Back in May the release of the new Duran Duran song (INVISIBLE) led to Cherry Lipstick producing a whole 32-page fanzine. This time, you get an article. Tsk, the modern world, eh?
To mark the release of Give It All Up, your Cherry Lipstick team gathered together on 9th July to chat about our newest addition to the Duran Duran family.
Your snap-review team: Adam Wilson (CL editor); Ruth Galvin (author of both the most and least popular articles on the CL website); and C.K. Shortell (CL’s Trickster).
Adam: OK, I’ll start: Give It All Up makes a fantastic pair with INVISIBLE. It they are the opening two tracks on Future Past, we’re going to be OK. It’s got a strong chorus. This feels like a coherent sound from Duran Duran in 2021. I like it!
Chris: I like it too! I was struck in the video how John looks like the microphone is going to give him Covid again. He was so far from the mic, it was clear from the opening notes he was going nowhere near it, and that made me realise this is a different kind of song. Mid-tempo is different for them. They tend to go full ballad or rockier, or anthemic. There’s not a lot of Graham Coxon, but presumably he’s elsewhere on the album.
Adam I’d file it in the ‘late night jazz club’ Duran playlist, along with Too Late Marlene.
Ruth: When I first heard it was I was, ‘oh there’s the rhythm from Planet Earth! I can hear bits of New Order!” I can hear Rio, it’s very melodic, it’s evocative of a cocktail bar on a beach. It reminded me of Mediterrannia in terms of its vibe. For the record – I love this song. I like the layers of texture.
Adam: This is where Ruth goes, “I give it a 10, but there’s this, this, this that should be changed.”
Ruth, No! I like it! If this wasn’t Duran Duran I’d put in on a playlist. It is disappointing you can’t hear Graham, but I like the rich layers and the lyrics. Unfortunately, the audio on the You Tube clip is shocking. I played it in my car and it only came out of one speaker. OK, so what I don’t like about this song is Simon shouting in the chorus again. I worry that it is over sung, just like on INVISIBLE. He’s forcing it, he may be at the limits of his voice.
Chris: I’m reminded of She’s Too Much. Maybe not in the sound, but in the structure. Or Finest Hour. I like when then do something different and unexpected.
Ruth: This is much more of an ear-worm than INVISIBLE. This is far more radio friendly and current. Roger’s drumming may not be organic, but his style is a lot more contemporary.
Adam: I can agree that the chorus is radio-friendly, but it seems to take too long to get there
– there’s a 15 second intro and then a full 1 minute 25 seconds before the first chorus starts.
Chris: There’s a view that this is not the whole song, that it gets cut at the end. I can hear that, but I also thought maybe they are trying to go short – like INVISIBLE.
Adam: I think that with there only being two choruses, there’s got to be a guitar break and then another one from where it cuts out.
[UPDATE: It was confirmed by Erol Alkan on 10th July that the premiere on the Today show was a shortened version of the song].
Ruth: There’s another view that this is not the final version of the song – that there is a female vocal from the ‘mystery guest’ to be added.
Adam: That doesn’t make a lot of sense - to launch this song as the second release from the album, and then waste a guest singer by not promoting them.
Ruth: But this isn’t the second single, this is due to be pushed in October. This is just a taster of the song that will be on the album.
Adam: I’m interested in the media strategy – is this really just a taster for something that is not meant to be heard in full for four months? Shouldn’t Coxon be higher in the mix? Is there a video ready to go (like there was for INVISIBLE)? If there really is a guest vocalist, are they really keeping her back ‘til October? It’s not on Spotify or Apple Music yet either.
Chris: I’m a bit confused that if this is the second single, why isn’t it downloading? I don’t see how this can have a guest vocal and then they drop it without that news.
Ruth: I think these song-drops are going to be like little Easter Eggs, and we’re going to get the whole thing later. It going to give people a hunger for the album.
Adam: I’m unclear how people who casually hear this now are going to remember it come October. INVISIBLE seems to be getting good radio play, even my sister told me she liked the new Duran Duran single! But the INVISIBLE video on You Tube is still a long way from a million views.
Chris: So the radio play hasn’t generated much more interest than you would normally expect.
Ruth: I think Give It All Up is much more radio-friendly.
Adam: I hear Duran Duran fans say that about everything.
Ruth: That doesn’t mean it will get played! There’s some agreement between BMG and BBC Radio about playing INVISIBLE – it’s not happening in Europe, America or Australia. I think this song on its own merits could have a better chance.
Chris: At first I thought that this was one of the two Moroder songs because it has a bit of a disco vibe.
Ruth: This seems to be Erol Alkan. [Later confirmed].
Chris: It does seem the band are increasingly reliant on their producers. I can’t see All You Need Is Now without Ronson. We heard this in the Ian Little and Chris Kimsey interviews – most bands bring the songs to the producer. They go in with nothing. There’s a story of them taking Pressure off to Nile Rogers who heard it and said, “When are you going to play me the song?” so I guess, ‘thank god for the guest producers’ ‘cos I don’t know what we’d get without them.
Adam: There’s very few sole Taylor-Taylor-Rhodes-LeBon written songs on the last three albums.
Chris: One of them is Valentine Stones!
Adam: Another was Before The Rain. INVISIBLE seems to be credited to Taylor-Taylor-Rhodes-LeBon-Coxon.
Ruth: He’s apparently co-written anything he’s involved in.
Ruth: I like the lyrics on this one. Who is he giving up on?
Ruth: Well, for me it’s about legacy and the mark you make on the world. There’s a reference to a ‘her’, but for me the person he’s giving up on is God. It’s about meaning and legacy.
We are pinned to the evening That’s running out of (road / rope?) As the last ray of light heads into dark
Adam: Is this about legacy and the end of Duran Duran?
Ruth: I feel it’s about legacy for humans – the mark we make on the world. Is our story lost when we die?
Adam: Since the last album Simon has become a grandfather and lost his mother. This is another life cycle for him.
Ruth: When you hear Simon talk about God, he comes across as agnostic or atheist, but he does believe in eternal aspects of the human spirit that lives on from one generation to the next. I think something of that is being captured here. The end of the song says, “I’m giving up on you.” Why would you say that about your partner, or children – you give up on God. It’s not Warren or Andy Taylor! He did that a long time ago!
Chris: My only rebuttal is that Simon has always come across as border-line atheist. I have never sensed a struggle in him on that. How do you give up on that? Aside from them selling Christmas ornaments on the website!
Ruth: Anyway, for me that’s the explanation of the double verse and delay to get to the chorus. You can’t establish poignance in 4 lines.
Chris: This may not be well-received, but I think it’s harder for an agnostic person to write poignant lyrics. Look at Bono, and I know we can rip on Bono, but he believes in God. Simon can’t write songs like Magnificent (U2 song from 2010). What can Simon write about that? I agree there is something heartfelt in Give It All Up that you don’t always get. We’ve been hearing about a long period of writer’s block for Simon; Nick’s writing more lyrics. I used to attribute this to the band politics on the 1990s. The reunion seemed to rejuvenate him, but then you find out that Nick wrote Leopard, which is their most popular song of the century. I wonder what Simon can write about. U2 and The Killers are inspired by something higher.
Ruth: I’m not sure – my favourite lyrical album is Red Carpet Massacre which is a very personal album. Maybe Nick wrote a lot of it – who knows! But not She’s Too Much [about Saffron LeBon], which has beautiful imagery, like the whole album. We had the cryptic nonsense from the early days which they could get away with, plus the big anthems.
Ruth: I’ve read the comments today and people seem to be looking for those big anthems from Duran Duran. Looking for a definitive style of song from them, where it suddenly takes off. That was a recurring theme today: “The song doesn’t take off!” It’s like there has to be that climax all the time.
Adam: Yes, John from Duran Duran Rocks says it is “wishy washy, sounds like leftovers from Paper Gods, not sure why I was getting pumped up about it.” He’s not the only one that seems disappointed.
Ruth: Give It All Up develops at a reasonable pace, and because it’s so layered, I think it’s got enough interest in it.
Adam: I think you’ve just described INVISIBLE there as well. It’s subtle. Give It All Up seems to have a stronger radio-friendly chorus that INVISIBLE, though that seems to be getting enough airplay.
Chris: These are two good, strong songs. I like this new direction.
Ruth: I think INVISIBLE is more interesting but sonically I prefer Give It All Up. I’d give it an 8 and a half, whereas INVISIBLE is a 6, 6 and a half.
Adam: It’s interesting for Duran to have such a mainstream title.
Ruth: Yes – that’s why I thought this one was the banger! (sings: “Give it all up!”)
Chris: I just wish they hadn’t mentioned anything about a ‘banger’. It gives us all pre-conceived ideas about a song might be like. I found myself listening thinking, ‘Is this the banger song?’ I could see Simon calling Last Night In The City as a ‘banger’ song. That doesn’t make that description OK.
Adam: We’ve heard nearly 8 minutes of Future Past now! These pair of songs have given me a lot of hope for Future Past. This so called ‘banger’ can wait if this is the quality being released so far.
Still available at the Cherry Lipstick store:
The 32-page Cherry Lipstick souvenir fanzine on INVISIBLE (May 2021)
In Discord And Rhyme - Unseen Duran Duran 1981 (February 2021)
Exclusive unseen photos from the Rum Runner, backstage, live, Paris.
Plus over 35 digital downloads of issues from 1993 - 2021!