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Be My Icon - The Daily Duranie

Be My Icon

Originally titled, “Butt Naked” and featuring John Taylor on vocals for the demo before he left Duran Duran, ”Be My Icon” underwent a significant lyrical rewrite after John left, before appearing on the Medazzaland album. Many demos have encountered similar evolutions before the finished version, but few may be as well known amongst fans as “Butt Naked”, given that the original demo is available on YouTube.


Album audio


I follow you, I wait for you 
You know there’s no escape from me
You’re more than wallpaper in my room

I write you letters and bring you gifts
I’m going through all your trash
I love you so much,
I keep your cigarette butts

Now is the time to come out
Come out of the shadows

No need to be scared
You’re gonna be so happy
I built you a shrine
Now you can Be My Icon

I’m out on the edge
There’s no way back inside
All my friends are gone
They didn’t understand me

It makes so much sense
It’s no coincidence
Just you and I alone here
And I need you

How many hours have I stared at my face in the mirror
I get worried sometimes that the image will shatter

No need to be scared
You’re gonna be so happy
I built you a shrine
Now you can be my icon
No need to be
Now you can 
Be My Icon

I know this is real
Believe it 
We belong together
What ever happens
You’re gonna be with me

Be my icon
You will be my icon
Be my icon
you will be my icon


When I think of this song, I immediately consider what it means to be a fan, verses being a stalker. This song is the pinnacle of why I study fandom, and why I struggle with the moniker of “fan”. The joy I get from being a fan is nearly the opposite from the sick sort of obsession that is described in the song. I can certainly understand the point of view being communicated in the words. I’ve witnessed the lengths some fans will go to in order to get close to the band. It would have come off as a privileged complaint had it been written from the point of view of a band member, instead it is sung from the perspective of the obsessed fan, and the result is chilling.

Admittedly, I love and hate the song all at once. I like the darkness, and discomfort, the song brings. After all, I know I am a fan. I have seen people use hotel lobby and bar furniture as though they were hurdles in an obstacle course, just to get to band members. I’ve heard of cigarette butts being fished from garbage cans. I’ve felt boots kicking me as people scramble and crawl up over the back of me to reach the stage for a copy of the set list. It can be just stupid at times, and maddening at others. I find myself wondering how far Simon had been pushed, in order to come up with lyrics like these.

Musically, as heard throughout Medazzaland, there is a lot going on. The music is not really melodically-driven, relying on vocals to create a path forward. The bass is buried far, far, deep in the mix – sometimes disappearing completely, which takes the bottom completely out of the song. However, there is also an enormous amount of sampling, effect, and noise going on, culminating in a crunchy, grimy, and gritty sort of industrial cacophony during the chorus. It is no wonder to me that TV Mania is listed as the producer of this song with the type and amount of effects used.

It is only during the chorus, with the typical stacked harmonies sung by Simon, along with a set of incredibly warped and distorted sounding guitar tracks that one realizes that “Oh yes, it IS a Duran Duran song, isn’t it?”. There’s nothing wrong with experimenting, but the track sometimes suffers from just too much effect, and not enough melody to drive the music forward, particularly during the verses. In result, the song tends to feel a little stagnant and stubborn to move, only getting going during chorus sections.

Two and half cocktails
two-and-a-half cocktails


There are some songs in which the focus is all the instrumentation or the vocals. In this case, it is all about the lyrics. Before I dive into what the lyrics became (which are super fascinating), I did want to take a minute to acknowledge the demo version of the song with a spoken word of sorts by John Taylor. In that case, he is focused on his anger towards his first wife, when clearly their marriage was not working for him (or her, really). While the topic of the demo is very different than the finished version, musically, there was not a ton of changes. I think that is important to note. In listening to the music, both in the demo and the official version, it isn’t such that I would describe it as particularly pleasant. There is a whole lot of guitar, particularly at the end, and there is a lot of noise. It creates an undercurrent of anger, I think.

Of course, we know that the lyrics changed to be from being about John’s marriage to being about stalking a celebrity. The lyrics, as Rhonda pointed out, are chilling. The level of obsession is beyond intense as it goes further than just watching and waiting. It gives the listener the sense that soon the stalker will kidnap or hold the celebrity in some way. It reminds me of the movie, Misery, which tells the story of a famous author (I think?) who had an accident. A “fan” nurses him back to health, only to injury him so that he cannot leave. This stalker feels the same as it feels like there is an assumption that the stalker has the right to the celebrity, that those who are famous lose their freedom either physically, mentally or emotionally. While I get why any celebrity might want to address those people who fit into the stalker category, there is a part that always worries me. I believe that the stalker or how you want to call them are few and far between. Thankfully. Yes, there are many fans who might go too far, at times, but few who become stalkers, which is what is described in this song. I hope that people don’t view fans like this as there is a difference. I hope that the band has not been concerned for their safety as this song implies. Anyway, lyrically, the song is disturbing. Vocally, Simon adds to this feeling. Simon almost sings as if he (as the stalker) is imbalanced.

How to then really evaluate this song? Is it a song that I want to listen to? No. Not really. The lyrics are disturbing and the vocals add to the feeling of discomfort. I’m not sure that I find the music appealing either. There is too much going on, sounds wise, that adds to that unnerving feeling. Okay. Does it have merit as an artistic venture? While I appreciate them tackling an issue like stalking, one that I’m sure that they have some experience with, I almost wish that they weren’t as obvious about it. I think about a song like The Man Who Stole a Leopard, which could be about the exact same thing (or not). Nonetheless, I appreciate hidden meanings and the use of metaphor in Duran’s lyrics, which isn’t here. Obviously, musically, it is not traditionally sounding song and could be given credit for being unusual. Yet, I’m not sure that it works in that way, either. Again, it feels too obvious to me.

Two cocktails

By Daily Duranie

Once upon a time, there were two Duran Duran fans. One named Amanda, the other named Rhonda. Over many vodka tonics, they would laugh about the idea of one day writing a book about their fan experiences. While that manuscript is still being composed...Rhonda thought they should write a blog. (What was she THINKING?!) Lo and behold: The Daily Duranie was born.

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