Album: So Red the Rose, 1985
Justification: First up, hi. Yeah, it’s been a while. Sorry for the delay and so on, but if you go to my other site at andrewpstreet.com you’ll see that I’ve been pretty stupidly busy for the last little while. But let’s get this thing back into shape for the time being.
Alrighty: I was a pretty one-eyed Duran Duran fan in the 80s. They were the one of the first bands I really fell in love with and I followed them diligently when they took a break (back in the days before such things were called “hiatuses”) and did other projects: bassist John Taylor and guitarist Andy Taylor formed the awful Power Station with Bernard Edwards from Chic and Robert Palmer, and the rest of the band – frontman Simon Le Bon, keyboardist Nick Rhodes and drummer Roger Taylor – formed the world’s most pretentious band and did one largely average album (“the most pretentious album ever made,” according to Le Bon).
However, this single was amazing. Sure, it shows that ‘A View to a Kill’ hadn’t got Rhodes’ love for big keyboard stabs out of his system, but for once Le Bon’s largely ridiculous lyrics were kind of awesome (“he’s moody and grey, she’s mean and she’s restless” pops into my head more often than I’d like, as does “are you aware you’re being illegal? It’s making your saviour behaviour look evil”). The way that he drifts in an out of the song was also structurally interesting – you think he’s finished a verse and then no, here’s an extra bit that’s effectively the punchline.
It’s also worth pointing out that Le Bon’s never had great intonation but he’s hitting blue notes almost exclusively here: he’s never quite in tune, but never actually horribly out of it either. It makes a weirdly compelling effect in the chorus when he’s doing three and four part harmonies with himself and not nailing a single one of the lines – and yet it works amazingly well. This is something we’ve lost from autotune, that Beatles-y sound of people not quite locked in but sounding gloriously and appealingly human.
Sure, the Grace Jones spoken word bit smacks of “oh yeah, we really need do something for the bridge,” but the rest of the song kills.
It’s also significant in that this video is the moment where Rhodes broke his career-long streak of looking awesome and largely dignified, which is impressive for a man who often sported pink hair and mimed saxophone in the ‘Rio’ clip. Here he pouts and preens, somwhere between a Skeksis from The Dark Crystal and a goth Taylor Dayne. And yes, that’s William Burroughs. Ludicrous.
I found this 7″ not long ago while on another trawl through the treasure trove that is the Myponga Markets, and proceeded to play it far more times than anyone could justify. I’m pretty sure my dame was delighted by this decision.
SONG YOU SHOULD HAVE REDISCOVERED THIS TIME IN 2011: It was the Suede reunion we all wanted, briefly, with the Tears and ‘Refugees’.
SONG YOU SHOULD HAVE REDISCOVERED THIS TIME IN 2012: Ian Dury’s boy Baxter and the nightmarish video of ‘Francesca’s Party’.
AND HERE’S THE LAST FIVE…