PLEASE NOTE THE DATE THIS WAS PUBLISHED!
THIS MESSAGE HAS BEEN ADDED SINCE THE ORIGINAL PUBLICATION - THE FOLLOWING REMAINS AS SEEN ON 1 APRIL 2018
Star ratings by Matt Cochrane:
Transcendental Mental *****
Criminals in the Capital *****
48 Hours Later ****
Angel Fire **
Judy, Where Are You? *****
Naomi Tonight ****
I had never heard Reportage, but I knew someone who had. A friend of mine from college, Matt Cochrane, was pretty high up in the record industry back during the early to mid 2000s. While he wasn’t a Duranie, he was more knowledgeable about them thanks both to his association with me and his connections. Unbeknownst to me at the time, he heard Reportage and compiled his own review of the material as a birthday present for me.
Unfortunately, we had a falling out in 2007, and he unexpectedly passed away in 2008. I’m not going to get into the details here, but suffice to say, I live with pain and regret everyday about this.
Late last year, I received a letter from his wife. She was cleaning out a storage unit and happened upon some personal things, including a package never sent from Matt to me. She did not open it, but wanted me to have it.
I’ve had it for several months now. Just getting it has reopened some old wounds. I thought about burning it. But, I also thought about all of the people I have become friends with on social media. People I never would have known if not for two things: technology, and a certain band from Birmingham. How could I burn or destroy this and not share it with everyone? It is more than any of us have ever had or known about this mysterious, missing album.
And so, I present to you a transcription of my friend’s reaction to Reportage. Please note that he wrote this in 2007.
Happy Birthday buddy! Prepare to get the best birthday present ever: that unreleased Duran album “Reportage”! Just kidding, I'm afraid. But, I actually do have a present for you. When I was at *******’s a few months back, he actually had a copy of it and made me listen to it. (******* also worked at EMI and his name is redacted here. He, however, was actually a huge Duran Duran fan).
So we’re in his living room listening to it, and then he freakin’ pulls out DVDs with the video footage from when they were in Agassi’s house (NOTE: Much of the album was recorded when the band was able to rent out tennis star Andre Agassi’s San Francisco house in 2006).
I thought of you — dude, you would absolutely sh*t yourself to be hearing this album AND seeing footage of them making it! I was dying to somehow get you a copy, but ******* wouldn’t let me.
But, I figured I could do the next best thing and at least give you my first impression of the album (get it? See what I did there? How many people can make references to that Duran album? What was it called, Freedom 90 or something? Ha ha).
So, I took some notes.
Transcendental Mental: This song kicks ass. No other way to put it—it’s like Careless Memories meets The Wild Boys. This one sounded the most finished of all of them. It’s too bad there’s all this hip hop sh*t on the radio because this one would absolutely destroy the charts in any other era.
Criminals in the Capital: Another one that bosses it. It starts off kinda angry—I think it’s about the Iraq war maybe? - but then it gets really catchy in the chorus. The bass and drums are all over this one. They’re all over most of this album, actually. There is a really optimistic lyric, something along the lines of “I know this looks like a massacre/Don’t give up keep chasing utopia/I know what it is comin’ over ya/you’re too scared of utopia” and then there is this spoken word part about a doctor who is going to fix all the criminals in the capital. It’s kinda artsy but it somehow works - especially the guitar. Man, the guitar is just edgy and rocks this song. They could come up with the most nonsensical lyrics but with this music, who cares?
48 Hours Later: So, I’m watching the video footage and that albino who plays keyboards doesn’t seem to be around a lot? Andy is all over this one too. LeBon really got into this one, belting out the lyrics…he’s “not going to sleep tonight/until the morning light…this is our time! Not waiting 48 hours! Gonna live it now! Like it’s our last night in the city!” This song belongs on a Led Zeppelin album. Seriously…I can’t wait for you to hear it. I’m sure they will release it someday.
Traumatized: Like nothing I’ve ever heard the band do before. A big chunk of this one is just Simon and some acoustic guitar. Simon’s voice is crystal clear and powerful… this one is about looking at the sun… “too close to the sun” actually…I can’t get his voice out of my head. This one could be a lead single. This sounds like an outtake from the Liberty sessions. Amazing.
Angel Fire: Meh. Admittedly, they lost me on this one. I guess if you like The Chauffeur this would be your thing, I thought they were all about never doing the same thing twice… If they're gonna re-write something, why not New Moon on Monday? At least Nick finally gets into the mix on this one. Up until now, I thought they fired him or something, there is so much guitar on these songs.
Judy, Where Are You?: Hell, they are back on track with this one. It seems to have been inspired by the events of Hurricane Katrina – and features Kim Kardashian (yes, really!!!) on backing vocals – which actually kinda works. Beautifully poignant song – it's The Seventh Stranger meets Planet Earth at a bus stop in Toronto.
Naomi Tonight: Every album needs a banger to open the show – and this is it. “You're showing off your knickers on the computer / I can't believe it's my daughter.” Wow! That'll get the crowd going! Then there's a bit where John says “dirty great monster” three times during the chorus. Can’t get enough of it. It all just sounds completely made up on the spot, you know what I mean?
There were some other songs but they didn’t seem completely finished. The video footage was great, watching them get so excited. There was one weird part—at one point I could hear Andy saying he was open to working with other producers, but he needed to sort out his passport or something? And the camera happened to catch the pale keyboardist guy’s reaction…he said he would take care of it, but he had this really sinister smile on his face that nobody else saw.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy my reaction and review to the mysterious “Reportage”! You're gonna love it when they release it! Catch ya soon, Matt
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