Day 76: A song by a band/artist you used to dislike but you have come to respect for their talent or hard work.

“Rio” – Duran Duran

RioI went out for the football team to prove that I’m a man;
I guess I shouldn’t tell them that I like Duran Duran.
                                   —”Grade 9″ – Barenaked Ladies

In some ways, Duran Duran in the early 80s were like Justin Bieber (without the idiocy) and One Direction (without the Taylor Swift drama) are today. They were good-looking, the girls all swooned over them and they were on the cover of every teeny-bopper magazine. Because of that, they had a harder time being taken seriously, I think. Sure, they had lots of Top-40 success, but no self-respecting “rock” guy could like them. Scratch that, guys in general simply could not like them.

I was a “rock” guy, and I know I wouldn’t have admitted to liking Duran Duran, even if I did. It was a moot point, though. Of course I didn’t like them, I wasn’t a pre-pubescent girl.


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But I’ve got a secret… Come closer so I can whisper… Make sure no one’s listening… The problem was, despite my denials, I really did like “Rio” and a lot of the other singles. There, I said it.

Yes, any time the “Rio” video came on, I’d watch it. It was my guilty pleasure. And it was so damn catchy!

So, let’s be honest: “Rio” was (and is) a very well-done pop song. And while we’re being honest, let’s admit that there’s really nothing wrong with a pop song. No, it may not be cool to like it if you’re a “rock” guy, the music may not be “epic” or complex, but there’s a craft to writing (and recording) a well-done, successful pop song. (And by “successful” I don’t necessarily mean a “hit” but rather a good representation of the genre.) There are some really talented guys out there in “pop” bands. To be sure there are many more mediocre ones who have to rely on producers to make them sound good. But let’s not forget that The Beatles started life as a pop band.

If you listen to songs like “Hungry Like The Wolf” and “Girls On Film” it’s pretty obvious that “Rio” wasn’t a fluke. So where Duran Duran differ from Bieber and One Direction is that they’re actually good musicians. And they wrote their own music (and I mean really wrote it, not this “co-written with <insert slick producer name here>,” which means someone hummed a melody or threw a lyric line in and got credit). These guys were all talented.

As a keyboard guy, I can’t finish the post without mentioning my admiration for Nick Rhodes. “Rio” is one good example, but “Save A Prayer” is a textbook example of how the right keyboard sound (or sounds) can set the tone for an entire song. You can’t listen to these songs and tell me that Nick Rhodes is not ridiculously creative. Yes, he goes way overboard with the makeup (for crying out loud, Nick, you’re in your 50s, you can stop with the eye-liner and eye shadow), but he knows how to get a sound.

So, I’m sure there were a lot of guys out there who, like me, secretly did like Duran Duran, even if their music collection wouldn’t have hinted at it. Barenaked Ladies nailed this one.

As much as we tried in 1983, their talent can’t be denied. But you didn’t hear it from me…