If you can pick up this Parlophone pressing then do! One of the best sounding versions of this album on cd. Avoid the remaster like the plague! This pressing is sonically rich, with pronounced bass and clear treble. It also has 'To The Shore' included which many pressings unfortunately do not. An absolute winner!
Duran Duran's eponymous debut speaks volumes about their origins - and about their musical development. You can hear the influences of Bowie, Roxy Music, Disco and Punk but even at this early stage there was a uniqueness about their sound and style that set them apart from the New Romantics they are associated with. Like other DD albums there is a definite schism between what would have been Side 1 & Side 2 of the album (that means vinyl to you youngsters!). Girls On Film, one of their most enduring songs, is an obvious highlight, and Planet Earth which even uses the words 'New Romantic' in the lyrics is catchy and has aged better than some of its contemporaries. 'Careless Memories' has a darker edge to it and was only a minor hit in 1981 - I think the song really comes alive on an album like 'Arena' where it has a visceral energy somehow lacking on the original. Perhaps a better choice of single would have been 'Friends Of Mine' (apparently the line 'Georgie Davis is coming out' gave the song some play on the gay club scene!)or 'Sound Of Thunder' which really kick ass with their swirling synths and punchy guitars. The 'artier' more sombre songs show off the kind of songwriting and artistic range that bands now could only dream about. Bordering on pretentious perhaps but then again they were art students in the late 70's! 'Nightboat' is a fan favourite and even now it is strangely compelling. As another reviewer has commented, the video to this song is like a mini-movie with zombies etc long before Micahel Jackson released 'Thriller' - yet MJ is treated as the pioneer of video! 'To The Shore' is an ambient track you can chill out to - but contains one of the most bizarre lyrics I've ever heard 'gorging your sanhedralite'(!). I actually love 'Tel Aviv' which is the instrumental track. DD have released a couple of other instrumentals over the years such as 'Faith In This Colour' and the very wonderful 'Tiger Tiger' on the 7 & The Ragged Tiger album. But 'Tel Aviv' stands out for its unique sound. It has a very warm, Middle Eastern feel, even down to Simon's subtle muezzin-style vocals. I don't think any other music at that time, or any other time, sounded like this. As DD's career progressed, the tension between the 'Art' and the 'Roll' was not only their creative drive but also the force that drove them in different directions like 'Power Station' and 'Arcadia'. It's already there in this first album. This is an essential introduction to one of Britain's most unique and under-rated bands.
This is less a review of the music that surely needs no introduction but more a heads up that this version of the first album sounds better than the later 2003 issue and doesn't have the problem of the stop start intro that plagues the new (2010) remaster that may be fine for the bonus tracks plus DVD. Having spent many hours closely listening to four other versions (2003/2010/1985 Japan domestic and the Japanese issue for the UK) issued over the years has yet on comparison with to be beaten for sound quality and having the whole UK album present(the original disc CDP 7 46042-2 whilst sounding really good missed off To The Shore). Strongly recommended for anyone with good ears and high quality equipment.
This cd starts with "girls on film" which needs no introduction, and from there just gets better. Their first single "planet earth" is next, setting the scene for the excellent rythms to follow. I originally owned this on vynil, and when it first came out on cd the last track "tel aviv" (an excellent flowing instrumental) was removed to make way for "is there something i should know" which at that time was only on this cd - available on "Greatest" now now of course. listening on we come to darker and more aggresive lyrics in "careless memories" and "friends of mine" all tracks flow nicely and "night boat" is a highlight this tracks video with zombies etc preceded "thriller". all in all an excellent introduction to duran duran, and a great buy to hear their earlier work. the only thing stopping a 5 star rating s the omission of "my own way" single version which would have made a good add on to this disc. ENJOY!
Where do I begin to describe what it was like to discover Duran Duran, their music, the way they looked, their attitude, and the effect that they had (and continue to have) on me and my generation? Even seeing their album covers for the first time-they just looked so sophisticated and glamorous to me as a kid. Thankfully, the music here is equally exciting. Killer singles like Planet Earth and Girls on Film mingle with great ablum tracks like Is There Anyone Out There?, Sound of Thunder, and Friends of Mine, which could all have been singles in their own right. The fabulously pretentious To the Shore has also now been reinstated on the CD version. Unlike the pop groups of today-a bland 1950's regression, who seem to live in a vacuum, can't write their own songs, repeatedly sample and cover other people's tunes, and are told what to wear by so many stylists-Duran Duran were an intelligent, talented, multi-layered package that also provoked thought. They didn't just make great music-look deeper and follow the signs and you'll discover many more delights of pop culture, like their own musicial influences, art, books, design, photography, fashion and films-check out the references in Friends of Mine for starters. I've heard recently that the original fab 5 are back in the studio, making a new album together. Here's hoping that they can recapture some of the magic that made this and Rio, among others, classic pop albums that still sound so wonderful now.
Being a Yankie, I thought the only way I could own the original version of this album was to find the UK vinyl import. I am pleased that there is a cd version available with "To the shore" and without "is there something I should know" on it. "To the shore" is a wonderfully wierd song and I never understood why they took it off. It has such a wierd atmosphere about it, and the classic Andy Taylor guitar solo. The album is definately romantic sounding. Pretentious it maybe,but it works! There was something to this and "Dirk Wears white Socks" by Adam Ant, and I am sure the same could be said about other "new Romantic" albums from this era. The Arcadia album "So Red the Rose" slightly resembles this debut Duran album in it's mood and aesthetic vision. The frilly clothes and interesting color and design schemes for album and single covers especially. Rio is better produced and more "perfect" all around. This debut however, is more original and sophisticated. Had they stayed on this road they could have turned out to be a critics favorite. Instead they went on to make...The Reflex! To this day they seem largely loathed by critics. Even MTV named thsir video vanguard award after Michael Jackson (please). I do think in time they will get their due and this album will be a hipster favorite in the future, at least in the U.S.!
The first Duran Duran album, and delightfully dark, almost gothic. It still sounds different though. Nobody was this original, still nobody is. The great Planet Earth, and Careless Memories take me back 20 years (Am I REALLY that old?). The fabulous Night Boat (any John Taylor fan can't help but love the video). My favourite track has to be Sound of Thunder - that's where the sound of the Power Station came from. Totally original, totally brilliant, would still stand up today in the sad pop world.