You know who I love?
Well, clearly the title is a giveaway, but yeah, I fucking love Duran Duran. As I was sitting here, thinking about how it’s the 40th anniversary of the release of their debut album, I started thinking how Duran Duran just might be the best band to have come out of the 1980s.
Yeah, yeah, I hear people scoffing right now; I can almost see the U2 and R.E.M. fans rolling up their sleeves, ready to give me a shot to the head. Oh, and is that a horde of Metallica fans lining up ready to inflict some battery on me (see what I did there?)
Of course, music is subjective and my favourites are different from yours; and for the record, I love U2 and Metallica and still really like R.E.M. OK, you know what, let me amend my statement because “best”is a silly word. Duran Duran is ONE of the best bands to come out of the 1980s; there’s just something about the group that hits me in a different way than all the others.
Perhaps it’s because Duran Duran was the first band I ever loved; I was a little too young for that debut album to hit me in 1981, but I knew who the band was when I was just five years old and Rio was all over the CHUM 30 here in Toronto. I watched the videos for all the singles, and I sang along over the years to “Hungry Like the Wolf”, “Wild Boys”, “The Reflex”, and “A View To A Kill”. I was a child, they were my Beatles, and my love for them never really went away. To me, Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes, John Taylor and Roger Taylor (and yes, Andy Taylor too) were always super cool. Even when they weren’t to the rest of the world.
I’ve seen Duran Duran in amphitheaters and in small clubs; I think their 2010 album All You Need Is Now is one of the great albums of that decade (it made my list, natch) and their 2015 single “Pressure Off” is one of their best ever (there’s that word again, but fuck it, it’s true!) This is a band that, through hard times and trends, continued to push forward making music. And while they’re all strong musicians, the thing about Duran Duran is they truly are the sum of their parts.
Back to their debut album, 40 years young, and still sounding fresh and exciting to these ears. For all the new romantic and glam labels that the band found themselves attached to, Duran Duran was and remains a rocking band. None of those labels would matter without the songs, mind you, and their debut album has them – the knock-out one-two punch of “Girls on Film” and “Planet Earth”; the driving “Careless Memories”; this is a stellar debut album and one worth remembering today.
40 years later, Duran Duran isn’t resting on their laurels – they’ve got a new album called Future Past on the way in October, and they’ve already released its first single, “Invisible”. It looks to be a big year for the band, one that finds them looking forward, even if I needed to take a minute to look back.