Category Archives: duran duran

Lost Hits of the New Wave #5

“Save a Prayer” by Duran Duran.

When it comes to the New Wave, Duran Duran is one of the major names that comes up. Pretty Boy Five were superstars in the early 1980s, and “Rio” is debatably one of their greatest albums. For many of us in that time and place, “Save a Prayer,” officially the third single from that LP, could be considered our “Stairway to Heaven.”

Like many songs from UK acts in those days, the US didn’t get stuff until much later. By the time “Save a Prayer” was released here, we’d all heard it a million times on college radio. It didn’t matter, we still loved it, and amazingly the tune holds up wonderfully today. The video was beautifully shot by film director Russell Mulcahy in Sri Lanka.

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New Old New Romantic

Some folks might say that Duran Duran has used up their share of comebacks. Every time the powers that be might think that they’re has-beens or far too old to be in the business, they pop back up. They’ve done it with previous releases like “Notorious,” “Big Thing” the so-called ‘Wedding Album,’ and “Thank You.”

And here they are again. The new album, Red Carpet Massacre, was released earlier this month, and again represents a change in sound while still retaining that trademark vintage DD vibe. This time the Pretty Boy Five, sans Andy Taylor, recruited new blood like Justin Timberlake and Timbaland to write and produce.

There was to be a new album called “Reportage,” fifteen tracks worth say the rumors, but when Andy Taylor parted ways with the boys, for what has been termed ‘irreconcilable differences,’ they set aside the material he was part of and continued on with Timberlake and Timbaland. DD continue with Dominic Brown on guitar.

Now while I can’t say I’m all that impressed with the single, “Falling Down,” which almost recalls an electronic ghost of “Ordinary World,” the rest of the album is superb. “She’s Too Much” which is to “Come Undone” what the above song tries to do, but it succeeds on its own, the echo only accentuating the sound. Similarly, “Box Full o’ Honey” wants to be “Save a Prayer” but remains original as well.

The funk comes out to play with the best tracks on the disc, “Nite Runner”, “Skin Divers” and the title tune. These are the most Timb-affected songs on the album and come off quite well. “Skin Divers” has all the magic realism lyrics of the original Duran Duran days and “Nite Runner” is my favorite by far.

I think “Red Carpet Massacre” is a critical triumph even if it doesn’t make its way to the top of the charts. Don’t call it a comeback, it’s just Duran Duran holding on to their new romantic roots, while continuing to evolve. Great stuff!