Tag Archives: Nick Wood

If You Haven’t Heard It, It’s New to You: Pretty Queen

Today’s blog is the direct result of quiet time in Duranland, when all good Duranies go looking for something, anything, that will keep spirits up and the natives happy.

While most of the world worked yesterday, I spent much of my day wrestling with my new “work” laptop. I’m a dedicated Mac user, the laptop is a Lenovo ThinkPad, and let’s just say I need to properly bond with the machine. Just as I was coming to the end of my day (and the end of my wits), I saw a Facebook post and a Tweet mentioning the discovery, or unearthing, of a song by Simon Le Bon and Nick Wood called “Pretty Queen”.

I was game. It wasn’t a song I immediately remembered (but my memory is terrible), and truthfully, in days where there any news is precious, I took the bait hungrily. I’m not saying I need new Duran music, but I love it when we find new music!

Pretty Queen opens with some pretty hard, crunchy guitar, and I wasn’t expecting it, which was a lot of fun!  I like the feel of the song, although it seems pretty short to me. I saw someone say that it reminds them of the Medazzaland era. I guess in some ways I can hear that, but what I feel the most is some sort of grungy-punkish thing going on . The brightness of Simon’s voice is in direct contrast, and I love the texture it creates.  It was a good find to break up the day!

I googled Pretty Queen because I wanted to know the timeframe it had been written. Someone had told me the song had been used in a commercial, and so my interest was piqued. Simon co-wrote the song with Nick Wood and Miwa,  and it was produced by Nick Wood.  It was released by the Japanese band Zwei (German word for two) on October 14 2004, and this version is in Japanese, save for the title – and sounds quite a bit different from the original version.

In no way would I ever be so bold as to assume I’d heard and knew all there was to know about Duran Duran, or Simon or any of the members for that matter, so when something new to me comes across the wires, I am ready to consume!

Along those same lines, if you look at the other music on that Syn World link, you might see Rio(Pass the Baton) by CSS featuring Simon and John. Again, I’m not sure I’ve heard it before—and I have to think that I would have remembered it if I had. It’s a very jazzed up version of the song we all know and love, and in some sections reminds me of Muzak (sorry but it’s true). Check it out.

Whether from the mid-90’s or not, it was fun to hear something new to me for a change and learn a little something in the process.  Pretty Queen is pretty cool gem to find in the archives, and it leads me to think there’s got to be a lot more.  I’d love to spend just one day listening to some of the stuff they’ve got to have lying around…. Much better than say, spending the entire day getting my computer to play nicely with my work email server….

-R

 

Eiffel Tower – New Song from Simon!

While on vacation, I noticed DDHQ post a link to a song on Soundcloud with a very familiar vocalist. The song is titled “Eiffel Tower” and the singer is none other than Simon Le Bon, of course. I had almost no data connection, so I had to wait to listen.

The lack of data didn’t stop me from seeing the comments, and nearly everyone had something positive to say. I couldn’t wait to hear it myself! I made a mental note to listen as soon as I could and thought about it throughout the week(s).

(On a side note: if you’re obsessing over a song you haven’t heard yet by a member of the band, not even the band as a whole – I kind of think that might make you a Duranie. Only another hard-core fan would understand the kind of obsession that drives us!)

So today, I promised to sit down and listen. I found the link, clicked on it, and almost immediately felt the familiar chills and goosebumps on my arms. Simon’s voice is like silk, and the music is like a favorite blanket. Lush and soft – its gorgeous. The guitar is beautiful!  The track is full of emotion and it doesn’t overpower the rest of the music. I can even hear strings in the background, and they lead the listener further into the music.

Layered songs with many different tracks like this one can sometimes get very messy and end up sounding like background noise to vocals, but not here. The production is done extremely well. At the end, there’s a gorgeous, beautiful guitar solo that I have heard is Warren, and it is done masterfully.  The guitar doesn’t overpower, it simply led me back out of the song in the same way that the strings held my hand and drew me in.  Brilliant.

But back to Simon’s voice. It blows my mind into pieces. I don’t know if he is responsible for the lyrics, but even if he didn’t write them, he delivers them like poetry.  I’d forgotten his velvety voice when he is relaxed and not trying to reach a crowd of 20,000.  Absolutely stunning in every single way.

The song ended, and I caught my breath. I realized I’d been holding it for quite some time while I listened.  This was a song that was going to stay with me, and I love when that happens. This single piece took me on a journey, and not many pieces of music do that for me these days.

And then, another song began. The instrumental version. I almost couldn’t take it. I was already completely sold on the song, but somehow, this piece took everything I loved about the first one, stood it on its head, and made it even better. 

I’m a sucker for a full orchestra. I won’t lie. Let’s face it: I spent much of my childhood playing in an orchestra, so it makes sense, really. But this is different. It’s kind of like hearing the orchestral version of A View To a Kill, but even better.  Again, I get the chills going up my arm and the hair on the back of my neck stands on end.  I was already on a high from the first version, but the orchestral version took my feelings up a notch.  My eyes welled up, and the emotion I’ve had bottled up for the past six weeks spilled over. I won’t be able to forget this song for a very, very long time.

Which is exactly how I like it.

Take a listen for yourself and see what you think.

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower (Orchestral Version) 

-R

Duran Duran History: Tetsuya Komuro’s Album

Today’s Duran Duran history takes us back to 2013 when the artist, Tetsuya Komuro released an album entitled Digitalian Is Easting Breakfast 3 (DEBF3).  I’m sure that all of you are wondering the same thing.  Who and how does this relate to Duran Duran?

Tetsuya Komuro is a Japanese musician, singer-songwriter.  He is a successful record producer and is heavily involved in the dance music scene in Japan.  The album released in 2013 has two Duran connections.  First, it was co-produced by Nick Wood.  If you are a Simon fan, you know that Nick Wood is a British musician, singer, songwriter and producer and friend of Simon’s.  He also formed his SYN Production studios in Tokyo with Simon.  The second connection is that this album also features Saffron Le Bon, Simon’s daughter.

Here is a sample with Simon’s daughter:

-A