Category Archives: MTV

#93 … SPB’s Top 100 Records

#93 “The Reflex” Duran Duran

“Every little thing the reflex does leaves you answered with a question mark…” goes the closing line of Duran Duran’s first Number 1 single in the US. They could have been talking about many of their songs’ lyrics when they wrote that line. And yet in 1984, Duran Duran was the very height of state-of-the-art MTV pop, consumer goods for a consumer age, selling sex and style to a generation of teens who wanted their British crossovers as cute as their parents’ did twenty years before, only this time the mascara was darker, the blush was brighter, and the designer shirts were tighter. Other British bands got more critical kudos—after all, these guys couldn’t be real musicians, could they?; they were the boys who frolicked on yachts and ran through jungles in all their video glory. But as ruthless as the critics were to DD, the Durannies understood: these guys wrote some sturdy songs, ready-made for radio and, as necessary to the times, video, too. (One way to gauge the solid musicianship of DD is this: upon hiatus after this album, half the guys teamed up with Robert Palmer and Chic’s Tony Thompson to form Power Station as the other half got peeps like Sting to appear on their Arcadia album. None of those artists needed Duran Duran for sales or hipness credibility.)“The Reflex” came off the lush Seven and the Ragged Tiger album, following great singles like “Union of the Snake” and “New Moon on Monday.” But the version of the song that exploded was remixed by super-producer/disco-architect Nile Rodgers, a perfect choice for the band. He brought out the ruthlessly dance-y dynamics of DD’s keyboard/bass mix and created a sonic pleasure zone around the boys that matured them just enough without losing their pop-tartness, yet also gave them a muscular-enough sound that made the music absolutely undeniable. There’s a reason this became DD’s first US #1: guys got into the groove and supplemented all the girl-love the guys had depended on for years. Blending Bowie’s way with a cut-and-paste nonsense lyric (that always, nonetheless, made rhythmic sense) with Bryan Ferry’s fussily contoured style warrior pose, Duran Duran made music for the masses that made the masses feel like they were sipping Champagne rather than C&C Cola. Dancing to Duran Duran was like going to the popular kids’ party, where the right clothes and the right touch of “class” meant you were part of the in-crowd. “The reflex” may have been, according to the lyric, “an only child who’s waiting in the park, in charge of finding treasure in the dark,” and Simon Le Bon may have been singing about how he “sold the Renoir and the TV set”—none of which made any actual sense in the world I was living in. But damn if it didn’t sound incredible and get me shaking me my ass while I wore my Walkman all over the place. And the video was a teen-dream in 1984: that waterfall blew kids’ minds…!

Listen to it here:

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Filed under MTV, music, Top 100 Records

MONDAY: Boys (Still) Behaving Badly…

Quote of the Day: “I don’t like this groove/Try and give me something I can croon to…” “Nasty Girl” by Vanity Six

No comment on Chris Brown, and the “accident” that prevented Rihanna from being at the Grammys last night. I’ll comment on that at a later date. Don’t sleep…

That said, let’s get to something fun, something strange, and something hilariously stereotypical to start our Monday…

Remember those hunky Marines doing that funny/sexy/sorta awkward Cha-Cha thing last week? Well, apparently their Army counterparts are trying to one-up their seafaring friends. Apparently the Army guys’ slogan must be Simper Fedelis, from what I can tell by this video making the Internet rounds. (For the record, I used to LOVE “Don’t Stop Believin’”…Now, with The Sopranos using it in the finale (clip here), and this…it seems like everybody’s favorite cheesy rock ballad. Or, at least, everyone’s sorta coming out the closet about loving it…) 

Are these guys for real? Maybe they should have been singing Styx’s “Too Much Time on My Hands”…?

Okay, so male strippers/porn star couple Jordan and Aden Jaric fly into Boston to do a show at a local club. They’re important. They’re expected. They’re necessary to the cultural life of any city, right? They even have a blog…So what do they get? A police escort, apparently. And a local patrolman is in hot water. Don’t ask, don’t escort…Watch the news story below:

And then there’s The Real World, MTV’s long-running soap of ambitious, angsty twentysomethings who manage to have sex on the brain and yet seem to have no brains in their heads. That’s an amazing physical feat, isn’t it? Anyway, in this clip from the current season, which takes place in Brooklyn USA, a Mormon guy seems fascinated by the Latino guy’s use of Magnum condoms—but it’s what the other white kid says, straight-faced and plain-spoken, that got to me. (Thanks to M for sending me this; To M: No I’m not sad I wrote a book called HUNG, and all the “hung” stuff I get in the mail as a result of it…and no, I never get tired about hearing about the fascination so many white dudes have for colored cock…it makes me laugh!)

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Filed under "Don't Stop Believin'", Chris Brown, HUNG, MTV, Rihanna, The Real World