With a little bit of trepidation, I popped the retrospective collection of Duran Duran’s first ten years of hits into the CD player one night, only to come away from it with a reminder of how much I liked Duran Duran’s early stuff.
A lot of the material on Decade had the privelege of radio running it so far into the ground that it pierced the crust, rammed through the mantle, and continued playing right into the core of the planet. But with the benefit of time, hindsight and giving it a shot at an unbiased listen, it’s easy to see why – Duran Duran’s early singles were catchy as hell, loaded with new wave vibes, funky basslines, hard-edged guitar licks, and some of the best vocal harmonies anyone was doing in the early 80s. Period.
Naturally, the singles from Rio dominate the first half of the CD, but it was with “Is There Something I Should Know?” and “Union Of The Snake” that I was reminded of just how good Duran Duran could be when firing on all cylinders. Those songs are catchy enough to be repeat-track material. I still think Le Bon and company reached their apex with the Bond movie theme song “A View To A Kill”, which out of necessity (and tradition) elevated the production style to a slightly more epic level. I’ll probably get lynched by some McCartney fans for saying this, but it’s as good a Bond movie tune as “Live And Let Die” (in fact, upon further reflection, I think I like “A View To A Kill” better).
Sadly, what happened after that didn’t quite hold my attention.
The later songs didn’t grab me as much as their earlier efforts, with attempts to branch out in new directions. “Notorious” lived up to its name by just not doing it for me – it went into Chic-style territory that INXS had already more than adequately revisited by that time. Likewise, I always found the faux-jazzy “Skin Trade” irritating. “I Don’t Want Your Love” was almost a return to form, but almost made them sound like a boy band. “All She Wants Is” gets things back on track, so naturally the album ends there.
For all their attempts to reform and hit it big again, perhaps Duran Duran would do well to take a quick refresher course in how they made it into the spotlight in the first place – they’ve never gotten back to sounding this good.
- Planet Earth (4:07)
- Girls On Film (3:30)
- Hungry Like The Wolf (3:25)
- Rio (5:38)
- Save A Prayer (5:33)
- Is There Something I Should Know? (4:05)
- Union Of The Snake (4:20)
- The Reflex (4:25)
- Wild Boys (4:16)
- A View To A Kill (3:33)
- Notorious (3:58)
- Skin Trade (4:25)
- I Don’t Want Your Love (3:47)
- All She Wants Is (4:36)
Released by: Capitol
Release date: 1989
Total running time: 59:38