TV Review: Boys On Film: A Night With Duran Duran

I’ve mentioned before how much I love BBC Four.  Between the old episodes of Top of the Pops and the music documentaries, there’s always something worth watching, which is the main reason my digibox is always getting too full.  They’re always doing new shows about old music, basically, so it’s one of my favourite channels.

As such, I was really excited when I heard they were going to be doing a special evening of shows about Duran Duran, who are my current biggest musical obsession.  It’s the band’s fortieth anniversary this year, and so the BBC Four programmes are part of the celebration.

Geth was due to be at a work do on Friday evening (although in the event, he ended up coming home early and watching the Duran stuff with me, as he’d already had a heavy night on the Thursday!) so I made sure I had a few cans of cider in the fridge and settled in for the evening.

The first programme was Duran Duran: There’s Something You Should Know, which was a new documentary with a lot of interesting features – particular highlights for me included Nick Rhodes talking to designer Antony Price about the suits used for the Rio video, Simon Le Bon meeting up with his old choirmaster, and all of the band members cramming themselves into a tiny Citroen just like they used to do in their early days.  There were also some really good interview segments with more recent collaborators like Mark Ronson.  The documentary was organised into sections based around seven of Duran’s albums – but as they’ve released fourteen, this did mean that there were large parts of their history that just didn’t get mentioned.  It’s a shame, but in an hour-long documentary you can’t do justice to everything.

The second programme, Duran Duran: A Night In, was the highlight of the night for me – it was basically just an hour of the band members reminiscing about TV programming from their childhoods in the ’60s and ’70s.  About five minutes into the programme:

Geth: You’re never deleting this, are you?  It’s clips of all your favourite TV shows and films, narrated by Duran Duran.  It’s basically your ideal programme.

Given that at this point we’d had the 1960s Batman series and Hammer Horror’s Dracula…yeah, pretty much.  Other TV shows and films covered included Barbarella (the film that gave Duran Duran their name) and ’70s Top of the Pops performances from Marc Bolan and Roxy Music.  I love all of these things anyway, but Geth was right – the commentary from the Durans made it a highly enjoyable watch, and unlike most things that I insist on keeping on the digibox, I’m sure I will be rewatching this one many times.

The third programme, Duran Duran: Unstaged, was a recording of a concert played in Los Angeles a couple of years ago, with visuals by David Lynch over the top.  Geth found the flashing imagery a bit much after a couple of days’ heavy drinking, and headed up to bed, leaving me alone to watch what was quite a good show – it was a good mix of old and new tracks, and the band had a lot of guests playing with them like Mark Ronson (again) and Beth Ditto.  I sort of didn’t notice the Lynch visuals after a while because I was too absorbed in the music, so this is definitely one I need to watch again.

There was also a repeat of a Duran Duran TOTP2 special, but as it wasn’t on till three in the morning (the other shows were being repeated first), I went to bed and caught up with it the next morning.  I’d already seen a lot of the performances, but it’s the amusing commentary from Mark Radcliffe and the fact-filled captions that make TOTP2 worth watching.

All in all, great programming as ever from BBC Four, and a real treat for Duran Duran fans.  Hopefully a new album and tour won’t be too many years away!

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #81

Day 81 means Now! #81, which came out on 2nd April 2012.

April 2012
This is the way the world looked in April 2012 (actually March). Dublin was unseasonably warm, but the statue of Oscar Wilde was still chillin’ on his crag. I should probably get rid of that coat, as it’s too big for me now.

On with the 2012 hits!

Now! That's What I Call Music #81
Track 1: Gotye and Kimbra – Somebody That I Used To Know

Gorgeous song that was deservedly number one for weeks and weeks.  Love this track.

Track 2: Coldplay – Paradise

I normally find Coldplay songs pretty depressing, but this is a beautiful tune.

Track 3: Ed Sheeran – Lego House

I find this one fairly dull, but the video with Rupert Grint is funny.

Track 4: Emeli Sandé – Next To Me

There’s something that irritates me about the tune.

Track 5: Kelly Clarkson – Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)

Nice solid pop song, quite like this track.

Track 6: Jessie J – Domino

Another feelgood pop track, but the tune’s not particularly exciting.

Track 7: David Guetta and Sia – Titanium

Great vocals, good tune.

Track 8: Flo Rida – Good Feeling

Flo Rida sampling Avicii sampling Etta James.  It’s a great hook, so I can see why.

Track 9: Katy Perry – The One That Got Away

I find this one a bit depressing.

Track 10: Labrinth – Last Time

Nice atmosphere, but the tune’s a bit pedestrian.

Track 11: Rizzle Kicks – Mama Do The Hump

Great, danceable track!  The video with Jordan Stephens’ mum and James Corden is also hilarious.

Track 12: Olly Murs – Dance With Me Tonight

In my Zumba class in Southampton, we always did a really fun jive number to this one.  Great, upbeat track.

Track 13: Pixie Lott – Kiss The Stars

Good upbeat dance tune – happily nodding along here.

Track 14: One Direction – One Thing

It’s always really annoyed me that this song rips off the chord sequence of Backstreet Boys’ I Want It That Way.  As such, I can’t hear it without getting a weird mash-up of the two songs stuck in my head.

Track 15: Marcus Collins – Seven Nation Army

Interesting, eerie, soul-tinged cover of the White Stripes classic.  Good stuff.

Track 16: Florence & The Machine – Shake It Out

Nice tune – quite like the build on this one.

Track 17: Drake and Rihanna – Take Care

Pretty tune, but it’s too slow for me.  I like the It’s My Party callback though!

Track 18: Lana Del Rey – Born To Die

Gorgeous atmosphere – really like this track.

Track 19: Little Mix – Cannonball

Pointless cover of the Damien Rice song (see Now! #80 review from yesterday) by the 2011 X Factor winners.  Thankfully Little Mix would go on to release much more interesting songs.

Track 20: JLS – Proud

Boring ballad, not keen.

Track 21: Military Wives and Gareth Malone – Wherever You Are

The Christmas number one for 2011 – a pretty tune from one of Gareth Malone’s TV choir projects.

Track 22: LMFAO – Sexy And I Know It

Hilarious song – this one’s a shameless pleasure!

Track 23: Flo Rida and Sia – Wild Ones

Double repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Flo Rida on track 8 and Sia on track 7.

The tune’s really irritating, bu the rap’s okay.

Track 24: Lady Gaga – Marry The Night

Good solid pop – great tune.

Track 25: Avicii – Levels

This is the Avicii song that Flo Rida was sampling on track 8; in turn, this track samples Etta James’ 1962 song Something’s Got A Hold On Me.  There’s some great hooks going on throughout.

Track 26: Pitbull and Chris Brown – International Love

Awful theme, awful song.

Track 27: Lloyd, André 3000 and Lil’ Wayne – Dedication To My Ex (Miss That)

Another bad theme, but I actually really like this song!  Just make sure to avoid the squicky explicit version.

Track 28: Sean Paul – She Doesn’t Mind

Good beat, good tune.  Really like this one.

Track 29: Taio Cruz – Troublemaker

The lyrics are sort of hilarious and terrible at the same time.  Could do with a bit more melody as well!

Track 30: Alexandra Burke and Erick Morillo – Elephant

Great theme, and it’s got a good beat.  The tune’s a little generic, though.

Track 31: Swedish House Mafia and Knife Party – Antidote

It’s very danceable, but there’s not enough of a memorable hook for me.

Track 32: Rizzle Kicks – When I Was A Youngster

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Rizzle Kicks on track 11.

The theme annoys me on this one, but the tune’s nice and feelgood.

Track 33: Stooshe and Travie McCoy – Love Me

Mid-century retro jazz-tinged song with Spice Girls-esque cackling interspersed throughout.  It’s not a bad tune.

Track 34: Gym Class Heroes and Neon Hitch – Get Yourself Back Home

‘Not on Spotify’ Type 2: YouTube Pause (TM).

I quite like the tune on the chorus, but the rest of the track is pretty dull.

Also, though I don’t class band/individual repetitions as a repeated artist, that’s two songs in a row with Travie McCoy’s vocals on.

Track 35: Rihanna – You Da One

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Rihanna on track 17.

This tune is a bit irritating to my ears – not a fan.

Track 36: Tinchy Stryder and Pixie Lott – Bright Lights

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Pixie Lott on track 13.

Bland, forgettable tune, and the rap’s nothing special.

Track 37: Cover Drive – Twilight

The tune’s pretty dull.  I’m sure I did like at least one of Cover Drive’s songs, but this wasn’t it.

Track 38: Alyssa Reid and Jump Smokers – Alone Again

Utterly appalling cover of Heart’s Alone, with a rap partway through it and new, terrible verses.  The original is special to me (partly because it was on the sacred tome that is Now! #10) and so I find this mess pretty offensive.

Track 39: Jessie J – Who You Are

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Jessie J on track 6.

Boring ballad with overblown vocals.  Not my thing.

Track 40: Chiddy Bang – Ray Charles

Good retro-sounding track – very noddable.

Track 41: will.i.am, Jennifer Lopez and Mick Jagger – THE (The Hardest Ever)

Fantastic track!  I love the atmosphere, the build, the melding of the three very different vocal styles.  Wonderful stuff.

Track 42: Dappy and Brian May – Rockstar

I’m a bit irritated that a legend like Brian May got roped into contributing to this very uninspired song.  The rap’s okay, but the tune’s really generic, and the theme is my least favourite: the whole ‘look, I’m rich and famous now, let me brag about it in a song!’ thing.  The brief guitar solo is, of course, epic.