Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Top 5 Songs: The Wedding Album

I was watching "Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome" on AMC last night, and while looking at the shows advertised to come on that channel, I noticed these were all anniversary editions.

Like for example, the 40th anniversary of "Enter The Dragon",  the 15th anniversary of "Something  About Mary(Are the franks on the beans, or the beans on the franks?)" or how about the 20th anniversary of "Mrs. Doubtfire"? I was thinking to myself, good god! It's been 20 years already since that movie first came out? Fuck I'm getting old(er).

Ahh 1993. Not a bad year per say, at least for me. I was 12, President Clinton was in office and Grunge was still going strong. There were some good movies and music to be found, especially today's choice for the Top 5. Namely Duran Duran's 7th studio album, simply titled with the band's name, or as it's called, "The Wedding Album."

For those who don't remember, and how could you not if you were around back then, Duran Duran ruled the pop music scene all throughout the 80's.

Well then came the 90's, and the band was kind of considered to be washed up and old news, especially amongst their own record label.

Of course that was all bullshit because the band put out this album, and made asses out of the record label, when it skyrocketed to #4 on the Billboard charts. So yeah, eat that!

The Wedding Album was one of the few albums I had on cd, and not a cassette tape back in the day, so you know that had to mean something.

I'm probably a bit biased about the band since I really like their 80's hits, but they really matured in the 90's, and even as recently as '04-05', have continued to put out some damn good music that flows with the times, rather than make them standout as relics.

Back to the songs, it's really hard for me to choose  just five, since I really like and enjoy listening to the entire album, as opposed to some albums, where you skip to the parts you like. Not so much with this one for me, but a challenge is a challenge, and I'll do my best to represent for all you Duran Duran fans out there;)

5). "Breath After Breath"

I remember first hearing this, and wondering why the hell there's some Spanish guy(Milton Nascimento) on there singing along with Simon LeBon like it was a duet or something. It wasn't bad per say, but different. And hey, different can be good depending how exactly it's different. I later appreciate it more now, since I've taken Spanish-speaking classes  and really dig the culture in general  But back then it was just something new to me, that oddly enough seemed to work.....well for me anyways.

4). "Too Much Information"

Yeah, I really like this one!  You know how George Michael's "Freedom '90" was all about him dissing his former friends, former record label Sony and the paparazzi/media, specifically MTV, for not supporting him and trying to keep him in the closet to keep sales up amongst his female audience? Well that's that what this song is for Duran Duran. They go on the attack in a sly, but out and out sort of way, against their record label, the media, paparazzi, and of course MTV. Dissing and making fun of them for the part they play in the great hype machine of the business.

Of course one could sit back and be "Yeah that's all good and fine, but you brought it on yourselves for wanting to play the game and be rich and famous, so shut up and suck it up. It's what you wanted." And you'd have a damn good point of course, but still celebrities are people too....or at least that's what I've been told;)

If anything, by listening and/or reading the lyrics, the song itself basically predicts or warns of the type of commercialistic society that's here now. Just look at how much reality tv's taken over most programming on most TV channels in  the last 5-6 years, and you'll definitely get what they were talking about.

3). "Love Voodoo"

This is another really good song, both in arrangement, vocals, instruments, and basically the whole damn production of this thing.

It just barely edges out TMI, but only just barely.
Usually the high energy, make-you-want-to-dance songs tend to be placed higher, but this one stands out enough to me to warrant the position it reached.

These top 2 choices were probably the easiest for me so far, as they are both not only the top 2 singles from the album, but also the ones that got me hooked, as far as loving and then buying the album.

2). "Come Undone"

Maybe a case could be made that this and Ordinary World could be interchangeable on the list, and that could work. But for me, Ordinary World just edges out Come Undone. IDK, maybe it's the music video for Ordinary World that cinches it for me, but it really, really does. I guess it all comes down to personal preferences  as these things usually do. Still, that should not take anything away from such an amazing song as this one; to me it's the band at their 90's best, with singer Simon LeBon just killing those vocals.

1). "Ordinary World"

This one's the top dog folks. Numero Uno. It edged out Come Undone as my top favorite song from the album, and if you listen to the song/video, maybe you'll appreciate why.

It's just one big orchestral mix of sound, vocals, and instruments just plugging away, sucking you in and never letting you go until the songs ends. Well, it does me anyway;)
Like most good/great songs do, this one feels like a movie you can envision on your head, without needing a music video to watch. This was the top hit single that helped usher in the band into the 90's, and beyond.

I know Duran Duran tends to get a bad rap because they're like the poster child/band for the 80's, and a good part of that is well deserved, but to me this album and subsequent others should have hammered the point home that they weren't just a flash in the pan. That they also have the style and substance that separates the good bands from the best bands. And to me, Duran Duran is one of those better bands that can still go and sound amazing, even after all these years. Now that my friends, is the mark of true, marketable and successful artists.

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