Okay, so my history with Duran Duran is a mishmash.
See this post on my early days with the band wherein I offer my first apology.
I have begun to dabble in the Duran Duran missing from my collection and have even more apologies for the band.
Recently, I bought “Duran Duran – Big Thing” and “Duran Duran – Notorious”
I was familiar with “Big Thing”and liked it, despite the cover, but felt like I was taking a chance on “Notorious”. It turned out to be good, surprisingly good. These 2 albums were the last of the 80’s and I figured this was my stopping point for vinyl.
I didn’t even realize that since “Duran Duran – Big Thing” album there have been 8 albums! Where have I been?
The boys had come a long way from this:
I figured after the albums that I had I was done. The rest of the Duran Duran catalog was likely to be a band struggling on when the fire was slowly dying.
Don’t worry, I’m getting to the apology.
I am not proud of it, but I based this solely on one album. I had sampled “Duran Duran – Thank You” which was a collection of covers and in my opinion… meh. There were a couple good songs, don’t get me wrong, but the rest was nothing that sounded like Duran Duran and not songs that I felt were essential. I would never play this one on the turntable side 1 to side 2 straight through.
I can be said of course that covers collections are generally doomed from the start. I mean I love David Bowie, but “David Bowie – Pinups” is my least favorite album for sure. “Rush – Feedback”? Nope. So perhaps judging Duran Duran on their foray into covers was, well… short sighted.
With the library at my fingertips, I decided one day to get the rest of the albums I was missing on CD. They came in a big batch, apparently no other holds on Duran Duran these days, and I ripped them for later. Maybe WAY later, let’s be honest.
However, they were sitting in a pile by the door and on my way out to drive to pick up the groceries that weekend I grabbed the CD on top of the pile to listen to while I drove. It was “Duran Duran – Paper Gods”. The image below is the cover folded open. No band name. No album name. Just these images.
If you read my post linked in this post you will read how I detested the cover of “Decade” their greatest hits package done by a well know artist. This one gave me the same feeling. Trash. Then I read the Wiki.
The album cover, designed by artist Alex Israel, is his 2013 painting titled, “Sky Backdrop”, that features icons that represent the band’s history. This includes lips and the eye painted by artist Patrick Nagel for their Rio album; also representing the Rio album is a chauffeur’s cap alluding to that record’s closing track “The Chauffeur”; a pink telephone, champagne glass and the saxophone representing the single “Rio“; a sumo wrestler representing their controversial video for “Girls on Film“; Duran Duran’s teeth are shown to be from “The Wild Boys“; the Eiffel Tower is a reference to the title song from the film A View to a Kill; a rocket from the greatest hits album, Decade; a silhouette of a female representing the single “Skin Trade“; an image of a tiger and a snake nodding to their third album Seven and the Ragged Tiger; a white shoe from the single cover and the music video of “Come Undone“; a stylized ice cream cone taken from their “Perfect Day” single. The deluxe physical copy of the record comes with sixteen stickers of Duran Duran iconography to mirror the album cover.
Okay fine. I get it. I have to admit, knowing that, it makes more sense and I can get past it. Sorry.
Then I popped it into the CD player (my car still has one) and started my drive.
The first song, “Paper Gods” starts out acappella and was not what I was expecting. I had to admit Simon’s voice was still smooth and awesome as ever. Then the bass kicked in. It was heavy in the mix and I loved it. The song was slow with jangly guitar in the background. Thump thump thump… I was loving it. Okay okay, maybe this album wouldn’t be as terrible as I was prepared for it to be.
Then came “Last Night In The City”. It started with a female vocal which scared me (sounded like Ke$ha), but actually worked, and then that bass kicked in again. It’s a dance floor anthem for sure, but damn it… it’s good!
“You Kill Me With Silence” is a slow burn with up front vocals. I found myself belting out the chorus with Simon throughout this song. Man. His voice is as strong as ever.
“Pressure Off” is the point where I realized -with sudden clarity- that this was not an 80’s new wave album, this was fully a contemporary dance club album, and I loved it. I suddenly envisioned myself awkwardly drunk dancing at a club with this music pumping, arms in the air and lights flashing and bodies moving.
“Face For Today” has a throwback sound, I swear I hear strains of an older Duran Duran song in it. It’s a solid song and at this point I was singing along and wishing my drive was longer.
Now we get to the song “Danceophobia”. This is a disco song, with a female spoken word bit in the middle. If I had listened to this song first I probably would not have even tried the rest, but, damn again. With the enthusiasm of the first songs… I have to admit, I was TOTALLY into it. It’s silly, but awesome.
The rest of the album is also great with “Change The Skyline” and “Butterfly Girl” standing out.
So what I thought was going to be an album of washed up drivel is actually fantastic. So again to Duran Duran I say… I’m sorry.
Now I need to go listen to the other 7 albums I have never heard.
I know… I know… don’t look at me like that Simon.
I said I was sorry.