Tag Archives: Duran Duran

Earworm of the Day — Come Undone by Duran Duran

First things first, let me just say that I am not a very big Duran Duran fan. I always found their big hits “Hungry Like the Wolf,” “Girls on Film” and “Rio” sort of overly bombastic and crude with Simon Le Bon’s vocal stylings lacking in nuance and modulation, almost but not quite shout-singing. And the lyrics are, frankly, dumb. If their MTV-fueled success was groundbreaking for the music video era and helped usher in the New Romantic movement here in the States — they were nicknamed the “Fab Five” at one point, for gods’ sakes — well, I have to say I much prefer the music of non-New Romantics like the Cure, The Smiths, Big Country, Echo & The Bunnymen and New Order, to name but a few of their contemporaries. Also there’s just something so time-specific about Duran Duran, from their very pretty ur-80s fashion sense to the Patrick Nagel cover art, that you can practically smell the Drakkar Noir wafting off their videos.

That said you’ve got to give the devil his due. Duran Duran did make extremely catchy singles and once in a while they could come up with a real beauty. Such is the case with the stunning “Come Undone” from 1993, quite late in their heyday.

One of the standout tracks along with “Ordinary World” from the band’s major comeback effort, The Wedding Album, “Come Undone” features gorgeous production, sinuous hooks and sophisticatedly mysterious lyrics. Le Bon’s vocal effort is also much improved 10 years on as he embraces an appealing Bryan Ferry by way of Micheal Hutchence croon. In fact the whole song does resemble one of INXS’s moodier ballads with the angular edges sanded off. Add to that a bevy of typically seductive Duran Duran hooks like a desperately sexy, helium voiced female vocal (“Can’t ever keep from falling apart at the seams”) replying to Le Bon’s darkly charged overtures (“Blow me into cry” indeed) and a well done arty video in an aquarium with crossdressing appeal and you come up with a Duran Duran hit that even a hater like me can love. And play on repeat, for that matter.

What We’re Listening To – The Best of Roxy Music

(Album cover for Roxy Music’s “Country Life” featuring Constanze Karoli & Eveline Grunwald)

Roxy Music need no introduction, but here’s one anyway… Founded in 1971 and led by the inimitable Bryan Ferry, the band have been hugely influential on multiple genres of music spanning several generations. I mean really, how many groups or individual performers can you think of that were simultaneously influencing punk bands like the Sex Pistols and pop acts like Duran Duran? Their musical range and originality still influence artists 40 year later.

They put out several great records between 1972 and 1982, all but one of which featured album art made up of super-hot supermodels in various costumes, becoming a trademark feature of the band’s image. Individually they’re all pretty solid albums, but for my tastes the best overall Roxy Music album is actually “The Best of Roxy Music”, released in 2001. A lot of “best of” records seem to fall short, suffering from bad decision making or publishing copyright issues that seem to always leave one or two great songs off of the list. However, “The Best of Roxy Music”Β  shines from start to finish. It is a great introduction to the band as well as a great go-to record for devoted fans. Check out the weird but genius, “Mother of Pearl” or the hard driving pop masterpiece, “Virginia Plain”. Or tune out the world and listen to the sugary sweet ballad, “Oh Yeah.” It’s all good stuff so you can’t go wrong. Get the album on iTunes, or on Amazon right here. Unfortunately this record isn’t available on vinyl, but write your Congressman and cross your fingers…you never know. And of course, if you really can’t bring yourself to buy a compilation record there’s also a great box set, including every studio album the band made. Happy listening!