“Pop Trash is my favorite Duran Duran album”
“That album is awful. It’s not well-written, it is overproduced, and had minimal success.”
“Andy was my favorite guitarist. I really loved the way his playing and had that push and pull interaction with the keyboards.”
“He brought absolutely nothing to the table. You can’t even hear him on Astronaut. Warren was able to create a completely new and different sound.”
“I can’t stand the way fans beg the band to notice them when they’re doing IG live or are on Twitter to answer questions. You don’t need to say ‘I love you’ fifty million times, and you take away from other people who are also trying to get questions answered.”
“I don’t think it matters how fans try to interact with the band. If you can’t get questions answered, that’s your own fault. I want my moment, and I’m going to get it, no matter what.”
disclaimer: the above are not quotes from any one individual – I made them up for the sake of the article, although they are things I’m sure many of us have heard or even said ourselves over the years.
It can be tough to have an opinion in a fandom. Amanda and I both know this from our own, fairly public, experience. If you’re brave enough to share something, I’ve been told one should be prepared for the onslaught.
Over the years of my involvement with this band, and certainly while I’ve been active in the community, I’ve found that to be true. When you say something about this band, whether positive or otherwise, there is always backlash. Sometimes, I’ve even been the one to deal it, which in hindsight, makes me cringe when I think about those moments.
I don’t know why I felt like my opinions were so important. Heck, I don’t know why I still do at times. Sometimes, I feel like I’m defending someone’s honor. Other times, I feel as though I’m battling my own self-doubt.
For example, talk to me about Dom, and you’ll probably find me defending him, his position in the band, or even his playing. I’m not even one of his personal friends. I’m just some fan, some woman no less, that lives in America. I highly doubt he cares one single iota about whether or not I like his music or not. Yet I stick my neck out and defend him as though he’s someone I’ve known personally for nearly twenty years.
Then I think back on the time when Red Carpet Massacre was released. I don’t quite know how to explain my feelings for that album, except to say that I felt like I visibly recoiled the first time I heard it. The music sounded nothing like what I would have expected to hear from Duran Duran. I made sure to say as much online. It really bothered me to read posts from others who seemed to love it. I couldn’t figure it out. Why?? How??? How could anyone who loved Rio think that album was any good? This is where the self-doubt kicked in. I was looking for my opinion to be validated by others who agreed. Those who didn’t were obviously wrong. (I say that in jest. I really do not mean it, so don’t send me mail. Just walk away. Fight the urge to respond to me…this is good training to ignore the triggers.)
Similar things have happened on this site. I’ve stated an opinion, perhaps not even strongly, but I’ve chosen a stance. I could say just about anything (and I’m just using examples – not necessarily things I believe) from “I think Rio is their strongest album” to “Electric Barbarella is sexist” and someone out there will disagree. That’s normal. Expected, even. It’s part of fandom. We all do it differently. Yet, sometimes it bugs me. Sometimes, it bothers me a lot. I’m not ashamed to admit it.
Whereas at one point I felt compelled to compose a diatribe to prove my case, I’m at least slightly less likely to do so now. I don’t need to justify my opinions. In fact, I shouldn’t.
I know what it is like to feel like you have to defend whatever you’ve said or written, particularly online where the staying power is lengthy. I fight the urge nearly every day to get into it with someone. I think I’ve finally learned that it is just easier for me to walk away. It takes a lot of energy to get mad and write back. Is it really worth it? Not usually. Even if sometimes, I have to remind myself to just let it go. Just last week one of my friends posted something about an album she really loves – I want to say it was Pop Trash but it could have easily been Big Thing. I can’t remember for sure, and it really doesn’t matter. Other people came out of the woodwork to explain why the album was so horrible, which honestly was a little disrespectful. At first I didn’t say much. I just read the comments and composed my own in my head. But then, as I read more and more, it became clear to me that this was a contest. It wasn’t enough to just say whether or not the album was liked, it was about proving who really knew the most about production, sound, engineering, or even music.
I have fallen into that trap more often than I can count. Is it really necessary for me to prove my musical chops? I try to remind myself of something someone tweeted a while back – the more you have to prove what or who you know, the more likely it is that it’s not true. A real rock star doesn’t have to prove themselves. Everyone already knows. Yet, for the longest time – and sometimes still today – I felt like I had to show what I know. It’s a bad habit, and for the most part, completely unnecessary. Who cares??
I ended up posting that I’m glad she has a favorite album, and that it’s good we’re all different. Life would be so boring otherwise. The rest of it – my opinions – didn’t matter. This person has just sharing, and that’s what fandom should be about, shouldn’t it?