Tag Archives: Paper Gods album

Waiting for the…Next Album

Paper Gods, the last Duran Duran album, was released in the fall of 2015. That means that it has almost been 5 years since we got new Duran music. Is 5 years a long time? All You Need Is Now was released in December of 2010 (at least partially), which means that it was almost 5 years between the last two albums. So, five years should not surprise anyone. Last time, those five years felt torturous to me. Frustration was common and frequent. I wrote many posts expressing this emotion along with my significant anxiousness. Why did I wrote those posts? Was it just to vent, get out my feelings? Sure. Was it in some silly attempt to get the message to the band? I’m not sure that I really believed that they might actually be reading but I did think that maybe I could encourage other fans to speak up and out in common frustration. Of course, in reality, it didn’t do anything but turn off some people who thought we were negative or unfair, or, at the least, lacking knowledge of the creative process. This time around, though, feels extremely different. Why? I have a few theories about that.

Shows!

Between 2012 when the All You Need Is Now Tour really ended and the release of the Paper Gods album in 2015, there were very few shows. In fact, there were only 4 shows between 2012 and 2015. Ouch. For fans, these three years felt like we were crawling through a desert, trying desperately to find a drop of Duran water. At least, that is how I felt. I wanted to keep the connection I had with Duran from the All You Need Is Now era going and I had no way of doing so. This time, however, the band has continued to play shows. For example, there have been shows in every year since Paper Gods was released. Even now, in 2020, shows have been scheduled. For me, knowing that there have been shows or will be shows coming up, I feel like Duran isn’t that far away or removed from me as I did in 2014, for instance. Now, I acknowledge that I have been lucky in that I have been able to attend some of these shows and others have not. Maybe, for those fans, they feel as removed as I did. Of course, the shows scheduled now are ones that I cannot attend but I still feel better knowing that they are playing somewhere. Maybe part of this is my irrational fear that if we aren’t seeing them out and about, it means the end of the band, retirement. I can admit that it might be part of how I feel. Still, I love that the band played more shows in between albums this time around.

Did Not Gain Anything

Throughout the history of this blog, I have learned a lot. I gained so much knowledge and insight into how fandoms work, especially our own. I’m, of course, grateful for all of that. I also learned more about myself and how I am as a fan. Perhaps, most interesting of all, is that I now know better about how to approach situations. Just last night, I had a conversation with my mother about supporters of one of the presidential candidates and how some of them have gone after people who are not supporting their candidate. As I said to her, I explained that I believe that they feel that their strong passion might sway people, might pull people in. I thought the same thing in 2014 with my insistent posts then that Duran must do *something* to get and keep their fans. In both cases, the intentions were admirable but the execution was not. I know in my case, here, it didn’t sway anyone. It turned people off. I am willing to bet that we lost readers then. I own that and hope that I learned not to do the same thing this time around. I am trying to be patient and understanding. I’m putting my trust into the band that they know what they are doing.

Other Areas of Focus

It seems to me that one of the reasons that people turn away from fandom isn’t because the subject of that fandom has done something wrong but that life changed. People’s focus switches. In some cases, this might be significant life changes including new or ending relationships, family members in need including either children or aging parents, new or growing demands from jobs, and so much more. It isn’t that most people want to turn their backs on fandom. They just don’t have the same amount of time to commit to it as they once did. I have seen that happen with a lot of Duranies and I cannot blame them one bit. They still love the band. They just have other responsibilities. While I’m still here, I have to acknowledge that I feel like part of me isn’t as involved as I once was. Again, this isn’t because I don’t love the band as I do. Circumstances are such that I have other responsibilities or other things to deal with. In my case, seeing national events go the way they have caused me to spend more of my time and energy in the political sphere. It isn’t just that I don’t like what is happening but I am literally terrified by the direction we are headed. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, message me.) The situation means that I have to do something to alter this, to try, at the very least. Because my attention is elsewhere, Duran Duran cannot occupy as much time and energy as they once did. That said, I’m hopeful that they will again.

On that note, I am going to put on some music, enter some voting data while remaining patient for #DD15.

-A

I Still Like the Fairy Tale

A few years back, I wrote a blog about Slow Food. It was kind of an odd topic, given that this is a blog about being a Duran Duran fan. While you can read the blog here, it was about the convenience factor of MP3’s versus vinyl. I thought about that post as I wrote this one today.

What is an album, anyway?

I don’t quite remember the date I wrote that blog (I should have looked and didn’t), but here we are in 2020, and while vinyl has enjoyed somewhat of a resurgence, it isn’t as though one can carry vinyl along with them and play them. Streaming has become much more popular since the time I wrote that post. Using my own kids as the example, they almost never buy music.

Read that last sentence again. My three kids (I have a 23-year old daughter, a 20-year old son, and my youngest girl is 11) almost never buy music. They all stream. No one buys a thing, besides the premium subscriptions to whatever streaming service used, of course. I try not to think about that very often, because it makes my heart and head hurt. No liner notes? What about the album covers? No comforting hiss as the needle connects with the vinyl groove?? What?? Everything is played on a phone or a computer, streamed through a Sonos speaker (an obvious plug for my husband’s company!), or whatever-you-prefer.

Essentially, this means that for the sake of argument, kids today don’t really know what it means to have a cohesive, seamless album. To them, it is a collection of songs, and that’s at BEST. Many times, it isn’t even that. It’s one song. Maybe they put it into a playlist, maybe they just do a shuffle of a variety of artists/bands they like.

What do you mean, a collection of songs?

This is incredibly different this is from my own listening habits. Even when I stream, it is rare that I don’t listen to a full album at a time. I don’t like the idea of jumping around, particularly when we’re talking about *gasp* listening to more than one artist at a time. I like hearing a full album from one artist – start to finish – and then moving on. Maybe I’ve just got a raging case of OCD!

The thing is, I believe each album tells a story. It’s up to the listener to get it – but it’s there to consume. At the very least, each album is a snapshot of that period in time. I like that. To me, Paper Gods, for example, is a tale of the band’s career from their beginnings to 2015. Seven and the Ragged Tiger as another example, is about dealing with fame and success. When I listen to those albums (and the others as well), I think about the lyrics, the music, and what the band may have been trying to communicate at the time. For me, that’s a huge part of the listening experience.

As much as I feel like my way – consuming the album as the artist intended – is right, there are many other people who like the idea of an album just being a collection of songs. Sometimes, the song order needs a good tweaking. Maybe the album order really has no purpose other than how it ended up on the record! Perhaps the album order isn’t as much about telling a story as placement for commercial purpose. I’m sure that somewhere, there’s a study proving that most people only listen to the first 3 songs on each side of an album, and that the front (A) side is listened to twice as often as the B side. I’m not surprised.

I want the fairy tale

My problem, is that I still want to believe in the fairy tale. I want to believe that every album has a story, that the band still loves making music for the artful sake of it. Tours are done because they enjoy playing live, and that they do the meet and greets with fans because they like them. I want to still believe they play where they want, and that business has little to do with it. How cute, right?

Cognitively though, I know that money drives most every decision they make, because it must. Someone has to be thinking about the bottom line, am I right? Writing this blog for close to a decade hasn’t always made it easy to believe in the romance of fandom. I know, for example, that after forty years, a lot of this is just the “grind” to them. They didn’t sell-out, they’ve been doing business! A band does things like put out five versions of an album, or releases concert dates like a coffee drip because it makes them money. They don’t announce dates because they want the same diehard fans to be able to travel from show-to-show. In actuality, they don’t care who is the seats as long as there’s a warm body in them. Even so, from time to time, I still want that fandom fairy tale. No, I don’t just want it, I need it. So for me, the album becomes a story that only a fan would completely understand.

With all of that in mind, there’s nothing wrong with seeing an album as a simple collection of songs. After all, once the band has finished their writing, recording, engineering and mixing, and the album has been mastered and finally released – it is no longer theirs. It is their gift, or their work, for those who wish to consume it. Their blood, sweat, laughter, and tears ends up in our ears, to have and hold. To listen, reimagine, and rearrange. It then becomes our own story, the way we wish to hear it. I can’t fault anyone for going the extra mile between skipping a song – which lets face it – we all tend to do from time to time, and rearranging an album. The way you listen to Duran Duran isn’t a determining factor of fandom.

I do wonder though, how many people out there really listen to an album as it is originally released, and how many like to change it up? I don’t mean putting entire albums into a massive playlist and hitting ‘shuffle’, I mean single albums. Do you listen to them ‘as is’, or have you created your own version? Why or why not? Drop me a line and let me know!

-R

Question of the Day: Sunday, November 10, 2019

The last winner was: Astronaut

Which album would you prefer to see/hear live in entirety: All You Need Is Now or Paper Gods?

Coming Soon
Which album would you prefer to see/hear live in entirety?
All You Need Is Now
Paper Gods