The last winner: Pressure Off
Which song better represents the Paper Gods Tour: The Reflex or Rio?
The last winner: Pressure Off
Which song better represents the Paper Gods Tour: The Reflex or Rio?
Did you see the interview with Simon and Nick on CNN yesterday? They sat down with Hala Gorani to promote their upcoming rocket-fueled show at the Kennedy Space Center later this month. It has been quite some time since I saw an interview with Duran Duran on CNN, so I was excited to see it. Naturally, in every interview there seems to be the inevitable point where the same questions seem to get asked. This used to drive me crazy. Often, I’d exclaim, “Is there NOTHING else that you can ask?” in complete frustration. I’d think to myself…or even tweet, “This is a band who has been around for forty years, and we’re still asking them about favorite songs and lines of lyric?”
As a self-proclaimed die hard fan, it’s easy for me to sit back and say all of that. Sure, I could get mad about it, and rest assured – I have. There’s been time spent feeling anger and frustration because journalists can’t ever seem to get past the simple questions and dig a bit deeper.
Yesterday though, I didn’t feel any of that. Even as Simon fielded the question about what “The Reflex” means—and still did not give an answer—I just smiled. At the time, I didn’t think about how many times I’d heard or seen that question come up before. I just thought about how Simon was answering it this time. When Gorani asked why the band still made music, it didn’t frustrate me at all. I loved that Nick talked about how they don’t like making the same album twice.Simon described how one of them might play something that reminds someone else in the band of something new they’d come up with, and that after awhile it starts to feel like a candy floss (or cotton candy for us American folks!) machine that keeps building and building. I can’t get mad at any of that.
It is 100% true, die-hard fans could probably ask all the deep, soul-searching questions. What I think we tend to forget though, is that we die-hards represent a very small percentage of the viewing audience. You’ll never convince me that Duranies outnumber average, ordinary, viewers for CNN, and it is those average people that interviews cater to. Maybe someone watched that interview yesterday who hadn’t seen the band in years and didn’t even know they’re still around!
Don’t believe me? Well, nearly every show—particularly those that have me flying somewhere—I run into at least ONE person who says, “You’re going to see Duran Duran? I didn’t even know they’re still together!” Then, without fail – they break into the chorus or the doo-doo-doos from my favorite song (and yours), “Hungry Like the Wolf”. As I always say, it’s the song that will outlive us all.
Yep, I think we’ve all felt like we could do a better job asking the band interesting questions. It is easy to feel annoyed. It is also very easy to miss the real point and heart of the questions when you’re annoyed. The peace comes when you hear the same questions being asked over and over, and somehow – you’re still able to find joy.
At this point in this band’s career, when many of their peers have retired, quit, or just plain given up – Duran Duran is playing at the Kennedy Space Center. That fact alone, blows my mind and I sure hope it blows yours, too. I love listening to Simon explain – over and over – that he’s never going to explain “The Reflex”, and that he wants to keep Duran Duran going for as long as he can. Simon shared that he sum of all the parts each member brings adds up to so much more than each of them could do solo. Their interviews, regardless of what is being asked, still make me smile. That’s where I find my peace, and my joy.
In April 1984, the Reflex was released as a single. As many of you know, this song became a number one hit for Duran Duran. For me, this anniversary marks my anniversary of a Duranie. Many of you know my story. As a kid, I listened to a lot of Top 40 in my Chicago suburb and became addicted to MTV as soon as it hit our cable package. My best friend and I liked Duran Duran as soon as we heard them as we often listened and watched together. Yet, there was nothing serious about our feelings for Duran until the Reflex. That song changed it all for me. My like for the band became a love as I found myself not only addicted to the song but to the band itself. My fandom, of course, exploded from there. I couldn’t stop listening to them and bought as much merchandise as I could find and afford. Soon enough, my best friend and I spent most of our time talking Duran. We bought magazines that we shared whatever info we learned and then drooled over whatever pin-ups were included. The rest as they say is history.
For my Duranie anniversary, I thought I might share the top 5 reasons that I am and will always be forever grateful that Duran Duran and this fandom came into my life.
This might seem pretty dang obvious but Duran Duran really has provided the soundtrack to my life in a couple of different ways. First, they have been the music I have turned to from early childhood all the way until present day. This means that the band’s music was there as I grew up, as I formed my identity, grew into adulthood and beyond. Second, their music has often spoke to me, on an emotional level that other artists haven’t. When I think of trying times, certain Duran songs come to mind. As I remember really fun times, different songs pop up. I’m thankful for each and every one of those songs that allowed me to be in the moment, to push through something tough, or to feel more intensely.
I have learned a lot from Duran Duran. They have been great teachers. A lot of what I think and appreciate came directly or indirectly from Duran. Let me give some examples. First, the band always represented an optimism that I have embraced. In some cases, that optimism takes the form of fun like the idea that they would be the band to dance to when the bomb is dropped. In other cases, it is recognizing that life is hard but that you have to have hope with songs like What Happens Tomorrow. No matter how much I get beaten down, I remain optimistic. Second, the band appreciates art in all forms, including music, visual arts, graphic arts, photography, fashion and more. I have grown up appreciating art as well. (Probably helps that my mom is also an artist.) I also love that the art that they like or produce isn’t always obvious or straightforward. Often, it requires thinking deeply, which I love. Third, the band has a wicked sense of humor that can be seen in videos like Rio. I love how much they laugh when they are around each other. I definitely learned to appreciate the same thing.
My natural instinct is stay home, be comfortable. go about my day-to-day routines without any changes or drama. I probably could be a hermit if I let myself. Yet, I know that this won’t and doesn’t bring me happiness. Needless to say, I need to be pushed out of my comfort zone from time-to-time. Duran Duran has done that very thing. Most obviously, I definitely would not have traveled as much as I did/do without going to see the band. I am not a big traveler and really hate flying but I do it to go on tour. To me, the reward is worth the stress of travel. Plus, after every trip, I always feel glad having done so. In fact, I would go so far as to say that I feel stronger, more confident. Beyond that, I started planning Duranie events with my partner-in-crime in order to try to bring the fan community together. I can organize all day, every day but leading events isn’t something that gets me all excited. Again, though, afterwards, I feel pretty badass and find it becoming more and more second nature to me.
If you read through this blog, you will see so many posts that describe amazingly fun times Rhonda and I have had through this blog’s existence and beyond. Truly, when I think of times that I have had the most fun in my life, I immediately think of Duran Duran, events related to the band and their shows. Touring is literally my favorite place in the world to be, especially those two hours that the band is on stage. I have been extremely fortunate to have been to as many shows that I have and really hope that there is a lot more in my future.
Last, but certainly not least, Duran Duran has brought me many friendships. As a kid, the band brought me and my best friend closer. As an adult, they played a significant part in connecting me to so many people, including some of my favorite people. In some cases, they are people I am extremely close to like Rhonda who I met at a fan convention in 2004 to people I just met in February whom I look forward to getting to know more.
Duran Duran has made my world significantly brighter, better and more fun. For all of that, I’ll be forever grateful.
Any idea what our most looked at blog has been? My goodness…at this point, we have over 4,000 blog posts. So what would be the most “popular” of sorts??? Was it one that shared big news about a tour or a new album? Nope. Was it one that focuses on some controversial topic within fandom or our fandom? It is not. Could it have been the interview with Dom Brown? That would be a good guess but…alas, it is not. No, the most viewed blog post is the one I wrote about the interpretations of the Reflex. My reaction to this? Oh, for the love of Pete…
Let me give some background. For awhile I was writing blogs that analyzed and/or offered interpretations of certain Duran songs. Some of these songs were ones that I had been thinking about and others were suggestions from our readers. It became obvious that I could not ignore one of Duran’s most successful singles and one that is often discussed in interviews. I can think of countless times that the band, most specifically Simon, has been asked about what the song means. So, I need what I had to do and looked up the interpretations online then went through the lyrics to determine if the various interpretations were possible or likely. All of this was done on this blog here. Since the blog was posted almost 5 years ago to the day, we have had a ton of people look at it. We still get comments on it.
Now, looking back, was it smart of me to do that blog? Was it a good idea to really look at that song? I don’t know. I’m not ashamed of the blog post. A part of me really enjoys looking at theories and lyrics and trying to analyze them and always will. But should I have done that with this song? I don’t know. I have seen interviews in which John Taylor has indicated that it is a good thing that the lyrics continue to be discussed like a poem would. Maybe so. Yet, I see Simon appeared to be slightly annoyed or frustrated when the topic comes up. Is it because he feels embarrassed about them? I suspect not. I wonder if his feelings are similar to mine when I see the hits on this post or new comments.
I am always glad when someone comes to the blog for whatever purpose. I am proud of all that Rhonda and I have written over the past 7 years. Likewise, I’m hopeful that one blog post might lead to more searching on the site or having someone subscribe to check in daily. I’m sure Simon feels the same way with the same hope that someone into the Reflex will lead to listening to lots more Duran. That said, it doesn’t always lead to that. There isn’t always more searching on the blog or new dedicated readers. If I had to focus on one point, I would emphasis that there is a lot more here on the Daily Duranie besides talking about the Reflex just like there is a lot more to Duran than the song or a lot more to Simon’s lyrics.
So, if you have come to search for the meaning of the Reflex, that’s great. Please, though, take some time to look around at other interpretations or other blogs. Consider subscribing. Come back more often. We have lots more to offer.
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?
Favorite lyric from New Religion: “I might just be right this time (searching for the undeniable truth that a man is just a fool)”
Which song has BETTER LYRICS: The Reflex or New Moon on Monday?
Yesterday’s winner: New Moon on Monday
Which video do you like better: The Reflex or Wild Boys?
Last Sunday, Duran Duran celebrated a little anniversary. The Reflex was released 33 years ago that day. 33?! Rhonda often talks about how she cannot believe that this song or this album was released decades ago and I’m right there with her. In this case, this anniversary represents my personal anniversary. I mark it as the date that I became a fan, a Duranie. 33 years ago. I work with teachers who are younger than that.
Anyway, why does this particular song represent my embrace of Duranie-ness? Simple. While I remember liking many of their songs and videos before this one, the Reflex pushed me over the edge into obsession. I couldn’t get enough. I had to watch each time that the video played. In fact, whenever I saw the video I had to call my best friend at the time and vice versa. At our sleepovers, we were glued to Friday Night Videos and MTV in hopes that it would air. We saw it so often that we learned all the moves. In fact, I think I have a picture of my friend doing one of Simon’s classic dance moves.
When I think back to my childhood and doing things like memorizing moves or rewinding videotapes in order to pause when John Taylor turns to the camera, I can’t help but sit shaking my head a bit. It is not that I think we did anything wrong or that we demonstrated our fandom in an obnoxious way. It is more like I wish I could go back in time to see how I experienced my fandom then. I have memories of it and some of them are very vivid, including the ones I shared here. Part of me wishes that I could go back to that time when that love for Duran was so new and so amazing.
I always think of new fandom as being like that “honeymoon phase” of a new relationship when you can’t get enough and no wrong is done. It feels perfect. As an adult, I now see the imperfections of both the band, the fans and even myself. That flawless image cannot remain, just like it never does in a relationship either. No one is perfect and fandom is not either.
The other part of myself wants to give some insight to the young, almost 9 year old me. I want to warn, almost, the younger version of me about how media and others will criticize Duran Duran. They will attempt to be the thumbtacks to my fandom balloon. Perhaps, I would explain how as time goes on, changes happen. Bands evolve and experience change. Some of it will sting a bit but that the heart of Duran Duran will continue to beat on for decades. I would want to ensure my younger self that I’m not wrong for becoming a Duranie. Some points I might make include about their staying power and about the fabulous songs they wrote and performed after the current Seven and the Ragged Tiger album.
Beyond the band, I might point out where fandom took me personally. Maybe, I would talk about the states and countries I have visited just to see the band live or about all of the friends I have made as a result. Then, if my younger self handled all of that, I might share the fact that I have written a daily blog with my best friend about being a Duran fan for years. Many years.
What do I think my younger self would say to all of this? I imagine that I wouldn’t be shocked that the band has been around for decades. I might laugh and say something like, “Of course they will be around! Duh!” As far the concert going goes, my 9 year old self would have struggled with that more. After all, at that point, I hadn’t attended a single concert. I could imagine that I would have questions and a couple of exclamations! “Do you dance like the audience did in the Reflex? Do you sing along? What is it like to breath the same air as them? I probably would pass out if I was anywhere near them. Is John as cute as he looks?” Then, my older self could blow my younger self’s mind when I tell her/me about how I have pictures of the band, that I have spoken to them and seen them up close.
As far as the blog goes, my younger self definitely would have been confused by that idea. After all, I would not know anything about the internet for another decade. Overall, though, I think I would have been in awe. Jealous. I would have been excited to grow up and have the experiences I shared. After this conversation, the adult me, the real me might have remembered the feeling of pure joy and innocence that exists in brand new fandom. Then, I will think about the love that can and does grow over time. It isn’t despite the imperfections but because of them. Fandom isn’t perfect and either is the band. What it is, though, is mine. I don’t mean that in a possessive, I’m the only one sort of way. Just that Duran is a part of me, part of my history and always will be. Maybe, someday, I’ll be writing about my 43rd or 53rd anniversary of being a Duranie. That might be just as cool as talking to my younger self.
Last weekend, I blogged about Duran Duran’s third studio album, Seven and the Ragged Tiger, which you can read here. In that blog, I listed the facts of the album, including who was on it, the singles, the videos and more. While that certainly provides the Duran Duran history, it does not describe how fans felt about that album. Thus, I wanted to take time to share my story, my feelings about the album. Then, I invite all of you to share your stories, too!
In 1983, I turned 8. I lived in the suburbs of Chicago where I had everything that I could hope for, including a best friend and activities to keep us busy. When my best friend and I hung out together, we always had the radio on, most specifically B96, the Top 40 radio station. If we were in the “TV room”, then MTV played in the background. For some reason, both of us preferred to have something on in the background while we played “store” or whatever else we did for fun.
As all of you know, both radio and MTV frequently played Duran Duran in 1983. By that point, they embraced songs and videos from the Rio album. Both my friend and I liked those songs and videos we heard from that album, but they still were more in the background rather than in the foreground for us. Age mattered. Duran Duran released Seven at just the right time. Union of the Snake premiered first. I enjoyed it but it didn’t grab me. New Moon on Monday, though, began to really burrow its way into my brain like any good ear worm. More than the fabulous chorus, I recall watching the video for New Moon on Monday and loving it. (I still love it. It is my favorite video, by far.) I loved the storyline and thought the guys looked great!
Oh, yes, by early 1984, my interest grew to officially liking the band. Discussions between my friend and I surrounded the band for the first time. We started to spend some of our money on books, magazines and any other merchandise we could find as we debated which guy we liked best. Initially, I liked all of them with a slight pull to Simon. I liked his main character role in the New Moon on Monday video. Yet, I also liked the friendship aspect of John and Nick during that same video. I was slightly conflicted!
Then, the Reflex premiered and changed everything! The conflict ended as I fell hard for a certain bass player after watching the video over and over and over! There was just something about John Taylor during that video that got to me. Not only that, I loved the song. Loved it! My best friend adored it as well. We were so ridiculous that we called each other on the phone each time that the song came on the radio or appeared on MTV. We couldn’t get enough and our parents allowed it for some crazy reason. Clearly, we were officially Duranies from then on!
From that point, our fandom took on big roles for each of us, individually, but also for our friendship. Instead of playing store or swinging in my backyard, we now watched MTV all the time while we poured over teen magazines, memorizing each and every fact. Our bedroom walls featured nothing but Duran Duran posters. We lived and breathed Duran Duran.
So, while many Duranies claim the first album or Rio made them serious fans, for me, it was Seven and the Ragged Tiger.
Last month, I started a little series that examined the albums released during the month of October. I would like to continue that for the month of November, even if the month is quickly coming to an end. Duran Duran released three albums during the month of November, including Seven and the Ragged Tiger, Notorious and Red Carpet Massacre. Each of these albums represent very different time periods in the band’s history. Today, though, I start with Seven and the Ragged Tiger, an album released on this very date in 1983.
Seven and the Ragged Tiger Facts:
Released on November 20, 1983
Produced by Alex Sadkin, Ian Little and Duran Duran
Had 9 tracks included
3 different songs were released as singles:
The band at that time was made up of John, Nick, Roger, Andy and Simon.
Three videos were made from this album:
Union of the Snake
New Moon on Monday
Here is an interview when the band discussed the 30th anniversary!
The Sing Blue Silver tour began in Canberra, Australia in November 1983. After many dates in Australia, the band played a series of shows in the UK before traveling to Japan, Canada, and the U.S. As most Duranies know, the North American portion of the tour was captured in the Sing Blue Silver Documentary.
Beyond all of the facts, Duranies have many, many memories of this album, especially since this album represents the height of Duran mania. I would love to hear your Seven and the Ragged Tiger story. When did you buy the album? What did you think of it? What do you think of the single choices? The videos? Did you see the band play tour? If so, how many shows did you see? Next weekend, I’ll share my story!