Feb 1 2022

Album Review: Duran Duran – Rio (#MWE)

Rio is considered Duran Duran’s magnum opus, and now that I’ve finally heard it for myself, I wholeheartedly agree. The album is a near-perfect transition from the band’s New Romantic bona fides to the full-on new wave hedonism that was taking hold. When fanatics of this period (read: me) say the 1980s was a great decade for music, we’re talking about shit like this.

Out of the many, many acts that cropped up during this time, Duran Duran probably had one of the more polished approaches to the sound, and their sharp looks and stylish visuals helped them rise to the top of MTV rotation. As is evident throughout Rio, vocalist Simon Le Bon’s confident yelp is paramount to Duran Duran’s distinction from their peers, as are Andy Taylor’s riffs.

But for my money, the backbone of the band is John Taylor’s workmanlike approach. The title track in particular reinforces this, as Rio dances across the Rio Grande to boisterous bass lines, alongside sprinting synths from Nick Rhodes and a sexy sax solo from session player Andy Hamilton. The band knows their way around a hook and an infectious dance beat, as is the case on lead single “My Own Way,” featuring shuffling percussion courtesy of Roger Taylor. (None of the Taylors are related, which is an interesting thing about Duran Duran that doesn’t get talked about nearly enough.)

Then there’s the immortal “Hungry Like the Wolf,” an eternal jam primarily because of that “doo doo doo” hook that carries the verses to infectious heights. The vibe is similar throughout; even deep cuts like “Hold Back the Rain” and “New Religion” are irresistibly danceable jams.

The album is a bit front-loaded, but Side 2 is hardly skippable. The party slows down and draws to a close with the more subdued “Save a Prayer” and “The Chauffeur.” Initially I was disappointed by this change of pace, but these final songs actually function well and mix things up, keeping the listener fairly engaged over nine tracks. What is consistent, however, is the energy; it’s clear the band is having fun, which only adds to the staying power of this classic album. It sounds like 1982, no question, but that’s hardly anything to complain about.

Score: 8/10

Jun 9 2010

More Random Videos From the 80’s

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Apr 23 2010

My Top 100 Songs of 2009 – 70-61

Today I continue my ten-part series showcasing my personal picks for the best songs of last year.

70. Miley Cyrus – Party In the USA

“Seriously?”  Yes, dude, seriously.  You know why people hate this song?  Because Miley sings it.  That’s the only reason.  Any other reason and you have no soul.  Why?  Have you listened to this song?  It’s fucking awesome.  Seriously.  And Hannah Montana had nothing to do with its awesomeness.  That crunchy bass line?  That banging beat?  And the melody is pop gold.  I mean, it’s not like Miley had anything to do with the songwriting and production – she didn’t.  She just sings.  And the Auto-Tune makes her sound like sweet, sweet candy.  Seriously. So stop pretending like you don’t love this song just because 14-year-old girls do, too.  They’re not always wrong.  Sponge Bob is still awesome.

For those of you still willing to lie and say you hate this song, and you don’t crank it when no one’s looking, nodding your head like yeah, moving your hips like yeah, let me ask you this: do you even like music? Seriously.

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