Tag Archives: Save a Prayer

Save A Prayer & The Desperate Narrator

“Definitely a song written by a lonely guy desperate to hook up with … somebody … ANYBODY“

Simon LeBon on Twitter discussing “Lonely In Your Nightmare”

“sounds like da lonely guy is beginning to get desperate …”

Simon LeBon on Twitter discussing “Hungry Like the Wolf”

When it comes to Duran Duran lyrics, Simon LeBon rarely shows all his cards but last week’s listening party shed a little light into his creative process. I was already working on this article when the Tim’s Twitter Listening Party for Rio appeared in my Twitter feed Wednesday morning. I raced home from the record store (felt so good to be in one after two months) to tune in. It was a really fun hour with a lot of familiar names on Twitter but it didn’t change the somewhat uncomfortable relationship I have with “Save A Prayer”.

As a preface to this, I admit that I still love “Save A Prayer”. I still want to hear it during every Duran Duran show and it still tugs on my heartstrings when it comes on the radio. I think it is as good as a ballad as they have ever written. But I also think the lyrics are worthy of some serious contemplation. How romantic of a song is it really? Does the music’s ability to evoke a mood overshadow some uncomfortable truths? 

The framework with which I examine the song relies on Seymour Chapman’s model of narrative communication which places the constructs of Implied Author – Narrator – Narratee – Implied Reader between the Real Author (in this case LeBon) and the Real Reader (the listener). Here, the Implied Author is the persona of Simon LeBon, aspiring pop star, and the Implied Reader is the female Duranie screaming in the front-row of a sold-out show. 

Simon’s tweets about other songs on Rio (see above) seem to validate my own interpretation that the difference between Real Author, Implied Author and Narrator within the song are often the same person (LeBon). With little to no artifice, LeBon was writing lyrics that reflected how he felt as well as how he wanted to be seen by the reader. However, this creates a problem of narrative authority almost as soon as “Save a Prayer” begins:

You saw me standing by the wall,
Corner of a main street
And the lights are flashing on your window sill
All alone ain't much fun,
So you're looking for the thrill
And you know just what it takes and where to go

If we choose to read this verse with LeBon in the role of protagonist, the issue of authority remains unresolved. How can he know the intent of the women watching him from her window sill or ascertain that she knows how and where to find her thrill? In a way, he is declaring that she is “hungry like the wolf” and he has become the hunted – insisting that desire works in both directions. This reveals the mindset of the Implied Author – “a lonely guy desperate to hook-up” if we take LeBon at face value. 

What if the “me” standing by the wall isn’t LeBon the person but an advertisement for the band and the “you” being the collective youth of the era? A flashing billboard outside “your” window could be an offer to “escape” reality which certainly ties into the band’s underlying ethos of escapism as encapsulated in the videos for this album. In that case, the thrill “you’re” looking for lies in the band, not necessarily LeBon’s bed. While that might better explain the narrator possessing knowledge of another character’s mindset, I don’t think for a second that was LeBon’s intention when writing this song. 

Don't say a prayer for me now,
Save it 'til the morning after
No, don't say a prayer for me now,
Save it 'til the morning after

The melancholic mood of this ballad and having it near the end of the record could symbolize a sense of awareness that wasn’t present on the earlier songs when, again using Simon’s words, the narrator was a “lonely guy desperate to hook-up”. Now that he has had a one-night stand, does he start to realize the emptiness of the experience despite his attempt to romanticize it and call it paradise? It certainly doesn’t stop him, hence the narrator imploring the reader to not say a prayer just yet. But maybe there is an arc of learning across Rio for LeBon as author and narrator.

Feel the breeze deep on the inside,
Look you down into your well
If you can, you'll see the world in all his fire
Take a chance
(Like all dreamers can't find another way)
You don't have to dream it all, just live a day

But then again. Maybe not. Hard to read this as anything more than the narrator trying to seduce someone. While the lyrics aren’t cringe-worthy like “Read My Lips” on Liberty, there is certainly little room for interpretation other than the obvious. LeBon remains the “lonely guy” trying to find comfort in her well. 

Pretty looking road,
Try to hold the rising floods that fill my skin
Don't ask me why I'll keep my promise,
Melt the ice
And you wanted to dance so I asked you to dance
But fear is in your soul
Some people call it a one night stand
But we can call it paradise

The music quickens as do the pulses in the third verse. The urgent desire from LeBon is matched by Roger Taylor’s more conventional drum pattern with the snare on the 2 and 4 replacing the rim shot of earlier verses. In the video, LeBon, clearly acting as the narrator, kisses the sleeping woman goodbye on the “I’ll keep my promise” line which seems to imply that he won’t as he leaves in search of another pretty looking road. 

My final thought on the intention of the narrator within “Save A Prayer” centers around the public vs. private voice and the possibility that the verses and chorus are different voices. The music supports this idea with a key change from D-minor in the verse to B-minor in the chorus. In the verses, we are shown the private voice of the Implied Author – the lead singer of a band on the road looking to keep loneliness at bay by having one-night stands. However, in the chorus, the Real Author takes over and speaks not to the individual women in the verses but to the Real Reader (us, the listener). He is asking us to not judge him for actions he knows he will soon regret. 

This layer of guilt could reflect the Real Author’s true emotional state that cannot be dismissed with a joke on Twitter about being a “lonely guy trying to hook-up”. The Implied Author/Narrator (Simon LeBon the rock star) would be expected to act as he does in the verses. Patriarchal society all but demands that of someone in his position. While fulfilling those expectations, a little voice in the back of the Real Author’s mind seems to be raising an alarm and he seeks our prayers in the chorus. Does this warrant our sympathy? That is up to each individual listener. For me, challenging the lyrics and dissecting the author’s mindset when writing the song only make me appreciate it more. No matter how one reads “Save A Prayer”, there is no happy ending with the couple forever in love but that is exactly the fantasy it manages to sell us despite the words that say otherwise. That, my friends, is the magic of popular music. 

Expect the Unexpected

Have you watched Roger’s Desert Island Discs yet? In their ongoing effort to teach us all to expect the unexpected, it’s Roger’s turn to shine.

In this first (I hope he does more!) episodes, Roger talks about The Beatles, Jackson 5, Generation X, David Bowie and of course, Duran Duran. (can’t really forget them, can we?) In just under 15 minutes, I think I learned more about Roger’s musical journey than I knew previously. I loved hearing about what made him into the person he is, and I hope he agrees to do more.

Isn’t that what has really been interesting about all of this? We have Simon doing his “radio” show with Katy, John deconstructing bass parts and having chats with other notables on Instagram, Nick gave a lengthy interview with Red Ronnie, and now Roger is talking about the music that changed his life. While the common thread is music, I have really enjoyed hearing from each band member in their own way, perhaps in formats that are most comfortable for them. It just isn’t all about Duran Duran, and it shouldn’t have to be. I think about that a lot while I’m listening.

I would go out on a limb to say that perhaps that is the one “thing” that has been missing previously when they’ve done sporadic Q&A’s on Twitter, or even in other interviews – there’s not been a way for them to really BE themselves when they’re facing a battering line of questions from fans, or even when they’re doing interviews for press. It would be like listening to someone talk about their job for 40 years. While sure, it’s interesting, isn’t there more to them than that? Of course!! I just don’t think they’ve ever had the right avenue, or maybe even the reason, to share much more, until now.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t know that any of the band is ever going to sit and dish about their private life. Sharing a song, deconstructing a bass line, chatting with a fellow musician, though – those things have real merit in a multitude of ways. I’m finding that I spend more time listening to music, exploring new sounds, and enjoying the journey that seems to take place weekly with these guys. Who knew?

I shared some of my concerns with Amanda over a Zoom “happy hour” chat last week. When this pandemic first began to unfold and it became clear that there wasn’t going to be a tour or live dates for Duran Duran (or anyone else) in 2020, I was a little concerned. How would the band respond? Would they even try to engage fans? Did they need to? Reaching a fan base through online methods seemed like it might be a bit of a reach. Sure, other bands and artists have responded in their own way, but I wasn’t sure what Duran Duran would do, or might be willing to do. This isn’t a band that has anything left to prove. Their career stands on its own. Did they have anything left to say – some might say yes, given that they’re still writing. Musically, I’d agree. They’ve got some left in the tank. Beyond that though? Dealing with us – fans – is a very different animal. They could wait the pandemic out, do their own thing, and re-emerge in a safer time. We’d likely still be there, right? Would we? My concern was that maybe, just maybe, they’d decide to just stop. The words look strange to me, but in my head, I thought the idea of no music for a year or possibly more could give the band a lot of time to think. Would it be easier to quit? I didn’t know, but I wondered.

Thankfully, this isn’t a band we should ever try to second guess, or count out. Each time they come up with something new to keep us thinking is a way they engage with fans. If I’m anyone to judge by – consider it successful. I don’t clear my incredibly busy (ha ha ha) schedule to watch John talk about his bass lines in songs just because I fan girl. I’ve learned a lot about the evolution of the songs I love most during the past few weeks. Simon has made me laugh and think about music I’ve never heard before. It’s been fantastic. Today, I learned that Roger also listened to the Jackson 5 during his formative years – just like me. He’s also a Beatles fan. As if I didn’t already love him.

Okay, so there’s been a little fan girling along the way. Sue me.

Forty years on now, and I’m still glad this is my band.

-R

Question of the Day: Saturday, February 8, 2020

Yesterday’s winner: Safe

Which song better represents the All You Need Is Now Tour: Save a Prayer or Shadows on Your Side?

Coming Soon
Which Song Better Represents the All You Need Is Now Tour?
Save a Prayer
Shadows on Your Side

Question of the Day: Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Yesterday’s winner: Pressure Off

Which song best represents the Paper Gods Tour: Save a Prayer or Tempted?

Coming Soon
Which Song Better Represents the Paper Gods Tour?
Save a Prayer
Tempted

Question of the Day: Monday, January 6, 2019

Yesterday’s winner: Save a Prayer

Which song better represents the Paper Gods Tour: Sunrise or Tempted?

Coming Soon
Which Song Better Represents the Paper Gods Tour?
Sunrise
Tempted

Question of the Day: Sunday, January 5, 2020

The last winner: Rio

Which song better represents the Paper Gods Tour: Save a Prayer or The Seventh Stranger?

Coming Soon
Which Song Better Represents the Paper Gods Tour?
Save a Prayer
The Seventh Stranger

What Makes You Think of Summer?

Today is Thursday! As you read this, I’m off trying to enjoy the last few days of summer and forget that in a few days, I’m going to be standing in a long line of middle schoolers and their parents at registration. I’m not ready!! (Don’t tell my youngest!)

Since it is in fact, the final few glorious days of summer…I’ve decided to go ahead and call it a video-day. Sure, you might say it is because I haven’t prepared, or because I can’t think of anything blog-worthy to write. You might also say that I’m taking a day off. However, *I* would say that we should all take a moment and enjoy a few videos!!

So, here are my top “summer” video picks!

If there is one video that reminds me of sunshine, sand and fair weather – it is Rio. All I have to do is hear the first bit of piano rumbling and I am transported to the beach, smell of salt and sunscreen in the air.

Another obvious choice, at least for me, is Violence of Summer. This song – which I love to belt at the top of my lungs as I’m driving home (obviously alone) from a very late night out – reminds me of the carefree nights of no curfew, no children to put to bed, and no one waking up before 9am.

Summer makes me smile. While I’m not one to love heat, I do love the long, lazy days, and the beautifully warm evenings where I live. I feel a certain amount of joy during the summer because my time is typically my own. (and I’m great at wasting it!) The ONE song that always makes me feel joyous (no matter what) is Sunrise.

For the past 8 years, I’ve been a homeschooling parent. As my kids would get ready to go back to school come August, so did I. Curriculum had to be ordered, and lessons needed to be planned. Additionally, Amanda and I still blogged. During some school years, we worked on writing projects too. The pressure of it all sometimes felt pretty hefty by about mid-winter. Watching the fun antics of the “Pressure-Off” video, I think of going to summer shows in the past, visiting Amanda. recording vlogs, vodka tonics, margaritas, confetti, and giving Simon as rough of a time (at said shows) as possible. Sometimes that’s hard from 8th row, but we try our best because…well…it makes us laugh!! (probably more us than him, but that’s ok!) Summer=Pressure Off for me.

Lastly, I can’t help but think about Save a Prayer. Yes, I suppose it might be cliché with the sweeping vistas, the guys in bare feet or the beach scenes. I don’t care. We’ve earned the right to love every last bit of that video, and I do.

What about you? What videos make you think of summer?

-R

Guest Blog: How I Discovered Duran Duran in 2018!

Truthfully, it isn’t every day that we run into a brand new fan, particularly those that discovered the band in 2018, just a few weeks ago! Today, we are thrilled to share a story that will sound very familiar to most Duranies – once again proving that there is absolutely ZERO age limits on being a fan! Enjoy – R

by Kathy Diaz

Duranies all have stories about how they discovered the band.  Most fans likely found the band back in their teenage years during the early 80’s, when the band began their career and during their golden days of glory. My story is quite different, especially because I didn’t grow up in the 1980’s. I was born in 1986, just months before Duran Duran released their fourth studio album, Notorious. By the time I was born, they already had a steady career, but I didn’t learn about them until much later. I missed their comeback in the charts with “The Wedding Album” in 1993, and even their reunion of their original lineup in 2003. I didn’t even take notice of them when they first released their latest album “Paper Gods” in 2015.  No, it wasn’t until 2018—yes, just this very year—that I found this band and became a fan. 

I always have been a fan of 80’s music, as I grew up listening to Michael Jackson and Madonna. I knew about the existence of a band called Duran Duran, but I never really paid much attention to them before.  Up until this year, the only song I could recognize by Duran Duran was “Ordinary World”.  I probably listened it on the radio when I was a child, but I didn’t know who sang it, or even the name of the song.

It all started a couple of weeks ago, when I was searching for new music for my Spotify playlists.  I stumbled upon a YouTube channel that makes lists of songs by the year. I was watched the playlist for “Top Songs of 1982” that I came across  “Hungry Like the Wolf”. I was immediately impressed.  The song, video, and  lead singer—whose name I later learned to be Simon Le Bon—all stuck with me.  A normal person would have looked for the song, downloaded it and that was the end of it.  Not me. I had to look up the video of “Hungry Like the Wolf” again.  After I finished watching it,  I knew I was completely hooked. It was like love at first sight. 

I spent the rest of the night watching some of their other music videos and I was in awe with “Save a Prayer”, “Rio”,  “Is There Something I Should Know”, and “Wild Boys”. I kept asking myself: “How I didn’t discover this band before?” “Where was I living, under a rock?!?” Apparently! After this discovery, I knew I would never be the same again.

During the following days, I indulged myself in a Duran Duran marathon from morning-to-night. I figured that since I was on vacation from work, I had the time to do it. I spent those days listening to their songs, watching their music videos, and looking for any information I could. I quickly learned the history of the band, the names and backgrounds of each member, and anything else I could find on the internet. Their songs give me a warm feeling. I could be feeling down, or stressed, but when I am listening to their songs, I feel happy, calm and joyful. It is rare for a band to have this effect on me.

I felt alone in this new obsession because I didn’t know anyone who were also a fan of this band, so I decided to search in Facebook for Duran Duran groups. I found two amazing groups full of Duranies who gave me a warm welcome to their inner circle, even though I was kind of an outsider since I had just become a fan only weeks ago and they all had been fans for almost four decades.

Then, some moments of frustration came. I found out they played in my country, Puerto Rico just 2 years ago. Before that, they played here other 3 times. I was so distracted by other things that I didn’t discover them in time to go to any of those shows. Sometimes I wish I could go back in time and slap myself in the face for not paying attention before.  I am thankful that they are still together and making music,  but it also makes me a bit sad that I had to discover them in a dry period when there is no news on new albums or tour. I don’t know why I had to discover them now, was it fate or just coincidence?

All I know, is that this band is giving me joy and happiness with their music. That is something I thought only could happen when you were a teenager. I believed my years of “fangirling” for a band were over long ago. I didn’t ask for this, but Duran Duran just came into my life, changed it and I didn’t expect it at all. 

I still have a lot to catch up on, but I feel happy to be part of this fandom. I so look forward to what Duran Duran has in store for the future. Hopefully one day, not too far in the future, I will finally see them live for the first time. Until then, I will enjoy this new interest as much as I can, however possible.

Kathy Diaz is a newbie Duranie. She lives in Puerto Rico where she works as an Elementary School Teacher. She is also fan of Harry Potter, Doctor Who, and basically everything and anything that is British. You can follow her on Twitter: @KathyDi86 

Rio goes gold, 1983

Do you know what happened on this date in 1983?

Rio went Gold.

That means by this date in 1983, that little album with the recognizably Nagel cover had sold 500,000 copies. 500,000 people or so, snatched up that vinyl, or cassette. (did they have 8-track too??) I still have my original copy and remember buying it. Do you?

I’m a little surprised that my copy still works. I would have thought that with the number of times I played it – over and over again – that by now the grooves would have widened and been completely worn out. I loved that album from the very moment I heard the opening “backwards sounding” rush of notes all coming together to transport me away to a completely different world. Escapism at its best.

To this day, some of my favorite songs and videos are from that album. So for this Throwback Thursday, I’m going to spend some time gleefully skipping down a memory lane dipped in gold!

I couldn’t find a full-length clip of Last Chance on the Stairway (dammit, why hasn’t someone else done it for me?!) but I did find a couple of the electroset version they did….and this is the longest:

Happy listening and viewing!

-R

 

PS – Happy March!!!

 

 

Words, Playing Me…

I have been thinking about lyrics a lot lately.  I think it started from this set of questions of the day we have been doing.  First, we ask our readers which song has the best lyrics per album.  (We are starting Liberty, by the way!)  Then, we ask people to pick THE best lyric or line from the song that they determined had the best lyrics overall.  Eventually, we will compare all of the favorite lyrics.  Beyond the question of the day, I have also been listening to the new Killers album and trying to bond with it.  One song, in particular, has caught my attention due to the lyrics.  The song is Rut and it definitely fits how I have been feeling at/with work.  Lines like, “I’m climbing but the walls keep stacking up” or “I’ve done my best defending but the punches are starting to land” make me feel as if someone is putting my feelings into words.  This personal connection to the lyrics have made me want to listen to the song a lot.

When I think back to my lifetime of listening to music, I recognize that the importance of lyrics has grown on me.  When I think back to falling for Duran, I think of songs like Save a Prayer and the Reflex.  When I think about those songs, lyrically, they make me laugh.  Save a Prayer is obviously about a one-night stand–something that my 9 year old self could not relate or connect to!  The Reflex, on the other hand, just seemed silly to me as a kid.  That song’s lyrics, though, are ones that people still seek understanding of.  In fact, our most viewed blog post of all time is the one where I pondered what the heck the Reflex is really all about.  I know that I did not connect to the song in 1984 because of the lyrics, no matter what I thought they meant.  No, in 1984, it was all about whether or not the chorus was catchy and the video showed cute guys.

Yet, now, when I think about the Duran songs that I have connected with, I think of the ones that captured something in its lyrics that I can relate to.  The first song that comes to my mind about that is Before the Rain.  The verse that spoke to me in 2010 was this one:  Little pin-pricks
And how my ears bleed
On the bomb ticks that is my heartbeat
In every life-flash
In every car crash
I hear the silence waiting to fall

Why did it speak to me?  In December of 2010, I had to say good-bye to a beloved pet, Othello, and then 10 days later, I said good-bye to my grandma, my lone living grandparent.  My heartbeat felt the pain of the silence that follows death and I connected with it deeply.  To me, it spoke of grief.  Is that what the song is about?  I doubt it but there was enough there that made me feel like I was not alone in my grief–that someone else understood.

The same thing is true with Duran’s latest album, Paper Gods.  I remember listening through it a few times before I really tuned into the lyrics.  The song that caught my attention then?  Last Night in the City, believe it or not, the exact opposite of Before the Rain.  The lyrics described exactly what touring means and is like to me.  It is where we get connected, whether that connection is with the band and the fans or with fans to fans.  What is funny is that Rhonda connected with the lyrics around the same time.  I have fond memories of a text message exchange one evening as we traded favorite lyrics back and forth and talked about not only what they could mean but, more importantly, but how and why they spoke to us.  It was at that moment that I knew that I could and would bond with that album.

What about the rest of you?  How much do lyrics matter?  Do the lyrics need to speak to you in order to  love a song?  Likewise, if a song’s lyrics are silly, can you still bond with the tune?

-A