On to the tenth track from Pop Trash, “The Sun Doesn’t Shine Forever”, a ballad, that might just want to be an uptempo tune in its next life. The man who is infamous for his lists as well as his musical genius, Nick Rhodes, has included this track on a list of “Never Played Live” songs. Is it about time for them to break this out and give it a whirl?
Beginning with a very warm, rounded guitar and what sounds like strings in the background, the song sets off to be a ballad. As the chorus kicks in though, I’m drifted back to 1980-something and hear what reminds me of the power ballads I used to be such a sucker for back in the day. The tempo really doesn’t change throughout the song, and if anything it tends to drag the energy. When I listen, it just feels like the band is really fighting the tempo, lagging behind rather than moving ahead. This is one song that could have withstood a small increase in tempo. I really love the warmth of the keyboards, of the guitar track being underneath Simon’s vocals until the featured solo near the end of the song. There’s no fighting between the instruments to be heard, and the production is easy. The song is just a bit too lax in tempo.
Vocally, the song is first rate. Simon voice sounds full and well supported, and I’m still very surprised they’ve never played this live. Perhaps it is due to the tempo – it is just slow enough to really drag a live show down. Even so, there is such a potential for it to have been a showstopper. Picture strings, even a full orchestral group behind the band, with Simon’s voice even stronger than it was at the time of Pop Trash, I think they could have had a winner here. It is one of the songs from this album that was never given its just due. The lyrics should resonate with anyone in a relationship of any kind, really. While they aren’t the poetic lyrics of the 1980s, these are lyrics from a more mature Duran Duran. Marriage, children, careers, relationships – we’ve all experienced those pressures. These are words I not only understood, but embraced.
When I think of this era of Duran Duran, I think about how there are songs that were written and recorded to push the artistic envelope. They wanted to be as creative as possible, using the music, lyrics, vocals, production and effects to develop something more than a song but a piece of art. Then, there are songs like this one that feels like it is just about the music and the message. They didn’t push for it to be something more than a standard song that people would listen to and relate to. The song lets the instrumentation speak with some beautiful guitars, especially as the feel of the song is introduced. As the song continues, the listener begins to notice other instrumentation, including the important keyboards here. One might take note, however, that the instrumentation is not meant to overpower or drown out the vocals but are such that it highlights the vocals and the message.
Simon’s vocals are strong and clear here, working to convey the emotion of the lyrics. The song’s message tells the story of a relationship struggling to continue. The lyrics are written in such a way that most people would be able to relate with the mentioning of past good times while now the predominant emotion is sadness. Because the story the lyrics tell is so universal, it makes sense the musicality of the song takes a more standard approach. Like many other songs off this album, the story told feels personal and relatable. What is interesting to me is how many of the songs focus on stories of sadness. I think it is very telling when you look at the album as a whole. Some listeners might appreciate having songs that they can relate to, that they can process their emotions and situations to while others might wish for more of an escape.
Overall, the song is one of quality with beautiful but not overpowering instrumentation that allows for the clarity of Simon’s vocals and the lyrics to come through. It is not one of serious musical genius but that it is okay. It fits for the purpose of the song. One criticism I do have, however, is that it is too long. I don’t really understand the one minute guitar solo at the end. It isn’t bad but it does not really add any value either. Maybe the guitar solo isn’t a problem but then the rest of the song should have ended earlier, in my opinion.