The word special has started to have two meanings of late. The first being its original intention, which was to praise or make reference to a talent or gift. However, with kids being cruel, the term special is also handed out as an insult, invariably meaning the complete opposite of its original meaning. So the burning question around Duke Special is just what kind of special are we talking about here?
The opening few bars sound so much like the intro to Wings 'Jet' that Maccas lawyers must have been rubbing their hands in glee, perhaps thinking a new source of royalties income would stave off Heather Mills latest settlement claims but quickly the track sidles off into a jaunty little piano riff giving way to some downbeat vocals.
By the time the chorus comes, its got a grand rise, almost more made for a musical as opposed to the Top 40 but its quite theatrical and works quite well. Its hard to say if an album of material like this would be satisfying to listen to but as a single, its likeable. Even repeated plays do little to diminish the warmth on show, no matter the nagging feeling that all the individual bits have been stolen from other sources. Its fairer to say it's the mark of a good song that it can feel so familiar on first listen and the horn and string additions add a nice vibrancy to proceedings.
So yes, if any use of the word Special should be allocated to 'Last Night I Nearly Died (But I Woke Up Just In Time)' it should definitely be its original meaning.