Tag Archives: Red Carpet Massacre album

Whole Albums?

Right around this time eleven years ago, Duran Duran was playing on Broadway in New York City as a way to promote their new album,  Red Carpet Massacre.  The show consisted of three acts.  They played the entire album of Red Carpet Massacre except for bonus tracks, in order, for the first act.  The second one included the electro set in which they played a few tracks, electronically, at the front of the stage before moving on to the third act, which felt like a usual Duran show with their classic hits.

I was lucky enough to attend one of these shows.  In fact, I saw the show in which Donald Trump was in attendance.  (For the record, I had better seats than he did.)  Anyway, I thought and still think that this was a brilliant way to introduce a new album.  Fans get to see their old favorites during the third act.  The electro set was special and awesome in its own right but then you get to hear each and every new song live.  I don’t know about the rest of you but seeing/hearing songs live make them so much better.  In all seriousness, I struggle to listen to studio versions of many Duran songs after seeing them live.  With Red Carpet Massacre, hearing the songs live took away some of those overproduction and left the song to speak for itself.  I cannot help but to think about one song, in particular, which is Tricked Out.  On the album, it feels like a bad 70s science fiction TV show’s theme song.  Live, it was all about the guitars.  I have loved the song ever since.

So, if playing a whole album works to promote an album, would it work for an older album?  While I’m not sure how many copies of an old album would be sold through that method, but I’m certain that there would be new appreciation for the songs.  It might even excite more fans to come buy tickets.  That has to be just as good as selling albums, right?  I think so!  Plus, many people think this might be good for the 40th anniversary as a way to capture Duran’s career.  It might also sell more concert tickets, especially from the hardcore fans who would definitely like to hear something more than the hits known by the general public.

So if it is a winning idea, which album should be chosen?  The immediate fan response is probably Rio.  That would draw the crowd!  It would be easier on the band since many songs from that album are all ready in the rotation for setlist these days so they wouldn’t have to practice all of them.  From my perspective, though, I’m not sure that I would choose Rio.  It definitely isn’t that I don’t like it.  No, part of my hesitation is that I have seen all the songs from that album live.  Granted they were not all at the same show but still.   Selfishly, I would like to broaden which songs I have seen live.  (I hope that doesn’t make me sound like a terrible person.)   The other part would be sad for the fans is that Rio is short.  It is a short album in terms of number of songs but also how long the songs are themselves.

No, I think that if I had my choice, it would be a longer album.  While I adore the first three, those are all relatively short.  I might choose All You Need Is Now.  It is a solid album, all the way through, and it brings back lots of great memories.  On top of it, since it is relatively new, it could help sell more copies of that one.  What about the rest of you?  Which album would you love to see played all the way through, in order?

-A

Classic Pop Special Edition: Five Decades and Boys on Film

This week’s edition of covering the Classic Pop magazine’s Special Edition for Duran’s 40th anniversary features two articles:  Five Decades of Duran Duran and Boys on Film.  The first article focuses on an interview with John Taylor and the second talks about the band’s videos.  Two articles I’m very excited to read and to write about!

Five Decades of Duran Duran:

This article appears to be a repeat from a 2012 interview with John Taylor that coincided with the release of his autobiography.  Despite the fact that it is not new, I’m still excited to read it and see how John interpreted Duran’s career.

This article is broken up into decades starting with the 1970s.  This part included how the band formed and their influences.  Frankly, this history lesson was one that I feel like I have read a bunch of times.  That said, while I feel like I know the history of Duran and could tell it in my sleep, I always appreciate it as it is important to know it.  One part that is interesting is how the article includes a little timeline with some big moments.  In the case of the 1970s and early 1980s, it had the forming of the band, signing with EMI and releasing the first single, Planet Earth.  The history teacher in me approves.

The part on the 1980s was exactly what I thought it would be.  It covered each of the albums from the debut self-titled album, Rio, Seven and the Ragged Tiger, Notorious and Big Thing.  On top of that, the side projects of Arcadia and Power Station, and the departure of Roger and Andy were covered.  Their Live Aid performance was also mentioned.  Much like the part about the forming of the band, I didn’t learn anything new.  That said, the timeline focused on the release of the first album, the Girls on Film video, the departure of Roger and Andy, the Notorious single and the Big Thing release.  I think some of those choices were interesting.  For example, I don’t know that I would have picked Big Thing to cover in that timeline.

The 1990s consisted of just a few short paragraphs, which included information on Ordinary World’s success, the poor performance of the album of covers, Thank You, and John’s decision to leave the band.  I’m fascinated that this section was so short.  Clearly, the author did not feel like the 1990s was worth much time and focus.  It isn’t that I disagree but I am surprised by that.  The timeline included the rise of grunge (weird), Ordinary World’s release, Thank You’s release, John’s departure and the parting from EMI.  This timeline almost completely matched the paragraphs about the same time period.

The 2000s part was definitely the most interesting to me.  It went over the reunion, Astronaut, Red Carpet Massacre and All You Need Is Now.  Out of all of that, I zeroed in on the transition from Red Carpet Massacre to AYNIN.  In the article, John is quoted as saying, “We’d disconnected with the vibe” with RCM but that it helped to create the perfect timing for Mark Ronson.  John continued by claiming that the band did not have a lot of trust with each other during Astronaut and weren’t always open-minded.  He stated, “All You Need Is Now is a total Duran Duran album, much more so than Astronaut.  But we didn’t have Mark then.  We needed a producer…who totally understood the Duran Duran DNA.”  I couldn’t agree more.

Boys on Film:

This focus of the article, Boys on Film, is exactly what you think it would be, which is about the band’s videos.  The feature gave credit to their video directors, including Russell Mucahy and Godley and Creme.  Like much of Duran’s history, it starts out discussing the video of Planet Earth to Girls on Film to the Sri Lankan videos especially Hungry Like the Wolf.

What is interesting to me is the discussion surrounding Girls on Film.  While we know why the band had a video like this and how it was received, I hadn’t read much criticism of the video from the band before.  In this article, Godley feels like the band wanted it more arty with style and fashion.  Similarly Simon feels like the video overshadowed the song’s message about the mistreatment of fashion models.

I also appreciated the discussion of the Rio video.  While the article talked about the suits and image of the yacht, the fact that the author included this quote from Nick makes me happy, “For me, the thing that stands out in the Rio video…is the humour in it…”  He continues to say, “A lot of the videos I liked best really had great humour in them.”  I totally agree!

The article wraps up with a discussion of the Wild Boys video with only inserts about A View to a Kill and Girl Panic.  Obviously, the author did not think the rest of the videos mattered that much.  Uh.  I don’t think I agree with that decision.  If I had written the article, I might pick a few different videos as examples of the types of videos Duran has done.  On that note, next week I’ll cover “The Mark of Greatness” about Mark Ronson and the 2010s as well as an article about Stephen Duffy.  Should be interesting!

-A

Classic Pop Special Edition: Top 40 Tracks and Elder Statesmen

I am continuing on in my series on Classic Pop magazine’s special edition for Duran’s 40th anniversary.  As usual, I’m going to focus on the next two articles:  Top 40 Tracks and Elder Statesmen.  The first one focuses on Duran’s songs whereas the second one takes a look at the 2000s, moving closer to present day Duran.  As much as I like reading about Duran history, I am excited about reading about more recent Duran, when I was more actively involved in the fan community.

Top 40 Greatest Duran Duran Tracks:

I am a sucker for lists like this article!  I love reading any and all articles about Duran’s best albums, best videos, etc.  I adore creating my own lists.

What is interesting about this list is that they first of all specified that they are studio tracks.  They did not include any live versions, remixes, or covers.  Then, the article states that this list “almost writes itself.”  Fascinating.  If that was not interesting itself, the author did not put them in order but instead chose to list them in chronological order.  I have to wonder why he did not put them in order from worst of the list to the best.  Too hard?  Too time consuming?  Too much risk that it would irritate readers?  I don’t know the reason.  While I won’t share the exact list here, I will give a rough description of how many tracks from different projects were chosen and then some that I might have been surprised by.

Duran Duran (1st album) – 5 tracks

Rio – 7 tracks

Seven and the Ragged Tiger – 6 or 7 tracks depending on how they might have been categorized

Notorious – 2 tracks

Big Thing – 3 tracks

Liberty – 2 tracks

The Wedding Album – 4 tracks

Medazzaland – 1 track

Pop Trash – 1 track

Astronaut – 1 track

Red Carpet Massacre – 0 (Although Skin Divers is listed as a “guilty pleasure.”)

All You Need Is Now – 4 tracks

Paper Gods – 3 tracks

In some ways, I’m not surprised by that list.  I knew that Medazzaland might not have many tracks included but I am surprised that it got more than Red Carpet Massacre.  Likewise, both All You Need Is Now and Paper Gods got more than Liberty and Notorious.  This leads me to wonder.  What 40 tracks would I list?  Could I put them in order unlike the author of this article?  Maybe it is time for some Daily Duranie homework.  What do you all think?  Should we each try to create a list of the top 40 Duran tracks?  If so, let me know and I’ll create the “assignment”!!  Personally, I think it would be fun and might give us something to do to pass Duran downtime.

Elder Statesmen:

This article summarizing the 2000s begins with the reunion.  Much of the story I have read about before.  Like many of the previous articles, however, there was a tidbit that I had not heard about before.  In this case, the article claims the band tried to get the Berrow Brothers back as managers.  If that is true, I have to wonder what would have been different.  What do you all think?  What do you think would have been different?  Would it have been better?  Worse?

Of course, the article went on to describe Astronaut and the departure of Andy Taylor.  I wondered how that was going to be covered and I think the author did a nice job just relaying the facts that are known.  Andy was not demonized and neither was the band. Likewise, the author remained neutral when it came to the now-shelved, Reportage, and the decision to start fresh, which eventually became Red Carpet Massacre.  Obviously, there are lots of rumors surrounding that time period but the author stayed clear of them all.

The article concludes with a description of the poor performance, commercially, of Red Carpet Massacre as well as the beginnings of the connection with Mark Ronson, which we know results in All You Need Is Now.  Besides the recent history lesson, the article has some extras, including a quote of Dom’s from a little blog we know and love.  (coughourscough)  It also summarizes the “key recordings” of each of the albums from the 2000s and the influence the band had on other modern day artists.  Personally, I love those little additions! They add so much!

Next week, I’ll cover Five Decades of Duran Duran and Boys on Film.  I’m looking forward to it!

-A