Duran Duran
Rio


3.5
great

Review

by Major Tom CONTRIBUTOR (139 Reviews)
April 24th, 2011 | 29 replies


Release Date: 1982 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Oh Rio, Rio, do we really need to dance on your sand?

Pop is a fickle business. Something that was ‘in’ one moment can suddenly become ‘out’ the next, and bands that found themselves resting easy at the summit of the charts can be knocked off quicker than a tower of tin cans on a carnival game, where the thrower is young bachelor desperate to impress his date by winning her the biggest and best prize. Pop is disposable; of the moment - like a quick, digestible fix for an audio deprived junkie. The nature of the beast is that, because the genre moves so quickly and taste changes constantly, it can all become a bit ‘hit-and-miss’ - sometimes that catchy hook works, or that energetic melody catches on, but at other times it can as easily fall flat on its face. This is precisely why ‘one-hit-wonders’ exist and bands that seem unstoppable at one time can disappear almost as quickly as they arrived on the scene.

My rambling does have a point, because that view of pop music translates not just to Duran Duran as a band, but also to ‘Rio’ as an album. When the Birmingham quintet hit, they hit BIG. ‘Rio’ contains no less than 3 major new-wave/synth-pop classics in ‘Hungry Like The Wolf’, Save A Prayer’ and, of course, the title track, ‘Rio’. But for every hit there’s an average or unmemorable track to match, but as I mentioned before, such is the nature of pop. This leaves ‘Rio’ as an album, somewhat redundant, as aside from the chart topping hits the remainder of the album is a tad forgettable. It’s not intrinsically bad at all, in fact, numbers like ‘Lonely In Your Nightmare’ are very listenable, but at the same time they appear weak when sat next to leviathans like ‘Hungry Like The Wolf’.

It all boils down to the fact that Duran Duran undeniably work best as a compilation band, with one of the many ‘Best-Of’s’ being an adequate way of appreciating the bands work for all but hardcore, Duran devotees. If you need proof, just consider the best, most memorable Duran tracks you know: ‘Girls On Film‘, ‘Rio’, ‘The Reflex’, ‘Ordinary World’ etc. - all from different albums; all staples in the boys’ live shows. There’s a reason why you probably don’t know many of Duran’s other songs - you don’t need to. Thus ‘Rio’, as a cohesive album, remains an optional extra open to those who’ve exhausted one of the compilations to death and want more, and holds little worth to those who are only interested in the hits (like most causal listeners will be) - a group that should just pick up the ‘Greatest’ CD to collect all the essential tunes in one brilliant package.

Before sounding-off, I simply can’t end the review without mentioning one exception to the rule. ’The Chauffer’ is one of the best Duran tracks that didn’t find its way onto the greatest hits set because it wasn’t one of those big hit singles. It’s genuinely different from most of the other Duran songs, sounding much darker and mysterious than their usual pop-friendly, teen-grabbing love lyrics, and if you really want to check out one song from ‘Rio’ that you don’t know, ‘The Chauffer’ is definitely the worthiest.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
AggravatedYeti
April 24th 2011


7685 Comments


HUNGRY LIKE THE WOOOOOOLLLLLFFFFFF. *nomnomnom*

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
April 24th 2011


1106 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Haha. One of their best, if you ask me.

PenguinPants
April 24th 2011


5 Comments


Great review Tom. I especially appreciated that you mentioned "The Chauffeur" - I love that track!

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
April 24th 2011


1106 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Thanks, PenguinPants, appreciate it.

The Chauffer is one of my all time faves from DD. Love it.


Jethro42
April 24th 2011


12638 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

omg I thought I knew 2 or 3 songs by Duran Duran (guilty pleasure) at a maximum and now I read that review I realize I know couple more. New Wave is not my thing, I'm too proghead for that. Good review, pos.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
April 24th 2011


31629 Comments


'The Chauffeur' and 'New Religion' are so good

Digging: Theo Parrish - American Intelligence

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
April 24th 2011


1106 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Cheers, Jethro42, thanks for the pos.

Deviant. - I think 'The Chauffeur' is the most underated Duran Duran song. Possibly my fave by them.

iFghtffyrdmns
April 24th 2011


7047 Comments


Very nice review tom, quick, concise and clear.

You'll be happy to know that I led about a dozen or so (very) drunk (and also very gay, as it so happened...) college kids in a hungry like the wolf sing-along on thursday night. Don't remember the reason for the occasion but it definitely happened. Cheers.

bloc
April 24th 2011


35024 Comments


Nice one Tom, and holy crap I didn't even know this album was so old....

Hungry Like The Wolf is classic

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
April 24th 2011


1106 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Cheers, iFghtffyrdmns.

Haha, i would've joined in if i was there : ) There doesn't need to be a reason to sing 'Hungry Like the Wolf' - it just HAS to be done from time time, lol.

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
April 24th 2011


1106 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Thanks, bloc.

I know, dude, almost 30 years old - pretty long time when you think about it. It stands the test of time well, though, i think.

bloc
April 24th 2011


35024 Comments


It really does. I think the production on this album is fantastic which really keeps it timeless.

KILL
April 24th 2011


72280 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

i havent heard this in like 8 years

Digging: Throwing Muses - Throwing Muses

Irving
Staff Reviewer
April 24th 2011


7321 Comments


Crap Yeti already made the Hungry Like The Wolf reference.

lancebramsay
April 24th 2011


1585 Comments


Hungry like the wolf reminds me of the bj scene in old school.

Really great review, enjoyed it thoroughly. My only confusion stems from the score you gave the album - you said that besides the singles, their work is forgettable. How does that translate into a superb album?

Still pos'd it anyways

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
April 24th 2011


1106 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

lancebramsay - I understand your confusion, but i gave it a 4 for 2 main reasons:

1) Because the highs are so HIGH they drag the score up a little.

2) Also, the album is important in terms of music history. It's one of the most successful and recognisable new wave albums ever made, and its songs and the band have impacted the pop genre in a long standing way.

Hope that helped, and thanks a lot for the pos, i appreciate it.


lancebramsay
April 24th 2011


1585 Comments


1) Because the highs are so HIGH they drag the score up a little.
Makes sense. I can dig
that.
2) Also, the album is important in terms of music history. It's one of the most successful and
recognisable new wave albums ever made, and its songs and the band have impacted the pop genre in a
long standing way.
Doesn't necessarily justify an adjustment to the score though - bad is still
bad, no matter how influential it was. You have to remember that you're reviewing an album as a whole,
not just the singles. I just get the impression that your rating isn't very objective; you choose to
highlight the good parts and ignore the bad. My two cents...

badhouses
April 24th 2011


64 Comments


the bassline in rio will fuck you up if you keep questioning this review rating

lancebramsay
April 24th 2011


1585 Comments


I believe that nostalgia skews people's perception often making their eyes blind to flaw.
I am really nit-picking though. The basslines are indeed intoxicating.

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
April 24th 2011


1106 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Its not bad, though - I never said it was. I just said the non singles were LESS memorable. As for nostalgia, i wasn't even alive when this album was released so that doesn't come into it.

But i can see what you mean, man, and agree that reviews should be objective. I always try to review objectively and i take the scores very seriously, including here. This was either going to be a 3.5 or 4 for me, and after considering the two reasons i made earlier, i thought the 0.5 increase was justified.



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