Thursday, July 28, 2011

Music

For those of you who followed this blog initially because you wanted to see setting related stuff: I'm sorry, I haven't posted anything like that in quite a while. During a conversation with my boss yesterday, I mentioned that with all the stuff I've had happen at work lately, I was feeling kinda beat down, and she concurred that she noticed that. This kind of mental exhaustion due to things going on completely outside of my setting design activities has left me with precious little energey left to spend on things like... well, setting design. Or novel writing. Both of which require more mental acuity than I'm left with after an exhausting day of work followed by an often exhausting evening at home until the kids go to bed. Which during the summer, quite frankly, isn't all that much earlier than I go to bed.

And I won't do any setting design today, either... or at least not in the this post. Better not box myself in just in case inspiration strikes later in the day, huh?

My library apparently did a rush job of processing Jim Butcher's Ghost Story, which was just released on Tuesday and was ready for me to pick up on Wednesday late morning (I had the first hold on it--although I think our library ordered three copies.) I actually didn't start it yesterday; in fact, I feel a little bit intimidated by it, because I know that once I start, it will probably grab me around the throat and not let go until I'm done. Most of the rest of the Dresden Files books have done so, anyway.

So... I can't talk about that until I finish it either. I said last time that I was done with superheroes for a while, and that's true. While I'm still getting some graphic novels and compilations from the library, I'm in some cases just skimming through them, and honestly not really "in the mood" anymore. Instead, I'll talk about the music I've been listening to.

Yeah, it's old music. Yeah, it's 80s music. A couple of years ago, curiously at about the same time, Duran Duran and Ultravox both released all new digital remasters of their "classic line-up" albums (which for both was in the first half of the 80s). For Ultravox, I bought all four double CD issues, which include the original UK track order, and then a second disk of remixes, b-sides, and live performances. I couldn't really care less about the live performances, but most of the rest of the stuff is pretty cool.

For Duran Duran, curiously, buying their three CD reissues doesn't give you everything from their classic years. The song "Is There Something I Should Know?" which was associated with the reissue of their first album in the US is actually available on the second disc of their third album (which chronologically is where it fits anyway), but "Wild Boys" and "View to a Kill" aren't available at all. So, for Duran Duran, I didn't rebuy the first three albums. I have old CDs of all three, which are the original UK line-ups and mixes of the songs, but really what you need for Duran Duran is the Greatest Hits CD or the multidisc The Singles: 81-85 collection. And Rio is one of the best albums ever made, so it needs to be picked up in its digital remaster 2-disc special edition version. Sadly, that kind of makes portions of the Greatest Hits CD obsolete. But collecting classic line-up Duran Duran just doesn't seem to be quite as "clean" as doing so for Ultravox.

I take that back; with the capability of buying individual songs as mp3 downloads from Amazon, you can do it that way, I suppose. Create your own CDs almost. That way you can add the crucial non-album hits as needed, and just make sure that they're in there.

Because they were released at about the same time originally, and digitally remastered at about the same time, and because I bought them at the same time, and because they were both New Romantic hitsters (in the UK, anyway) at about the same time, I've always kind of associated Duran Duran classic line-up and Ultravox classic line-up together. And there's a lot of good reasons for doing so. But they also had a number of significant differences.

First, Duran Duran managed to find the key to cracking into the American market and became big hit monsters over on our side of the Atlantic as well as in the UK and Germany. Ultravox never did, and although they had releases here, they were very obscure. When I first heard of Ultravox several years after the fact, well... it was when I first heard of them. During their heyday, they were strictly a European thing. Given that they had some pretty nifty music videos of their own, I'm not quite sure why that is, but it remains so anyway.

Ultravox also wasn't nearly so imagey as Duran Duran. During Duran Duran's peak, they were as much about style and being teen idols as anything else; which I think kind of irked and annoyed them, but there it was. Before the megahits started rolling out, I think Duran Duran figured they'd be a niche art-rocker type band, and they envisioned themselves being much more serious rather than gracing the covers of teen heart throb magazines. This, however, was exactly where Ultravox did remain. Maybe it's because the band members were a little older, maybe its because they weren't quite as "cute", maybe it's because they didn't dress nearly as flamboyently, or maybe it's because their music was just a bit darker and more serious in tone sometimes, but Ultravox remained what Duran Duran initially envisioned for themselves.

1 comment:

Joshua said...

Curiously, after looking at the tracklist for Lament, I'm reminded that "Love's Great Adventure" isn't on it. So, I'm missing a classic song there too. Although I have that on my old Collection CD anyway.