The band wrote and produced this track with Chris Kimsey, and it was recorded at Olympic Studios in late 1989. One of the most interesting factoids about the song is that a guitar riff derived from this song eventually became “Come Undone”.
The track starts slowly, eventually building into a true rock song, with plenty of guitar. If you want to hear a heavy, guitar-laden Duran Duran song, this one is for you. Let it not be said that this band doesn’t know how to rock. Everything you need to know about the full-breadth of Duran Duran’s musicianship is fully contained within the five minutes and 29 seconds of pure joy in this song. The sound holds on and doesn’t let you go until it is good and done, not really unlike the band itself!
This song is about a band that doesn’t give up, and doesn’t give in. Don’t count them out, because they certainly don’t believe they’re out of the game. I love the blunt “This is the way it is” nature of the lyrics. They’re not necessarily angry, but they are blunt, matter-of-fact, and prove that this band isn’t ready to give up the fight. The words remind me that Duran Duran is a band that chooses to reinvent itself with each album, and arguably, even within each song. Never count them out.
Musically, the song has everything I could want. The sound tells a story, complete with an intro, building a crescendo until the sound just bursts into every color of the rainbow as it ends. You can almost hear the guitar being allowed off it’s leash, and if there was any doubt that Duran has a guitar player – seems to me this song answers the question with an exclamation point. The feeling of tension—the crazed guitar, graduated keyboard chords, the background synthesizer floating just above it all, and even the speedy bass line underneath—being driven by drums that feel a lot more like a race car threatening to fly off of the track than anything else. This combination is something that has been often missing from Duran songs during this point of their career, particularly since the exit of Roger and Andy. It is a shame that when reintroduced on Liberty, it went largely ignored, even by the band’s own fanbase. I, for one, wish there were more like this one.
The Liberty album often gets a bad rap as the songs are all dismissed as off the mark or un-Duran like, but this song should be evidence that those critics are wrong. This song is very much worthy of the Duran name. Musically, it rocks, literally and figuratively. Lyrically and vocally, it is fun without being ridiculous. Even more important than all of that is that it is a song that is next to impossible to listen to without tapping one’s foot and singing along. It definitely feels like a song to turn it up and just go with it.
When I listen to this song’s instrumentation, you can tell that it isn’t the Duran of their early days but there are some characteristics that feel that way. There are moments when certain instruments take center stage and then back off to showcase a different instrument. For instance, the song feels like all keyboards in the beginning, reminding me of another Liberty track, Violence of Summer, but quickly enough, the guitars begin to dominate and this pattern repeats. That almost gives me a feel of a Careless Memories but with Warren’s guitar style as opposed to Andy’s. It is like the best of Duran of yesterday while including Duran of the time (1990-ish). I applaud that. Plus, who doesn’t love when Duran destroys a stereotype about them? Too often, Duran’s ability to be a rock band has been dismissed by the public and critics alike. This song proves them all wrong.
The lyrics also give a feeling that this isn’t one’s teenage Duran anymore but in a good way. It isn’t about being super poetic or mysterious or just good pop fun but these lyrics still do catch one’s attention with lines like, “Here comes little Johnny from the back streets of the UK; He’s got the answer” or “He won’t give in; and he won’t let up until he gets inside your pretty skin.” A lot of songs off of Liberty feel very sexual in nature and this one is no exception. Is this Johnny just trying to seduce someone? Or is there more to it with a “a power glory ride”? I don’t know but it makes me want to pay attention, that’s for sure! Simon’s vocals match this animalistic type feel, again causing me to be unable to look or listen, as this case may be, away.
Overall, I really like this song. I’m not sure that I would say that it is musically perfect but it certainly is enjoyable and fun to sing along with. If I had one criticism, I think it lasts a little too long for my taste. It could have ended about 4 minutes in and I would be happy. After that point, it starts to feel a little too much guitars for no purpose. This is a solid track, though, for sure.