Friday Roundup: Duran Duran at Terminal 5, Paper Gods review, Moonbeam City, Glitter Princes
I went to see Duran Duran Monday night at Terminal 5 in
Manhattan. Hadn’t planned
on going, but a friend couldn’t use her ticket at the last minute, so she very
generously gave it to me. It was a pretty stupendous show. I met up with my
friend’s friend Jane, who turned out to be delightful company, and we managed
to stand very, very close to the stage; my own phone is rubbish, so that photo
of Simon (with bonus photobomb by John) was taken by Jane.
Anyway, the boys looked and sounded great. Fun evening filled with cool people, from the awesome lady passing out free individual bottles of prosecco and pinot grigio outside the door to the woman on my subway train home who identified me as a fellow concertgoer by my wristband and struck up a conversation.
I’ve been having a good time listening to their new album, Paper Gods. Here are my fast and messy track-by-track thoughts:
- PAPER GODS – As I’ve mentioned before in one of these roundups, there’s a kick-ass three-minute song buried inside a bloated seven-minute track. Also I’m not sure why Simon seems to be scolding me for my conspicuous consumption (“The next thing you must have/front piece with matching bag/It’s nothing to be glad about, or sad when you forget about it...”). You’re Duran Duran! You’re all about conspicuous consumption, lads.
- LAST NIGHT IN THE CITY – Love this one, even though it’s too dependent upon the female guest vocals (provided by Kiesza on the album; the fabulous Anna Ross stepped up to do the heavy hitting during the concert).
- YOU KILL ME WITH SILENCE – I’m indifferent to the chorus, but the verses have a nicely slinky, haunting quality to them. Reminds me a little of Siouxsie and the Banshees’ “Face to Face”, which is not a bad thing at all.
- PRESSURE OFF – 2015’s equivalent of “Notorious”. People who love “Notorious” will love it. I’m not in that camp.
- FACE FOR TODAY – Solid, solid. Something about the strange key shift going into the chorus reminds me of a lot of Japanese pop, where it’s almost atonal and cacophonous, but somehow it works. I don’t know enough about music theory to explain it well (it is probably clear that I know diddlysquat about music theory, in fact), but Two-Mix’s “Rhythm Emotion” is an example of what I’m talking about.
- DANCEOPHOBIA – Ah, the dreaded Lindsay Lohan track. Look, Simon, when Lindsay asks if she can perform on your album, it’s totally okay to say no. Anyway, the Lohan spoken-word part is flat-out embarrassing, and the song is dumb as all hell, but damn, it’s insanely catchy (“I know what it is coming over ya/You don’t dance, danceophobia…”). At the concert, the boys played this one along with a healthy load of some of my all-time favorite songs. “Wild Boys”! “View To a Kill”! “Come Undone”! Hey, guess which song got stuck on perpetual repeat in my brain all the next day?
- WHAT ARE THE CHANCES? – I have no use for this track. Guitar fans should note the presence of former Chili Pepper John Frusciante. Continuing with my habit of comparing songs on this album with other songs they remind me of in some strange and no doubt arbitrary way, I’m going to say this one reminds me of Oasis’ “Stop Crying Your Heart Out.”
- SUNSET GARAGE – Another track that’s kind of lost on me, though I’m charmed by Simon’s very English pronunciation of “garage”.
- CHANGE THE SKYLINE – I really like this one. I have no idea why, though. A handful of tracks sound like they’d be right at home as the theme song for a rousing early-nineties anime series. FACE FOR TODAY is one; this is another.
- BUTTERFLY GIRL – More guitar work from Frusciante. Now Simon’s lecturing me about my casual drinking: “And I still hope you’re going to realize/There’s only one kind of happy in a glass of wine.” When did you become such a scold, Simon? For your information, I find many different kinds of happy in a glass of wine.
- ONLY IN DREAMS – Next.
- THE UNIVERSE ALONE – Duran Duran’s slow songs are usually not my jam. Some are “Save a Prayer” people, some are “Wild Boys” people, and I’m firmly in the latter camp. I like this one, though, because it’s moody and apocalyptic and bleak. I bet the way the sound breaks up into muffled, distorted static at the end was Nick’s brainchild. Nick seems to really go for that sort of thing.
- PLANET ROARING – The first of three excellent bonus tracks on the deluxe version of the album. Probably my favorite track. Something about the soaring rise into the chorus tugs at my soul.
- VALENTINE STONES – Damn catchy, and lyrically, it’s the most evocative song on the album (“But I don’t want to be just a toy that you keep at home/Like your valentine stones”).
- NORTHERN LIGHTS – The album ends on a good one, even though the front is padded out with all kinds of weird Foley effects (crushing snow, panting noises, distorted static… you get in the studio, and you just can’t help yourself, can you, Nick?). I like to think the lyrics are all about the hoops you have to jump through to sleep with Simon: “If you want to stay tonight/Write your name across the sky…”
For reasons that should be obvious to anyone who knows anything at all about me, I had to watch the pilot for Comedy Central’s Moonbeam City. Even if I hadn't been sold by the animation style (I was; oh, I was), I would've been sucked in just by the phrase "Starring Rob Lowe as Dazzle":
Yeah. This show is shameless Richter bait, that’s all I have to say. It’s gleefully dumb and tacky, but I think I love it. And somewhere, the Estate of Patrick Nagel is clearing its collective throats and shooting humorless glances in the direction of Comedy Central.
Gosh, I have no idea why Moonbeam City made me think of this, but it just dawned on me that I haven’t done much work on Glitter Princes lately. I’ll try to amp up productivity in the coming weeks. Here’s a sketch of Sebastian and Etienne, looking unusually melancholy and introspective:
That’s all I’ve got. Tschüß until next week.