Thursday, October 27, 2011

Stay Wilder Than the Wind

Detail from the cover of Duran Duran's "Medazzaland" album (1997)

Popular music of the early 1980s forms the kernel of appreciation from which all my subsequent musical interests grow, regardless of genre, style, or era. Though I rarely stop to listen to the tunes of 1983 or '84, they insinuated their way into my youthful psyche and early aesthetic development with so durable an influence that I can "hear" the music "on call" within my imagination.

It was the convergence of sound and vision in the medium of music videos that made these memories so strong. I must have spent countless hours watching MTV or the local video show hosted by Richard Blade, spellbound by the exotic places, beautiful people, and entrancing melodies. Perhaps the most compelling performers in perfecting the union of music and image were the British New Wave group, Duran Duran.

I wasn't a fan of Duran Duran back in the day. Their music was distinctive and well-crafted, but a few of their songs got so overplayed that it turned me off of their sound for a while. Even now, when I hear "Rio" or "The Reflex" I have a mixture of enthusiasm and loathing. Happily, time has allowed me to lift my vague antipathy from their music as a whole, opening up a rich catalog of three decades worth of quality compositions, songs that carry that original "new romantic" spirit with ever increasing sophistication and maturity.

Detail from Patrick Nagel's cover art for "Rio" (1982)

And so let's take the birthday of lead singer, Simon Le Bon, for an excuse to give a listen to some wonderful songs from the greatest British band of the early '80s. "Voices, another sound, can you hear me now?" ;-)

I could fill up hours of vids, but here are nine of my favorites.

The Chauffeur (1982): Not Safe for Work - nudity

Skin Trade (1987)

Serious (1990)

Come Undone (1993)


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