Review Summary: Duran Duran ends their first decade with their first most underrated album.
Duran Duran was one of the iconic bands in the 80's and Rio is probably one of the most important albums in that decade. Sadly, the band was reduced as a trio after the release of Seven and the Ragged Tiger. Duran Duran did make some impact in the charts with the album Notorious but not as much as their previous 2 albums, and after this period came their first "dark moment" and the response after the release of Big thing in both the duran duran fanbase and in the mainsteam aspect were mainly negative, because the band not only changed abruptly their sound from one album to the other but they also tried with genres that most people weren't familiar due to the pop background of the band.
However, this album isn't as terrible as people remember. Duran Duran did not wrong in tooking a more danceable path in their songs such as the title track and All She Wants is which features a more electronic sound and more rhythmical elements than in their previous work. And while electronic music was not their cup of tea the results were pretty interesting. This was probably a risk the band took as the new wave and synthpop trend was not as relevant as in the mid 80's and they looked into the future by seeing that electronic dance music would be the next big thing (no pun intended) and their lack of a guitarrist forced the band to look for other instruments, although future Duran Duran guitarrist Warren Cucurullo contributed guitar in many tracks. Maybe an aspect people hated about this album was the lack of guitars which were more prominent in the previous records, moreover the album itself was not as organic as Rio, and the pop elements that were more visible in previous records in this album were ignored partially.
The most interesting approach is the experimental side the band took in this album, especially in the second side. Songs such as Land and Palomino shows a more complex and technical side of the band while mantaining their signature sound. The album seemed like a transition from the new wave sound of their early records towards a more adult oriented rock that it would be prominent in liberty and the wedding album. And this is one the reasons why the album failed to impress the masses. The ballads are also a strong point in the album, songs such us too late Marlene and do you believe in shame shows us that duran duran were still capable of producing amazing and emotional ballads, yet this album has one of the weakest ballads the band ever wrote "the edge of America".
Lastly, Simon Lebon's lyrics are as noteworthy as always and sometimes he shows that it's a an amazing lyricist for example in the first verse of Do you believe in shame:
Do you believe in love
Do you believe in shame
And if love can conquered all
Then why do we only feel the pain.
In other words, big thing was a great album but it was released in the wrong time and if the album could have been released in the mid 90's with a more contemporary feel, it would have been a success.