Yesterday’s winner: Picture R
On today’s date in 1982, Duran Duran played Chance in New York City. This date took place on the Rio tour.
Incidentally, on today’s date in the year 1999, my son was born. There’s not really a DD connection there unless you count that he’s one of three very lucky (my words, of course!) kids born to a Daily Duranie writer!! He’s 15 today…it has been a wild ride, and I would expect nothing less in the years ahead. He has a nasty habit of continually surprising me, but at least life is never dull! Happy Birthday, kiddo.
It is week 9 of our latest book club! The focus is Mad World and this week, we are reading and discussing the chapters on A Flock of Seagulls, Modern English and Soft Cell. We would love to have you all read along and join in the discussion!
I love this song and always have. That said, I never placed it into a soon to be destroyed by nuclear war context. As I read the lyrics and think about it, I can definitely see that. As a historian and social scientist, I find it fascinating when I am able to put songs and musical genres into societal and/or historical context. I understand a society and a time period more and I understand the song more. I now get to do that with this song, too. Very cool.
Of course, Robbie Grey of Modern English, expanded on this idea. I love that the song was also trying to show the good and the bad with people. Even the lyric about “mesh and lace” was to show this. Once again, I am reminded that song lyrics can seem straightforward on the surface and be much more when you dig a little deeper.
He also tells a story about how the band went from playing to 200 people in England to playing to 5000 people in Florida. What struck me wasn’t the idea of a very quick rise in fame that so many from this era experienced, but how Robbie saw the audiences in Europe compared to the audiences in America. European audiences he described as “thoughtful” whereas American audiences just wanted to have fun. I wonder if he would say the same now. Do others agree?
“I Melt with You” is as 80s iconic as anything else I can think of – I know that when the words “New Wave” are uttered amongst friends, this is always one of the first songs they mention. (I know this because I tested my theory at a neighborhood block party last week!) They also mention things like “Madonna”…and that’s when I openly cringe and tell them that it’s time to re-educate themselves on proper New Wave. I’m not invited to many neighborhood parties…
I never knew what the song was about, to be honest – but of course the line “Never really knowing it was always mesh and lace” sticks in my head as easily as “You’re about as easy as a nuclear war”. I really think I spent most of the 80s dancing to the music and not really listening to the words. That came much later.
I don’t know a lot of Modern English’s catalog. Like Jonathan, I was always very satisfied with just hearing “I Melt With You” and never felt like I needed more. So I was genuinely surprised to read that Robbie Grey used to shout rather than sing and that this song was the first he actually sang that way. I always liked the rawness of his voice – it added texture to the song.
Like Amanda, I was surprised to read that there was such a difference between American and European audiences. I mean, Duran has said similar things (I will never forget reading a blog from Roger Taylor that called American’s “raucous”. He didn’t mean it harshly, only that we’re apparently really loud and crazy. That stung, because I don’t see us quite that way. I don’t really understand the difference between the screaming “hard-core loyalty” they talk about from fans in Italy and the roar of the crowd they find here in America, but I have to think there really must be a difference.), but I just don’t really know what it means. I went to the UK for several shows a few years back, and to be completely honest I found the UK audiences to be very subdued to what goes on here at home. I mean yes they cheer, but it’s different. Would I call it thoughtful? I’m not quite sure that’s the right word.
Who doesn’t love this song? I have loved versions by other artists as well as the Soft Cell version, but I have to admit that this is my favorite out of them all. Is it that I know this one the best? Is it that I fell in love with this one first? Is it simply that this version really is the best? I suppose it doesn’t matter why I love it. I just do.
I love the fact that, according to the band’s Marc Almond, they went with this song to cover because doing a “soul song” was the most “un-electronic” thing to do. I suppose that is a little like Duran covering Public Enemy’s 911 Is a Joke. It just seems so out of character and, for Soft Cell, it truly was as so much of the rest of their material was shocking in many ways. Yet, Marc goes on to say how they put their sound to the song, which included, “cold, electronic sound with a passionate vocal.” That description could fit so much of the music I love. Truly.
Marc Almond continues to say that the success surrounding “Tainted Love” made them uncomfortable because of their new young fans and the controversial nature of the rest of the work. I would feel the same way, if I were them. That said, I’m not sure a lot of other artists would have given that two thoughts. A lot of artists would have just seen dollar signs and dollar signs only. I never heard Duran, for example, say that they had any concern about the Girls on Film video after attracting a lot of young fans. Perhaps, it isn’t because they weren’t concerned about their young fans but because they didn’t think the video would be harmful. Still, it is nice to see that Soft Cell did give some consideration to their young fans.
Without any disrespect intended, this is one of those songs that I could go without ever hearing again and not feel the least bit slighted. Once upon a time, I loved “Tainted Love” in the same way I loved “Hungry Like the Wolf”, but time (and radio) has ruined both for me. That said, I have always liked Soft Cell. I loved that their videos were meant to shock, and that they did. I like the avant-garde “art school” nature they had, and I think their videos are superbly odd. I would characterize Soft Cell as the really strange contemporary art that a lot of people rush past in a museum because they don’t get it – and yet you’ll find me standing there staring at a rotting piece of cheese boxed in clear acrylic because I’m trying to understand what the artist is saying. I love that stuff!
I think the real reason I liked Soft Cell and Marc Almond so much was because of something Marc says so eloquently, “Living in sleazy eighties Britain, repressed people leading secret lives, frustrated living in bedsits – it was the total antithesis of what Duran Duran were doing, which was singing about this glamorous life, and living in Rio, and sailing in ships on beautiful seas.” I love an escape. Duran Duran were living a life I had absolutely zero chance of ever experiencing myself – so that attracted me as much as John Taylor’s cheekbones or Roger Taylor’s quiet and brooding eyes ever did. On the other hand, I liked the darkness and obscurity that Soft Cell had to offer. It was the opposite of Duran Duran, and I liked that.
I respect Marc’s feelings for “Tainted Love” in the same way that I completely respect what “Hungry Like the Wolf” is for Duran Duran – you can’t (and shouldn’t) deny what those songs have done, and he’s right, they have to be embraced because people associate you with those songs. I think the problem with a band that has MANY of those songs is that they end up having to play a greatest hits show every night along with a few newbies – and for those of us who don’t need the reward of the hits in order to still support the band, we always end up wishing for the stuff no one else knows anything about. It’s probably a very good problem for a band to have.
Don’t forget to check in with us next week as we chat about A-Ha, Joy Division, and The Smiths!
-A & R
On today’s date WAYYYY back when in 1981….Duran Duran played at Gaumont in Southhampton. This show took place during the Faster than Light tour. I know that somewhere out there, at least ONE of our UK friends must have been there!
Happy last day of June, everyone!
It is Sunday. It is the beginning of the new week. Since I’m not going to “work” right now, due to summer vacation, I’m struggling to keep track of days and days of the week. While I’m paying more attention to social media and Duranland, I’m still finding myself missing things or gliding over posts/tweets, etc. I’m distracted. I figured, then, that it might be good for me (and you!) to go through the past week and summarize the latest.
John Taylor responded to a news piece from ITN News in which they declared Redditch, an area very close to where John grew up, to be the least musical place in the UK. This did not sit well with our Mr. Taylor, who had recently met with local musicians there. Thus, he put together a “mixtape” of the music there to show ITN News that their research didn’t cut it. To read the full article and listen to the mixtape, go here.
The monthly collector corner’s was also posted. This month focused on sheet music and song books of various Duran singles and albums, the last of which featured music from Big Thing and Liberty. Very cool stuff! To read the full article, please go here.
From Duran’s Facebook and Twitter accounts:
While their social media asked people to raise their virtual hands if they owned a copy of A Diamond in the Mind on vinyl, to guess whose shoes matched band members for a Tweetsake, to watch a clip of Wild Boys from the 2012 Olympics as well as to visit some other links, including on from GoFugYourself.com about Simon, the post that got the most attention featured a couple of photos. If you missed these posts, the photos were from a photo shoot completed on June 26th.
Here is one from Duran’s facebook page! The other can be seen on their post from June 26.
From what I saw, this excited most fans! Who doesn’t love current pictures?! More importantly, the idea of a photo shoot got more than a few people’s minds wondering. What’s the photo shoot for? A magazine? A project? THE ALBUM?! Could it be a sign that the album is getting closer to being finished?!
Beyond the fan focused posts, there were a few posts about The Reflex. Why? Simple. It was 30 years ago on June 23rd that the song reached number one on the Billboard charts. The article on duranduran.com from Billboard can be found here. Like many other fans, on one hand, I cheered this moment!!! On the other hand, the fact that it was 30 years ago made me feel darn old!
I think that is about all the news for the week. Did I miss anything? What stood out the most to you???
On this date in 2007, Duran Duran played at Marquee/Docklands in Cork, Ireland. According to Duran Duran’s official tour list, this was one of the final shows of the Astronaut tour. While this show is listed on duranduran.com, it is not listed on duranduranmusic.com where set lists are archived. I wonder why. Despite that, I was able to find a setlist on setlist.fm, which I copied below:
Hungry Like the Wolf
A View to a Kill
Union of the Snake
Save a Prayer
Girls on Film
The Wild Boys
Clearly, this set was a bit shorter from a usual Duran show of that era and contained mostly the “hits”.
There were a few clips posted from this show on YouTube. I included a clip of The Reflex.
Were you at the show? How was it?
This week, in the continuing series about Duran tour participation, I am asking about the Thank You Tour, which took place between February 1995 to May 21, 1995, in the US, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and France. As always, I refer you to the band’s official website for all the specific dates and locations, which you can see here.
If you missed any of the previous polls about other more recent tours, the links can be found below:
The Radio Festival Tour (May 1995 to November 1997)
The Ultra Chrome Latex and Steel Tour (Nov. 1997 to Oct. 1998)
The Latest and Greatest Tour (Dec. 1998)
Let It Flow Tour (Aug. to Oct. 1999)
Overnight Sensation Tour (Dec. 1999 to July 2000)
Pop Trash Tour (July 2000 to Feb. 2001)
The Up Close and Personal Tour (Feb. 2001 to June 2001)
The Reunion Tour (July 2003 to Dec. 2004)
The Astronaut Tour (Jan. 2005 to July 2007)
The Red Carpet Massacre Tour (Oct. 2007 to Oct. 2010)
All You Need Is Now Tour (Feb. 2011 to Aug. 2012)