Yesterday’s winner: Picture N
Did anyone have a chance to listen to the most recent Katy Kafé with John? This month’s edition was slightly different in structure, in that Katy didn’t really talk with John about the band at all. Instead, John spoke at length about what he believes to be his version of a “perfect album” – David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust. Truthfully, I loved this diversion from what we’ve gotten used to being “the norm”. I mean, how many times can you really ask the band for a scoop on the album – especially when none of them really want to give up any precious information just yet? No, it was time to find something new to chat about, and I appreciated that John was more than willing to share his insight.
It is important to note that everyone has their own standards for what makes a perfect album – and John is very quick to emphasize that his choice of Ziggy is simply what does it for him. I would imagine that for many of us, our choices would likely be very different. This is likely very much the same as “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, and no one is really wrong. There can be no wrong answer about what you think is a perfect album, which makes the topic that much more interesting. I think the proper point here is that regardless of the album(s) chosen or why, the spirit and emotion is very similar.
John believes that a perfect album will take him on a ride. There is a real sense of a beginning, middle and end. I very much got the feeling that listening to music is an escape of sorts for John, and I can appreciate the idea of being taken on a music journey. He mentioned how making albums today is very different. Back in the earlier days of vinyl, prior to the invent of CD – albums were shorter. 10 songs. 45 minutes, maybe 20-25 minutes a side. Certainly one could sit through an entire side of music. Then when CDs came along, the album length grew. No longer could you count on being able to set aside just 45 minutes to enjoy a full album. Many were an hour or longer, and who can really set aside that much time without leaving the room, only to return and realize you never did listen to the entire album? And now, with mp3’s, many people don’t even buy full albums any longer, so the effect of having that full journey or story told in an album appears to be a lost art to many in the industry. (Obviously….I might add.)
From there, John goes into a slight description of each song. I won’t dare to replicate the beautiful tales he weaves – I feel strongly that this is a Kafé worthy the cost of DDM membership. I found myself, rather, thinking about what my own perfect album might be and why.
Katy asked John if he had more than one answer for his perfect album, and John seemed to indicate that yes, there was more than one in his collection. She replied that her husband, Brian, had more than a few in his – and John seemed surprised by that. As I mentioned above, I don’t think there are really any right or wrong answers here. Each of us has our own sentiments for what makes an album truly “perfect” to our ears and hearts. So I began thinking of my own collection and what I would consider “perfect”.
I am very much right with John when I say that the album has got to take me on a ride. I need to feel something when I’m listening. There are a great many songs and albums that I very much enjoy and are likely among my most favorite, but for one reason or another that music can fade into the background – it doesn’t quite take me places or make me think the way that others might. I like to listen to music intelligently, considering the words, the music, etc. Then there are other days when I just want the music in the background. I don’t necessarily want to “work for it”. But for me, the music that I count as perfect is the music that I need to sit with, digest and actively experience.
So I have a few albums that I would count as “perfect” in my book. They aren’t even albums that I listen to all that often – in fact some of these I haven’t sat with in a year or more, but when I do, I know that I’m getting quality.
Tears for Fears – The Hurting This is not an “easy listening” album. I think that to get the full effect, you had better be present – and I don’t just mean physically, I mean mentally. The ride with this one isn’t necessarily beautiful. It’s dark, it’s moody, it’s even violent in parts, but there is something about this album that really says all of the things that I think music should say. I almost never listen to just a song or two from this album, in fact – I think the only way to really listen is to do it from start to finish and savor the whole way.
Styx – Paradise Theater An unlikely choice for this Duran Duran fan, huh? I can’t help it. I love this album. It is Art Rock, it is American in all of it’s glory, it’s got the tale end of that 70s rock thing going for it, but it’s a story and I simply love the journey. I never listen to a single song off of it unless I put the album on the turntable – which is rare, to be honest, but whenever I listen to it, I honestly think to myself that this is how every single album should feel.
The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band In all fairness, I could have picked a few other Beatles’ albums. They are the one band that I feel has made more than one perfect album (for me). I love this album to pieces – I’m singing or humming along happily with one, feeling moody with another, and that to this day I’m still trying to really understand what the lyrics mean. On the other hand, I think that Revolver (another album) is every bit as good as this one, and that maybe I think it fulfills the intellectual side of me just a teensy bit more….but then I think about the White Album, and realize that I might not really be able to choose properly here. I neglected to choose that one here simply because of it’s length. It’s tough to sit through the entire thing from start to finish. On any given day I might say one album over another and never really have my answer, but that’s why I love them all. The Beatles knew how to make an album, likely better than anyone else.
My list is not complete, mind you. These are merely the first few that came to mind…and given that we all know Duran Duran, I thought it might be time to expand from there. Give it a try, let me know what you come up with.
“…and we unravel towards the place where all loose ends go.”
I love that line in Before The Rain. That song, off of AYNIN, was one of the few songs that I didn’t immediately love. It was a song that grew very strongly on me over time, andI know it’s one of the songs that I will probably always hold dear from that album. That particular line though, stuck with me from the very first listen. There’s just something about the whole “loose ends” sentiment, for some reason it strikes a chord.
I want to thank everyone for their kind words and encouragement towards our new site. I do like the way it’s evolving, and I think that as Amanda and I grow more used to the inner workings here, we’ll become more comfortable. What feels like a trial right now to us, because we’ve needed to change some of our processes in order to utilize all that WordPress has to offer, will become second nature once again. I welcome that.
Personally, I feel like this is the beginning of a new era for Daily Duranie. It’s the logical “next step”, so to speak. The timing is especially good because we had the old website set up (for the most part, although we did go through significant layout changes there once or twice.) during AYNIN, and now that a new album will be making it’s way, we’re ready for something new.
As we get used to this site though, I’ve been dealing with some loose ends on the old site. Saying goodbye, I suppose. I posted a message giving the new address, and in a couple of days, I’ll simply redirect the site to this one, and lastly – probably next weekend, I’ll delete our blog from Blogger. It is bittersweet in many respects, but on the same token I’m excited for what may lie ahead.
Right now, we have quite a few “loose ends” to get knotted before we can really move forward with firm plans for what comes next. I have the book proposals to work on. Amanda will be editing more chapters from the book and putting together our bibliography. (which is far more work than I would have ever considered!!!)We are still working on getting the highlight video from the last convention edited (no, we haven’t forgotten and we’re working to get that accomplished as quickly as possible, but we’ve run into several snags along the way), we have many more questions than answers regarding the possibility for a next convention…and in the next several weeks we’ll be addressing all of those loose ends, tying and finishing them off.
In the meantime, I bask in the joy of finishing a major loose end – this website!
If you have been paying attention to my posts the last few weekends, you know that I have been focusing on conventions, including why fans attend, why should celebrities attend, what kind of activities are found there and more. Based on those discussions and based on my research, I am starting to wonder what Duranies really want in a convention. I have described what normally takes place in a convention, including activities like vendor fairs, screenings, panels, games, and more. The post which describes all of this can be found here. I also know what took place during Durandemonium 2013. For those who were not in attendance, the activities we had during the convention included get-to-know-you as Duranies games, an author’s panel, a screening of A Diamond in the Mind, games, banquet with dinner and dancing, and late night clubbing at Late Bar’s New Wave night. Were those the right kind of activities to have? Should other activities be part of a Duran convention?
When we designed Durandemonium 2013, we had ideas of what had liked in the past at other meet ups and at the first convention we attended in 2004 in New Orleans. We liked having the chance to party with fellow Duranies whether at a bar or a club. For us, that party culture is a big culture of Duran Duran culture. After all, Simon does say that Duran Duran is the band designed to make you party. Yet, I’m well aware that there are Duranies who don’t party as much as say…we might when we are together. (This is probably a good reason why Rhonda and I should live far away from each other!) Thus, for those fans, maybe partying at a club or bar wouldn’t be that important to them. A lot of Duranies are collectors and spend a lot of time and money shopping on ebay or trading with other fans. We didn’t do much with that due to space restrictions. Perhaps, that is something a lot of people really would like. We did have a raffle with lots of great items to give away. Is that enough or would people prefer a place to just buy without having to worry about winning? Maybe an auction would have been a better route to go with those cool items. It seemed to me that most of the attendees at Durandemonium liked the screening of ADITM. I know that we loved it. Is that something that should always be included? If so, do people have preferences about what should be shown?
While we did have an author’s panel, we didn’t do much with attempting to get celebrities there for obvious reasons. This doesn’t mean, though, that it isn’t important to some fans. We are aware that it does matter to people. The question is how much does it matter? Would you only attend a convention if one or more band members was there? Would you want a convention with, at least, celebrities connected to Duran in some way? Would you want a focus that is broader than Duran Duran? Maybe, you would be able to justify spending the money to go if it was focused on a few of your favorite bands. Then, of course, more to the point, how much would you be willing to spend to attend a convention with a celebrity or two? We know how much concert tickets are. Would you be willing to pay the same as a VIP ticket? More? How much more? Then again, maybe, there are some fans who welcome the idea of getting together with other fans without the band being around.
I’m aware that I am asking for people’s ideal convention. Obviously, as someone who has organized a convention and planning another one in the future, I am MORE than well-aware that everything that people want cannot happen. Convention planners, like us, have an extremely limited budget (as in nothing, zero, zip, nada) and that other elements can limit what is possible. For example, at the last convention, we didn’t have a lot of space to do things like a vendor fair. That said, I’m truly curious what Duranies really would want in a convention. What would make you spend the money and take the time to go to a convention? How much would you be willing to spend and would you be willing to travel for it?
We are early. Initially, we planned on switching the blog from Blogger to WordPress tomorrow, on Sunday morning. Well, needless to say, the process went a lot faster than we thought it would so here we are. Welcome to our new home. If you have been a regular to Daily Duranie, you know that we blog each and every single day. You came to our site to read one or more posts. Now, though, this site, this new home offers a bit more. First, at the very top, you can see that there are different pages to look at. These pages include information about us, but they also include things that we have done and things that we are working on. The things that we have done include all the various meet ups we have done, usually surrounding shows in different cities. Durandemonium 2013 is included as well. Those pages not only remind everyone of those events but are filled with images from them as well!!! One of the pages focuses on the book that we have been working on. If you can’t remember what it is about or didn’t know, now, you have a place to read all about it. It will also be the site for upcoming information about it as we move forward with it.
I am pretty excited about our new home. Moving the blog here as been something that Rhonda and I had been talking about off and now for a long time. We had heard the benefits and also experienced frustration with Blogger, at times. Yet, I was pretty comfortable where we were. I liked what our little old blog looked like and was very used to it. By now, you can tell that I’m truly a creature of habit and do not always welcome change, even though, in most cases, the change is good for me. Rhonda, though, thankfully, pushed for it and was willing to take it on. (By the way, that has always been one of the benefits of this little partnership we have. We share the responsibility and take on the areas where we have strengths.) As the process began, I started to see the importance of this change. Beyond making it easier, we hope, for people to comment and for more accurate page view counts, there is a lot that this shows about US. While the blog is a significant part of what we do, it isn’t everything. There is more to Daily Duranie than writing each day. We have taken on the overwhelming task of writing a book. We have organized meet ups for fellow Duranies before shows. Durandemonium was a big deal and one that we are still proud of to this day. The day in Duran history that we always post is included. Maybe, we should figure out a way to showcase the daily this or that question/game we do. That’s the beauty of this new home. We have more options. We can grow and change. Simply put, we can do more with it. This is particularly important as we have more that we are planning for the future. I look at this little operation of ours in phases. Phase one went from 2009 to 2011. This is when we started the book and started the blog. We didn’t have very many readers and the blog wasn’t the coolest looking but we continued to write and love what we were doing. It is also when we held our first meet ups. Then, phase two saw us step up our game. More meet ups were planned. Durandemonium 2013, a whole convention, happened. The blog looked more professional and got more readers. Now, we are onto phase 3. It begins now. What will phase 3 entail besides this new online home. We plan on getting that secretly named book published. After all, we have other book ideas to work on. Durandemonium 2014 is starting to be brainstormed, including when, where, format, etc. Yes, you read that correctly. We are planning another fan convention for this year. No specifics have been decided, however. Of course, this will be the place to find any and all news about it as we get more done! Truly, I’m excited about the future!!! (At the same time, I’m already wishing that I had more time in my day!)
Now, Rhonda wanted me to make sure to remind everyone of some specifics about our new home.
*You can still sign up to follow the blog via email and RSS feeds. If you were signed up before, you need to do it again for this new site.
*There may be more changes/additions in the next few weeks as we get used to it and see what else needs to be done to make it the best it can possibly be!
*Any other information that I forgot can probably be found on the original post alerting all of you about this move, which you can find here.
So, what do you all think???
The last few weeks haven’t been the best for me. I have had some issues with my teeth (that’s an understatement), which has resulted in a serious financial bloodletting. If that wasn’t enough, I have renewed frustration with my job and general feeling of being lost as I attempt to regroup and get back on track. As part of all of that, I have been so focused on my day-to-day existence, my “job” here and the overall game plan that I lovingly refer to my future and career that I started missing something. (By the way, if you notice, readers who pay attention and I know you are out there, I included another vague statement about the future. I assure you that there will be more information forthcoming soon.) So, what did I start to miss? Simple. I began to miss the reason for being here or, at least, the reason that brought me here. I started to miss the music. The truth is that I listen to music daily. That music is not always Duran Duran. I go for days without mentioning Duran other than on here or through the daily “tasks”. In some ways, I do feel like I live and breathe Duran, but, in others, I don’t feel that at all. I’m sure that there are plenty of fans who spend a lot more time each day on Duran than I do by listening to their music or looking at their pictures or watching footage. In that sense, I don’t feel like my life is very focused on Duran. Then, when I stop and look around at my life, I realize that a huge chunk of my existence is all about Duran. My goodness, I worry about this blog each and every day. Even on days that Rhonda blogs, I check in. I post the daily questions and the day in Duran history. Add on the time, energy and effort on a book in which Duran is the case study and multiple discussions surrounding fan conventions. When I think about all that, I realize how much my life is surrounded by and with Duran Duran and the fan community. I am so surrounded and engaged in my work that I forget, sometimes, what I’m a fan of.
The other day, I was driving and paying little attention to what music was on. It was snowing so the music was the last thing on my mind. Then, I noticed that All You Need Is Now, the album, began playing. It has held a position in my car stereo since it was released. Yet, if I have new music, that is usually played instead or my mp3 player just shuffles songs. I had almost forgotten that it was in there. As the first few notes played, I wondered how long it had been since I had listened to this album. Soon enough, memories began to flash in my mind from this most recent Duran era. This era has been such an important one to me and to Rhonda. We started this blog right before that album was released and documented so much of what happened, in our own way. Lucky us, we were able to attend many shows, including ones in very different places, from Biloxi, Mississippi, to Glasgow, Scotland. We were there when Simon lost his voice and witnessed the return. For us, here, we came out of our little hole in the fan community to allow ourselves to be heard by anyone and everyone. Meet ups were organized and a convention was organized and held. When I look back, I’m so amazed at everything we have done and everything that the band has done. Yet, why is it that I wanted to pay this close attention to everything the band did? Why did I want to stick my neck out in all the ways that we did? Why am I continuing down this road and even working to expand it? Simple. The music. I’m a Duran Duran fan. I’m a fan who absolutely loved All You Need Is Now. After this fresh listen of the album this week, I know that I still love it. I love all of the experiences I have had but I really love the music. I really do.
Then, yesterday, Rhonda reviewed Shadows On Your Side. This led us to talk briefly about the lyrics to this song and to a couple of others. I love those discussions. After 30 years, this band and their music is still providing me and my friends with things to talk about, things to discuss. This discussion began as Rhonda emailed me to tell me that she got something new from these lyrics by really looking at them for the review. She gained something despite having this song as part of her collection for decades. Truly, this is why we decided to reach out and join the community. We wanted to talk about the music. This, in turn, led us to think about the fan community and what we can do. The music started everything that we have done and will done. We fell in love with their music and still love it today. I’m so glad that I was reminded of this. I needed it. It is important and will continue to be important to remember as Rhonda and I continue with whatever this is and with whatever it will be.
We continue reviewing the Seven and The Ragged Tiger album today with Shadows on Your Side. This week is Rhonda’s week to review, followed by Amanda’s review of the same song next week.
Musicality/Instrumentation: I like the quick drum intro to this song because it’s just different….it’s just a two beat pick-up, but it works. What immediately strikes me about the instrumentation as recorded is that it’s very top-heavy with very little noticeable bass to support. Yet, if you really listen – the bass is there in the mix, down very deep, and it’s a groovy bass line besides. Not at all boring, the bass work sounds intricate, with John’s hallmark playing. Once the song gets to the chorus, there are very noticeable guitar riffs that keep the structural integrity of the song, but adds just a touch of grit to what could end up being a very glossy song otherwise – the guitar gives just the right amount of texture to keep it interesting. It’s the ying/yang effect between Simon’s voice and Andy’s guitar…which works really well. The song is upbeat, and keeps that driving beat throughout. If you know what you’re looking for, you can hear a rhythm guitar during the chorus as well, which just goes to show that in this band, a versatile guitarist is not only needed – it’s an integral part of the recipe. I especially like the bridge where you can very much hear Andy and Nick playing off of one another – giving the song their best. No friction there, simply playing melody and background together, and it’s beautiful.
Vocals: I find myself wondering what I can really say about Simon’s vocals here. They’re good and strong. He has emotion without overdoing it, and I do love the way he quietly sings “Shadows on your side” in a deeper part of his range here. I really can’t find anything wrong – it’s Simon singing the way that Simon does best.
Lyrics: I don’t think I ever stopped to consider what these lyrics meant until today. That really is no testament to the quality of the lyrics themselves as much as it is a statement of my own lack of attention to detail on this one. No matter, as I listen today, I find a similar element in this song as I do to other songs on this album. Simon sings “Shackled and raised for a shining crowd, they want you to speak but the music is louder than all of their roar, with the heat of the planet’s core…” Those words seem to indicate that things looked a whole lot better from the crowd than they might have felt from the stage back then. I almost imagine Simon as a puppet during the shows – doing his job, singing the lyrics, entertaining the crowd but almost wishing he were anywhere else at the time. The relief comes at night, when he is whisked away from the crowd to someone waiting – someone or something in the shadows, hiding from prying eyes. Maybe it’s not even that there’s someone there for him, it’s that he can retreat back into where he’s most comfortable, away from the public. It almost seems as though references are made to the discomforts of fame throughout the entire album in various lines of lyric – something I’d never really picked up on before. The next verse continues with “Promises made with a distant friend, truth should be known it can only bend to a tune of its own, hey you’ll never hear that voice again.” I find these lines to be really interesting. Is this a comment to the “friends” Simon has made along the way? The girls he’s met after shows? Someone else entirely? Hard to say, but very intriguing. Everyone has a safe-place. Somewhere they go when they need to get away or hide. “With everybody to say that you’re having the time of your life, when your life is on the slide.” Well then. Doesn’t everything always look better from the outside than from within?
Overall: This is an easy song to overlook on this album – it was on the B side (oh, remember the days of B sides?!?), it wasn’t a single, and as such it probably was never one of the most mentioned. What strikes me most is that individually – the elements of the song are very good, and they work well together. However, due to what I would blame as a poor mix – I feel as though a lot of the impact is lost or at the very least, difficult to hear. This is not only something found in Duran’s music of the time, but is also a defining element of the period, and it is what truly “dates” some of this music because it is not well-balanced.
Cocktail Rating: 3 Cocktails!