Duran Duran: “Rio”
Secondhand Vinyl Album (Purchased at Last Stop CD Shop Sioux Falls, SD)
Original Release Date: 1982 Capitol Records
My Rating: (5 Stars)
My Own Way
Lonely In Your Nightmare
Hungry Like The Wolf
Hold Back The Rain
Last Chance On The Stairway
Save A Prayer
Have you ever had the urge to travel back in time? I ask, because this blogger experiences the urge at least once a week. Unfortunately, despite all the progress modern day technology has made in areas like cell phones and self-piloted automobiles, scientists still have not figured out how to time travel. At least I don’t believe they have. Until the, “powers that be,” decide to reveal this mystery to the general public the only way I can figure out how to travel back to let’s say…1982, is through music. It’s this blogger’s opinion that only perfect period piece albums like Duran Duran’s, “Rio,” are truly effective at doing this.
To state it simply the record, “Rio,” is a pristine representation of 1980’s pop culture. Heck, even this album's cover makes one feel like they’re sitting under a hairdryer at some Beverly Hills salon, circa 1984. Yep, this artwork alone hints at the subjects of excess and frivolity that dominated a decade often jaded by such topics.
Of course, I do have to admit that my attraction to Duran Duran’s music does not just revolve around my obsession with returning to the past. It would be dishonest of me not to share that I also have personal reasons for loving this album. Back in 1998, also known as my first year of college in Fargo, ND, I found myself to be a much more social person than I am today. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, often these social situations involved rampant partying with a delightfully rag-tag bunch of like minded misfits. Specifically, there was one male individual who would always show up at the same social functions I frequented. This person seemed to be a kind of mysterious, "loner type", who pretty much kept to himself, despite the fact that he was ALWAYS AROUND. As a result of his wallflower behavior, I probably would’ve never recognized his presence had it not been for his appearance. I mean, the man had frosted teased hair and wore button down shirts, collar always popped, paired with preppy blazers! I take back my earlier statement about time travel. He too was an instant time warp back to 1982. My friends and I never learned this rather odd individual’s name. However, throughout the years we dubbed him, “Duran Duran.” I will never forget the night we found ourselves finally new residents of Minneapolis. A friend and I had gone to a bar in order to celebrate our successful move to the city when we looked up and she said something like, “No frigging way! There’s Duran Duran!”
I guess it’s not surprising I have a strong affinity for this album. Apparently, so did the rest of the country considering the success Duran Duran experienced during their career. The album, "Rio," kicks off with its’ title track. This song showcases Duran Duran’s exceptional talent in synth and bass music. In addition to the crystal clear vocals of lead singer, Simon Le Bon, this particular song also features an awesome sax solo that screams, “We’ve returned to 1982, so pop that collar kid and get out the Aqua Net because it may be windy on the deck of the yacht!” Uh yeah, there’s just that much excess.
Interestingly enough, the theme of 80’s excess continues in the smash hit, “Hungry Like The Wolf.” Here highly suggestive, almost savage, lyrics are mixed with pure pop fun. Upon actually reading these lyrics for the first time this blogger couldn’t help but wonder what a metal band could create with them. (Someone please contact Type O Negative right now because I think I just thought of their next genius cover song.)
Other notable aspects of the album, “Rio,” include Duran Duran’s ability to successfully introduce the guitar in songs like, “Lonely In Your Nightmare,” and, “New Religion.” Again, considering the year was 1982 and artistry did not seem to be a priority for some musicians back then, I was pleased to realize this band possessed some talent regarding more instruments than just the synthesizer.
Lastly, I initially suspected my favorite song on the album, “Rio,” would be, “Save A Prayer,” considering I've always loved it’s hypnotic synths and devilish lyrics. However, I was pleasantly surprised that my favorite piece turned out to be, “The Chauffeur.” I will state this song doesn’t seem to fit the theme of the rest of this album. Here Duran Duran seems to abandon the 1980’s pop feel completely and opt for a more 1970’s abstract, progressive rock, feel. Doesn’t it just figure that the moment I finally make it back to 1982 I decide it would be cooler to experience 1978?