Yesterday’s winner: Picture L
I didn’t watch the Grammy’s last night. I realize that for most of you, this is probably not groundbreaking news. Maybe you stopped watching after Nick was there presenting an award in what…1986 or so? For me, I was hardcore. I watched all of those cheesy damn award shows every single year, cringing through much of it, but insisting that I had to keep trying. I kept that up right through 2013, up until Miley did her deal at the VMA’s. Something else happened that night though, something far less visible, far more subtle…and probably a lot less important to everyone in the world but me. I stopped caring.
There is a part of me that would like to kick myself this morning, because out of all the years to stop caring – this doesn’t seem like it should have been the year. I actually tolerate Macklemore…sort of. (for me, this is a miracle, as I am not a fan of Rap or Hip-Hop) I really enjoy Daft Punk. (Enjoy is probably not the right word – Nile is amazing and without him, they’d likely just be a gimmick. You can’t help but hear his wonderful influence all over that album, which is why I love it so.) I love Lorde – she reminds me a little bit of the teenager that lurked within (me) back in the 80s, and I think her music has integrity – something that tends to lack these days. And, I did miss seeing Ringo and Paul onstage together – even though they didn’t perform a Beatles song, instead doing a song off of McCartney’s latest album. That said, I’m glad I didn’t sit around to watch Madonna continue her attempt at keeping up with the “younguns” and staying cool – that ship sailed a few years ago, and now it’s just getting sad. I didn’t need to see Beyoncé and Jay Z – quite frankly they bore the hell out of me, no matter what the rest of the world says.
The only question I’m really asking myself this morning is why I stopped caring. I’ve always loved music. Still do. I think though, I got tired of watching the dog and pony show. I miss the days when talent spoke louder than gimmick, when the music made the hair on the back of my neck stand up or when I’d get goosebumps from something I heard. Maybe though, those days only existed in my head. I suppose gimmick has always played it’s part – but the question is whether or not gimmick outweighed the music or the message. I find myself looking for the music that’s off-the-beaten-path nowadays. I’m much more apt to buy the music I can’t hear on the radio than I am to buy songs that I hear every time I get into the car. I like supporting the little-known, the obscure, the new. There is absolutely nothing like the feeling when I hear music that speaks to me – the hair stands up on end, the goosebumps still wash over me, and I feel like I’m being taken on an escape.
So perhaps it isn’t that I’ve stopped caring, perhaps its just that right now I want more than the spectacle or the show. I want something to savor, to contemplate. It doesn’t have to always be that way. Sometimes fast food works, and other times, I want the well-thought out, slow-cooked gourmet.
Of course, it wouldn’t hurt much if Duran Duran happened to hit an award show one of these days, either!
Last year, I wanted to take the time to showcase different means of expressing fandom outside of what Rhonda and I do or are super familiar with. To that end, I asked for volunteers to complete a questionnaire to tell all of us how s/he expresses fandom. I have posted some questionnaires from fan artists, fans in tribute bands, fans in other fandoms, fans who have webpages about Duran and more. Today, I take the time to show Joel, a collector and Facebook using Duranie!
How do you express your fandom? Art, Fic, Remixes, Webpage, Message Boards, Facebook group, etc?
Describe exactly what it is that you do.
Probably like a lot of people I reply to posts and comments, post pictures and videos. Sometimes, I will post Duran Duran stuff on my Facebook page, but that’s it, really. I do not use Twitter, run any pages or fan groups, or have a personal blogs, either.
Why did you choice this means of expressing your fandom?
Facebook is easy and fast. It is the best way to communicate with fans worldwide.
Tell me your fandom story. When did you become a fan? What drew you to Duran Duran?
How else do you participate in the fandom? Attend shows, meetups, conventions? Discuss the band on message boards, facebook, twitter?
Now, I’d say I participate by networking via Facebook, youtube, and the message board. Then, it was by being penpals with lots of people, writing articles in fanzines…I wish there were fan conventions closer to home. I haven’t attended any conventions or meet-ups yet.
What has the reaction been to your expression of fandom? What do you people think of your work?
Well, I’m a Duran Duran collector. Fans react well to the pictures I post of the stuff I buy. Otherwise, in real life, I keep it pretty low key. I, sometimes, wear Duran t shirts at work or at home, but that’s it. My full-on fanboy self comes out when I go to the shows, or related events like John Taylor’s book signing.
Do you use your means of expression outside of fandom?
Can you share something that you are most proud of?
Hmm…it could be my Duran Duran photos I personally took at shows or my Duran autographs. It could be some of the rare t-shirts, magazines, and books I have collected over the years
I so love our friends. Not only do they read the blog and support everything that we decide to do but they also share ideas, articles, books, movies and more with us! Sometimes, our friends pass on things that they think we might be interested in. Obviously, the topic of these media items tend to be about fandom, in some way, shape or form. They are all worthy of a read or a look and many are worthy of blog topics, which is really good because we need those! (Durantime is a killer! I swear Rhonda and I won’t know what to do when we actually get to talk about Duran news!) Just this past week, I had at least 4 friends share ideas or articles with me. I love that!!! I actually woke up this morning knowing that I was going to pick one and write about it. Of course, I had to think about and debate which one I should choose! This is one problem I don’t mind having! Anyway, I chose this one simply because it is participatory as it requires ALL of you to do your homework! I promise, though, it is a fun assignment and one you won’t mind doing!
As you all know, through our daily questions, we got fans to pick a favorite song from each album. Then, we took favorite songs from each album and had fans vote on them to find an overall fan song. What this method did not really take into consideration is that favorites can appear on the same album. One favorite song could appear on Notorious and one’s second favorite song could appear on that as well. Anyway, the other day, our friend, Jeanette, suggested that post a song challenge. This challenge? Simple. The Top 25 Duran Duran songs as voted on by all of us, by the fans.
Now, I’m sure that some of you are going to say that I love all Duran Duran songs. With a sigh, I respond with, yes, you can love all of their songs but what this challenge, this homework assignment is going to do is ask you to think about your FAVORITES, the songs you love MORE. I enjoy tasks like this as I love thinking about Duran’s music and their individual songs.
So, here is how this is going to work.
*People will send lists of their top 25 favorite Duran Duran songs.
*They will send the lists PRIVATELY through Facebook messages, Twitter DMs, or email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
*The songs need to be numbered as each number is given a value, which will be used in order for me to be able to rank them. For example, a song that is listed as a number 1 is going to be worth 25 points. A song listed at number 25 is worth 1 point. The song with the most points will be our collective number 1. The song with the second highest points will be number 2, etc. until we complete the 25.
*The lists are DUE on FEBRUARY 14TH. I figured that Valentine’s Day would be a good day to give some love to Duran songs! Then, I will reveal the list here on the blog and take a look at what songs made the cut and which ones didn’t.
*Rhonda and I will also participate. I will make her do it. We will share our lists when it is over on the blog as well.
Good luck everyone!!
P.S. I think my method will be to make a list of Duran songs I love then try to number them. I will also try not to think too much or else I might go a little crazy! LOL! Other suggestions on how to approach this homework??
Whenever I try to describe a serious fan, I think about how serious fans seem to take any little event, memory, idea and more and relate to their idol(s) or to their fandom. I am no different. Just this past week, I took time to remember my little visit to Washington DC that took place a year ago at this time. Why did I go? Simple. I was invited to attend the Inauguration of President Obama. Not only that but I got to attend the official ball and got a tour of the White House, which led to my second meeting and picture of President Obama. (If you want to read the blog post with details of this, you can go here.) How come I got this tremendous experience? I volunteered as a team leader for the Obama campaign from summer 2008 to the very end in November 2012. I gave a lot of my time, my effort and my energy. A year later and I still feel the same. I feel so very validated by this. The experience taught me that I was capable of quite a lot and it also gave me something that I didn’t realize until recently that I needed. It gave me satisfaction in knowing that I was appreciated. It was a big thank you. I worked hard and I got something great for it. I never felt so appreciated as I did as part of that campaign. The staff I worked with directly always took the time to thank me and those volunteers working with me. Beyond that, the top campaign staff did, too, as did the President himself both in person and in many, many of his speeches, including his victory speeches. This idea of working hard, being appreciated and rewarded for it is something that I always believed even as a little kid. I knew that I worked hard in school and did well in my classes because of it. I can’t help but still believe that today as an adult even though that hasn’t always been my experience.
Recently, when thinking about my chosen career, teaching, I started to wonder when I became so frustrated at work. This, of course, is a complex answer and one that I’m sure I don’t have the complete answer for. Yet, in thinking about campaigning, I realize that part of it has to do with this core belief that working hard leads to being appreciated and rewarded. I don’t feel that it true at my paid job. It doesn’t matter how hard I work. I have worked very hard for a very long time at my job, but that doesn’t seem to matter to people. I am judged by test scores and by how well I control the behavior in my room–not by my effort at all. In fact, it doesn’t feel like I’m judged as an individual much. Instead, I am lumped into the large entity of “public education” or the large group known as “teachers”. These two large groups often create a lot of negative ideas and feelings for too many people and for too much of the public, at large, as well as for those who pass laws and budgets affecting education. In general, there is a lot of teacher blaming that takes place in a variety of places, in subtle and not-so-subtle ways from what I see. It is the exact opposite of what I felt on the campaign.
This is when Duran Duran entered my thoughts. How are they judged? Like my test scores and behavioral referrals, they are judged on hits, albums sold and tickets sold. Is this fair? Is this the best way to judge them? Of course, I would say no. I would even say that they shouldn’t worry about their commercial success. Quality music is what is important. I try to say something similar in my classroom. It doesn’t matter if I’m hitting some arbitrary number in the classroom as long as I am creating relationships with kids and helping them make progress, right? Yet, just like Duran, I can’t help how I’m judged. Now, I’m sure that people will point out how much they appreciate that I’m a teacher just like Duran hears how great they are from us, their fans. Is that enough, though? Is that enough to overcome those outside metrics by which judgement is made? Is it? I don’t know. I know that I struggle with this, especially when I have experienced appreciation and reward. Does Duran struggle like I do since, they, too, have experienced validation and public appreciation? I, obviously, can’t answer the question but I know that in thinking about this, in comparison to what I have experienced, it has made me more understanding of their desire for commercial success. I get it a little bit more now.
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!