Thursday, October 02, 2003

A friend recently loaned me the '98 comp Essential Duran Duran (Night Versions). It's a collection of all of the Fab 5's extended versions of their singles, covering all the pertinent ground from "Planet Earth" to "Wild Boys" - and it's some of the freshest-sounding music I've heard all year. In light of bands like the Rapture forging forward with the template that DD themselves created, it's wicked news to hear that they've just slated a fall tour and are working on their first new album with their original line-up since 1983.

This paragraph alone evokes a myriad of emotions in me:

"John [Taylor] always said that we started as a fusion between the Sex Pistols and Chic," [Simon] Le Bon says. "Accordingly, we're being pulled in two different directions now: Nick loves hip-hop, but then I like raw things like the White Stripes and the Rapture. If we can make that fusion, we'll be on to something."

Sex Pistols + Chic = Duran Duran? Well, yeah, really. A slick, punkishly popped-up take on modern dance? That was the epitome of DD. Now, hearing any member of Duran mention hip-hop worries me slightly; that cover of "White Lines" in the mid-'90s was rather ill-fitting, I thought. But mixing that influence with stuff like the Rapture, who really are Duran's spiritual heirs, is a gorgeous idea (can do without the Stripes' influence, myself - DD are so far superior it's ridiculous, and that's not to denigrate Meg and Jack). Duran were always about fusion, so they should be able to pull this off ably.

(Night Versions) comes with fab liner notes from Nick Rhodes about their history and their 12" mixes. The songs themselves range drastically from those with beefed-up guitars ("Wild Boys [Wilder Than Wild Boys Mix]") to nearly ambient, fluid vocal-less tracks ("New Religion [Night Version]"). This honestly is music for late nights, for making out and long, aimless roadtrips. Play it up against the Rapture, or any of their ilk, and see who the real masters of the form are (and I say this as a fan of the Rapture, mind you). Duran Duran were years ahead of their time - and since that was the case, we're just now figuring it out. They were always more akin to true artists like Prince rather than flashes-in-the-pan such as Kajagoogoo. It's time to give DD their due, y'all.

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