Tag Archives: Last Night in the City

If You Leave a Light On For Me

Some people might describe me as intense.  When I am into something, I dive deep no matter how much it seems to others that I’m drowning.  I don’t have a half speed.  It is either all or nothing.  One can see this aspect of my personality in everything I do.  When I’m focused on teaching, I’m really attentive on whatever needs to be done.  At work, I rarely even take a minute or two to think about much else.  When I’m working on a political action, it is all I can think about.  I start dreaming about it.  Then, when I’m on tour, I won’t let work or politics invade my fun.

Lately, fandom has been on the back burner.  Part of this, of course, is because it is quiet in Duranland.  The other part is that I have been in the work and politics zone, not thinking much about Duran.  Yet, even when I have narrowed my focus, it doesn’t take much to bring me right back to my Duran fandom.  I have had a few moments like this in the last couple of weeks that I just have to share.

The first return to Duran fandom was last Friday.  A week ago, I found myself at work sitting around a circle with my colleagues having a structured discussion as part of the school’s professional development day.  Usually, these discussions center around some topic related to education.  Instead, though, the questions this time were more personal.  For example, everyone had to share a passion of theirs.  Another question had to do with a time in which you made “lemonade out of lemons.”  As soon the question was asked of the group, I chuckled remembering a certain trip to the UK in the spring of 2011.  This, of course, was the UK trip of non-shows.  Rhonda and I had traveled there to see four shows with a couple of friends.  Instead, all of those shows were canceled.  We had a choice then.  Be upset or make the best out of a crappy situation.  Instead of being angry, we used the time to see some sites, to walk around Birmingham to get a real sense of the band’s history and more.  I think we even wrote a blog with the title of making lemonade out of lemons.  I, for one, am glad that we pushed ourselves to make lemonade out of lemons.  Did I share this story to the group at work?  You better believe I did!

A second example of a moment that recently brought me back to thinking about Duranland was last Monday.  Rhonda wrote a little blog to celebrate my birthday, which was super kind of her.  The blog featured a ton of memories and experiences that we have shared together in this fandom.  I laughed and/or smiled with every example.  It reminded me of all of the truly great times that we have shared together and have shared in the name of fandom.  Rhonda definitely picked out some amazing examples and even better is the fact that we could probably come up with about fifty more examples.  Of course, the best part is that we aren’t done with this fandom yet.  I would like to make more memories in the future!

Speaking of touring, as I drove home from work yesterday the song “Last Night in the City” came up in the shuffle.  Like the other two moments, this song instantly reminded me of being a Duranie, of the best part of being one, which is going on tour.  I remember when I was trying to bond with the Paper Gods album.  This was the song that did it.  It isn’t because it is my favorite on the album (even though I enjoy it).  No, it is because I connected with the lyrics.  To me, it describes life on tour perfectly.  After all, how many times have we been up all night partying after a show?  Being on tour is always our time.  It is where we get connected.

As I sit here on a Saturday morning about to head out to a political meeting, I’m thankful that I have moments like the ones I described here.  As much as I love my job and being involved, politically, fandom provides the fun that gives me the energy to do the rest.  This blog keeps my fandom alive.  Heck, even the daily questions help remind me of this aspect of my life.  I’m thankful that I have something that keeps bringing me back to Duran fandom.

-A

Words, Playing Me…

I have been thinking about lyrics a lot lately.  I think it started from this set of questions of the day we have been doing.  First, we ask our readers which song has the best lyrics per album.  (We are starting Liberty, by the way!)  Then, we ask people to pick THE best lyric or line from the song that they determined had the best lyrics overall.  Eventually, we will compare all of the favorite lyrics.  Beyond the question of the day, I have also been listening to the new Killers album and trying to bond with it.  One song, in particular, has caught my attention due to the lyrics.  The song is Rut and it definitely fits how I have been feeling at/with work.  Lines like, “I’m climbing but the walls keep stacking up” or “I’ve done my best defending but the punches are starting to land” make me feel as if someone is putting my feelings into words.  This personal connection to the lyrics have made me want to listen to the song a lot.

When I think back to my lifetime of listening to music, I recognize that the importance of lyrics has grown on me.  When I think back to falling for Duran, I think of songs like Save a Prayer and the Reflex.  When I think about those songs, lyrically, they make me laugh.  Save a Prayer is obviously about a one-night stand–something that my 9 year old self could not relate or connect to!  The Reflex, on the other hand, just seemed silly to me as a kid.  That song’s lyrics, though, are ones that people still seek understanding of.  In fact, our most viewed blog post of all time is the one where I pondered what the heck the Reflex is really all about.  I know that I did not connect to the song in 1984 because of the lyrics, no matter what I thought they meant.  No, in 1984, it was all about whether or not the chorus was catchy and the video showed cute guys.

Yet, now, when I think about the Duran songs that I have connected with, I think of the ones that captured something in its lyrics that I can relate to.  The first song that comes to my mind about that is Before the Rain.  The verse that spoke to me in 2010 was this one:  Little pin-pricks
And how my ears bleed
On the bomb ticks that is my heartbeat
In every life-flash
In every car crash
I hear the silence waiting to fall

Why did it speak to me?  In December of 2010, I had to say good-bye to a beloved pet, Othello, and then 10 days later, I said good-bye to my grandma, my lone living grandparent.  My heartbeat felt the pain of the silence that follows death and I connected with it deeply.  To me, it spoke of grief.  Is that what the song is about?  I doubt it but there was enough there that made me feel like I was not alone in my grief–that someone else understood.

The same thing is true with Duran’s latest album, Paper Gods.  I remember listening through it a few times before I really tuned into the lyrics.  The song that caught my attention then?  Last Night in the City, believe it or not, the exact opposite of Before the Rain.  The lyrics described exactly what touring means and is like to me.  It is where we get connected, whether that connection is with the band and the fans or with fans to fans.  What is funny is that Rhonda connected with the lyrics around the same time.  I have fond memories of a text message exchange one evening as we traded favorite lyrics back and forth and talked about not only what they could mean but, more importantly, but how and why they spoke to us.  It was at that moment that I knew that I could and would bond with that album.

What about the rest of you?  How much do lyrics matter?  Do the lyrics need to speak to you in order to  love a song?  Likewise, if a song’s lyrics are silly, can you still bond with the tune?

-A

Paper Gods – Which Is Your Favorite?

As I continue to kind of sort out my final thoughts on all things Paper Gods, I’ve been thinking about the album itself.  This album took a while to grow on me.  Amanda and I spoke about it on the way home from San Francisco, and she surmised that this was a ‘thinking person’s’ album.

I think she’s right about that. In my case, it wasn’t an album that reached out and grabbed me, but instead it kind of sat bubbling in my head, percolating away. For what seemed like months, I’d listen to the album on repeat in the car, and then I’d put it away for a bit. Then I’d pull it back out, and listen to it again on repeat. I would think about the lyrics, the meaning, the possible story, and the music itself.

There were a few things about the album that just didn’t sit well with me. I struggled with the idea that Dom was barely on it, for instance. Yeah, I’m loyal. I know he’s not an “official band member”.  Whatever. He’s been with them for so long, it sure feels like he’s official. It bugged me. I wasn’t totally in love with the feel of the album at first, either. It felt very electronic in parts, and oddly un-Duran Duran like in others. I kept listening. I did not want a repeat of Red Carpet Massacre – an album that I never really enjoyed – so I kept at it, trying to bond.

Somewhere along the line, I must have done just that. The songs no longer sound foreign to me. They no longer feel too electronic, or not DD “enough”.  I don’t even think about who played or wrote what song. They feel just right. Even so, I have favorite songs on every single Duran Duran album. I think we all must have tunes we enjoy more than others, and this one is no different. I also think that looking back on this tour has kind of given new meaning to at least a few of the songs I once struggled with.

When I think of Paper Gods though, a few songs come to mind: Pressure Off, Last Night in the City, and What are the Chances. I am certain this is because the band played all of them on tour, and so they come to mind easily. I also think about The Universe Alone, Planet Roaring, and Cinderella Ride. It’s kind of hard to pick a favorite from that list, but in the end it is purely sentiment that drives me.

While I know he didn’t write it, there’s no arguing that Dom owns the guitar solo in What are the Chances when he plays it live. He took something that wasn’t really his and made it so, and the album version is every bit as beautiful, of course. I feel just a teensy bit guilty that I had to remind myself on the way home from San Francisco that John Frusciante actually wrote the guitar part – I’d gotten so used to Dom doing it that I’d forgotten.  I’m not normally a ballad person, but on this album it’s the two ballads (What are the Chances and Cinderella Ride) that I love hearing most when I’m at home.  The words for both ring very close to home for me in completely different ways – which is something I can say for 99% of the album. The lyrics really hit me.

There is a lot to like on this album, and since it’s release, I’ve fallen in love with much of it. It may not have been an album that knocked me over upon first listen, but it is definitely one that made me think, reconsider, and ultimately embrace. It’s been a great ride.

-R

Happy Anniversary Paper Gods!

Today is the one year anniversary of Paper Gods.  It is hard to believe that the album was released a whole year ago.  In order to celebrate the anniversary, the band released the official video for Last Night in the City (at midnight Eastern time) and then a little video from Simon discussing the special occasion.

Last Night in the City:

Here’s the video of Simon:

Of course, Rhonda and I had lots to say about the video, Simon’s video and the anniversary itself.  In order to fit our thoughts into one blog, a video blog seemed most appropriate!

After listening to all of our thoughts, what you think about the video or about what Simon had to say?  We would love to know!

-A