This is my turn to go ahead and review Shadows On Your Side as Rhonda did her review last week. This is one song off Seven and the Ragged Tiger that I liked as a kid but never really thought about much. It got hidden by the “hits”. So, now, that I’m taking a long look at it, what do I think about it?
Musicality/Instrumentation: This song starts like so many others on the album. It is pretty immediate and inescapable. There is no significant lead in, no time to get used to it. No, it is full sound all at once within the first few seconds. It is hard to discern individual instrumentation, except for the obvious keyboards and very occasional guitar when Simon seems to take a bit of a breath. When it is played, the guitar is very cool. At times, you can sense John’s bass but it is fleeting and subtle. Again, like so many others, it feels like there was an effort to ensure that every little second of the song was filled with layer upon layer of sound. The only time it does not completely feel that way is when the tempo slows down during the bridge and allows for some highlighting of guitars and keyboards. I have always liked whenever highlighting seemed to be featured.
Vocals: Classically wonderful vocals from Mr. LeBon here, I must say. The thing about the song is that it always, ALWAYS makes me want to sing out loud. Yes, that isn’t anything new when it comes to Duran or Simon, specifically. Yet, there is something about THIS song that always gets to me. Simon’s vocals feel like they are soaring just like the lyric. The passion is clearly felt, especially during the chorus. Then, I adore the low notes of the very end when he sings “shadows on your side” over and over again. There is something haunting and emotional about it.
Lyrics: These lyrics like so many on this album seem to focus, at least on some level, on fame and the effects of fame. Lines like, “shining crowd”, “the music is louder than all of their roar” indicates crowds, fans, fame. Yet, at the same time, there is distress about this fame with lines like “everybody to say that you’re having the time of your life when your life is on the slide”. The shadows imply darkness, being hidden, at some level. Obviously, at least how I’m interpreting it, the shadows are good, in some way. Perhaps, they are good in providing denial. Maybe, they are good in removing the spotlight. If this interpretation is accurate, the fame the band was dealing with wasn’t always a party. I have to say that I adore these lyrics. I love that I’m able to analyze them and, maybe, get an insight into their lives then. On a personal note, I have always felt like this song was something I could relate to. As someone who deals with her own darkness, at times, I understand how the darkness can feel like it is on my side. There is a comfort there. I get it.
Overall: There is much about this song that I really like. The lyrics are fabulous and Simon’s vocals are great. Musically, I like the guitar parts and feel like they add a very nice touch. Yet, I struggle with being overwhelmed with all of the musicality coming at me. As a kid, when I first got this album, I loved that. Now, as an adult, I wish for more subtle, less tense. I prefer the music to breathe a bit more. Is this a result of the writing? Possibly. I suspect it is due more to the production. All that said, I would SO love to hear this one live as it is one of the better tracks off Seven and the Ragged Tiger, in my opinion.
Cocktail Rating: 3.5 cocktails!