Sunday, June 02, 2013


Duran Duran’s burnished New Romantic pop gloss manifested itself perfectly in their sophomore album, 1982’s ‘Rio’, arguably the original line-up’s most artistically realised (and commercially successful) effort. The main attraction of ‘Rio’ lies in its deft combination of copious melodic hooks, pristine production values and astonishingly focused songwriting, all working together to coalesce into one cohesive whole.

All the sleek, essential Duran Duran aesthetics are present and accounted for in its chart-scaling singles: the stylish, poised ‘Hungry Like the Wolf’, with its bubbling synth washes and spiky guitar pulses; the sexily insistent ‘Rio’, with its brilliant anthemic chorus and skittering sequencer patterns; and ‘Save a Prayer’, a rather melodramatic tale of a one-night stand, embellished by a circular synth figure and a rare, sympathetic Simon Le Bon vocal.

Lesser-known album tracks like the brooding Goth-rock facsimile ‘Lonely in Your Nightmare’, the tightly wound dance-rocker ‘Hold Back the Rain’ and the slow-crawling, highly foreboding tone poem ‘The Chauffeur’ are also notable in their own ways. Despite the expected contemptuous derision from certain quarters, 'Rio' remains resonantly atmospheric and dangerously captivating, even after all these years.


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