Tag Archives: Manimal

Paper Gods a Plenty!

It looks like I’m going to be adding a couple of versions of Paper Gods to my ever-expanding Duran collection.  Anyone else??

Earlier today, I saw that Duran Duran announced the various versions of Paper Gods that will be descending upon us in the coming months.  For All You Need is Now, there were many different albums depending upon where you lived, where you shopped…and of course, how much you were willing to spend. The options seemed dizzying at the time, and I mentioned here on the blog that I might need a flow chart in order to keep track.  This time, DDHQ seems to be right on top of it by releasing a list today on Facebook of available versions, complete with track listings.

Basically, there will be four different configurations of the album.

  1. A standard 12-track CD, it’s digital equivalent, and a 12-track vinyl double LP.

  2. A deluxe 15-track CD and it’s digital equivalent. (this one has 3 bonus tracks)

  3. A limited edition, high-end deluxe Vinyl Factory box set LP.

  4. Limited edition “fan bundle” available through Duran Duran Music Store. This edition has special packaging, the deluxe 15-track CD, and a paper fortune teller. (because we all need one for trying to figure out and understand this band sometimes…am I right?!?)

The deluxe version of the album is available for preorder at participating retailers, and I read today that Pressure Off will be available through iTunes in the UK on July 24.  (I don’t mind saying that I think it’s ridiculous that people from the UK – DD’s HOME – have to wait until nearly the end of next month in order to get the single. Who plans this stuff?!?)

I can only imagine how “high-end” the Vinyl Factory box set will be – I’ve passed up their most recent limited edition vinyls because quite honestly, as nice as they might be, they’re atrociously priced and something has to give somewhere. Personally, I would have liked to have seen the band give a shot to Manimal Records for their vinyl and come in with a slightly less “high-end” version for those of us mere mortals who still hope to retire someday, but that’s just me.

The official track listing:

Paper Gods (feat. Mr. Hudson)
Last Night in the City (feat. Kiesza)
You Kill Me With Silence
Pressure Off (feat. Janelle Monáe and Nile Rodgers)
Face For Today
Danceophobia
What Are The Chances?
Sunset Garage
Change the Skyline (feat. Jonas Bjerre)
Butterfly Girl
Only in Dreams
The Universe Alone

Deluxe Edition Bonus Tracks:

Planet Roaring
Valentine Stones
Northern Lights

Also in breaking news, a second Capitol Theatre date in New York has been added for August 2nd. DDM Presales tomorrow at noon local time. Duranies, are you ready??  Are your credit cards ready??? We’re off and running….the Duran drought has officially ended!!!

-R

 

Last minute weekend double delight – Girls On Film (Soko) & Late Bar (Barbarians) Making Patterns Rhyme Tribute Album

Taking a break from vacation unpacking and laundry (yes, I’m back!!) to listen to the newest sneak peaks from the upcoming Making Patterns Rhyme album (August 2014).

Up first is Soko’s version of Girls on Film. According to Paul Beahan (Manimal), this version is “downbeat and goth-y”.  I definitely get that “slightly The Cure” flavor from the very beginning, and I have to admit – the song is quickly growing on me.  I like the subdued nature of the melody – it’s not quite as frenetic as the original, and my feet definitely start finding the beat during the chorus.  My ears are happy.  It’s different, but recognizable.  I think this is liable to become one of my favorites off of the album.

Love for Girls on Film aside, I will openly admit I’m having a lot more trouble with Barbarian’s Late Bar.  Here’s the real deal: the song is one of my all time favorites from the band, and I really love that the original is dark and obscure.  It’s tough to hear it done more upbeat…and up to date.  That said, even here, I can find things I really like, such as the middle 8 (between verses).  I think the one attribute I like least is that they’ve changed the rhythm of the song. It may grow on me, but right now I just want to grab the drumsticks out of the hands of the drummer, take the microphone away…and teach them how it should be done. I’m starting to sound like an old woman yelling at the kids to stop playing ball on my lawn, which is never good. I don’t want to completely pan the work, because let’s face it – this probably has far more to do with what I’m used to as a fan than it does the song. I’m curious to hear what others think.

This is the last day to take a listen…so hurry and check it out, then shoot me a comment with your thoughts!

Back to unpacking for me….

-R

American Science – Austra (Making Patterns Rhyme)

Today is Tuesday, and I bring you a review of new music, freshly released by Manimal Records.  American Science by Austra was leaked out last week and I listened, but I waited to review it until it had been put up on Soundcloud so that I could properly share.

American Science is a beloved song for many DD fans.  I was curious as to what Austra might do with it to make it her own.  I really liked the intro – in some ways it reminded me of the simplicity of a heartbeat. Her vocals are almost ghostly, backed by subtle synth loops that really allow for her voice to be the star. The song feels so existential to me, ethereal…other worldly even. I think it makes an effective statement without being at all “in your face” about it. I’m not sure that it makes the same type of impact as the band’s original, but then, that’s really not the point, is it? Austra is telling the story from her own point of view, and I am happy to sit back and listen.

I turn it over to you. What do you think?  Shoot me a line here or on Twitter or Facebook!

This marks my last blog post for a couple of weeks because it’s Family Vacation time for me and my family.  Don’t get too jealous – we’re going camping. If you happen to see a blue truck pulling an RV up the highway in California, wave…because it just might be my family!

-R

 

Do You Believe In Shame – Halo Circus (Making Patterns Rhyme Tribute)

Today we’re finding new music from Halo Circus in the form of Do You Believe In Shame.

I loved the deep bass line as the intro, and hearing Alison Iraheta’s vocals with the addition of a different musical element throughout the first verse was particularly effective, bringing the song to a full crescendo. Once again, just as I settled in for the ride, I was dropped head first into the full power of the chorus.

There is a lot I really like about this cover. The simplicity of adding the musical elements throughout the verses really works for me. I’ve always liked the message of this song, and the power of her vocals really brings that home and enhances what was already a very strong song. I am not quite so crazy about the wall-of-noise that seems to hit me in the chorus, like everything is turned up to “10”, but I can forgive that for the new journey this cover carves for the listener.

As always, I look forward to seeing what you think!
-R

Come Undone – Carina Round [Feat. Aidan Hawken] (Making Patterns Rhyme Tribute album)

Just when you’re bored to death watching the inevitable slow death of Germany Brazil…in a World Cup match…along comes an incredibly powerful and wonderfully shocking cover that you can’t WAIT to review.

When I hit “play”, I immediately decided it was way too slow. I was set to dislike.  Then, seemingly out of nowhere, I hear a male voice…and the song suddenly becomes interesting.  Just as I settle in and start paying attention, the music changes. It becomes ever so slightly angry – but quiet. Then the strongest female voice takes over the second verse.  Texture beyond words….and then we go back to the original style. Unreal. Unfucking real.

This is exactly what I’m talking about when I describe a song that has been allowed to keep it’s bones and even a piece of it’s spirit – but is changed and evolved into what the covering artist wishes to convey. At this point, it’s not a remake of a Duran Duran song, it is Come Undone BY Carina Round. Don’t be offended by that, embrace it as a fan. Be proud that our band gave someone else inspiration to use their music as a launch point. You don’t have to like the song, and you certainly don’t have to like what Carina Round chose to do with it, but you absolutely MUST applaud her courage and creativity.

And I really, really like it.  Well done.  Extremely well done.  This one is going on my iPhone for sure.

By the way, Ms. Patty Palazzo – you are brilliant. I love this cover. This is art that speaks to me, and if I could frame it and put it on my wall, I would.

-R

Planet Earth by LUXXURY – Making Patterns Rhyme Tribute Album

This is what happens when my kids are out of school…I become unfocused and miss things.  Big things!  Planet Earth-sized things!

This week, another single off the soon-to-be-released (July 2014) Making Patterns Rhyme album, curated by none other than Manimal Records, was released for our listening pleasure.    The album is being done for charity, benefitting Amnesty International. LUXXURY takes Planet Earth on a groovy ride, giving it a twist and throwing it back to dance into orbit.  Have you heard it?

I really like the groove on this one – they took the very best parts of Planet Earth and turned it up, ready for dancing.  On the other hand, I’m not sure how I feel about the vocals, done by Actually & Blake Robin. They aren’t bad, they’re just very different and done in a very “dream-like” atmospheric sort of way, which seems to be an ongoing theme with this vocals throughout the album. (See, even I have my moments where I need to remind myself that different is OK!) I think this one is going to take a bit to grow on me…but the music gives me enough to nod my head, and I still appreciate that they took enough liberties to make the song their own. What say you?

-R

PS – I know I missed Wednesday covers this week.  I’ll make up for it next week!!!

The Chauffeur – Covers!

This week, I decided to go for another often covered song from Duran’s catalog – The Chauffeur.  If you haven’t checked out Warpaint’s cover from the Manimal-curated soon-to-be-released album titled Making Patterns Rhyme yet, go here!

The Chauffeur is obviously a fan favorite, and as such, I think it’s tough for fans to find a cover of this that they really can approve of. Again, I still think it has everything to do with some misaligned band loyalty than it does the songs themselves, so I’m going to keep working at this until we find songs that people like!  Expose your ears to something new – it’s good for you, it’s good for your brain, and it’s good for your spirit! (Really, there was a recent study done that concluded hearing new music is really good for your brain – it helps your brain stay young. We all need that!!)

Just as I did last week, I went to YouTube to find some covers. Some are well-recognized, others are more obscure.  Take a listen and see what you think.  My short review is under each link!

The Chauffeur – Sneaker Pimps

This cover remains very faithful to the original, which leaves me wondering what else they could have done with it to make it their own.  There’s a lot of echo and reverb in parts of this, which makes the song feel dreamy and existential. Overall it’s a good, solid effort to pay homage to the original.

The Chauffeur – Deftones

This one draws me in immediately because I like the hard edge of the guitar.  The vocals are incredibly similar to Simon’s, and they have the same type of effect on them that the original has.  I do like the way they have turned up the guitar here, although I think it might have the tendency to drown out the vocals.

The Chauffeur – Velvet

I found this cover on YouTube and it was one I hadn’t heard before.  This one uses a slightly quicker tempo and synth loops that are a little more like bells than the original. It’s pretty faithful to the original in spirit, even though it does not use the same musical arrangement and feels a little “thin” until 2/3 of the way through the song when the drums pick up.

The Chauffeur – Cashmir

This is a Finnish band and the cover is ever-so-slightly different in parts. The vocals are drawn out (and changed) in parts, and the music really worried me at first because I couldn’t tell where they were really headed musically, and that goes on throughout the song in between verses. It goes from being very faithful (albeit they use a much fuller musical arrangement that sort of topples over into “soft rock”) to being something, well…we’ll just say very different.  The things they change are very creative, even though I really don’t think they work for the song.  The music changes the spirit of the song, and if nothing else, it’s very interesting to hear how changing the arrangement as well as a few lines of vocals and how they are sung really makes the song reflect differently on the listener.

The Chauffeur – Marco Morgan Castoldi

I’d be into this more if I didn’t hear his mistakes…but this is live, and I’ll give the guy credit for playing it at all.  Other than that, the cover is very faithful to the original, although it’s done on piano and I especially like what he did with the mid-section.

The Chauffeur – Forgotten Toys

I was underwhelmed with this local Chicago band’s version until they got to the mid-section where they dared to turn up the guitar and let her go.  The tempo is upbeat (I think it should not have been because it loses effect that way), but the guitar adds a really nice texture to the smoothness of the vocals.  For the guitar solo, they dared to go on step further and blend a bit from Kashmir by Led Zeppelin into the song. Surprisingly, it’s kind of cool and works with this harder-edged cover.

The Chauffeur – A Toys Orchestra

I can’t say I love this one. It takes forever to get going and once it does – you’d think you were in the races to the finish.  They speed this up way fast, and it loses the original effect with nothing done to try and change the song.  Then they put this electronica section in after the first chorus. I applaud their effort, but it’s not a favorite.

The Chauffeur – Iraina Mancini

I am happy to include one version by a female. I have to say though, that for me – while this cover is beautiful and it’s clear she is a well-trained vocalist, I think it loses something (for me) when sung by a female.  It’s otherwise very similar to the original with nothing really changed, but somehow just having a woman sing turns the whole song completely on it’s head and makes it something completely different.

There’s eight versions for you.  Truthfully, none of them really push the envelope and stray too far from the original…but that’s OK.  Check them out, see what you think – comment back with your favorite, or if you’ve got others for me to post I’m happy to do that too!

-R

 

 

 

The Chauffeur – Warpaint (Making Patterns Rhyme Cover Album)

I love the days when Manimal releases a new song from the Making Patterns Rhyme album, because it’s like getting brand new music! Today is certainly no exception. I suspect that many fans will find this new single easy on the palate, and perhaps even something that they’ll add to their playlists.

When I first hit ‘play’, I won’t lie – at first I found myself the teensiest bit underwhelmed. It’s not that the song isn’t beautiful or that the vocals left me cold. I liked the sound, but I felt like they could have pushed that envelope a bit further. It sounded too much like what Duran Duran had done. I wanted more. I wanted to hear what Warpaint could really do with it on their own.

At this point – I might have shut the song off to write a short blog because I thought I’d gotten a good idea of what they’d done. This time though, I left the song playing as I went on to tackle the next morning task on my list. I’m glad I did, because as they say – “the best was yet to come”. The further it got into the song, the more that Warpaint played with the melody – not taking away from the original, but adding more to the sound. The vocals grew more haunting, more ethereal; the music more deconstructed, so to speak. They explored the sounds in a way that Duran Duran hadn’t, and I loved it! The last 30 seconds or so of the song are worth waiting for – and you’ll want to play the song over and over again because it really is that good. They took the beauty of the original and added their own color to the artistic palate.  Rather than just being comfortable with letting the original melody stand on it’s own, they explored a bit with the sound combinations, and in many ways – Warpaint improved upon the original. I suspect this one sentence may get me into trouble with my fellow Duranies, but it’s the truth – and it pays the highest compliment possible to Duran Duran.

Additionally, I’m taking a second to gush over the artwork that our very own Patty Palazzo has created for the project.  In each case, she has taken an image from the original song (most from videos, with the obvious exceptions of the songs that did not have videos) and updated it as the artwork for the cover version.  It’s kind of like taking a bit of the old to send off the new, and I love that simple, yet effective theme.  I really like the specific images Patty has chosen – they ‘re iconic for us, and explanative of the cover version as well.

Take a listen and let me know what you think! -R

June Katy Kafe with John Taylor!

Third post in a single day. You’d think I did this full time….

(let’s just not talk about that, OK? Moving on…)

Today brought wonderful gifts in the way of a tweetstake (I desperately tried to win but alas, I cannot type that fast. I knew the answer and typed that out supa-fast, but then I stumbled over the damn hashtag for #ADITM. *sigh*  Oh well. Had to try – congrats to @Barbarella5 for being lightning fast – good for you!!!)…and the second gift? A Katy Kafe. WITH VIDEO.

I’ll let you catch your breath on that one. That’s right, this one had video. This was fabulous because we were able to see John Taylor “in person”!  This was also very difficult, because I found myself struggling to remember to take notes. Really Rhonda? I couldn’t watch him and think about what to write down at the same time.  (And I wonder why I didn’t win the tweetstake. Gee, I really don’t know….;) )

Personal struggles aside – I took copious notes.  No really, I did!! I sat through some of the conversation several times just to make sure I got it all down. I know, I know, it’s a lot to ask of me…but I do it for you. MWAH. (that’s a kiss, all the way from California.) Once again, I give the disclaimer that my note taking skills, stellar as they may be, are not done word-for-word, and if you really want the full experience (and you do, because this one is video, people…), you should join duranduranmusic.com.

The opening convo is that John is Skyping from home in England, and that it’s his turn in the Kafe on his birthday month this year. Shout out to Katy for mentioning Dom, since yes – his birthday is coming up on June 14th, and we DEFINITELY count him as part of the band… even if he’s completely forgotten us on Twitter and Facebook these days. *sigh*

Where was I? Oh yes….John Taylor.

On Mr. Hudson: Turns out Mr. Hudson has a first name and it’s BEN.  It’s the little things you know.  They’ve done three songs with him and apparently they’re all on a first-name basis with him now.  And of course, we are now too because he’s part of the Duran family…until he sends us a comment telling us to stick to Mr. Hudson.  🙂  (hey, it could happen!!) John says that he had no idea what to expect from him – he knew of his work with Kanye, and last year he’d heard ‘Fred Astaire’ from a mix that Mark Ronson had given to them.  As originally reported here on Daily Duranie, Mr. Hudson…er…Ben… is from Birmingham and grew up only a few miles from him. John says that they have formed a strong partnership and he’s helping the band to “tidy up” the other songs they’ve worked on.  They seem to be at a point in the process where they have a reasonable idea of what they want to include on the album (11 or 12 songs seem to be the goal) and now it’s about making them sound like a cohesive statement with the same sort of energy.  John basically said that while they recorded these over the course of 18 months (give or take…) they want it to sound as though they recorded over the course of a month or two.  He also said that Ben came to them at a point where they felt like they were running out of gas, and so he came to the project bringing a whole new energy.  Whereas the four members all do things and make decisions very deliberately, Ben isn’t self-conscious, and that must have breathed some very needed new-life into the project.

About those “extra” songs: As we all know, once the band has reached the end of the recording – there are songs that make the album and songs that don’t. I myself have wondered from time to time where those songs go, and I’ll bet others have as well. In my head I picture a bank vault with one of those wheels with spokes that operate the door… (in my head I also picture myself being allowed in that vault to listen with glee to my hearts content, but you  know…that’s just fantasy.) Katy must have been in my head at some point, because she asks what they do with the extra songs.  John is very quick to answer that they’re always asked for three or four other songs – bonus tracks – that end up somewhere.  He said something about fan sites and I started to choke on the iced tea I was having, because you know – I happen to know of a fan site that would be thrilled to “unearth” a bonus track for people to have and hold.  (More fantasy. I know. I have a very active imagination.)

Covers (and Tribute Albums): Katy asks him about LUXXURY’S Girls on Film cover because it truly highlight’s John’s bass line.  He comments that it (the cover) was indeed “salve for recoiled fans”, referring to the fan reaction regarding the debut of Moby’s version of Rio a couple weeks ago.  John was very surprised to see the reaction from fans and then went on to describe his own reaction when he first heard the song.  He explains that when he heard it, he was overcome with emotion, actually in tears, because to him – it was that good.  While he may have had tears in common with many fans after hearing the song, it was most assuredly not for the same reasons. I think this is difficult for John to understand, and yet – probably not. What blows my mind is that here’s John Taylor, one of the writers of the original, telling us – his fans – that he loved Moby’s version (he and Moby are friends), and yet we, fans of this band, STILL cannot get behind that work?  However, even John recognizes that Moby’s song triggers very different emotional spaces than Duran Duran’s version…yet for ME…that’s exactly why I like it.  I don’t know, maybe I’m the crazy one?? (Don’t answer that.)  John continues to talk about the Manimal project (Making Patterns Rhyme), saying that in a lot of ways, it’s good that it’s creating some controversy and getting attention – because these days, it’s very, very difficult to get attention (more on that in a bit!).  He finishes by saying what I already believe to be the case: Making Patterns Rhyme is probably not a project for the die hards out there, it’s intended for a more alternative-minded music listener.  I agree completely, given the little bit that I know.  That said, I’m going to keep promoting it because dang it – I can’t have fans getting lazy and closing their ears to new things!

A couple of speaking engagements John has/will participate in! A few weeks back, John went to speak to a group of local musicians at Death or Glory Records in Redditch (UK). The owner of Death or Glory wanted to keep the purity of the musicians forum he’d organized – meaning it was not publicized to fans beforehand. I have to applaud that choice, because that gave these local musicians the chance to really talk to John as a musician, without people like me around squealing “Oh my God…it’s John Taylor, right in front of me!” You know?  The story behind the event is that in some publication, it was announced that Redditch is the “least musical” place in all of England, which is atrocious because Redditch actually claims John Taylor among their own. (That right there seems like enough to me to say the place is among the MOST musical, you know??) The owner of this record shop decided to rally against that label and started organizing these events – forums – for musicians to come together and talk about some of the successes and challenges of their chosen career.  For this event, John and the group talked a lot about the differences between trying to break through today verses back in the early days of Duran Duran, and ultimately while everything is different technologically – the crux is still the same.  John says that “you’ve got to take what’s in here” (meaning the heart…within the mind and body) and make it into something that speaks to millions. That one action has stayed the same, no matter the time period.  One thing that has changed though, is the internet.  I know fans (including me!) talk about how wonderful the internet has been for us. It’s opened doors between all of us as fans.  We connect. I applaud that.  But, as John says, it’s made us lazy.  He’s right.  We sit at home and just wait for the music to find us. We don’t have to work for it like we once did.  He’s right. I don’t have to go searching for news on the band by listening to the radio, scouring the television to find interviews or going down to the local “Wherehouse” records to see if they have any new magazines or music from the band.  Now I search online.  In a lot of ways, it’s much, much easier…and it’s much more difficult to keep our attention for long.  On the other hand, the artist has to work much harder to stand out among the masses, to connect in ways they never thought they needed, and to keep our attention longer than it takes to click to the next website.

Personally I think that’s where the industry really struggles.  They have no idea how to hold our attention and they have no idea how to translate “likes” on a FB page or “favorites” on Twitter into dollar signs.  In a lot of ways, I think there’s just far too much available. We have to switch on a dime from one thing to the next in order just to keep up.  I think that might be some of the reason why the band seems to have retreated a bit from social media – because it’s just very difficult to keep up with all of it and none of them want to be slaves to it all (nor do they feel as though they need that pressure).  I can certainly understand that. Just imagine the young artists coming up today….they don’t have the luxury of an established fan base, and in today’s world, that’s how you get them.  It’s exhausting.

Additionally, John will be speaking at DHI family day.  (Developing Health and Independence) This organization helps people – whether they’re homeless, or have substance abuse issues – they help.  John was asked to speak, and he sees his role to deal with the stigma.  As John says, he’s a guy who came from a  great family, had a wonderful job and still fell into drug and alcohol abuse.  If he was able to stand up and ask for help, he wants others to feel like they can do the same. John says that he doesn’t see himself as terribly philanthropic, but that he tries to say yes when he’s asked to give back to the community.  (I think he’s a very nice guy. There are a lot of people out there who have just as much to “give” as John might and yet they don’t. Whether he’s shy or not, we’re proud of him!)

Careless Memories Photo Book/Denis O’Regan: John explains that they have a very exacting team working on this book (and they are hoping to have finished copies ready in another month).  Nick sees this as a very important project that he’s taken under his wing, and they’re working with John Warwicker (graphic designer who created, among other things, the cover for Astronaut).  It sounds like it will be a top notch collectible for the very wealthy amongst us when it’s completed. (still hoping for the “bargain basement  but still really cool version for the rest of the fans”…)  Katy asked John if he minds looking back on Sing Blue Silver and John said that he “quite enjoys” it now. At one point he was “pathologically afraid of looking back”, but not now.   Then he drops a scoop worth tucking in the back our heads for later: He thinks the next thing they’re going to work on is something similar (to the Careless Memories photo book) for the Notorious tour and project.  Interesting!!

They wrapped up the Kafe after that. John is planning to stay home with Gela (whom he hasn’t seen much of lately as she’s been promoting her own book, The Glitter Plan…which we reviewed here) and then the following evening he’s going into London for a party with “the guys”.

He waits until nearly ten seconds prior to the Kafe ending to get into “better light”…but when he does?  He definitely has not forgotten how to work it!  Well done John!  Always leave ’em wanting more…

-R

 

 

Covers, Covers, we got your covers!!

Second “real” blog post in two days.  You’d think I was gearing back up for an album or something…

I think most Duranies are aware of the Making Patterns Rhyme tribute album that Manimal records is producing, and if you’re not familiar with the yet-to-be-released full album, surely you’ve heard Moby’s Rio and Belief’s Sound of Thunder.   If not – go check them out, the links are there for your convenience!

Yesterday, John Taylor asked DDHQ to ask about your favorite Duran Duran cover song.  I almost tweeted back that I was going to sit down with some popcorn and drinks, and let the games begin.  I knew that I’d be reading a litany of “You can’t do Duran Duran better than Duran Duran”, but I was curious to see what other answers might come up.

Personally, I haven’t paid a ton of attention to covers over the years. I knew they were out there – but I didn’t really care. I didn’t hate them, but I didn’t really feel the need to hear them, either. I was so busy just enjoying Duran Duran that I didn’t think I needed to pay attention. I knew Reel Big Fish had done Hungry Like the Wolf, and I remember Hole’s version on The Chauffeur…and I can’t really forget the medley of DD songs that Rockapella performed  (I have it on my iPad somewhere…), but I didn’t take the time to really search or listen beyond that.  Somehow, I suspect I’m not alone.

So, when John Taylor asked about our favorite covers yesterday, I really thought about the question, and more importantly, why he might be asking. There were definitely an overwhelming number of  those “it’s nothing if it’s not Duran Duran” type-replies, and I suspect that John knew he’d see that. So, why ask?  I’m sure he was curious what we have heard. After all, not every single Duran Duran cover has been promoted by the band. (and from the research I’ve done in the past couple of days, I can understand why…) I think asking that sort of question gives him a reasonable gauge of what we’ve exposed ourselves to hearing.  I also think he wanted to somehow indicate that while he appreciates loyalty to the band and all – he fully expects that we might occasionally hear, and enjoy a cover of their music…and that it’s OK.  Additionally, just talking about covers gets fans thinking about covers, and maybe, just maybe…it gets us listening and exposing our ears to what is out there.

My own response, and theory to what is going on here with the complete dismay, dislike, and venom (I could go on…) for the covers of Rio and Sound of Thunder (not as much so for the LUXXURY version of Girls on Film…) is that quite simply: I don’t think fans are used to hearing them much.  We haven’t taken the time to expose ourselves. It takes time to accept that it’s OK that it’s not Simon singing the vocals, John on bass, Nick…Roger…etc, and the only way you grow to accept it is to force yourself to keep listening.  Eventually you realize that no, the world does NOT come to an end because someone covered a Duran Duran song. Even better, you start recognizing that yes, there are people out there who have a tremendous gift and can continue to be creative with what is already an amazing song. Then the pendulum starts to swing to the point where you want to see just how far someone can go with the original song.  How far can it be taken before it’s not really Rio, or Hungry Like the Wolf or The Chauffeur?  Where are the boundaries?? Sure, this might not be the case for everyone, but I really kind of think it’s the case for many.  I know because I was there, and I’m betting I’m not alone. This was definitely me several years back.  I though I was being the good little fan by saying nothing was as good as the original.  I missed out on some really great music in the process.

I made the comment yesterday that part of the problem is that I don’t think fans have been exposed to many covers and that someone…maybe even a fan blog (because I’m a smart ass that way) should start posting some and getting people to listen.  I’ll say this much: after you hear some really bad covers, you start listening to the covers that might be way out there but still very creative much, much differently.  I can almost promise that.

So each week I’m going to take Wednesdays (since this is what day this is) and post some covers and a short little review of them.  It’s going to be YOUR job, as good readers, to listen and post whatever you think.  You are probably going to hate most of them at first. I get that. I’ll keep reminding you that they’re not as terrible (most of the time) as you think, and that no – Simon will not hate you for listening to them.  That I can pretty much promise.  Eventually you might just find something you like, and by that time, hopefully this damn #DD14 album will be READY TO PLAY!!!  (that was for you, John Taylor and Co….)  What I’m going to try to do is pick a song and then find a few covers of that song to post.  I might not ever find them all – in which case if you know of one to share, please do. Send a link, email us…and we’ll post it!

The question is where to begin. So this week let’s try Ordinary World. There are a TON of covers of this song, so I picked my favorites. If you have others that you want me to hear, send ’em!! Link is in the title:artist name. Short review is below each.

Ordinary World: Aurora

So this cover is different. The melody is definitely secondary to the rhythm track – in an attempt to make it danceable, and it has a much more atmospheric, spacey sound in parts. It’s also sped way, way up from the original.  That said, it’s completely recognizable…and the lead singer is apparently Robert Pattinson’s (of Twilight fame) older sister.  She has a beautiful voice.  Funny how I never thought much about females taking on Duran’s tunes before…but as you’re going to see over the next several weeks, MANY of the most beautiful covers out there are done by females!

Ordinary World: Gregorian

Very interesting, this Gregorian. (really…I’ve studied real Gregorian chant, and it’s not quite to that point) The music is somewhat subdued, and of course the voices are meant to stand out on their own.  For me, this doesn’t really quite do it…but you know, it IS beautiful in it’s own right. I just keep thinking it feels a bit too much like karaoke.

Ordinary World: Joy Williams

This is my favorite cover of this song (that I’ve found so far).  Haunting, emotional…it’s as though all of the sorrow that could be found in this song is packed into her vocals. No guitar, just piano…and it’s stunning in every single way.

Ordinary World: Red

Love the strings on this one and the additional synth sounds make it interesting and their own. The song is executed in much of the same style as Duran Duran, but it’s definitely their own spin on it musically with a little more of a rock anthem type of sound to it.

Ordinary World: Ainjel Emme

Another female artist.  This time, it’s just guitar and vocals.  Her vocals are stunning, and the guitar is acoustic – very pretty.  My only constructive criticism is that she does very little to make the song her own, and I’d like to hear what she could do to take the song to a different place.

Ordinary World: Rust

Wow. This is a much harder rock version. They kept the melody, the guitar solo…probably kept most of the synth that we know…and added a whole new element. Truthfully out of the covers I chose to include, this is probably the farthest from the original – but it’s interesting.  The hard rock gives the song a great gritty texture to it for those moments where I’m really just majorly pissed off AND sad at the same time!

That’s six different versions of Ordinary World. I know there are a ton more out there that I didn’t even include (I could be here for days…listening and writing away….), but it’s a start. Take a listen. Get your ears used to hearing other people performing Duran’s music. It won’t kill you. In fact, I think it broadens the horizons a bit.

-R