Monday, 23 January 2012

What is it about Duran?

I've tried to come up with in my own head just what it is about the sound of Duran Duran that makes me be so enamored of them. Their looks and my teenage years of staring at them on my bedroom walls, in videos beside the fact, what exactly is it about them that makes me so completely agog of their music? They are my favorite band, hands down, without a doubt in my mind. I love their music. It's uplifting, it's melancholy, it's comforting, it's amusing, it's fun, it's perfection. Pure and simple. But why? Why do I think it's perfection? I love their music...each song has it's own charm.

Having said that, that is not to say that there aren't songs that I don't bypass or roll my eyes at. There are a few...I wanna 'Take you Higher' for just annoys me, but really I have no real reason as to why - I guess I just feel no real attachment to it. I love the song Ball of Confusion the way Love and Rockets sing it...but not so much the way Duran sing it. Is that even possible? It wasn't until recently that I had any affinity with the songs 'White Lines' and 'View to a Kill'...or 'Notorious' for that matter. I mean yes, I liked them well enough but they were take it or leave it songs for me. Simon always seemingly messed up 'View To a Kill' more oft than not in the past, and it seems to be around the same range as the line from 'Wild Boys' ("Wild boys always...shine") and sometimes I just can't bare it. BUT, after hearing Simon Le Bon sing both songs ('Wild Boys' and 'View') in October flawlessly...I have a new affinity for them both. I think that those notes are at the top part of his range, and whatever new vocal techniques he is mastering now since his throat issues back late last spring, have made him a better singer in the long run. Simon's voice is extraordinary and has the way of delivering more than just a's a story...a journey. 

I don't find (and maybe that's what I like about it) that Duran is a guitar riffy driven band. Yes, they utilize their guitar players (Andy Taylor, Warren Cuccurullo, and now Dom Brown), but unlike a group (for example: Van Halen) it's not all about the guitar. It never has been. It's not that their guitar players have not been able to pull some stuff off like that, it's just that...that's not the way Duran works. They're funkier than that, and rather than sound like every other band out there...they took a slightly different tact and approach. Each guitar player for Duran has contributed and have added their own personal sound to enhance Duran's music. When a guitar riff, hook or lick is called for absolutely it will be utilized but it's not over utilized.

Andy Taylor once said something along the lines of: 'Finding a drummer who can actually keep time is incredible'. He was speaking, of course, of Roger Taylor. I have always liked Roger. He's always carried himself as a kind, gentle soul who only wants to drum. I love the fact that he decided to come back on his own terms, of his own volition and play. I am thankful he was able to regain his sanity after being pushed to the brink in the 80's. He truly is a brilliant drummer. Yes, Duran has had other drummers in the past...but the bassist...there is only one person that has been able to fit the bill.

Then there's the synth, ahhh Nick Rhodes. It's my understanding Nick is self taught. Speaking from the perspective of someone who has had 12 years of classical piano lessons...his technique is flawless. His natural ability to produce the music he does is staggering, bordering on prodigy in my opinion. He's never been afraid to experiment with sounds or textures within the music. And that is yet another reason of what makes him and Duran's music brilliant. His innate comprehension of the flow and sound of the music, his musical ear is impeccable. 

By now, everyone knows my love of the well as Duran's bass player the incomparable John Taylor. I think what I love most about John's bass playing is that while a lot of other people's bass playing just is just some sort of rhythmic enhancement or percussive tool to enhance the bottom part of the song/rhythm section. His lines are actually like little mini songs underneath the main theme of the song. Duran's music is always distinguishable and that is one of the main reasons why. I have read many say that John tends to "over complicate" the bass line more than it needs be. But I have to disagree, if you can do it...why wouldn't you? It obviously enhances the songs in some sort of manner otherwise he wouldn't be half the bassist he is, and Duran Duran wouldn't still be at it 30 years later. 

I guess I don't have a specific only one reason as to what attracts me to Duran's music. They're 5 parts of the same whole that each lends them selves to said perfection and really, in the long run...isn't that all that matters? The fact that they're devastatingly handsome (all each in their own ways) wasn't even brought into play. I must be growing up -- wait, isn't that one of the signs of the impending Apocalypse?  

One Last Glimpse,


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