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.

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