Letâ€™s just ask the obvious question: how the hell did this song become a hit?
This is not to say that the song is awful so much as itâ€™s really, really lucky. In the spring of 1986, with America still in the throes of Duranmania, bassist John Taylor â€“ who had admitted that he had not so much as burped on a record before â€“ teamed up with Jonathan Elias (he would go on to co-produce the bandâ€™s 1988 album Big Thing) to deliver the sexy for Adrian Lyneâ€™s 9 Â½ Weeks. The song, â€œI Do What I Do,â€ is an odd little tune â€“ sounding nothing like Duran or the side projects Arcadia and the Power Station â€“ but it had two huge things working in its favor: it was the work of a member of Duran Duran, and it was the work of a member of Duran Duran. Simply put, if â€œI Do What I Doâ€ had been recorded by any other singer, and released at that or any other time, it would have sunk like a stone.
Again, this is not to say that the song itself is awful (the writer doth protest too much, methinks), but letâ€™s be frank â€“ there ainâ€™t much to it. The vocal covers about six notes, the lyricsâ€™ attempts to be steamy are unintentionally funny (â€œIs my body heat the right intensity,â€ gawd), and while it possesses the components of a song â€“ verse, chorus, bridge, solo, etc. â€“ itâ€™s not much of a song. But itâ€™s from a member of Duran Duran! The cute one that plays the bass thingy! Eeeeeeeeeee!
And there you have it. The song becomes a Top 25 single, and an obligatory 12â€ single is issued to relieve teenage girls around the world of the last of their babysitting money. The direction for the extended mix appears to have been: make the song even less danceable than it already is. John doesnâ€™t get to the first verse until after the four-and-a-half minute mark. What happens up until that point? A whole lot of stop-starting with a sax riff, some vocal snippets â€“ and I do mean snippets â€“ and a wall of electronic percussion. You might, might, be able to dance dirty (or have sex) to the album version. Try to seduce a girl with this mix, and sheâ€™ll suffer a grand mal seizure.
The publicâ€™s love for all things Duran Duran would last for another six to eight months after the release of â€œI Do What I Do,â€ which, as it turned out, was long enough for another Taylor â€“ guitarist Andy â€“ to score a solo hit of his own, the T. Rex-cribbing â€œTake It Easy.â€ Duran would reform that fall â€“ minus Taylors Andy and Roger â€“ and release their fourth album Notorious, but after the title track climbed to #2, the little girls had clearly moved on. After all, how else do you explain â€œI Do What I Doâ€ and â€œTake It Easyâ€ coming within armâ€™s reach of the Top 20, while â€œSkin Tradeâ€ â€“ one of the bandâ€™s best singles ever â€“ spent one lonely week in the Top 40, peaking at #39? Here, you be the judge. For your listening pleasure, we give you both the â€œFinal Cutâ€ mix of â€œI Do What I Doâ€ (are you absolutely, positively sure this is the final cut?), and the â€œStretchâ€ mix of â€œSkin Trade,â€ mixed by the late, legendary New York disco DJ Larry Levan. But first, revel in the glory that is John Taylor in a dark movie theater, singing. Funny, whenever I do that, people throw things at me. Must be because Iâ€™m not as cute as John is. But really, who is?
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