Deepcut Thinkpiece: The Duran Duran Album…For People Who HATE Duran Duran [part 5]

[…continued from last post]

Track 15:
Winter Marches On

In an eleventh hour shakeup, I am adding three more songs to the collection. Tim commented a few days ago about the suitability of the “Notorious” album cut/title single B-side “Winter Marches On” and at the onset of the process, I thought that I would be taking one track form each album, but it did not work out that way. Some had two cuts, others were passed up entirely. “Winter Marches On” was a somber waltz with choral vocals; an old OMD gambit used just this once for Duran Duran. The stillness of the song emphasized the chilly beauty of the arrangement, so that ultimately, took it into the purview of this collection.

Track 16:
Still Breathing

Then, SimonH offered the notion of “What Happens Tomorrow” from the neglected “Astronaut” as possible fodder for this list. I gave it another listen, but the smarminess of LeBon’s delivery on the verses rubbed me the wrong way. Then the chorus went into full lighter-waving mode. I have shied away from such breast-beating when compiling this collection of songs. I sampled the other “Astronaut” tracks, but in most cases, either the vibe was overbearing, or LeBon’s vocals were not where I like them. Except for the closing dark ballad “Still Breathing.” The arrangement was bitter but suffused with a quietude that was appealing more on second playback.

Track 17:
Serious

Finally, I just had to put “Serious” in the running order, even though it was a single. Breaking my own rule; yes! Given that it didn’t get much airplay, it still feels more like a deep cut and more importantly, the breezy, carefree vibe as exemplified by Warren Cuccorullo’s sustained guitar riffs meant that this song was one of the few Duran Duran singles that was not concerned with being a dance track. It was a gorgeous summer zephyr of a tune and thus right on target for this collection.


Here is the final running order…

Duran Duran: The Duran Duran Album For People Who HATE Duran Duran

  1. Is There Anyone Out There?
  2. Khanada
  3. Last Chance On The Stairway
  4. Secret Oktober
  5. American Science
  6. Winter Marches On
  7. Palomino
  8. Land
  9. Serious
  10. My Antarctica
  11. Breath After Breath
  12. Michael, You’ve Got A Lot To Answer For
  13. Boxful O’Honey
  14. She’s Too Much
  15. Still Breathing
  16. Leave A Light On
  17. Mediterranea

I’ve been listening to these songs for over a week now and the vibe holds together fairly well even in the face of some radically different production styles. I’m an often critical listener of Simon LeBon. What all of these performances have in common is that he’s not straining or reaching beyond his vocal grasp. These songs don’t care about being played in a club. Nor do they care if they fit into whatever Top 40 format is currently holding sway. These songs are not ashamed to be as sensitive as they want to be. Even the oldest of these showed that the band’s facility for crafting a beautiful melody has always been there; even when they had yet to acquire the seasoning and maturity to bring some substance to the work. Later in their career, this was not an issue.

When they aren’t overly concerned with maintaining their grasp on their “relevance” [a hint guys: it’s hiding decades in the past] they show a talent for songwriting; which is another discipline entirely to making hits. This band are doing themselves a disservice when they are trying for hits. This collection serves to remind us that the members of Duran Duran are fallible, human beings trying to make their way through the world like any of us. If they can reach for making something of beauty to leave behind, then we’ll be able to judge them as having been a success on the terms that actually matter.

– 30 –

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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7 Responses to Deepcut Thinkpiece: The Duran Duran Album…For People Who HATE Duran Duran [part 5]

  1. Mr. Ware says:

    A very enjoyable week spent with your thoughts as well as all the equally interesting comments. This is a fine collection and yes, even I agree (gasp) that the two RCM tracks make perfect sense in the context of this set.

    Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      Mr. Ware – I thought that those two RCM tracks always distinguished themselves from the very beginning. They were destined for bigger and better things than DD’s most hated [though not by me!] album.

      Like

  2. Echorich says:

    I’m taking this playlist on my trip to NYC next week. It has also spurred my interest in applying it other bands with not such strong reputations. I do hope this becomes an occasional series Monk!

    Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      Echorich – I think the circumstances that surrounded DD that led to this thought, which I’ve been cultivating for over a decade… in my mind, is rather unique. Only two other bands come to mind for a similar treatment.

      I’ve often thought of compiling “The WORST Of David Bowie.” 12-15 songs that would act as a burned bridge to potential fandom for anyone unlucky enough to encounter them ahead of the artist’s more typical, pacesetting work. Songs that were so bad that they would forever color one’s thoughts on Bowie, even after hearing all of the good stuff.

      Then there’s probably a CDs worth of Led Zeppelin that I could cull from the band’s oeuvre that I might actually enjoy listening to, but I would be approaching that vector from a point of antipathy. Very different from being a patient, but discerning, DD fan. Nevertheless, my wife likes Led Zeppelin. And we have five albums in house: “Led Zeppelin,” “Led Zeppelin III,” “IV,” “Physical Graffiti,” and “Presence.” I will tell you right now that I have some time for “Physical Graffiti.” There’s some good songs on that one. And I have good memories of “In Through The Out Door” but have waited for a really cheap copy of that one for ages now to re-listen. Like DD have the crass rock disco image to surmount, Zeppelin also have the Heavy Metal® cross to bear. And both bands were equally sexist. But while I might be able to shave some Zeppelin tunes from the pack that I like, would the remaining material have the components to gel in the same way that this DD playlist has? I’ll bet not.

      Like

      • Tim says:

        Recent comments that I read about Erasure makes me think a similar series would work, maybe not so much ”for people who HATE Erasure” more like “the Erasure playlist that we are all able to agree on.”

        Like

      • Mr. Ware says:

        I always have time for Zep’s “Dancing Days”. A great song, and all the more interesting for the cover versions from bands like Let’s Active and Crowded House.

        Like

        • postpunkmonk says:

          Mr. Ware – I know Plant was a big Let’s Active fan. There are some parts of “Big Plans For Everybody” that remind me of music that I think I heard from “In Through The Out Door” but it’s been so long I can’t remember specifics.

          Like

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