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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Holidays from Simon & NIck of Duran Duran

Holiday Greeting from Roger Taylor

Sunday, December 12, 2010

In John Taylor's opinion. . .

Although I am inclined towards Nick Rhodes as my Duran Duran favorite, John Taylor's words in his posts on http://www.duranduran.com/ are so sweet and sentimental.  I am simply drawn to his prose.

In John's December 9th post, he describes the creation of Track 1 of the new album - "All You Need Is Now." 

On an emotional level, John compares this song to "Ordinary World."  It seems odd that he would match "All You Need Is Now" to a sentimental song and album I myself considered when listening to the release.  Although I did not think of "Ordinary World" in my critique, The Wedding Album greatly influenced my thoughts of "All You Need Is Now."  I can see where John's nostalgia (as he phrases) comes from.

On an upbeat, modern level, John compares this song to "Notorious."  I think I would agree on this.  Notorious is with funk and edge.  Nick's synthesizer on "All You Need Is Now" definitely has a similar punch.

John is sentimental through the lyrics - "Simon's words tell us to stay very much in the moment, and to remember when we had first said that."

I am sentimental in John Taylor's words - "The verses are. . .not easy listening, Simon's vocals distorted. . .But the chorus. . .it's like leaping off a mountain into a pool of love."  Words so true, so thoughtful, so touching to the heart.

John Taylor's opinion with impact.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

My entirely biased critique of "All You Need Is Now"

The electronic sound on its own is with edge I would not necessarily match with Duran Duran.  I dare to imagine the electronic solo being a cross between Roger Taylor's d.j. style and Nick Rhodes's classic synth style.

Simon Le Bon's lyrics in the verse section are almost "in your face" intense with the electronic edge in the background.

The chorus section is addicting.  Simon's lyrics and voice and Nick's synthesizer blend beautifully in a sweetly musical way.  Roger's drums keep a funky beat.  I could not discern John Taylor's bass.  He has the best job in the world, though.  So I am sure his guitar rocked too.

If you listen closely, you can hear faint voices talking in the last few seconds of the song.  This ending reminds me greatly of a similar style used in "Sin of the City" (The Wedding Album).  I love The Wedding Album and do like "Sin of the City."

I like "All You Need Is Now."  This single in no way reminds me of Rio.  However!  I love the edge mixed with classic '80s vocals.  Duran Duran is not proving their status to a new generation - i.e. Red Carpet Massacre.  Duran Duran is simply updating their sound without losing sight of their core passion.

My entirely biased critique, then, is. . .I give an A to "All You Need Is Now" and look forward with excited anticipation to the full album.  Rock it, guys.

 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Early release!

DuranDuranMusic just announced the band's early release of the new single, "All You Need Is Now."  The original release was set for December 14.  Due to overwhelming demand by fans, the new release is set for December 8. . .as in tomorrow!  The single will be found on iTunes.  Yea to Duran Duran for the kind decision.

Monday, December 6, 2010

According to John Taylor. . .

I could not help but smile when I read the enthusiasm in his post.  According to John Taylor (Duran Duran). . .

He is most excited for All You Need Is Now.

The fan comparison of All You Need Is Now to Rio is okay with him..."Perhaps we should sticker it 'if you like Rio,' you'll love All You Need Is Now" (In the two-second clip I heard of the song, "All You Need Is Now," hints of the Rio album could be sensed.  John is most accurate in saying that Rio was a pretty good album.)

His thrill is child-like in innocence..."I HAVE THE BEST JOB IN THE WORLD!"

I will enjoy listening as much as you enjoyed recording, John.

*See John Taylor's A Blog From JT on http://www.duranduran.com/ under Wrting.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Duran Duran Humor Archives

I do believe humor is a reflex for Duran Duran. . .
December 27, 2008 -

Simon Le Bon's favorite quotes. . .and responses -

Quote : "I've turned on the seatbelt sign 'cause we've just hit some bumpy air."
Simon : Bumpy Fucking Air???

Quote : "Enjoy"
Simon : Enjoy what?

Quote : "Party's over"
Simon : Because it's just so sad

Quote : "Have a good one"
Simon : A good what, exactly?

Quote : "Would you?"
Simon : No, would you actually?  Would you mind finishing your sentence please?

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Reflex

As I sip on my coffee, blogging, and listening to Duran Duran's remake of "The Reflex," I cannot help but comment on Roger Taylor's blog post. 

The band cancelled their South African dates in the upcoming week for reasons "out of their control."  I, as I imagine the band does as well, feel terrible for those who purchased tickets to the concerts.  Duran Duran tickets are a gem to all fans - a gem found months in advance.  So to those lucky enough to get the best seat or any seat in the house, a cancellation is devastating.  The building energy, excitement, anticipation. . .So sorry.

I suppose, though, that Duran Duran's take on hurtful news comes with a reflex bit of humor.  Case in point - Roger Taylor.  Apparently, London is in a deep freeze.  Or as he calls it, "London Snowbound Hell."  Roger further commented on the mulled wine most drink to keep warm - "Sangria in disguise."  He seems to gravitate towards the "extreme" British climate that shows signs of the changing seasons.  Welcome to my full agreement being in Chicago, where even meteorologists catch themselves in surprise with 70-degree whether in November and snow in late April.

For more of a reflex, see Roger Taylor at http://www.duranduran.com/wordpress/?p=17449

(The band's blog posts are under the Writing tab on their main website.)

Puppy Love Blog

I am most excited to announce my new blog, Puppy Love - http://lovealwayschessie.blogspot.com/

The success of my niche music blog inspired me to create a niche blog on my unconditional love for puppies.  Puppy Love encompasses all things dog - The Daily Puppy features a new breed every day.  Every day I post a history of the breed with link (American Kennel Club or Dog Breed Info).  Further posts feature available adoptions on the day's breed (Petfinder or PAWS Chicago) and/or YouTube videos/links on the day's breed and/or Amazon product promotions.  Puppy Love Links are all about dogs as well.  

I am in love with Puppy Love.  If you love Set List, I do encourage you to explore my new niche blog.  Puppy Love needs your support. 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

All You Need Is Now

This weekend got off to a great start - I saw Duran Duran on NBC's Today.  The reporter that interviewed Simon, Nick, and Roger reflected with them on their past and brought them back to present with a hint of their newest album.  And with a hint of the song in the album's name, "All You Need Is Now."

Duran Duran in announcements spoke of this album reaching back to their roots, where they began, with Rio.  The two-second clip I was able to hear of the song, "All You Need Is Now," is sweet and most definitely reminiscent of the band's early beginnings. 

I know nothing about the album or the songs.  I must with all other fans wait for the bonus release of the digital format of the album on iTunes in December and the full release of the album in February.  Yet, if the two-second clip is indicative of the full album. . .I am in love more so with Duran Duran.  They are back in their element.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Simply Duran Duran : A Tribute

Leading band in the MTV-driven "Second British Invasion" of the U.S.

14 singles in the Top 10 of the UK Singles Chart

21 singles in the Billboard Hot 100

100 million+ records sold

Innovators with video technology for live shows

"Planet Earth" at #12 on the UK's Top Twenty

"Girls On Film" at #5 on the UK's Top Twenty

Duran Duran, 1981, #3 on the UK's Top Twenty

Favorite band for Diana, Princess of Wales

"The Fab Five" (in tribute to The Beatles - "The Fab Four")

Rio, 1983, #6 on the U.S. Top Twenty

"The band was a natural for music television" - Rolling Stone magazine

"Is There Something I Should Know?" 1983, #1 in the UK (a rarity) and #4 in the U.S.

". . .when we came back (to the United States), it was mayhem.  It was Beatlesmania" - Nick Rhodes

5 U.S. Top Twenty hits from 3 different albums in one year

"The Reflex" first #1 in the U.S. and final #1 in the UK

Sing Blue Silver documentary

Arena concert film

"The Wild Boys," 1984, #2 in the UK and U.S.

2 Grammy Awards for Long- and Short-Form music videos

"Save a Prayer," 1985, #16 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100

"A View to a Kill," only Bond theme to reach #1 in U.S. Charts and #2 on UK Charts

"Ordinary World" leaked long before planned release...listener demand...#3 in U.S.  ...  #6 in UK  ...  Ivor Novello Award for song writing

The Wedding Album, 1993, surprise critical and commercial success - #4 in the UK and #7 in the U.S. ("John Taylor had been considering leaving the band but changed his mind")

"Electric Barbarella" first single ever to be sold online

Lifetime Achievement Award (2003 MTV Video Music Awards)

Outstanding Contribution Award (2004 BRIT Awards)

Super Bowl XXXVIII pre-game - "The Wild Boys" broadcast to millions

Duran Duran : Live from London

Astronaut, 2004, #3 in the UK and #17 in the U.S.

"Reach Up for the Sunrise," #1 on the Billboard U.S. Dance Chart and #5 on UK Singles Chart (highest position since "A View to a Kill" in 1985)

Performances at the Nobel Prize Awards and Winter Olympics (Turan, Italy) in 2006

Ethel Barrymore Theater on Broadway for the Red Carpet Massacre 2007 tour

Performances at the Louvre for fundraising in 2008

For Duran Duran's 13th album -
"return to their roots"
"will have the drive and freshness of the first few albums, quintessentially hip, without sacrificing any of the hard-earned personality of the musicians" - John Taylor

(Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duran_Duran)

Classic Line-Up -
Simon Le Bon...Nick Rhodes...Andy Taylor...John Taylor...Roger Taylor

My inspiration, my positive influence, my hope, my long-time favorite - simply Duran Duran.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Rockin' Movies

Question - Have you ever been entirely consumed in a movie just for its soundtrack?  Have you ever left a movie theater or turned off the dvd player knowing you must find that irresistable song or cd?  My answer - Yes.  Welcome to my world.

I admit that I have a passion for music.  My taste in music varies greatly (no kidding).  My taste in music from movies is even more eclectic. . .

The Breakfast Club (1985).

Oh my God.  Simple Minds and "Don't You Forget About Me" is a personal anthem.  If I could return to the 1980s, this song would play every day.  Simple Minds defined an era in teenage years that will never be matched by today's generation.  While there is nothing technically different between the '80s and today - awkward social events, defined layers in the student body, and so forth - the feeling is distinct.  The Breakfast Club set the tone for the high school experience then and now.  Every layer of the student body was in detention that fateful weekend.  Simple Minds simply followed their story - each member of various cliques realizing by the end of the day that there is more to them than their immediate surfaces.  The Breakfast Club has influenced greatly pop culture since the 1980s (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Breakfast_Club).  "Don't You Forget About Me" was ranked #1 worldwide, brought Simple Minds into U.S. view, and they have sold 40 million+ albums since 1979 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simple_Minds). . .Although I would never wish to turn back the years to my days in high school, "Don't You Forget About Me" would be my only inspiration to at least go to a reunion.

Beverly Hills Cop I, II, III (1984, 1987, 1994).

What is it about the 1980s?  Beverly Hills Cop I & II are, in my opinion, the ultimate classic in Eddie Murphy films.  And I guess I'm not alone in this opinion.  Beverly Hills Cop was nominated for an Academy Award (Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen - Danilo Bach and Daniel Petrie, Jr.), BAFTA Award (Best Score - Harold Faltermeyer), and 2 Golden Globes (Best Motion Picture Musical/Comedy and Best Actor Musical/Comedy - Eddie Murphy).  Beverly Hills Cop II was nominated for an Academy Award (Best Music, Original Song - Harold Faltermeyer, Keith Forsey, Bob Seger) and a Golden Globe (Best Music, Original Song - Harold Faltermeyer, Keith Forsey, Bob Seger).  (Beverly Hills Cop III did not go far positively with critics.) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beverly_Hills_Cop_(film_series)  The mix of comedy, phenomenal cast and team, and recognition has gone a long way for the trio film - earning $753,534,503 since original release (Id.).  Music was a key factor to the success of Beverly Hills Cop - the "Axel F" theme as prime example.  The second film, however, features my favorite in 1980s movie songs - "Shakedown" on the album, A Tribute to Bob Seger.  This song is fast, fun, and a tongue-twister if you don't keep up.  I spent my very early years in Southern California.  If I were to return in the '80s, I imagine "Shakedown" setting the image and Eddie Murphy providing comic relief.

Ghostbusters II (1989).

OMG, I swear this is the last '80s film.  The cast and ghosts are back again with the addition of little Oscar.  And with any sequel comes climactic theme songs.  Although the movie received mixed reviews, Bobby Brown's "On Our Own" was hugely successful - #1 on the U.S. Billboard R&B Chart, #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 Pop Chart, and #4 on the UK Singles Chart (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_Our_Own_(Bobby_Brown_song).  I adore both the movie and the song.  Indeed, the 1980s were good times.

A Beautiful Mind (2001).

Complete change of pace with this movie that, finally, came out nowhere near the 190s.  The story of John Nash in A Beautiful Mind is engrained in American stone.  Just look at the phenomenally awe-inspiring cast - Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Ed Harris, Christopher Plummer, Paul Bettany.  Look at the incredible team - Ron Howard (director), Akiva Goldsman (writer).  Look at the recognition - Academy Award for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress; Academy Award nominations for Best Leading Actor, Best Editing, Best Makeup, and Best Score (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Beautiful_Mind_(film).  Consider John Forbes Nash, Jr. - Nobel Laureate in Economics, schizophrenic auditory hallucinations (the film's visual hallucinations were false), his refusal to take drugs ("side effects would have made his gentle re-entry into the world of mathematics a near impossibility - Sylvia Nasar, author of A Beautifil Mind).  The story is real.  Mental illnesses are real.  I am not schizophrenic, but I can very personally relate.  And the soundtrack is as haunting, sorrowful, yet inspiring and hopeful as the characters and real life figures themselves.  James Horner, the composer, concludes musically the story of John Nash.

Blue Streak (1999).

Let's lighten things up.  In my opinion, Martin Lawrence is at his best in this film.  As is the soundtrack, namely the song "Criminal Mind."  Far cry from the others I would say.  In all honesty, I don't like this hip-hop genre of music.  However, "Criminal Mind" has a groove that doesn't shove rap down one's throat.  It is simply a fun, catchy song that I enjoy.

In retrospect, my taste for movie soundtracks must sound insane as the genres bounce from wall to wall.  Ironically, my taste in movies is quite secure - comedy and drama.  So what can we conclude from these words?  I definitely have a passion for music in all ways - from songs heard on the radio to songs discovered on iTunes to songs heard in random clips on television commercials and in favorite movies.  ...  Hollywood says, "Take One.  Play it!" 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Duran Duran Album Release

Duran Duran Press Release - November 11, 2010

Duran Duran's 13th studio album - All You Need Is Now - will be released in digital format to iTunes on December 21st.  This release will feature 9 tracks.  An expanded 12-track will be released in cd format in February 2011.  The first selection - "All You Need Is Now" - will be available on iTunes on December 14.

Duran Duran's global tour to promote the album is set for Spring 2011.

*Full view of Duran Duran's press release can be found on Duran Duran Message Board at  http://duranduranboard.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=aboutduranduran&action=display&thread=25026&page=1#ixzz150NZfnMY.

Catchy Jingles

Have you ever been glued to the television set in the hopes of seeing a particular commercial that plays a catchy jingle?  Have you become so addicted to that jingle that you hit the Internet and iTunes to find the name and musician?  If you answered yes to both, then you truly are a music enthusiast.

Some years ago, Mitsubishi presented its newest car model (the Eclipse) to the world.  However, what the Japanese company was not counting on with the automobile success it may have gained was the trick advertisers cleverly came up with.  Emphasis on music.  For months, viewers became listeners.  "Days Go By," as performed by Dirty Vegas on the album Dirty Vegas, became an overnight radio smash in 2002.  This jingle - err, song - has a nightclub beat without being on the oppressive house side.  At the time of its original release in 2001, "Days Go By" was an immediate addiction to many.  U.K.-based Dirty Vegas achieved phenomenal success - #14 in the U.S., #16 in the UK, Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording, and thanks to Mitsubishi, incredible exposure beyond radiowaves (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Days_Go_By). 

Kia Motors recently presented to the world two new car models - Soul  and Sorento.  However, Kia inadvertently presented two songs that have left much wonder to listeners.  Both are cleverly presented and more than catchy.

"Fort Knox," by Goldfish and featured on the album Perceptions of Pacha, is best known through animated hamsters driving the Kia Soul with a groove.  And with a groove rightly so.  In my eyes, "Fort Knox" has a tough, static beat with enormous amounts of dance rock and the sense of a country western saloon at the very beginning.  Alas, however, the South African-based Goldfish pride their songs on electronic, dance, jazz, and African music (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goldfish_(band) ).  Our visions are clearly different, but my God this song is awesome!  Every time I hear this song, I am lost in a groove that I don't want to get out of...much like the hamsters.  Goldfish has accomplished much in their career - 8 nominations for Best Duo/Group and Album of the Year and winning Best Producer and Best Dance Album (2009 South African Music Awards); 1 nomination for Best Alternative (2008 MTV African Music Awards) (Id.).

"How You Like Me Now?" by The Heavy and featured on the album The Heavy, is best known through animated stuffed dolls driving the Kia Sorento with overly enthusiastic grooving imaginations.  This song is just too much fun to listen to.  I imagine "How You Like Me Now?" being reminiscent of James Brown, had he created and performed well into the 21st Century - groove, funk, and fun.  I'm not too far off with my image.  The Heavy utilizes neo soul guitar, rock crunchy guitar, and funky horns, amongst many other blended sounds (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Heavy_(band) ).  "How You Like Me Now?" has gained great public exposure - Kia and the 2010 Super Bowl.

Readers may think that I watch too much television to find these songs (which by the way, I did download from iTunes).  I find myself instead to be passionate, finding great and unique tunes anywhere.

So rev up your engines and play it!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Something about guitars

There is just something about guitars...according to those below.  On Kenny Wayne Shepherd's website, three links to anything guitar are listed under the Links Tab.  His music is heavily influenced by the guitar.  So I thought I would show a more artistic interest in guitars as eloquently described by Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran.  Something about guitars. . .

Nick Rhodes Rock Couture Guitar

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Kenny Wayne Shepherd

Kenny Wayne Shepherd's music style is labeled in so many different ways - blues, rock, pop.  The music video for "Blue On Black" below can be found under Media on his website http://www.kennywayneshepherd.net/.  This site leans towards blues style.  Check it out!

Kenny Wayne Shepherd "Blue on Black" Live At Guitar Center's King of the...

. . .of Blues

On the other hand, consider the blues.  Kenny Wayne Shepherd's music is classified as rock.  His guitar work, however, claims otherwise.  Kenny Wayne Shepherd's deep vocals, story-like lyrics, and intense electric guitar notes against a background reminiscent of the Deep South is anything but rock as music enthusiasts know it. . .it is the blues.

Rightly so - "Kenny Wayne Shepherd (born in Shreveport, Louisiana) is an American blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter. . .In 1997, Guitar World ranked Shepherd #3 after B.B. King and Eric Clapton on their list of popular blues artists."  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenny_Wayne_Shepherd)

I have two favorite songs: "Was" and "Blue On Black."

Off of the album Live On, "Was" starts with a distant echo and simple vocals with instrumentals. . .until the drums make their presence known.  At this point, the song takes off.  The lyrics are unique.  The guitar and drums provide a rock-like beat.  The standout instrument not found in rock music is what I believe is almost an electrified banjo, the essential sound to "Was" being blues-like.  This song provides a stop and start motion, allowing individual spotlight on all elements - vocals, guitar, drums, and suspected banjo.  Kenny Wayne Shepherd is highly creative in this regard.  "Was" may have a rock beat and label, but in fact is blues-inspired with its lyrics, unusual instruments, and Southern tone.

Off of the album Trouble Is... (longest running on the Billboard Blues Charts) (Id.), "Blue On Black" is deep and sexy in its lyrics and instrumental, especially the guitar work.  The song is labeled Pop on iTunes, but I personally don't see this.  The beat is slow and defined.  The tone is dark, deep, and mysterious.  The lyrics catch on to the listener easily.  The mood set by "Blue On Black" is very much blues-like. 

Is Kenny Wayne Shepherd's style within the House of Blues?  Rock?  Dare say Pop?  No matter what, always remember to play it!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

House. . .

Now that I have entirely oversaturated the rock genre, how about a complete change of musical pace with house, or dance, music.

The song, "Days Go By," was made a smash hit on the radio waves when released, ironically, in advertising for Mitsubishi a few years ago.  This song, as performed by Dirty Vegas, has a distinct night club beat and sound - normally a style I personally shy away from.  House, or dance, music is loud, intense, and in my opinion without originality - no lyrics, just beat.  However, as of late, I find surprise interest in myself.

During an iTunes search for the song, "Shakedown," as performed in Beverly Hills Cop II (Tribute to Bob Seger album), I came across an incredible number of song and album titles named Shakedown.  Overwhelmed, I reviewed all - I was not sure who or what to look for to begin with.  I played every Shakedown title (including Steve Laury's "Shakedown" - see And All That Jazz post) and eventually found the "Shakedown" song and artist I was thinking of.  Along the way, however, I found the song "Nothing But a Heartache" on the album Shakedown.  Still in search mode, I listened to the 30-second window.

"Nothing But a Heartache," as performed by The Freemasons, is a dance-labeled song.  Shockingly, I liked what I heard so much that I purchased it...Oh my God, I like house music!  So what makes this song special and worth buying?  It is fun and fast.  It has a melodic beat.  It features more than just scratching on a turntable, including a brass section.  It is not oppressively intense.  "Nothing But a Heartache" is a song with attraction, house-style with substance.

My love for Duran Duran recently zeroed in on individual side projects created by various members.  Roger Taylor is a professional d.j. when not performing or recording.  His style is dance, house.  I love the drums and I adore Roger Taylor, so I took a chance and listened to his work online, through his official Facebook page.  The first link under his Facebook Info tab provides a biography and background of Roger's work as a d.j.  The second link provides an audio sample of his work, called "Ready For This."  When I first visited this site, I myself thought, "No!  I'm not ready for this!"  I truly felt like I had just stepped into a loud, busy nightclub.  Yet with repeated visits and more due chances, I found myself in a house groove.  The words are repetitive, but the beat is powerful...Holy something I cannot say, I love house music!  And there are times when I can't get the beat out of my mind!  Roger Taylor has a way of bringing together random sounds into one coherent tone.  The man in unbelievable in his awe-inspiring talent as a drummer and as a career disc jockey.

I dedicate this blog entry to Roger Taylor.  Thank you for opening my eyes to a new world in music.  A once-dreaded notion of house has now become an intriguing fun house.  (Apologies for the pun.)  Play it Rog!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Always There

There are a select few who withstand all categories of time - classic, decade, contemporary.  These few are always there, always a must in my music collection.  The following are some of my always there favorites.

U2.

There truly is nothing to say here.  The Joshua Tree ("heroes to superstars" - Rolling Stone) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U2), Achtung Baby ("reinvention") (Id.), ten other successful albums, 22 Grammy Awards (more than any other band), and 150 million plus records sold (Id.).  Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in 2005.  A rank of 22 on Rolling Stone list of 100 Greatest Artists of All Time (Id.).  And never discount U2's cause for human rights around the globe.  My reflection on U2 in earlier posts is insignificant  in the overall picture.  U2 is, quite simply, timeless.  U2 is always there.

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers.

I am not sure how to follow U2 in words, but what I can say here is that Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers is all-American.  "Refugee" and "Runnin' Down a Dream" (both Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers Greatest Hits and the latter just Tom Petty) are just a few with positively influential lyrics and upbeat tone.  This influence landed Tom Petty into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002 (http://rockhall.com/inductees/tom-petty-and-the-heartbreakers).  I am not sure if any other all-American band can come close in such influence to Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers. . .

(Belated Happy Birthday to Tom Petty)

Paul Simon.

. . .On his own, Paul Simon could.  I am too far removed from Simon & Garfunkel, but Paul Simon as an individual musician stands out in all-American music much like Tom Petty.  Case in point: the album, Graceland, and namely the song, "You Can Call Me Al."  An addictive song for its time in 1986 with a goofy music video featuring the comical Chevy Chase and dead pan Paul Simon that left positive memories then and now.  This span of time makes Paul Simon timeless.  Paul Simon is always there.

Robert Palmer.

"Addicted to Love" and "I Didn't Mean to Turn You On" just to name a few.  And then there is The Power Station.  Although I am not entirely familiar with The Power Station, I maintain the belief that Robert Palmer was incredible and had more to offer to the music world if not for his tragic death in 2003.  I honored him in earlier blog posts and honor him now.

I honor all of the musicians named here and so many more in this rock genre and its various subgenres.  Rock artists in all styles truly know how to play it.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Rockin' Classics

There are timeless classics in all genres of music.  In rock, a music giant, classics abound, but only a few throughout the decades remain timeless.  The following are my favorite rock classics.

The Rolling Stones.

I would be sorely remiss if The Rolling Stones did not make this list.  After all, they were considered the "World's Greatest Rock & Roll Band" in the same decade they were formed in (www.vh1.com/artists/az/rolling_stones/bio).  They were the most popular band of their generation and continue to influence future generations (Id.).  One of the best rock songs by this ageless band is "Rock and a Hard Place" (Jump Back - The Best of The Rolling Stones '71-'93).  The beat is standard rock style.  The electric & bass guitars and drums provide fun instrumentals.  The lyrics are catchy.  Nothing really stands out (VH1.com admitted that The Rolling Stones did not always have "blockbuster" hits) (Id.).  Yet when this song was originally released in 1989, rock as a music genre was experimenting with a variety of styles, all finding their definitive places in a long line.  Therefore, every aspect of "Rock and a Hard Place" stood out and appealed to many.  These many passed their interest down to the next generation, who will pass down the same interest to the next generation, and so on.  The Rolling Stones, then, is a classic.

Rush.

Rush is an acquired taste upon realized difference from vocal similarity to Supertramp.  Rush's style is incredibly unique.  Such songs as "Tom Sawyer" cannot stay in the same beat and tone.  Next to the band's edge, this inability to stay focused in a traditional sense allows Rush to stand out.  Rush, then, is a classic.

Van Halen.

Oh yes.  A must, even according to veteran guitarist Andy Taylor (formerly of Duran Duran), whose clear interst is so stated in a documentary on the Live from London dvd.  One word to sum up Van Halen in my eyes - "Eruption" (The Best of Van Halen, Vol 1).  Eddie Van Halen's ability to move his fingers that fast and that precisely alone makes Van Halen an instant classic in my blog books.

Aerosmith.

An American ageless band.  After all, if The Rolling Stones claim title to "World's Greatest Rock & Roll Band," then it is only befitting that Aerosmith claims title on the other side of the Atlantic with "America's Greatest Rock & Roll Band," being the best-selling American rock band of all time (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aerosmith).  And like The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith has influenced future generations as well (Id.).  My all-time Aerosmith favorite is "Back In the Saddle."  The instrumental anticipation at the beginning of the song leads to classic Steven Tyler vocals that do not let down the listener.  This song likewise provides the definition of rock edge.  My mother's generation knows Aerosmith through "Dream On" and many others.  Two generations of fans do make Aerosmith a classic definitely.

The Eagles.

I chose this band to add to my list because like Aerosmith, The Eagles strike a chord in multiple generations.  My mother and I share an interest in one of the band's most well-known songs, "Life in the Fastlane" (Eagles Greatest Hits, Vol. 2).  I am the ultimate prude and yet I like this song and its most grown-up lyrics.  Indeed, to have this affect, The Eagles must be a classic.

This list is brief and does not touch on the many, many other timeless classics around the globe.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Rockin' 80s Hits

I am an '80s girl.  I am an '80s music geek.  There are many to name, so let's hit the play button.

The Police.

An '80s classic.  Honestly, I don't know where to begin.  How about the 1983 release of Synchronicity, reaching #1 in the United Kingdom and United States (selling eight million+ copies in the U.S. alone).  Or totaling over 50 million sales worldwide thus making them one of the highest-earning bands.  Or ranking 70 out of Rolling Stone magazine's 100 Greatest Artists of All Time (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Police).  I just don't know...but I will try.  I own three Police albums - The Best of, Every Breath You Take (The Classics), and Zenyatta Mondatta.  I have yet to find a song I don't like.  "Driven to Tears" is at the top.  As is "Walking On the Moon."  "Roxanne" is a must.  "Message in a Bottle" is always popular.  "Don't Stand So Close to Me" is a time honored Police classic...I don't even know where to end!  I, then, love The Police.

Simple Minds.

Without The Breakfast Club, there would be no "Don't You Forget About Me."  Without my giddy love for this song, I would not own The Best of Simple Minds.  Without this cd, I would not equally like "Alive and Kicking" and "Waterfront."  Without the '80s, there would be no Simple Minds.   

Genesis.

Under the wing of two separate and equally talented front men, Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins, I admit I prefer Phil Collins.  (I do like "Red Rain,"though!)  "Land of Confusion" (Genesis: Platinum Collection) is powerful and inspirational in lyrics.  "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight" (Genesis: Platinum Collection) is just intense, in sound, vocals, guitar, and drums.  Genesis under both wings clearly made its mark on the 1980s.

Phil Collins.

As did the drums in "In the Air Tonight" (Face Value).  The lyrics are powerful and anxiously lead up to thee most incredible drum solo that will never be matched.  Even veteran drummer Roger Taylor, of Duran Duran, was impressed when expressing clear interest during a documentary about the making of Rio.  One phenomenal drummer to another is quite an honor.  As loud as I blast my iPod when "In the Air Tonight" comes into play, I always wonder what the drums sound like live.  Then again, if Roger Taylor's drums are blaring alongside the others of Duran Duran, perhaps I don't want to know about this one.

Madonna.

I would be in strong error if I did not include this '80s female icon.  "She pushed the boundaries of lyrical content in mainstream popular music and imagery. . .Madonna's look and manner of dressing, her performance and her music videos started influencing young girls and women" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madonna_(entertainer) ).  "Vogue" and "Like a Virgin" (top of the charts worldwide and #1 album on Billboard 200 on release in 1984) (Id.), of course, are at the top of a long list that simply cannot be written here.  Madonna defined female independence and unique feminism with emphasis on sex.  She was an instant classic in the '80s and has remained at the top since.  Her "4 Minutes" will never count down.

Journey.

A personal favorite worth mentioning.  Known for such American classics as "Don't Stop Believin" (Escape) with a powerful guitar solo at the start and therefore setting the tone, my preference always is "Lights" (Journey: Greatest Hits) - a sweet reminisce about home.  America is indeed lucky to have this San Francisco, California home-based band with produced hits straight out of the 1980s.  When Journey split in the mid-1980s, fans did "wonder Who's Crying Now."

Wang Chung.

A must on my list of 1980s favorites for the sole reason that they are just too much fun!  "Everybody Have Fun Tonight" (Everybody Wang Chung - Wang Chung's Greatest Hits) defined a decade of glam and fun.  I love Wang Chung.

I love the 1980s.  I love all classics, listed here and far beyond, with strong ties to "my decade."  The year 1983 was a good one.  The entire decade was a phenomenal one.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Contemporaries

Contemporary musicians have found a place in my collection, alongside rock & jazz giants and decades past must-haves.

Depeche Mode is first on my contemporaries list.  Known early on for hits such as "Enjoy the Silence" and "Policy of Truth" (both Violator), Depeche Mode has yet to stray from their trademark electronic sound and tone.  Their recently released song, "Precious," reflects this trademark - deep vocals, defined use of the synthesizer, dark yet  hopeful lyrics.  Depeche Mode is one to be noticed.  And their 1990 album, Violator, helped get them noticed when it landed #7 in the Top 10 of Billboard 200 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Violator_(album) ).  Depeche Mode simply rocks.

Seal is an incredible singer and recording artist.  His lyrics are powerful, and at the right moment in such songs as "Bring It On" (Seal 1994) and "Crazy" (Seal: Best 1991-2004) a hit of musical intensity punches the listener, who will want more.

3 Doors Down is a surprise contemporary favorite.  Sorrowful lyrics in such songs as "When I'm Gone" (Away From the Sun) and "It's Not My Time," under the guise of rock sound and beat, provide interest and attraction.  The mix is unique and can only be pulled off in the contemporary era of music.  The band's name is likewise clever and one to be caught by a listener's eyes and ears.  As the story goes, when the three original members began performing at the start of their career, they were in need of a name.  During a trip to one city in Alabama, the three noticed a building with falling letters reading "Doors Down."  There were the three initial members.  So we have "3 Doors Down."  Indeed, clever and successful - highly top-rated songs, multi-platinum albums, self-titles at #1 on Billboard 200 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3_Doors_Down)...

3 Doors Down is one to catch a listener's attention.

Nickelback is the ultimate in sensitive and tough lyrics & sound.  Nickelback can be thoughtful and lyrically inspiring in such a song as "If Everyone Cared" (All the Right Reasons).  Nickelback can be elitist in such a song as "Rockstar" (All the Right Reasons).  Nickelback can be tough and intimidating in such a song as "Burn It to the Ground" (Dark Horse).  These back-and-forth emotions pulled off with ease make Nickelback a contemporary favorite.

Rock in any style has appeal to all listeners in this genre giant.  And this genre giant only gets better with time, past and present.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Music is a rush to the head

A sample of my family's musical rush to the head -

The Very Best of Chris Botti


Graceland

Very Best of Grateful Dead

All the Right Reasons



Helium article sample

A befitting article for a music blog. . .

Music is for everyone
By Lauren Hovis

Music has a history that dates back for centuries.  This history has consumed in some way every life that has appeared throughout.  Over the course of time, lives have been affected by music - through natural talent, through study, through critique, and through acute interest just by listening.  Every generation experiences its own style of music, that is passed on and evolves with time.  As I currently listen to my selection of iTunes, I reflect on personal interests in music and the interests that vary greatly within my own family.

My paternal grandmother (Grammy) is 85 years old.  She has witnessed American and global history.  She has defined opinions on every subject offered.  So, quite naturally, she has defined taste in music.  Grammy loves Hawaiian music.  We have family in Kauai, who she visits yearly.  When my father and aunt were little, they spent the better part of their childhood in Hawaii.  Grammy, therefore, became greatly aware of the Pacific style and has been exposed to this style for years.  She has many favorite Hawaiian artists, one of which I happen to like as well - HAPA.  This group is made up of two men, guitarist and singer.  Surely enough, every time I play the cd, I am taken on an escape to tropical paradise.  Living in Illinois, the cost of travel is difficult.  However, through HAPA and Grammy's acute interest, I am in my mind on the white sandy beaches often.  Grammy's defined taste is unique as Hawaiian music is so specific and regional.  Yet, at age 85, she loves music.  Music is for her.

My maternal grandmother (Grandma) is 81 years old.  She too has witnessed American and global history.  She too has defined opinions on every subject offered.  So, therefore, she has defined taste in music.  Grandma is far from Grammy.  Grandma loves classical music.  She adores the male singing group, El Divo.  Most often when I visit her, they are playing in the background beautifully.  She recently came into the discovery of jazz trumpeter, Chris Botti.  However, Grandma has always adored Simon & Garfunkel.  Surprisingly, her interests have sparked intrigue in me, especially where regarding Chris Botti and Paul Simon.  Grandma's defined taste is somewhat unique as classical music (which she prefers the most) is not widely popular in American society, especially among the younger generations.  Yet, at age 81, she loves music.  Music is for her.

My father is 54 years old.  He follows a long line of music lovers.  His taste, however, is in jazz.  Dad will never budge from smooth jazz and classic jazz.  As I listen to the smooth jazz band, The Rippingtons, I am reminded of his sincere interest and exposure to all varieties of jazz.  At age 54, he loves music.  Music is for him.

My mother is 47 years old.  She too follows a long line of music lovers.  Her taste is a far cry from Grammy, Grandma, and Dad.  Mom lives for music, especially classic and modern rock.  Her interests within this genre are off the board, however - from The Grateful Dead to Nickelback to anywhere in between.  I live with my mom.  Weekends and car trips are sure to be loud with pumping music.  At age 47, she loves music.  Music is for her.

My cousin, Paula, is 19 years old.  She loves various artists in modern rock.  Paula lives for music literally.  She is an accomplished drummer and attends live concerts at least one to two times a year.  We visit each other often and always find room for music as a topic of interest.  At age 19, she loves music.  Music is for her.

My cousin, Michaela, is 17 years old.  She loves rap music.  Michaela's interest is unique to her and is a far cry from everyone in the family.  When we talk over the phone, rap is often playing in the background.  At age 17, she loves music.  Music is for her.

I am 27 years old.  I descend from a long lineage of music enthusiasts.  My interests cannot be described as they extend into so many different branches.  I love jazz the way my father does.  I adore Miles Davis, Chris Botti, The Rippingtons, and a host of smooth jazz artists too many to be named here.  I love rock the way my mother does.  I adore Duran Duran, anything 1980s, and pure classic rock from the 1970s on.  My parents' interests inspire my taste in many ways.  My interests have as of late taken me beyond just listening.  I created a personal blog whose posts are solely on my interests in music, all genres, all, musicians, and personal experiences.  As my musical motto goes, my interest in music is a rush to the head - so many musicians, so many genres.

Music has a history that reflects on everyone.  At some point, every person around the globe has found a beat, a style, a lyric.  Music is found everywhere and discovered surely enough.  For these reasons, music is for everyone.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Is there something you should know?

As you can tell by posts below, I am quite fond of Duran Duran.  I collect, I listen, I write, I create, I am profoundly inspired.  So is there something you should know?

I am in love with Duran Duran for their appearance, humor, boyish goofiness, and intellect.

I am awe-struck by each member's natural talent - 

Simon's voice is unique to him and the band, as are the lyrics he drafts.  His creativity is incredbily deep and energetic.  His words keep the listener guessing as to where he will go next.  No two songs are exactly the same or same at all.  This notion keeps Duran Duran fresh over the years.

Nick Rhodes on the keyboard often leaves me to wonder if his talent could ever stretch to a piano. . .until I hear him on the synthesizer.  Anyone can make sounds on a synthesizer.  Only he, however, can make sounds that are coherent into a song.  And there are numerous songs that open with his solo.  The man is a genius in this respect.  He makes the instrument look easy to play. . .it is not.

John Taylor is smooth on his bass guitar.  Yet he also adds funk to many classics and contemporary hits.  He is so cool in sound that it would seem that he blends into the background.  I do not think the Duranie chant, "Play that fucking bass, John," will let him slip on by.

Roger Taylor is so quiet and shy in personality.  He has a sweet and kind demeanor.  He is a loveable person.  And then he steps on stage and puts sticks to drums.  His power is intense and defines the meaning of extroverted.  He leads the beat and he knows it.  The sound that is emitted from his section of the stage reflects an entirely different side to his quiet personality.

I am, quite simply, a fan.  Therefore, refer to this entry if ever you wonder why I write so often about Duran Duran.  Any doubts?  Is there something you should know?  Consider Play It Duran Duran Fan Page (see link in the post below).  There is something I should know.  Are you a Duran Duran fan yet?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Duran Duran Rio album review

In the Duran Duran community, Rio is classic.  Only comments of honorable praise follow.  Therefore, my review will be in kind.

On release in 1983, Rio ranked #6 on the U.S. Top Twenty.

The video for "Rio" landed Duran Duran in music history, perhaps leading to the quote,

"The band was a natural for music television" - Rolling Stone magazine

This video is colorful, vivid, unique, and coherent in one phenomenal package.  (If intrigued, a YouTube entry was posted earlier.)

In 1985, "Save A Prayer" (#8 on the album) ranked #16 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.

So here's my take.

1.  Rio - The song opens mysteriously with haunting synthesizers and keyboards.  Yet in this second, pace and tone are determined and soon vocals break out of the gate with the energy of a race horse.  The first word - not lyric or verse - is "Wow!".  As heard live, the sound, concluding a concert, does not let up until the band lets up - an incredible feat as both the band and audience are so consumed with energy that winding down such emotion is next to impossible.  This exact feeling is felt on the album, with "Rio" opening the cd set.

2.  My Own Way - Duran Duran lyrics are unique and at times cannot be explained.  This take makes Duran Duran.  This take makes them so loved by so many.  "My own way," however, comprises lyrics that do make sense.  Although not a personal favorite, I do like this song in that I am able to understand where the vocals are going.  Some rock songs follow beat and not lyrics.  "My own way" does both.

3.  Lonely In Your Nightmare - I love this song.  It is haunting in lyrics and tone but has an edge when the electric guitar comes in for a brief solo.  The words tell a story and draw me in every time.  "Because you're lonely in your nightmare let me in."  These words assure me that I am not alone in down times.

4.  Hungry Like The Wolf - I am not sure what to say about this song as most similar to "Rio," this song is classic Duran Duran.  The music video to "Hungry Like The Wolf" is likewise unique and fun.  The lyrics are fast and energetic, both recorded and live.  The tone reflects pure Duran Duran style, much the way "Rio" does.  I truly do not know how to review this song without simply saying "Hungry Like The Wolf" is classic to Duran Duran in all of the band's many ways - sound, tone, instrumentals, vocals, lyrics, and so on.

5.  Hold Back The Rain - I do not listen to this song often, so I have few comments.  I once listened to an interview featuring Nick Rhodes.  This song came up and I did learn that "Hold Back The Rain" was played for either a space shuttle launch or descent - the weather had been threatening storms.  I thought that was an interesting fact to learn (one of many I have come to take in over the years).

6.  New Religion - Oh my, "New Religion."  I like this song for how difficult it is to keep up with.  The layered vocals throughout appear so impossible to sing along to - does the listener keep pace with Simon Le Bon or, as heard live, with the guitarists backing him up?   This song opens mysteriously and somewhat slowly but gains incredible strength and energy half way through in nearly a surprise way.  Due to these reasons, "New Religion" tends to be, in my opinion, nervous making with the layered vocals and energy coming out of nowhere.  This song is a favorite in my household.  Indeed, for a band to speak to multiple generations. . .classic.

7.  Last Chance On The Stairway - I, quite personally, am not a fan of this one song.  I did, however, hear it performed live in May 2008 as part of an electronic set during the show.  I am sorry, but it wasn't a top favorite then, either.  The song is good, but does not attract me the way others do.

8.  Save A Prayer - If an avid listener (not necessarily a die-hard fan) cannot tell "Save A Prayer" from its opening instrumental without lyrics. . .This song is so purely Duran Duran that I would be surprised if it did not rank in the top of a fan's list.  The lyrics are beautiful and story-like.  The instrumental, however, is my preference, especially the sweet keyboard.  "Save A Prayer" seems to be a song with so many parts that can each stand alone and be amazing at the same time.  All components blend together perfectly.  I really. . .If "Ordinary World" were not my absolute favorite, "Save A Prayer" would rank first easily.

9.  The Chauffeur - Duran Duran and DD fans will think quite sorely of me, but I in all honesty. . .Oh boy. . .I do not like this song :( . . .The lyrics are okay and the sound is okay, but had I not seen the video as performed in the background in the Live from London concert dvd, I might feel differently.  In truth, I am not the greatest of fans of music videos.

So before I dig myself into a hole after my comments to "The Chauffeur," all I need to say is that Rio is simply classic.  The energy rides up and down.  The lyrics are catchy and some are adored by heart.  The instrumentals are unique and flawless.  For most of the songs on the album, as performed live they lose absolutely nothing in translation.  The album artwork is beautiful and stands alone in time.  In my opinion, Rio is a musical genius, in all thanks to the men behind it.

This is my review.  If interested in Rio, please consider the Amazon.com link below.

(Factual source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duran_Duran)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Duran Duran Live from London dvd/cd package

The original line-up of simply Duran Duran is back with a fresh yet classic album - Astronaut - and is reconnecting with adoring fans in a place called home - Wembley Stadium in London.  A perfect reunion must be captured on film. . .Live from London on dvd.  Every emotion felt by all - audience and band - is experienced on this disc.  No camera angle is left out.  All classics and new hits are enjoyed.  In the Duran Duran community, all is once again right with the world.

Twenty powerful songs are played and the concert opens with a punch in the name of "Reach Up for the Sunrise."  The energy through this song extends the entire length of the concert night.  Visual effects are dazzling.  Every instrument has its share of stand out playing time.  Quiet moments in softer songs bring the audience even closer together.  All know every beat and word to every song.  Unity between audience and band is palpable.  Duran Duran is back and the world knows it.

Two special bonus features on the dvd package include a half-hour documentary on the formation, break-up, and reuniting of Duran Duran from the perspectives of the members themselves & each member commentating on two of their favorite songs performed in the London concert.

I was given this package as an early holidays gift from my family some years ago and I became addicted in less than a heartbeat.  I watched every day until  I knew the songs by heart, the camera shots by heart, the visual effect cues by heart, audience reaction by heart. . .I, quite simply, love this dvd, because I love Duran Duran and doubt if I ever could get enough.

This dvd package is unconditionally fun, energetic, loud, and fast-paced.  Nothing is left out.

This is my review.  If interested in Duran Duran Live from London, please consider the Amazon.com links below.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Duran Duran Astronaut dvd review

When the original Duran Duran five came together for the production of Astronaut, a film crew met up with them to tape a behind-the-scenes documentary about their reunion tour.  I, as a viewer, am addicted.

All five members are just being themselves - goofy, hyper, energized, serious, boys being boys. . .true personalities simply playing themselves out.

When Duran Duran is on stage at a concert, their business faces are on.  Although having fun, their job is to please the audience with classics and new hits.

However, when their concert time cards punch out, an entirely different side of the original five is shown.

The Astronaut dvd reflects boyish lightheartedness that is refreshing, enjoyable, and cracks anyone up.  The background album music is exceptionally fast-paced and draws in the viewer within less than a heartbeat.

John Taylor locks himself in a room and is singing, off beat, to a Duran Duran song that is going to be performed just minutes away.  Everyone is concerned because he does not know that the concert is set to begin any second.  He is so involved in that song that even Roger Taylor cannot help but laugh and comment, "Has he lost the plot?"

Simon Le Bon breaks out in a 70s disco routine while John provides a simple drum beat. . .all while waiting to be called to stage.

Andy Taylor checks Simon's pitch by hitting his own notes to "Reach Up for the Sunrise."  (He did pretty well.)

Nick Rhodes discusses in a rather intriguing way his stage relationship with Roger - the drums and keyboard face each other, so both men catch several nonverbal moments.  I believe Nick said that at times Roger would deliberately miss a beat - while performing live - to see if Nick was paying attention.  I found this thought to be quite clever and unique.  As someone in the audience, I never would have guessed that or sensed it.

All members would catch a breath after a concert to run through their most successful songs and changes that would need to be made to another night's set list.  No arguments, but clearly every member had different opinions.

Then there is the roaring screaming from the audience desperately wanting their night to get started and the guys are waiting for their cue back stage as cool as fall air, with no trace of nervousness or anxiety in them - "no big deal" attitude.

No big deal attitude being ironic because this dvd documentary was filmed while Duran Duran was back, after many years, in London where their career began.  A portion of the documentary took the guys back home, home they left to launch a career in music that was not guaranteed.  Memories flooded back and the pace of the documentary slowed a bit.  Yet, seeing each member with their families once more was quite touching to see.

And then the energy is back.  The dvd ends with the music video for "Reach Up for the Sunrise."

There is so much more to the Astronaut dvd/cd package.  I have an exciting blast every time I watch.  Therefore. . .

This is my review.  If interested in the Astronaut dvd/cd package, please consider the Amazon.com link below.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Duran Duran Astronaut album review

Rio launched Duran Duran into permanent status in the music world.  The original line-up (to quote Nick Rhodes) produced classics that all Duran Duran fans know just by sound.  Critics from release on feel much stronger about the album than any die-hard Duranie - the 1983 debut reached #6 on the U.S. Top Twenty.  Rio made Duran Duran a classic.

Such status was questioned when the band split.  The original members left in different directions and took the separation as time to work on personal projects.  They took their time.  No one knew if Duran Duran as all know them as would reunite.  This thought was devastating.

Until calls were made and hesitations were ironed out in the form of Astronaut.  Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes, Andy Taylor, John Taylor, and Roger Taylor came together in the recording studio to produce an album that simply spoke a story.

Astronaut was released on the heels of September 11, 2001.  The album received high honors - #3 in the UK and #17 in the U.S. 

The most remarkable and well-known song on the reunion album is "Reach Up for the Sunrise."  In my eyes, this song gives hope to a newly-defined world.  Critics felt just as positive - #1 on the Billboard U.S. Dance Chart and #5 on the UK Singles Chart (highest position since "A View to a Kill" in 1985).

The song "What Happens Tomorrow" is third on the cd.  This song carries a massive punch - inspiration, hope, a feeling of not giving up, and finding good in anything.  To me, the future is uncertain and no one can say what will happen one minute from now, one hour from now, one day from now, and so forth.  We just have to hope that whatever happens tomorrow will be good and better than the day before.

Astronaut is first in my long album collection produced by Duran Duran.  Therefore, the songs and disc hold a special place in my intrigued heart.  The work is classic in sound, tone, and style.  Although last as a work with all original five included, Astronaut remains a powerful album and one to cherish among the many others, past and present.

This is my review.  If interested in Astronaut, please consider the Amazon.com link below.

(Note:  All statistics come from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duran_Duran)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Talent on Amazon

Talent on Amazon.com abounds.  Here are a few of my favorite surprises in music.  (Note: Chris Botti Live in Boston features John Mayer.  John Mayer's rendition of "Glad To Be Unhappy" is the surprise talent on the cd/dvd.)

Red Carpet Massacre (Deluxe Edition)

Hard Candy



                                                                                                                                               

Justin Timberlake. . .What to say

Justin Timberlake is truly a surprise to my generation's music scene.  He can put on a spectacular show for adoring fans.  Yet, his incredibly versatile talent is the defining showcase of any concert.  I was hesitant at first, but now I feel entirely otherwise.  Justin Timberlake. . .What to say.  Simply - enjoy the video below.

07. What Goes Around ... Comes Around - Justin Timberlake - FutureSex/Lo...

Friday, September 17, 2010

Simply Duran Duran

I adore Duran Duran, a secret clearly no longer.  They are an incredible inspiration and hope in my life.  With every song I listen to, I reflect on the impact they have on me.  Without Duran Duran, I would not have this music-devoted blog and the content & design creativity that goes proudly along with it.  Without Duran Duran, I would not have taken a chance on the creation of Play It Duran Duran Fan Page (http://simplyduran.webs.com/).  Duran Duran fills a musical void in my life that can only be matched by a highly select few in the jazz scene.

I adore Simon Le Bon for his goofiness when on the surface he seems tough.  His vocals are classic and unique.

I love Nick Rhodes for his humor.  His talent for the keyboard synthesizer is speechless.

I am intrigued by John Taylor's cool and relaxed demeanor.  His bass line truly matches his personality.

I like Roger Taylor for his shyness.  His beat on the drums tell otherwise.

So I thought I would post some of my favorite Duran Duran albums. . .and other items -

Duran Duran

Seven & the Ragged Tiger (2 CD/DVD)

Greatest

Duran Duran - Live From London (2pc) (W/CD) (Dlx)

DURAN DURAN GROUP BAND SIGNED AUTOGRAPHED 8x10 RP PROMO PHOTO SIMON Le BON NICK RHODES AND JOHN TAYLOR

Duran Duran John Taylor Autographed Signed Guitar PSA/DNA

Autographed Duran Duran VHS Music VIdeos

Duran Duran Rio Autographed Signed reprint Photo

Duran Duran Simon Le Bon Autographed Signed Guitar PSA/DNA

Duran Duran Autographed Signed reprint Photo

Duran Duran Autographed Signed reprint Photo 3

DURAN DURAN signed AUTOGRAPHED new GUITAR *proof