Category: Duran Duran

Duran Duran – Seven and the Ragged Tiger

ARTIST: Duran Duran         220px-Seven_And_The_Ragged_Tiger

TITLE:  Seven and the Ragged Tiger

YEAR RELEASED: 1983

CHART ACTION: #8 US, #1 UK

SINGLES: Union of the Snake (#3 US, #33 US Dance, #2 US Rock, #3 UK), New Moon on Monday (#10 US, #4 US Rock, #9 UK), The Reflex (#1 US, #15 US Dance, #35 US Rock, #1 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: (I’m Looking For) Cracks in the Pavement

LINEUP: Nick Rhodes, Simon Le Bon, Andy Taylor, Roger Taylor, John Taylor. Andy Hamilton contributed saxophone.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: First album post-international stardom moves a lot of product, and that’s about the extent of the praise it received.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The first thing you notice about this record is the production –as in over-produced. Unlike the previous albums, Duran Duran didn’t let the songs breathe in their dance/funk glory – they added a lot of overdubs and tricks and noises. For a good reason – they were missing hooks and excitement.

The hooks are sparse on this album. The choruses of the hits are about it, and the “Reflex” barely counts. The work of the Taylor trio is hidden by the keyboards and production, which is a shame and puts too much emphasis on LeBon and Rhodes. OK, there’s one instrumental, but it focuses on saxophone, which is odd.

Maybe it’s a case of the men not knowing but the little girls understanding? It made bank, but it’s slight and disappointing. I thought that in 1983, and still think it today.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The band supposedly had trouble coming up with the songs. No, really? Oh, and the album title means the band + the two managers gaining success. Whatever, Simon.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, a bundle of b-sides and remixes. Worthless, except for “Is There Something I Should Know” which was put here on the deluxe re-issues..

GRADE: C-: The filler is filler, the hits aren’t good. They got derailed here.

Duran Duran – Rio

ARTIST: Duran Duran 220px-DuranRio

TITLE:  Rio

YEAR RELEASED: 1982

CHART ACTION: #6 US, #2 UK

SINGLES: My Own Way (#14 UK), Hungry Like the Wolf (#3 US, #36 Dance, #1 US Rock, #5 UK), The Chauffer, Save a Prayer (#5 UK), Rio (#14 US, #5 US Rock, #9 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: New Religion

LINEUP: Simon LeBon, Nick Rhodes, John Taylor, Andy Taylor, Roger Taylor

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Worldwide smash album (immediately everywhere but the US, but we finally.came around thanks to MTV) makes stars of the band, and the album holds up even to this day.

 SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Before the backlash, Duran Duran was considered a MTV success, a formerly unknown band that straddled genres and refreshed radio playlists. Which is all true. The non-brothers Taylor were a great funky backing band, and the songs were danceable with hooks and had enough rock element to please AOR (as seen with the chart performance on the rock charts).

Even the slower cuts work, with “Save a Prayer” and “The Chauffer” resembling like late-period Roxy Music. The issues are Rhodes’ keyboards, which burble and wash like a good 80’s keyboard but at times work against the Taylors’ efforts, and LeBon’s lyrics. Even my favorite cut (“New Religion”) is weighed down with nonsense. Basically, a lot of philosophy for struggling young hipsters in the place of insight are throughout the record.

This does hold up, even to this day. The backlash wasn’t warranted, yet.

NOTES & MINUTAE: MTV broke the band finally, but at first they were marketed as a New Romantic band and then the record company changed it to a dance band. The band had some dance remixes done and re-released the vinyl with those mixes in place of the original mixes. When this was released on CD, the original UK mixes were used.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION:  Yes – the latest has those dance mixes that were on the second US vinyl release, with demos and live cuts.

GRADE: A-: Most of this works and works well. Just a few stumbles on lyrics and the darn Nick Rhodes keyboard sound.

Duran Duran – Duran Duran

ARTIST: Duran Duran                     220px-Duran1st

TITLE: Duran Duran

YEAR RELEASED: 1981

CHART ACTION: #10 US, #3 UK

SINGLES: Planet Earth (#12 UK, #26 US Dance), Careless Memories (#37 UK, #76 US Dance), Girls on Film (#5 UK, #26 US Dance, #19 US Rock)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: You may have a version with Is There Something I Should Know (#1 UK, #4 US, #3 US Rock, #34 US Dance)

LINEUP: Simon LeBon, Nick Rhodes, Andy Taylor, John Taylor, Roger Taylor

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: First record from the stylish UK New Wave band that started a worldwide sensation – it just took a couple of years to land here in the US.

 

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The backbone of Duran Duran are the Taylors (they’re not related). At their best they are a good copy of Chic. They know their funk and dance moves and grooves. However, a lot of the songs on this debut is more textural and not fitting with a pure dance and funk groove. Girls on Film is their shining moment – that cut COOKS because of the Taylors.

LeBon has limitations as a vocalist and lyricist but the singles cover them up pretty well with the hooks and the funk. Rhodes loves to layer songs with keyboard washes and burbles – sometimes they get in the way.

Even when I first got this album back in the day, I thought half of it was pretty good, and the other half was OK. I haven’t changed my mind.

NOTES & MINUTAE: The initial US release dropped a track, and used an extended mix of Planet Earth. In 1983, they re-released it with Is There Something I Should Know and also used the original version of Planet Earth. Now, the streaming copy is the original UK version and Is There Something I Should Know is now just on a compilation.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION:  Yes. It’s full of B-sides, dance mixes (which kind of lose what made Planet Earth and Girls on Film really good), demos and BBC cuts. Some are good, but a couple really ‘show off’ LeBon’s vocal issues.
GRADE:  B: There’s nothing bad enough on the original album that should be tossed, and Girls on Film raises the record up a notch. It’s that good of a song.