Daily Duranie Review

Winter Marches On — The Daily Duranie Review

Our reviews continue with the ninth song off of the album, Notorious.  The song is Winter Marches On and definitely represents THE ballad off of this album.  Is this a good ballad or not?  See what we think below then let us know what you think!

Rhonda

Musicality/Instrumentation:

Is there really a more melancholy song in Duran’s catalog?  Probably. But for now, we haven’t gotten there yet!  I love the emotion produced by the music for this one. When I listen, I can hear the tambourine, keyboards, and of course bass…which really helps to provide a rhythm with the absence of any other percussion aside from the tambourine. I also really like the melody line – which sounds like it could be a synthesized woodwind (clarinet or even oboe…they should have called me!!).  The music is very slow, and I think that it’s easy to pass this song by unless you’re really in the mood to sit, listen and ponder. The song certainly isn’t boring (not by a long shot!), but it also isn’t the type of song you necessarily want to hear when you’re in the mood for playing Wild Boys loud and proud in the car.

Vocals:

I might be in the minority, but I wish a few more Duran songs were written in this key/range for Simon. He has a gorgeous voice. I know we’re all about the party, but I love this slightly darker and chilled timbre. His voice has a beautiful roundness, and he is really the best when it comes to portraying emotion in his singing. One doesn’t even have to know the words to recognize the emotion in the song – vocals and music work hand in hand here to do bring that home. I really can’t find anything to complain about here!

Lyrics:

Not gonna lie – I have no idea what this song is about. Lines like “Birth time rose; a thorn for coronation” or “Soon you’ll belong to the blest, spare us your lives while we need you”. In some ways it reminds me of motherhood. Mostly, I think I completely lost the plot somewhere. I really like the line, “dreams have frozen crystal in the morning”….beautiful.  I’ll admit that I read Amanda’s interpretation below, and she might be right. I wouldn’t be surprised that Simon used this sort of analogy to describe fame, especially given the changes the band has already seen by this point. I always think of the saying “Be careful what you wish for.”

Overall:

This is a song that I have to be in the right mood to enjoy. It isn’t a song I would belt out in the car, nor is a song that I find myself yearning to hear – but having done this review, I found new appreciation for it. (It is the best part of doing reviews!!) I love that the slowness of the song almost forces me to really listen to each subtle nuance, from the way the tambourine accents the beat to the deep bass. The song slows me down, encourages me to take the time to sink within the music and think.  The music and vocals work together to create a very different emotion from most Duran Duran songs, and I really enjoy that. The sounds are simple, but purposeful. Winter Marches On isn’t particularly loud, noisy or even overproduced – which I applaud. Well done and worth many listens!

Cocktail Rating:  4 cocktails!

4 cocktails rating

Amanda

Musicality/Instrumentation:

The first word that comes to mind as Winter Marches On begins is atmospheric with the melancholy keyboards and the slow hits of what sounds like a tambourine.  Right away, you know that this isn’t going to the happiest of Duran songs.  The song continues in this fashion even as the vocals begin with some additional keyboard sound until finally some other instrumentation is heard with the deep bass adding to the mood of the song.  At one point, it sounds like there is some strings included but it is clear that this isn’t the usual Duran song in that there is little noticeable guitar and drums.  That isn’t to say that it is boring.  It isn’t.  It is just different.  If the goal was to create a beautiful, haunting song, the music did its job.

Vocals:

This song starts out, vocally, with Simon’s “oh”, “ah”, “hmm”.  Normally, I’m not a fan of little vocal additions like that but, in this case, it sets a tone of emotion and sadness.  Then, his vocals are generally slow in tempo and much lower in his range than what he did for the rest of the album.  I love how he elongates a number of words to add emphasis and emotion.  This is one of those songs that Simon’s voice really adds almost additional instrumentation.

Lyrics:

These lyrics intrigue me.  Who is the she that is referenced in the first verse?  Could it be fame?  “She drains emotion.  To drink from her breast of fortune”.  Then, the rest of the song sounds like it is being addressed to the band.  “Spare us your lives while we need you.”  Could that be from the fans?  The industry?  The next couple of lines definitely sound like what they were experiencing:  “Loud is the music the crowd is bringing.”  While the lyrics are on the shorter side, I do like that they make me think.  I also always feel like I can relate to the line about sparing one’s live while needed.  I certainly feel that at work, when I have my teacher hat on.  I suspect others might feel that way with their lives or where they are in their lives.  Lyrics like this definitely show me the connection between this album and the previous one as so much of Seven and the Ragged Tiger subtly discussed fame, being in the spotlight, etc.

Overall:

Winter Marches On is one of those songs that I would have dismissed, if I had not done this review.  I’m generally not attracted to ballads unless they offer something more (think Before the Rain).  This one, though, has some merit.  The lyrics made me think and I enjoy Simon’s vocals on this one a lot.  Musically, it isn’t the most interesting or most complex, but definitely works to create a mood and an atmosphere.  Thinking about the individual elements of this song definitely made me appreciate it more.
Cocktail Rating:  4 cocktails
4 cocktails rating

2 thoughts on “Winter Marches On — The Daily Duranie Review”

  1. Hey girls, cool review of an overlooked gem. Such a review wouldn’t be complete without the most recent thing the band posted and Tweeted about “Winter Marches On” 😉 Opportuniste moi? Seriously, merci beaucoup for posting the link to my cover at the time it came out, it was really appreciated. Keep up the good work! I’m pretty sure the boyz you love so much are appreciative of such dedication.

    Here’s Duran’s post on Facebook about my cover of Winter Marches On for those who missed it : https://www.facebook.com/duranduran/posts/10152467398247733

  2. Congrats on a brand new awesome review.
    I would like to share mine
    MUSICALITY: this is to me like “Arcadia” on a funky album.I love this experiment they did.
    VOCALS: Simon’s voice is magic, in my opinion here he’s at one of his best performing
    LYRICS: I never tried guessing the meaning of it. Maybe just a poem on the winter season approaching? Maybe just a song on the influence on our state of mind/sould at the winter approaching? Nature is used to be a terrific visual source of inspiration for lyricists.
    PRODUCTION: Here it’s totally the three surviving Duran guys producing. The “Funk Master” sounds absent
    OVERALL: it’s my favorite slow dance on the album. My rating is: 5/5.

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