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.