It is a quiet time in Duranland as it will be months before Duran Duran is set to play in Cancun and even longer before those festivals in South America. No new music is on the horizon. Fans often get anxious for any news or talking points on the band. (Maybe, that’s just me since I want to have something to blog about!) Luckily, an article about Duran Duran popped up that is worthy of a read and worthy of a response. That article written by Duran Duran fan, Lyndsey Parker, and can be and should be read here.
As soon as I read it, I knew that I had to blog about it. The premise of the article is that Duran Duran has always been a fabulous band even when the band was criticized, demeaned, and put down in the 80s. Before I even started reading the article, I found myself nodding in agreement. Of course, they were great! Duh! That said, I always appreciate anyone willing to take the time to prove that.
The article begins by stating how they had all of the ingredients of being a cool and well-respected band when the band formed. After all, they had great influences and worked with amazing people. Then, a John Taylor quote pops up stating that something went “wrong”. I never heard or read that quote before and it definitely caught my attention. Then, of course, the author explains what went wrong or why Duran didn’t get the credit they deserved.
The obvious answer has to do with the marketing to teens, especially to teen girls. Once that happened, it seemed like every other move the band made fed into this negative image that music journalists and critics had for the band. Of course, this is something that Rhonda and I have discussed on here many, many times. Be careful for what you wish for, I guess. In this case, while looking good, having an attractive image, being willing to appear on teen magazines, etc. helped to sell a ton of albums and got the band thousands of female fans from around the world, it also meant that the band wouldn’t get the credit they deserve. I appreciated the quote at the end of this section of the article, one in which Simon discussed how the music industry was run by men but how girls liked Duran.
I couldn’t agree more with Simon there. The problem isn’t really that the band allowed themselves to be marketed to teen girls. The problem is the disrespect and dismissal of females, especially young females as men assume that girls cannot determine quality music. It seems to me to be an obvious case of sexism, which sounds weird to say when describing a male band’s career success. Basically, I believe that if Duran had a male audience, they would have received critical acclaim. Instead, they got treated like women and girls often are. Thus, it isn’t that the band made a wrong career move but that society, in this case, sucks.
Then, Ms. Parker’s article explains how wrong the critics were for dismissing the band. She didn’t dive into my sexism theory but instead proved how amazing Duran’s career has been from the very first album through the most recent. For Duranies, her arguments weren’t new but always welcomed. Not only does she describe the quality of their music, including the fabulous skills that each member brings to the table, but she also applauds their career moves that challenged their status quo. She lists both side projects and even musical changes between albums. The risks, many unnecessary, should be cheered rather than jeered, according to the article. I have to agree.
Many long lasting bands find a formula that works for them and repeat it over and over. Some bands that come to mind include U2 and Depeche Mode. When a new album of theirs comes out, fans generally know what to expect. That is not the case with Duran. Sometimes, they hit and other times they make more of a miss and Ms. Parker isn’t afraid to point that out, either, which I appreciated. I agree with all of that. Duran’s risks should be praised. They refuse to stay in a corner that is comfortable but instead choose to push themselves. To me, that is the sign of a real artist. Artists are willing to try something new and fail.
All in all, this article really explained a lot about why people dismissed Duran and why they shouldn’t have. In my opinion, it is a must read article for any Duran fan but also one that non-Duran fans need to read.