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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Duran Duran Rio album review

In the Duran Duran community, Rio is classic.  Only comments of honorable praise follow.  Therefore, my review will be in kind.

On release in 1983, Rio ranked #6 on the U.S. Top Twenty.

The video for "Rio" landed Duran Duran in music history, perhaps leading to the quote,

"The band was a natural for music television" - Rolling Stone magazine

This video is colorful, vivid, unique, and coherent in one phenomenal package.  (If intrigued, a YouTube entry was posted earlier.)

In 1985, "Save A Prayer" (#8 on the album) ranked #16 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.

So here's my take.

1.  Rio - The song opens mysteriously with haunting synthesizers and keyboards.  Yet in this second, pace and tone are determined and soon vocals break out of the gate with the energy of a race horse.  The first word - not lyric or verse - is "Wow!".  As heard live, the sound, concluding a concert, does not let up until the band lets up - an incredible feat as both the band and audience are so consumed with energy that winding down such emotion is next to impossible.  This exact feeling is felt on the album, with "Rio" opening the cd set.

2.  My Own Way - Duran Duran lyrics are unique and at times cannot be explained.  This take makes Duran Duran.  This take makes them so loved by so many.  "My own way," however, comprises lyrics that do make sense.  Although not a personal favorite, I do like this song in that I am able to understand where the vocals are going.  Some rock songs follow beat and not lyrics.  "My own way" does both.

3.  Lonely In Your Nightmare - I love this song.  It is haunting in lyrics and tone but has an edge when the electric guitar comes in for a brief solo.  The words tell a story and draw me in every time.  "Because you're lonely in your nightmare let me in."  These words assure me that I am not alone in down times.

4.  Hungry Like The Wolf - I am not sure what to say about this song as most similar to "Rio," this song is classic Duran Duran.  The music video to "Hungry Like The Wolf" is likewise unique and fun.  The lyrics are fast and energetic, both recorded and live.  The tone reflects pure Duran Duran style, much the way "Rio" does.  I truly do not know how to review this song without simply saying "Hungry Like The Wolf" is classic to Duran Duran in all of the band's many ways - sound, tone, instrumentals, vocals, lyrics, and so on.

5.  Hold Back The Rain - I do not listen to this song often, so I have few comments.  I once listened to an interview featuring Nick Rhodes.  This song came up and I did learn that "Hold Back The Rain" was played for either a space shuttle launch or descent - the weather had been threatening storms.  I thought that was an interesting fact to learn (one of many I have come to take in over the years).

6.  New Religion - Oh my, "New Religion."  I like this song for how difficult it is to keep up with.  The layered vocals throughout appear so impossible to sing along to - does the listener keep pace with Simon Le Bon or, as heard live, with the guitarists backing him up?   This song opens mysteriously and somewhat slowly but gains incredible strength and energy half way through in nearly a surprise way.  Due to these reasons, "New Religion" tends to be, in my opinion, nervous making with the layered vocals and energy coming out of nowhere.  This song is a favorite in my household.  Indeed, for a band to speak to multiple generations. . .classic.

7.  Last Chance On The Stairway - I, quite personally, am not a fan of this one song.  I did, however, hear it performed live in May 2008 as part of an electronic set during the show.  I am sorry, but it wasn't a top favorite then, either.  The song is good, but does not attract me the way others do.

8.  Save A Prayer - If an avid listener (not necessarily a die-hard fan) cannot tell "Save A Prayer" from its opening instrumental without lyrics. . .This song is so purely Duran Duran that I would be surprised if it did not rank in the top of a fan's list.  The lyrics are beautiful and story-like.  The instrumental, however, is my preference, especially the sweet keyboard.  "Save A Prayer" seems to be a song with so many parts that can each stand alone and be amazing at the same time.  All components blend together perfectly.  I really. . .If "Ordinary World" were not my absolute favorite, "Save A Prayer" would rank first easily.

9.  The Chauffeur - Duran Duran and DD fans will think quite sorely of me, but I in all honesty. . .Oh boy. . .I do not like this song :( . . .The lyrics are okay and the sound is okay, but had I not seen the video as performed in the background in the Live from London concert dvd, I might feel differently.  In truth, I am not the greatest of fans of music videos.

So before I dig myself into a hole after my comments to "The Chauffeur," all I need to say is that Rio is simply classic.  The energy rides up and down.  The lyrics are catchy and some are adored by heart.  The instrumentals are unique and flawless.  For most of the songs on the album, as performed live they lose absolutely nothing in translation.  The album artwork is beautiful and stands alone in time.  In my opinion, Rio is a musical genius, in all thanks to the men behind it.

This is my review.  If interested in Rio, please consider the Amazon.com link below.

(Factual source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duran_Duran)

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