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.
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.
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.
Duran Duran: The Duran Duran Album For People Who HATE Duran Duran
- Is There Anyone Out There?
- Last Chance On The Stairway
- Secret Oktober
- American Science
- Winter Marches On
- My Antarctica
- Breath After Breath
- Michael, You’ve Got A Lot To Answer For
- Boxful O’Honey
- She’s Too Much
- Still Breathing
- Leave A Light On
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.
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