. I was apparently far, far sicker than I realized yesterday. Somehow, I wrote and posted an entire diatribe that wasn’t meant to post until today. Better yet, I didn’t realize that I’d actually posted the blog – even after people had commented on it. (No, I wasn’t on medication. I hadn’t even taken an aspirin!) It wasn’t until I was watching television last night just before bed that I realized I’d accidentally posted the blog that day. Not once before that did I give it thought, even when people tweeted that the blog was well-written.

I have somewhat emerged from the fog of illness this morning, enough to think about some things. As I commented yesterday, it’s just a very strange time. The world’s unrest, the elections for the US, coronavirus, and whatever else. More than one person commented on how awful the world, and life, is right now and that it must be difficult for the band to even be creative.

Who are you to fail

That’s an interesting thought. On one hand, I am a musician. I don’t think I’ve been this creative in many decades, and it is the one of a few bright spots in my life. However, I don’t know about anyone else, but when I’m seeing movie premieres scrapped until November, it makes me wonder. What about press conferences with health and city officials suggesting not to hug or shake hands? Watching good people leave presidential races because we’re back to choosing between two old white men yet AGAIN?? Well, it doesn’t leave a lot of room for hope or creativity, does it?

Then again, maybe it does…and to be frank, I sure as hell hope the band is past the writing stage of the album at this point now anyway.

Then there’s the coronavirus. What a fucking MESS. Sorry for cursing. Actually, no. I’m not. This is ridiculous. Yesterday, the state of California declared a State of Emergency. Health officials were on TV, talking about how to handle large gatherings. People, including myself, are wondering how long it’ll be before sporting events, concerts, and other events are curtailed. Costco is an absolute nightmare. A zoo. You think doing presales are bad? Try fighting carts driven by determined people headed for the toilet paper aisle at Costco. It’s like doing battle.

I’m having to rethink whether or not I should go to a party tomorrow night – my neighbors take turns hosting parties on the first Friday night of the month where we bring a bottle of wine and a dish to share – 150 neighbors are on the list, many of whom are over 60 years old, and I’ve been sick with a cold this week. Maybe one of them are sick now, and they could spread it to me or my family? It seems crazy to even have to consider this sort of thing. It’s a bizarre time to be living on this planet. Seems like music is one of purest joys we have left. And yet..

Who am I to resist

I still have to wonder where the people are? Where’d the fans go? It used to be that when we’d even get the slightest murmurings from somebody “in the back” saying that an album is going to be released six months (essentially) later than originally estimated, people would come out of the woodwork. There’d be calls for public floggings, people carrying clubs and/or torches… (slight exaggeration on my part, perhaps), but right now, it’s mostly silence.

*taps non-existent microphone*

This thing on???

Am I the only one left? Nope, can’t be, at least not here in America. I just checked Ticketmaster and it seems as though most of the seats for the two Vegas shows are gone. I’m going to apologize up front because I know there are people from other parts of the world who read this blog and will undoubtedly comment that I should be so lucky as to even have the band play in the US – therefore insinuating that I should shut up about the cost of tickets and Ticketmaster. Sorry, but I’m going to “go there” anyway because it’s my site and this is a real problem regardless of where the band is playing.

I try to leave the memory behind

As I checked seats using the password for the presale that TM sent me this morning, I noticed that on Saturday night, the cheapest seats available were about $300 and they were way back…like IN the back. Oh hell no, I’m not driving my happy ass through the California desert for the back at $300 plus fees!

I love Duran Duran, and I admit that I have paid a pretty penny to be near the front for a good many shows. However, one thing I haven’t done, and refuse to do, is pay an insane amount of money to be in the back. The seats I saw today were all on the secondary market, and they were all highly inflated, non-DD VIP pricing.

I can’t speak for anybody else, but I’m out. These prices are crazy, Ticketmaster is doing nothing to stop the secondary market because – surprise surprise – they directly profit from it! I wouldn’t be surprised if the artists do as well to some limited extent. My thinking is: if people are willing to buy those super insanely priced front row tickets at $5,000 or more a piece – artists sure don’t have a difficult time saying that the command VIP prices of over $500 for second or third row (much less first), do they? Sorry, but I’m calling a spade a spade here. Everyone profits, except for the fans.

What’s left to believe in

Granted, maybe you’re one of the privileged few that doesn’t mind shelling out stacks of cash to have a front row center seat. Maybe you think a 90-minute show warrants a $500+ ticket price. For that matter, maybe you’re one of those that likes to buy as many tickets for all the shows they can – regardless of whether or not they’re actually able to attend the shows, so that they can sell them off one by one (at inflated prices) to fund the front row ticket habit. I’d just like to be one of the people to say thanks a bunch. You’ve managed to help price fans like me right out of your way.

Several years back, I knew I’d have to get very lucky to get those front row tickets, but at least I felt like I had half a shot. Likely, the same shot as anyone else. Sometimes I’d be lucky and other times I’d be in second or third row. Maybe back a bit further, but it was still all luck. Nowadays luck has gone right out the window. Ticketmaster, along with these crazy people willing to buy so many tickets at one time (buying a limit of four only is a limit if you use a single device along with one sign-in, people) and resell them for inflated prices, has kind of ruined the whole concert experience.

I don’t know. Seems to me that the world is off it’s damn axis right now. Nothing is working quite right. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop, but maybe, it already has.

-R

We’ve Come This Far

Hi everyone! I need to thank Jason profusely for his expert handling of my blogging days during my absence. He did an outstanding job, and I am very grateful. Have fun in Chicago with the Cowboy Junkies, Jason!

It’ll be alright in the end

I wish I could say my life is all back to normal now, but it certainly does not feel that way. I don’t have much of an update except that my sister and I are working through the timeline of what occurred and when, along with figuring out what to do next so that we can help my mom. I guess it is sort of a new normal that I wasn’t quite prepared to manage. Naturally, my body responded to the stress, as I knew it would, by coming down sick. I had no voice at all yesterday, which was fun for my family.

It could be just my mood responding to everything around me, but nothing feels quite right at the moment. As I’m sure most know, Duran Duran announced two more Vegas shows yesterday. I knew immediately that I would not be going, so I didn’t stop to even entertain the thought for a single moment. The weird thing is that I saw very few others talk about it much beyond scoffing at the idea that the band would play the same venue, in the same US city, for what will be the seventh and eighth times.

Despite my understanding that the band doesn’t choose where they play – meaning that a promoter typically comes to management with a proposal to play certain cities and venues that s/he works with, and then management has to decide if the terms of the proposal meets their needs – it has become incredibly clear that most fans don’t understand at all. They’re angry, and rightfully so, that the band continues to play the US – never mind the same venue and city. I don’t know if Simon, John, Roger and Nick are even aware of how angry fans are at this point, but they should be – and maybe they don’t care, but it’s worse than I’ve ever seen it. I saw a post from Katy on Facebook and commented that it was nice to see the band getting out there only to be told that they’d only be getting out there if they were playing in other places besides the US.

Brings you down

Duran Duran is playing shows this summer. They’re not just doing the two gigs in Vegas, but also festivals in the UK, Denmark, Sweden, Ireland and Portugal. I highly doubt that is all they’ve got planned for the long haul, but at this time – it’s what I know. What is bizarre to me though, is how rarely I see fans talking about what shows they’re going to see. Even this morning, I sat down to see how the twitterverse did with the Ticketmaster Vegas presale. The program I use for Twitter allows me to watch several different accounts (both the tweets from the account as well as @ the account) at one time. I have it set up to see what is being tweeted to Duran Duran – and interestingly enough, for the first time I can remember, I didn’t see a single tweet about the pre-sales. Either no one is going, or no one is talking about it. Either way, that can’t be good.

When Amanda and I first started Daily Duranie, I couldn’t spend enough time on Twitter. The columns moved so fast, and if we dared say that we were going to a show or participating in a pre-sale, it seemed like comments came out of the woodwork, but no longer. These days, I’m far more apt to see retweets from followers about politics, than I am to see comments about the latest Duran Duran news. In a lot of ways, it is worrisome, but understandable. Times have changed.

Nobody knows

A few years ago, fans seemed to be gearing up for a 40th anniversary. Expectations were undoubtedly set incredibly high for something that has honestly gotten nary a mention from the fab five. Sure, they’ve talked about it a little, and there was even some mention of things they might like to do, but let’s face it fans, it’s already March of 2020. There’s probably not likely to be a spring release for this album, which isn’t a surprise – first of all, most of us have been around this block with Duran Duran before. We know Durantime rather well now. Secondly, the band was already starting to back away from their hopes of a spring release during some of the more recent Katy Kafes. Statements that were once fairly positive were more of a subtle, “We’re not sure about spring”. Patience is indeed a virtue!

I’ve heard mumblings of a possible show in honor of Simon’s first gig with the band, and a few “special” releases of material that will likely cost more than most can readily and easily afford, but little detail beyond. I can distinctly recall a certain group of fans claiming to have the ear of a manager, going as far as to amass a short list of items that fans might like to be done in order to celebrate. One has to wonder what ever happened.

At one time, I would notice times like these, where Duran Duran talk had slowed online and think “Well, it’ll pick back up once the new album is released”, and I think it will this time too…but at the same time it just feels different. Could absolutely just be me, but it could also be that many of us are no longer in our early or even mid-40s. Now we’re in our 50s or getting darn close to it, along with grown children, elderly parents, the cusp of retirement or at least thinking that it’s headed down the line, or we’re just tired!! Standing in GA for hours on end, dealing with Ticketmaster, or the attitudes, comments, annoyances, etc of other fans. These are indeed strange days. I never thought about fandom in my fifties, and for me – that doesn’t come until November, but even peering at it occasionally from this point seems offbeat at best!

Would seem lonely

Then there’s me. I’m not going to Las Vegas. I keep having to say the words to myself, or shout them to other people when not even asked – which I realize may get me shut into a padded room for while but maybe that would give me some peace anyway- just to remind myself that it’s true. I’m not going. I didn’t buy tickets for the pre-sale today. I didn’t even chat with Amanda about it. I just knew there was no way I was going. Even though I’ve gone through the motions of being told of shows within mere hours of pre-sales before, this time, it ticked me off. I have things to do, and to have all of that feel shoved aside in order to deal with DD ticket drama simply was not going to happen. I just said no. I thought about a lot of the bad taste I had left in my mouth after the last Vegas trip. The drama, the crazy comments about meet-ups, the travel stress, and the fact that I am sick of Vegas just made me say no. It is weird, I can’t swear that I won’t regret it on April 30th…or even March 5th (yes, that’s tomorrow)…but I didn’t get tickets today. So that’s not normal.

Maybe I’m alone here, but things just feel weird. Is it just that odd “no mans land” in-between period between albums, or is it something else?

-R

Serious – The Daily Duranie Review

Hey hey hey, it’s just past the middle of February and we’re already to “Serious”, off of Liberty. You’d think we weren’t slackers!!

The song is the 22nd single from Duran Duran, which reached a staggering #3 in Italy, and a disappointing #48 in the UK. We won’t even discuss the US. By the time Serious was released, interest in Liberty had already cooled. Unfortunately, Serious was the band’s least receptive single to that date.

Something Rhonda discovered as she did some background research for this review was that the sales of Liberty were so poor that plans for a third single (“First Impression” in the states, “Liberty” for Europe) were shelved.

We have to ask, was the song really that bad? We already know Nick wasn’t a fan of making this song the second single, but maybe it’s time to give it a listen again!

Rhonda

Musicality/Instrumentation

There is something about the guitar groove of this song that just sends me. I hear the hook and immediately think of warm, sunshine-filled summer late afternoons on the patio, and I really don’t know why. Maybe it’s because the song feels so easy and natural, just like a summer weekend afternoon. The guitar is almost but not quite a jazz groove, and it drives the whole song. As the conductor of my orchestra says, “There are tempos that are meant to be played dead on, others that are meant to feel like they are dragging just the tiniest bit, and still others that move the song ahead.” This one does the latter, thanks to the guitar. It isn’t a strong driving beat in the same way that JT drives the tempo in Careless Memories, but the groove keeps the song from being a slow ballad, if that makes sense.

In this case, guitar is the star of the song, and does the job well. That melodic groove sets the tone, drives the tempo, and steers the ship. I think my one complaint is that there’s this whole bridge section that sounds to be nothing more than a dreamy sequence with some syncopated drums to open it. There’s no real purpose, as no instruments are being shown off, and it isn’t as though the tone of the song suddenly changes. It’s just…there. The song didn’t really need it, other than to fill space and time.

I love that the rest of the instrumentation is balanced. I can hear the bass in the depths of the mix, the drums bring it together, and synthesizer/keyboards are only there to help anchor the lyrics to the music. There aren’t many songs when I can say that keyboards really take a backseat, but in this one – they do. Musically, I think it’s one of their best, but perhaps on the wrong album at the wrong time.

Vocals

I’m sure it’s not the case, but the vocals sound so effortless and easy that I’d swear they recorded them in a single take. (That is a compliment, I promise!) No whiny falsetto, there aren’t layers upon layers of vocals beyond a few tracks in the background to do a sort of call and response, it just feels easy breezy and natural. Hard to imagine going from the “sounds like he swallowed gravel” in Violence of Summer or even Hothead straight to some of the smoothest crooning I’ve heard from Simon, but he does it with style and grace.

Lyrics

These are not the craziest lyrics ever written, nor are they that complicated, or hard to understand. They’re very simple, with an easy message…which may or may not appeal to long time fans. It’s the love song that doesn’t quite play like a love song. It’s not slow, it’s not overly gushy or sweet. In fact, the words are quite playful in parts, which I can appreciate. I know that die hard fans look for those slightly more intelligent, less black-and-white lyrics. On this album, I think they’re hard pressed to find them, and that just might have been about where the band was in their career at the time, or where Simon was in his life, too.

Overall

I love being able to go back and review Duran Duran’s catalog. We try our best to be fair, but I think it’s very difficult to replicate how I might have rated the music when first introduced to it. For example, I like this song, but I can’t remember what else I was listening to in 1990. What was on the radio? Did Serious fit? I had to consult Google and see what else was popular in order to truly address why this song didn’t hit the charts or receive radio play (and in fairness, the answer is far more complicated than I can address here). To my ears, there’s no reason why this song wasn’t at least a mild hit, except that maybe it was a bit too easy, a bit too jazzy compared to what was on the radio.

In 1990, on one end of the gamut there was Warrant with
“I Saw Red”, or “Silent Lucidity” from Queensryche, then on to “Man in the Box” by Alice in Chains…and on the opposite end…”Step By Step” by New Kids on the Block, or “Giving You the Benefit” by Pebbles, or even, “It Must Have Been Love” by Roxette. Admittedly, that song is the closest to what Duran Duran was bringing with “Serious”. Was there really space for them? Roxette was still semi-new, and Duran Duran had already been huge in the early to mid 80s. It would have taken something much more monumental for a resurgence on Top 40 radio at that point (which came a few years later!) There wasn’t a lot of places for Duran Duran to go, other than be relegated to flashback lunches on KROQ or elsewhere. Yet Liberty was a new album, and “Serious” was nothing like the 80s New Wave that Duran was known for. I can see where this became a problem of identity for Duran Duran during this period. While yes, it’s advantageous to have the space to recreate sound and never be pushed into a box, I would also say there has to be something to connect a band with identity, and in my opinion, however great Serious is, that identity is something that is lacking in both the single and the album.

Cocktail Rating

Amanda

Musicality/Instrumentation

In thinking about the musicality/instrumentation of this song, I am struck by the guitar of this song. Typically, it is not my favorite instrument but I really like it in this one. It definitely is the dominant instrument without being drowning out the others. It is taking the lead, but allowing the others to play the supporting role that they should. It feels secure in the lead and doesn’t need to prove itself in the way that too many songs with a guitar focus do. I also really like the drums in this one as well, which feels weird to me. Warren and Sterling are not typically the ones whom I praise but I think it is worthy here.

Vocals

This vocals to this song very much match the lyrics. Both are simple, straightforward. Simon’s range doesn’t vary in some crazy way and there is very little layering. It is just Simon being at a comfortable range with little, if any complications. This makes for easy listening as no one has to worry about what is going to come next or if there would be a surprise, vocally. It allows for people to relax and just let the song be.

Lyrics

These lyrics, unlike many Duran Duran lyrics, would fit into the more obvious, straight forward category. As I listen, I can definitely see a couple who are struggling to figure out how to really communicate with each other, how to deal, how to figure out what is important (or serious) and what is not. While I doubt that these lyrics really make anyone ponder a deeper meaning, I suspect that many might be able to relate to them. Sometimes, people need that just as much as they need to pushed to think or feel deeper. In this case, it might even cause people to feel better knowing that their relationship isn’t the only one who struggles with this.

Overall

This song makes me smile as I think it does for many Duranies. For me, I cannot help but to think of the video with the very cute JoSi moment and Nick so obviously chewing gum. It is a song that just makes people feel good. It isn’t super deep or as complicated as so many others. The song doesn’t require a lot of deep thinking. Instead, you can sit back and just enjoy it. All that being said, I’m not sure why this song doesn’t rank higher than the 3.5 cocktails that I’m giving it. I feel like it is good but it isn’t great. I’m not sure why. Maybe, in my own bias, I feel like a song cannot be great if it isn’t something more than just a feel good song. I know many, many people who love it and I get it. For me, though, it just cannot reach that level.

Cocktail Rating

Cocktail Rating

One Billion Sets of Beautiful Eyeballs

Congrats to A-ha!

During my daily scroll through Twitter, I noticed that the video for “Take On Me” by A-ha has reached the crazy milestone of one BILLION YouTube views. It is only the second video from the 1980s to have reached that pinnacle. More on that later…

One billion views is a lot. If I only had a dollar…. well, away, that’s a lot of eyeballs watching a video from 1985. (note: the original song was released in 1984, but the video, along with the updated version of the song produced by Alan Tarney, came out in May of 1985

Now, I have a sneaky suspicion that many of you out there reading are wondering “Well, where do any of Duran Duran’s videos fit into this? Are any of them near one billion?? I mean, this is A-ha. Surely “Rio” has to be close to that, or “Hungry Like the Wolf”??) 

Have you ever wondered…

Let’s just have a look-see on YouTube. At first, I just looked up the videos I thought of first, but then (as typical with me) I got caught up into it and decided to check out ALL of their videos. The criteria was that I only took the stats for the official music videos unless otherwise noted (for example, Friends of Mine has [HQ] denoted because there is no “official” official version. This was the closest I could find). I didn’t track the exact number of views, relying on what my YouTube search gave me when I’d type videos into the search bar, so if they’re slightly off from what you find when you do a detailed search – I don’t need to know. I also didn’t choose to include the separate Sunrise edits for each band member.

In order of most views:

  • Save a Prayer 56 M 
  • Come Undone 53 M
  • Wild Boys 15 M
  • Girl Panic 7.7 M
  • New Moon on Monday 7.6 M
  • Planet Earth 7.5 M
  • Ordinary World 7.2 M
  • Girls on Film 6.9 M
  • Is there Something I Should Know 5.3M
  • Pressure Off (Uncensored version because JT is funny!) 5M
  • Union of the Snake 5M
  • Hungry Like the Wolf 4.8 M 
  • Serious 3.2M
  • A View to a Kill 3M
  • Rio 2.6 M
  • The Reflex 2.3 M
  • All You Need is Now 2.2 M
  • All She Wants Is 2.1M
  • What Happens Tomorrow 2M
  • The Chauffeur 1.9M
  • Skin Trade 1.9M
  • Electric Barbarella 1.7M
  • Notorious 1.2 M
  • Sunrise 1.16 M
  • Perfect Day 1.1 M
  • Friends of Mine [HQ] 1M
  • White Lines 844M
  • Do You Believe in Shame 797K
  • Too Much Information 659K
  • Burning the Ground 639K 
  • Lonely in Your Nightmare 632K
  • My Own Way 596K
  • Breath After Breath 566K
  • Violence of Summer 456K
  • Pressure Off (Lyric video, because you can’t get enough!) 362K
  • Night Boat 342 K
  • Femme Fatale 314K
  • Falling Down 297K
  • Last Night in the City 290K
  • Meet El Presidente 288K
  • I Don’t Want Your Love 253K
  • Careless Memories 116K 
  • Lonely in Your Nightmare (V2 – another official version) 97K
  • Edge of America (does not say official ) 88K
  • Pressure Off (Censored version, thanks to JT!) 76K
  • Make Me Smile 64K
  • Face for Today 59K

What does it all mean?

I have to admit, some of the results surprised me. I wasn’t expecting Save A Prayer to be the most widely viewed video, nor did I think that Rio and Hungry Like the Wolf would be so far down the list. Of course, if any Duran Duran video has been uploaded multiple times in addition to the “official” video and received views, that wouldn’t add into the total, which in turn wouldn’t help the band. That’s something to think about (in addition to respecting copyrights). I also was surprised to see how little love Edge of America or Face for Today seems to get, but then again – the band doesn’t appear in either video, and that seems to matter. Ultimately though, we have quite a ways to go before any Duran Duran video nears the 1 billion mark!

That other video…

I did mention that another video from the 80s has also hit 1 billion views. That video (brace yourself) is “Sweet Child o Mine” by Guns N’ Roses. Please digest that information however you see fit. Out of a decade that saw massive video creativity and innovation, it’s a little off-putting to see a lackluster, everybody-does-one “rehearsal” video hit one billion views.

Billboard did a top ten best video list of the 80s. “Hungry Like the Wolf” was on it (as it should be), even “Take on Me” has a place on the list, along with “Thriller”, “Sledgehammer” by Peter Gabriel and even “When Doves Cry”, by Prince, but “Sweet Child o Mine” isn’t on it at all. There’s no accounting for taste, but it is interesting to see how the general public feels.

Then again, maybe GNR watches their own videos. A lot.

Yes, I said that. My blog = my opinion, no holds barred. You’re welcome.

-R

What’s Pop anyway?

Sticky-sweet pretentious pop

As I mentioned yesterday, lately I’ve been more interested in learning/reading/discussing music than rehashing fandom. One of the books I’m currently reading is about rock music and social history in America. It’s been many years since I sat in a history of rock music class, so it was time for a catch-up while I pondered where Pop music fits in.

Over the years that I’ve written Daily Duranie, one of things that has frustrated me is the knowledge of how little credit the band receives. If not about their fan base, then about their music. I’ve seen it referred to as anything from sticky sweet bubble gum pop to overly-pretentious pop garbage.

I suppose the common word there is “pop”. Ask any critic, read any book about music history, and the word isn’t usually aligned with descriptions of greatness. It tends to be used to describe crappy music, and that seems pretty unfair.

Cultural perspective

This whole subject came to a head for me as I was reading last week. Rock Music in American Culture describes how rock tends to transcend or it comments on social structure. That’s why the history of rock music tends to align seamlessly with American social history, or the history of American culture. Not all rock music does that, but according to this author, the very best rock music is capable of cultural perspective. I’ve written about pop before, but I’ve never read quite the damning definition in oh-so-many words that I found in this current book.

There are plenty of artists, bands, and songs that have ended up being exploited by the social order. That kind of means they’ve become so popular that the songs aren’t heard for their true, original meaning. They’ve become anthemic without the audience knowing what in the hell they’re singing, for instance. Others are so “ethereal that they don’t have grounding in the revolutionary struggle” – so the music doesn’t have anything to do with this world, or the artists have been so blinded by the delights that follow success that they’ve sold-out. Meaning, you guessed it, that they just want another hit, however they can get one. In any of these cases, the music is no longer capable of providing prospective, or it’s so heavily self-absorbed there’s just no seeing past it all.

Shlock rock is still rock

Interestingly enough, some bands and songs manage to do all of the above. In which case, the author believes is the best characterization for “schlock rock”, which, for those who just came in – is essentially pop music, circa 1956-1963. The only difference between shock rock and pop, based on the definitions used by this author, is that “shlock rock is still rock, it just ceases to be effective.”

Effective? I suppose if one is characterizing and judging rock music solely on it’s use for social revolution, then maybe. But is that all there is to it?

As the author continues to categorize music styles in order to explain his thought process and prove the basis for the theories presented in the book, he comes to an actual definition for pop. It isn’t kind.

Pop, pop…pop music

“Of the styles noted thus far, only Pop is intrinsically inauthentic, (and he backpedals a bit with the second half of the sentence) and this only to the extent the term is used to describe music deliberately created exclusively for monetary gain and no other reason.

There’s so much wrong with that definition, beginning with the fact that I know of startlingly few artists that create music SOLELY for the sheer joy of doing so. I also know of no one who goes to the trouble to create music solely for money. Sheer economics tells me otherwise. In 2020, music doesn’t pay well. Concerts might, but writing and recording? Think again. For 99% of the bands out there, sales aren’t great. It can’t just be about money for most bands and artists.

The author goes on, doubling down on his original comment. “Pop, therefore, reflections no one’s present experience, and thus has no immanence whatsoever. Nor does it convey with any conviction any particular set of values (expect perhaps plutocratic values), so it is totally devoid of transcendence as well. Pop music is best described as early rock and roll once was, namely, music consciously contrived to make money by appealing to the widest possible audience substance, merely empty calories.”

I prefer Pepsi for my empty calories

He goes on to equate pop with muzak heard on “EZ” listening stations, and finishes by adding, “Top 40 radio is a better target; it is obviously not immune to the “pop” disease. In all cases of “pop”, however, imitation (not merely making money) is pop’s key distinguishing feature, no matter how difficult it might be to accurately diagnose it’s presence.”

So, pop has no quality, it is unable to provide perspective, and is the non-food/beverage equivalent of a can of Coca-cola. Or…pop.

He goes as far as to call pop a disease. I can see that Robert Pielke and I are not going to be friends, and as a retired philosophy professor, he is an excellent example of why I avoided taking philosophy in college. Is there anything in here worth gleaning? Obviously, I don’t agree with some of his more editorial-sounding comments about pop, but that doesn’t make his definition any less accurate…or widely held.

The fact is, this is why Duran Duran has had such a difficult time with critics. It is why so many have an issue with the Hall of Fame, too. Rock is seen as serious, as something “worthy”. Pop is not. Even better (or not), pop was created as a music category for a female audience. Those EZ listening stations and Muzak? All designed and devised for female ears. Better to have them listening to something like that at work, or at the grocery store, or even at home over FM radio, rather than, God forbid, organizing a takeover of some sort with other women. Listening to music makes women more productive. Ever listen to some tunes while house cleaning or working out? It was all created with you (and me) in mind.

It was created for you

While the author explains that all styles of music, and all bands, have fallen prey to this pop disease at one time or another, it does little to sway my thinking. Even albums like Seven and the Ragged Tiger, or Red Carpet Massacre have their significance, even if critics are not able to see past the surface. Writing them off as bloviated examples of self-absorption is the easy way out for cowards unwilling to do the hard work necessary to understand the message contained within. I mean, if I can do it as a mere female….well, you get my point.

If bands and artists like Duran Duran are held to this definition of pop, and are regarded in this manner, then there is no question as to why they are never mentioned in history books, or given due credit. To say that Duran Duran are pure empty calories is like saying that songs such as “Rio” or “Pressure Off” have no significance beyond monetary value whatsoever. I am just not convinced that is the case. Moreover, working in absolutes, particularly in music, seems about as effective as shoveling out a horse stable with a teaspoon.

-R

Still Reaching

The time has come

Lately, I’ve been feeling far removed from the Duran Duran fandom. That isn’t so much a symptom of some personal strife keeping me from fully embracing all that is the band and fandom, as it is the effect of being between albums. Even so, aside from occasional dinners with my friend Lori, whom I met while road tripping to see Duran Duran in 2012, and writing this blog, there’s not much going on in my own fandom. (Real life, however, is very busy, and I’m enjoying it!) While I haven’t minded the quiet in Duranland, and I’m not in a hurry to have whatever is happening next to take place, I can’t help but notice the difference in how I’ve adjusted.

Before Paper Gods was released, I was chomping at the bit, almost angrily so, wondering why the album was taking so long. I felt like there was very little news coming from the band, and in a lot of ways for me personally, that seemed to make the waiting worse. This time around, for reasons I’m not entirely certain, I don’t seem to notice.

There still isn’t a lot of news coming from the band. I would say I know even less about this album, or what is to come from 2020 than I did Paper Gods. I barely batted an eye when John mentioned that the album wasn’t at a stage where it could be discussed, for instance. When rumors of summer dates recently trickled their way down to me, I didn’t really think twice about them. I figured when and if they’re announced, that would be the time to concern myself. I can’t imagine I’ve actually learned the art of patience before I turned the magic 5-0, so what is it?

Change

A lot of it, I think, really has come from just knowing this band. The album will arrive when it is ready, and hopefully not a second before. Dates are announced when it is time to announce them. Many of them will be in places I’m not able to travel. That said, I’ve already done more than my share. I’ve had a great deal of fun over the last fifteen years that I’ve traveled to see Duran Duran. I’m in a good place with all of that, and despite some objections from well-meaning friends otherwise, I’m seriously and truly not the least bit worried about how I’ll feel when and if concert dates are released. I don’t think I’ll feel left out, because I have one heck of a lot going on here at home. I’ll still do what I can, but the likelihood of traveling much beyond my bordering states is pretty slim. Believe it or not – I’m fine with that. I feel good about where I’m at.

Much more of my sense of disconnect though, comes from something different. I think I’m tired. Seeing posts from people who intentionally knock other fans just makes me roll my eyes in disgust. I really have come to hate the near-constant assertions of “I’m the best fan because ________________”. In that sense, I’m exhausted! Just today I saw a tweet from someone that read “eff the RCM haters”. Really? OK. That’s one hell of a way to make friends and influence people, but great. Sure, you can like or dislike whatever music you want. I couldn’t care less…and maybe that is what is really different from me now than five years ago.

At one point, I might have responded to that person in some sort of effort to A. take their attitude down a notch, and B. to prove that I’m not such a horrible fan for not loving every single song they’ve ever written. I’m sure it would have devolved into the type of “shouting” match that seems to happen on social media and nothing would have ended up being accomplished. I’d love to believe I have somehow grown past the urge to do that, but I don’t think that’s entirely it. This morning when I read a few posts of that vein, all I felt was an enormous sense of just being tired. I clicked off of the thread, put my phone down, and debated whether or not I even wanted to write. Is that a good or a bad thing? Difficult to say.

Go round together

I still love Duran Duran. That hasn’t changed one bit. I care about those guys, and intend to support whatever they come out with because seriously – forty years in, they’re still writing, recording, and performing. I’m going to applaud that because it’s far more than I’ve ever done or could hope to do. Their blood, sweat, and tears are worthy of my respect.

What I do struggle with though, is that although I write a blog for fellow fans to read – I am finding that I’m opting not to connect online any more than by writing each day. Whereas at one point I spent a great deal of time trying to cultivate more friendships, or chatting with fans, nowadays – I just don’t. It is as though I’m happy to go back to the band being more of a singular activity for myself – kind of as though I’ve run the entire trail and I’m back to where I first started. I never thought I’d get to the point where I just said “Enough!”, but here I am.

Music’s between us


Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy having heartfelt, genuine, knowledgable conversations about the music. Any music, for that matter. I find that I get far more out of talking about the history of rock and pop music in conjunction with American social history, than I do when I analyze why fans seem to fall into the same predictable patterns over, and over again. Again, I can’t decide if any of this is really a good thing, or a bad thing, or even how it might affect me or the blog going forward. That’s probably why I chose to write about it today. Sometimes, it helps to sort it all out. Today, I finish feeling conflicted, but at the same time a little relieved. At least my feelings are out there, and perhaps at a later date, everything will be clear to me. Until then, I’m off to enjoy some sunshine.

-R

Happy Birthday Andy!

Rhonda and I have been writing this blog for over nine years! Yet, I don’t think I have ever written a blog post for Andy’s birthday before. How is that possible?! Anyway, today is Andy’s 59th birthday and I definitely want to celebrate him before wishing him the best birthday ever! What is the best way to acknowledge his big day? For me, it is to watch some Andy highlights and to cheer his amazing career.

Duran!

How in the world can I choose videos that capture what Andy Taylor meant to Duran in those early years? I’ll just pick a few but there were a ton more that I could have chosen.

Power Station!

I could not forget about Power Station both in 1985 and in 1996.

Solo career

Who didn’t love Andy’s solo work from the 1980s? As much as most of us didn’t want him to leave Duran, many had to admit that his solo work was pretty dang good like this one:

Reunion

Whenever I think about the reunion and having all five members back together, I cannot help but to smile. It was my childhood dream coming true! When the first songs and videos were released from that time, I ate it all up and could not get enough. One thing I thought was particularly awesome was the set of Sunrise videos that focused on each guy. Here’s Andy’s:

Here’s a video of Andy playing Save a Prayer during that Astronaut Tour.

Live 2019!

I love that Andy is still out there performing and love it even more that he has not rejected his Duran history as seen here:

On that note, I wish Andy the best birthday ever!

-A