Friday, July 22, 2011

Commenting on "The Daily Duranie: Fan Criticism"

The Daily Duranie: Fan Criticism: "I love Duran Duran. This isn't a secret. At this point in my life, my love for them is almost unconditional as I have loved them for decad..."

A great post from an excellent Duran Duran fan site. A 'must read' for any Duran Duran fan, and an interesting read for the casual fan.

Anyway, they raise a good question: Is it okay to criticize one's favorite band? Of course it is. It's no surprise to my readers that I'm a huge Duran fan...I own every track they ever put out, I've bought Rio on more formats than I care to think (off the top of my head: vinyl, 8-track, cassette, CD (at least four times), digital, etc.) and I've seen them live nearly 40 times. I'm sure I've put at least one Taylor, Rhodes and/or Le Bon child through college.

And I don't regret any of this.

Does that mean the band's immune to criticism by me? Of course not.

Off the top of my head I can think of the following missteps during their long and mostly wonderful career:

- 1985 was an annus horribilis for the band (despite it being the year Arcadia's So Red the Rose came out, one of my favorite Duran-related albums), with the departure of Andy and Roger, Simon's boat crash, the disappointing Live Aid set, etc.

- While Red Carpet Massacre was a welcome arrival at the time, it's not a true-Duran Duran album (and considering how recent it is, it has not aged well): Timbaland's heavy thumbprints are all over it and it sounds like a band trying too hard to be relevant to it's non-core fan base.

That's just two. Some others can fall into the "bad timing" category: Duran Duran is a band that fails to (through it's own efforts, or just plain bad luck) capitalize on momentum. A smattering of examples:

- 1985: At their career peak, they decide to for two side projects: Arcadia and The Power Station. This proved to be the catalyst for a career stall that lasted nearly ten years.

- 1995: After 1993's Wedding Album, loaded with two hits (Ordinary World and Come Undone), how do they fail to capitalize on this momentum? Releasing the miserably received covers album, Thank You. It single-handedly killed whatever momentum their career had at the time.

- 2001-2003: Duran Duran reunite with all five original members. And while it marked the unceremonious dumping of Warren Cuccurullo, the reunion created the ferver that maintains excitement about Duran Duran today. However... failure to capitalize on momentum again curses the band. While the reunion tour of 2003/2004 garners some amazing media exposure for the band, they don't make the most of it by not putting out the album that would be come Astronaut until the end of 2004... and by then, the Duran Duran reunion was old news.

- Flash forward to today: All You Need Is Now receives some of the best reviews the band has ever garnered, yet missteps continue. I'm not sure drip-feeding the album on iTunes then releasing a physical version months later did them any justice. And of course, while it's not the band's fault, Simon's vocal problems and subsequent recovered stymied any momentum the band was picking up on tour.

Anyway, you get this idea....criticism abounds from me, but the fact of the matter is that I love their music, will continue to support them as a fan and enjoy most of what they do...that doesn't mean I don't have an opinion. Believe me, I do!

Fandom is a funny thing, especially in the age of the internet: flame wars have been fought over the silliest of issues especially when it involves two or more rabid fans. Sometimes it's best to stand back and watch it play out.


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