Tag Archives: Paper Gods

Valentine Stones while we dance on the Valentine

If I thought yesterday was bad, today is even worse. There are not many notable Duran Duran “events” on my calendar for today, although the band has played a few shows on this date over the years, notably in 1984, 1993, and 2005.

So, I decided to do something different and talk about a song off of Paper Gods, aptly titled “Valentine Stones”.  The song is one of the bonus tracks off of the album, which I can now say are among some of my most favorite in the band’s overall catalog. This one is from the deluxe album (and I openly say I still dislike having to buy so many versions of the album to get all of the bonus tracks, even though I understand why, from a business standpoint, they do it. It is still annoying.) Yes, I’ll move off of my soapbox now.

First, let’s look at those lyrics. When I hear a song for the first time, I’m paying more attention to the music, but since this is by no means a new song, let’s just jump in with both feet.

Down here with the strays and the damaged
All stood in a line
This recovery so they tell me is one day at a time
And you think you can help me maybe
You can turn on your heels and save me
But I don’t want to be like the boys that you keep in tow
Like your valentine stones, stones, stones
Your valentine stones

All roads lead from my resurrection to your sympathy
An empty spaces which spoils your collection
That was meant for me
And you say you can help me maybe
You can turn on your charms to save me
But I don’t want to be just a toy that you keep at home
Like your valentine stones, stones, stones
Your valentine stones

Lost souls diamonds and gold
Gone cold valentine stones
Lost souls diamonds and gold
Grown cold valentine stones

First of all, I’d love to know which band member wrote this. Context is everything, although I know we’re supposed to be concerned with what the lyrics mean to ourselves. Even so, I wonder.

When I first heard this song, I thought about the title. “Valentine Stones” – for me, I went for the obvious (why think so hard all the time??). I went to school for gemology – so I immediately thought of those lovely little baubles that some generous significant (or insignificant!) others give for Valentines Day. Jewelry!  Diamonds, emeralds, rubies!!  You get the idea. I think about how they’re really just pretty sparkly things. Toys, really…which is even included in a line from the song. That’s sort of how I feel the person in the song feels. He/she is just a toy for this other person. I think that’s a fairly easy sentiment to identify with, and probably all of us have been there. Like anything, there are many different interpretations – there’s no “right” or “wrong”. What does the song mean to you?

The fun part, for me anyway, is the music. I like the heavy synth that begins the song, and I really love Simon’s vocals. They’re strong and clear, and then there’s that slightly funky rhythmic guitar. How can I not love that?!? There’s something to be said for a short, sweet and simple song like this one. In a lot of ways, it reminds me of the way the band wrote on their very first album. Valentine Stones doesn’t sound dated, don’t get me wrong, but it’s simple…and maybe that’s not the correct word to describe it. There’s not a lot of extra background fancy stuff going on, at least not to my ears. There is space between the notes, even with the short little break with Nick’s crunchy sounding synthesizer, it’s still neatly added. Not messy or overdone.

I’ve sat and wondered why some of these bonus tracks weren’t put on the album, and I’ve come to the conclusion that while each bonus track stands very strong on its own, when you think about Paper Gods as a whole, they don’t seem to fit. Amanda and I came to the conclusion that Paper Gods almost gives a sort of prospective about the band’s career. From “Paper Gods”, which in many ways is the perfect description of how the band is portrayed in the eyes of critics and even the public, to “Face for Today”, which seems to be give advice to a younger generation of Paper Gods, all the way though to “Universe Alone”, which many seem to think is how the band sees the end of their career. (But they’re not done just yet!) When you consider that sort of theme, it’s not a surprise that these songs didn’t fit so neatly into the story, and are therefore bonuses.

Even with all that in mind, like many of you – the bonus tracks are among my favorite. And let’s face it, Valentine’s Day is tomorrow…so while you’re dancing on the Valentine, you may as well listen to Valentine Stones, too!

-R

 

What is the function of a single in 2018?

My “Day in Duran History” desk calendar reminds me that on this day in 2011, BB2 announced that “Girl Panic” was the next single off of All You Need is Now.

Although I am the first to admit my memory isn’t what it used to be, I do remember hearing that “Girl Panic” would be the next single. I found that fascinating because up until that point, I hadn’t heard “All You Need is Now” more than a couple of times on the radio, if at all. I didn’t really understand the point of naming a single, unless of course we were talking about the physical release of a single – like on a 45. Sure, I’m dating myself here, but I really didn’t see the point, particularly if land-based radio wasn’t going to play anything the band released anyway.  I did buy the vinyl single, and like everyone else I waited on pins and needles for the video. But beyond that, I never quite got the necessity of the single.

My questions about singles lingered on through the release of Paper Gods, although on second thought I wonder if it’s simply that I have the wrong expectations in my head for what a “single” really means. Take “Pressure Off” for example. I never once heard the song played on any of the radio stations in Southern California. Not once. I didn’t hear about it being played anywhere, either. I don’t remember any kind of physical release, CD, vinyl, or otherwise for it…so what’s the point?

On the other hand, I know LA radio pretty well. In this market, there really isn’t a station that plays a genre that lends itself to recent Duran Duran. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve heard “Rio”, “Girls on Film”, “Ordinary World”, “Come Undone” and “Hungry Like the Wolf” on at least three, if not four stations in my area. It is rare that I can get into my car and drive the whole way home from work (45 minutes on a bad day) without hearing one of the above songs played. That said, as far as LA radio is concerned, Duran Duran hasn’t released even one song since 1993.  I’m pretty sure I don’t need to go into a full diatribe on that kind of stupidity, so I won’t.

I do have to ask though – what is the point behind putting out a single these days? Is it beneficial for Spotify? For subscription services like Sirius XM? What about internet radio? Does a band really need to release singles? I suppose that leads me to the question of an album, too. Are albums still necessary?

I know that recently Nick suggested that perhaps the studio time the band has casually thrown around in mention during their Katy Kafe wouldn’t necessarily lead to a full album. He’s said similar things in the past. I can’t say I’ve liked the idea enough to shout from the rooftops about it. I’m a big fan of full albums, myself. I like the idea of a complete story being told through music. I hate the idea of losing that format.

Are albums really any more necessary today than singles? I’m not sure.  Let’s not confuse this with whether we want more albums and singles. Rather, let’s consider their necessity and usefulness in this current business model and market.

-R

 

 

Las Vegas here we come!

Since I have to leave fairly early for Vegas tomorrow, I decided I’d better blog in advance on Wednesday night. This will post on Thursday morning, so our readers can enjoy while I’m driving through the desert!

Amanda and I are getting to Vegas a day earlier than our other friends, primarily so that we can get some much needed work…and relaxation done! So, I’m driving out this morning, and Amanda arrives later on.

I’m excited about having a little getaway. It all still feels a bit surreal, probably because of the holiday rush – I’m still recovering from Christmas and yet here I am packing to go see Duran Duran in Vegas, of all things!

It would seem that we have quite a crowd ready to invade Hard Rock Live for Late Bar on Friday night at 9:30. If you’re going to be in Vegas, you should definitely make plans to come to where the party is going to be that night! Great music, fun people, lively atmosphere, and it’s Vegas.  If you haven’t already told us you’d like to be included on the list for the comedy show (same place, just prior to Late Bar) and you want to go, please send us a note TODAY so we can add you!

On a personal note I feel a bit guilty going on a trip like this. Things haven’t been the greatest at home, and although my husband and son are taking this opportunity to go do “guy-stuff”, and my two daughters are going to hang out, I still feel bad leaving right now. That said, I need a break. I don’t think I’ve ever been this stressed out. I like it when life is fairly settled. The uncertainty is not fun, and while sure – life can be a great adventure – I’d be much more “up” for it if we knew where Walt (my husband) would be working. The first quarter of 2018 is going to be rocky, that is for sure. I just need to breathe.

Yep, definitely need this break. It’s going to be short, but I’ll take it.

On another note, did anyone see the song DDHQ posted today? It was sort of an odd Watch it Wednesday given that it doesn’t have a video, but they chose Planet Roaring.

While I have said that I don’t care what the band plays anymore, I will admit that I, among many other fans, would love to see them do this one live. Sure, it’s a “bonus” track, but it is such a great one. The words lend themselves so well to calling out to fans – and despite what the band seems to believe about this Vegas show – there are going to be a LOT of fans in that audience on Saturday night, and the venue isn’t that big! Play this one and they’d be liable to have an entire group of fans singing it right back at them.

The problem here is that the band just has too many good songs. It’s a good problem to have.  It’s just a shame that in order for them to take full advantage of their enormous catalog of music, they would need to change-up their show fairly often, which is pretty laborious (so I hear).  So while I may be singing Planet Roaring in my heart…my head is humming Hungry Like the Wolf and loving every minute of it!

Off to finish packing – and yes, Amanda and I will be tweeting and checking in from Vegas as much as possible. Check our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!!

-R

No rest for the weary?

When I last saw Duran Duran in July of this year, the shows were bittersweet. Of course I enjoyed seeing them. I always do. Yes, I’ve seen them perform that same setlist or very similar many times now, and in tours past I would comment on how I’d wish they’d change it up. I still have moments where I wish they’d pull something completely different out to surprise me, and sometimes – they have!  I don’t have a clear answer about why my attitude changed, only that it did. Instead of wishing for other music, I started really enjoying just being there with them and being thankful I can hear “Hungry Like the Wolf” one more time. My sadness came from knowing that it would be the last show for a while. I tried not to let that drag me down and soaked up as much joy as possible.

I assumed it would be at least a year or two before I saw the band again. Albums take a while to write and record, and who knows what would go on during the interim? Then of course, the show in Las Vegas was announced, along with one in Miami Beach for Sirius XM, and now Dubai in February.

First of all, I’m not going to Dubai. Let’s get that out-of-the-way right off the bat. I love Duran Duran. I love traveling. However. Yes, that one word says it all. HOWEVER. I’ll just be here cheering them on from home. Even I have my limits. As does my bank account, and these days, that limit is pretty darn narrow and close to home.

Second of all, is there no rest for the weary?  I asked that yesterday as the Dubai show was announced. I asked the question partly in jest, purely out of my surprise that they’re continuing to announce the odd show here or there. I figured that once the Paper Gods tour was complete, the band would drag themselves home, take several months respite, and go from there. I remember hearing that they would go back into the studio toward the end of this year for “fun”, and I also remember hearing that they might go into the studio next year to start the recording process once again, but I figured they’d still take time off. Thoughts of the upcoming 40th anniversary lingered in my head, and I figured the band would at least want to rest up before beginning that craziness. The lesson here, is to never assume anything about this band!

During the last hiatus in between All You Need is Now and Paper Gods, Amanda and I were anxious and ready for that band to hit the studio on Day One and keep going until a new album was placed in our hot little hands. This anxiousness wasn’t because we are part-time slave drivers, but because we had so much fun with All You Need is Now that we couldn’t stand the idea of that ending for long. Selfish? Probably, but our hearts were in the right place.

Fellow fans and readers were less-than-thrilled with our eagerness, saying that they didn’t mind having time in between projects and tours, and neither should we. Bank accounts needed refilling, and many cited that they had other priorities. “The band needs to rest!”, we were chided, over and over again. We started to feel bad that we missed “hanging out”—if for only two hours as they are onstage while we dance in the audience—with this crazy band we’ve loved since childhood. This time, I see plenty of people commenting on their anxiousness, eager to see any sign of studio work happening. Fans are excited by the prospects of the upcoming anniversary, even though the band themselves have not said much with regard to what fans might expect. It is a very different time in 2017. No one says much about the possibility of the band being tired from touring and performing, and that surprises me. What is different this time around?

Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea that the band isn’t going away, and that they seem to be doing a few one-off shows here and there. After all, we blog about them each day, and having things to write about makes my job far more interesting. I’m cheerfully surprised that it might not be several years before the world has the opportunity to see the band again. I love that fans are excited that they’re continuing to do a show here and there, and I’m tickled that so many are anxious for studio time and new music to be released. Equally, I am beyond thrilled that I will may have the chance to see my friends and the band again. I once told Dom that I was sad it would be five years before I likely saw him again, and that didn’t seem right.  It looks like it wasn’t right about that at all, and I don’t mind one bit.

My bank account, on the other hand, is very concerned. I’m a little surprised there’s not a giant “lock” emoji on the photo of my iPhone banking app at this point. I might just be imagining it, but I am pretty sure I see frowning faces pop up whenever I check my balance before making a purchase, concert-related or not!

Oh well, can’t make everybody happy all the time, right?

-R

November 2017 Katy Kafe with John Taylor!

Not much makes me happier during a lull than an invitation to listen to a shiny brand new Katy Kafe pop up in my news feed! This month, John takes a quick time out to chat with Katy, and I’ve got the highlights from the November 2017 Katy Kafe for you. Keep in mind, this is purely what I picked out, and with DD40 coming up – it might be time to get a membership to DDM so that you can stay up with all of the news that is sure to come!

What’s happening?

John comes to us from “the studio” in London, where he is working with Nick on a side project. Now whether this side project is the musical they’ve mentioned before, or something else, I’m not sure. John just says “it’s very different from what they’ve done in Duran Duran”…and I guess we’ll have to wait to hear more about it.

He mentions that they are going to be in Moscow (which they were earlier in the week) for the BRAVO award announcements where the band got back together and performed.

Ring in the New Year, Vegas-style

Katy also mentioned the upcoming Eve before New Years Eve show in Las Vegas, and asked John if he likes performing on New Years Eve. Emphatically, John answers with a quick, “YES” saying that he likes not having to worry about what he is going to do to entertain himself that night, and then almost just as quickly he adds a hasty, “but this is not on New Years Eve, it is the 30th, which means New Years Eve is still a problem that will have to be worked out.” Katy asks the question I was wondering myself, and that was whether or not John would stay in Vegas for New Years, to which he said he doesn’t know yet.

Apparently, Duran Duran has played on New Years Eve quite a bit over the years, citing the Savoy show in ’82 or ’83, and then the shows they did just outside of Washington DC last year in National Harbor. The band likes being on stage for New Years, and well….we really kind of like having them there, too!

There was a quick mention of whether this was really a final, final, Paper Gods date and John corrects Katy, saying that no, Paper Gods is finished. This is a standalone date. That leads to the obvious (Well, it’s obvious to me, anyway) follow-up about the set list. Will it change? John contends that they have to “err on the side of crowd favorites”. So, if you went to any of the Paper Gods shows and enjoyed hearing songs like Rio, Hungry Like the Wolf, Girls on Film, and any of the rest of those hits that have been in previous set lists, there is good news: you’re gonna love this one too! He does say that it might be less interesting for diehard fans – and while I can’t disagree, I can say this: most of us already know this, and guess what? WE BUY TICKETS ANYWAY.  Why? Because it is exactly the type of party we all want to be at, and the party is what we make it!

Just imagine what we’d do when/if one of them came out and said it would be a show that no diehard should miss?!?

I shudder to consider the stampede…or how Ticketmaster might “handle” the demand.  Moving on…

What about 2018?

Here is what I find most interesting about this band: every single band member has a different story about the studio, and it’s comical! Since August, I have heard they’re going into the studio at the end of the year for something “fun” from Roger, something about going in after the new year from Simon, and now John says they’re “hoping” to go back in…with no real time specified.

So I don’t think anyone really knows. And that’s fine. Odd, but fine.

John does say that an album next year is unlikely. Given my experience as a fan of this band, I’d go one farther and say it’s nearly impossible. I’d be shocked, probably to the point of needing oxygen, if the band actually came out with even ONE SONG this year, much less an entire album.

In the meantime, John says they’re talking about the possibilities for recording a new album, including who they might be looking to collaborate with, or where they will record – insinuating that perhaps London might not be the birthplace for the next one.

This led to a question from Katy who asked if the band were to stumble upon that perfect song right away, would they release a stand-alone single or just wait for the album. Speaking purely for himself, John said maybe – citing that the marketing isn’t very good for one song. You don’t get TV or magazines for a single song, typically, so the promotion isn’t quite there. He surmises that they just have to be open to whatever happens.

Paper Gods

Looking back over Paper Gods, Katy wants to know if there are any songs that John wishes they had played. He mentions two that he wishes they had played more: “Universe Alone”, which they played towards the very end of the tour (and I have often wondered why they waited so long), and “You Kill Me with Silence”, which they only played once, at the Jimmy Kimmel show in Los Angeles.  He says that it is hard to find a spot for mid tempo songs in the live show because you only want 2 or 3 of them.  I get that, although I think YKMWS was overall a difficult song for Simon because of the wide vocal range it requires.

John says that he still feels the album was the best since their reunion, but quickly says that he knows they always say that. (and they do, but I get it. Besides, if you didn’t think you were improving as a band, wouldn’t you have quit by now?? Funny how clearly it all makes sense now as opposed when I first asked about why they say that!)

I know there are fans out there that completely disagree, and some that herald Paper Gods as being the best the band has ever done. There is no accounting for personal taste, I suppose. John adds that he doesn’t want to put down the others, citing both AYNIN and of course, RCM. I’ll just say that we all have our favorites, and from the outside looking in, I think the band learned a lot from Paper Gods. They grew professionally, and perhaps personally. That’s not a bad thing after thirty-five years in the industry. John ends by saying that while the album “took some doing”, they’re all “quite proud” of something that is definitely a “Duran Duran album”.  A thought that is neither stupid, nor self-indulging. John is right when he says it ticks off all of the boxes of what one would expect from Duran Duran, whether it is your favorite album or a little less-than. It’s quintessentially Duran, and we like that!

Simple, short and sweet – John bids his farewell until the year-end Kafe, which we are rapidly approaching. Does not seem possible!

-R