By Craig Hlavaty, Wed., Apr. 6 2011
It's Duran Duran Day in Houston, everybody. Word has it that fans are already lining up at Warehouse Live for the band's sold-out club show, and you can bet that it will be a hot evening inside the venue until the last strains of "Rio" echo out onto the street after the lights come up.
We have been doing our Duran Duran homework, digging out our old copy of Decade from high school and scouring the band's catalog on Rdio to make a somewhat cognizant top five list of the band's output. No doubt you have your favorites, like our friend who loves 1997's Medazzaland. What a weirdo.
Anyhow, here's the top five Duran Duran albums you must own before you die, because not owning these Duran Duran albums is worse than death. See how we got all dramatic there?
Duran Duran (Wedding Album)
Known widely for smashes "Come Undone" and "Ordinary World", there is also a Spanish guitar and world music element to this 1993 album most folks glossed over. This album seemed like the best cure for the '80s hangover yet.
Seven & The Ragged Tiger
Tiger came from the road-weary days around Rio, with the band testing it's limits, mentally, sexually, and physically, around the world. The band sounded frantic on this one, and that is what has given it longevity.
Perhaps the band's first stripper-friendly album, with the title track single and "Skin Trade". The follow-up to Notorious, 1988's Big Time was a continuation of the funky template, and a lot slinkier.
The opening camera stabs of "Girls On Film" firmly planted the Duran flag on the pop landscape for the rest of the '80s. The slab is still best-known for the video of "Girls", which was deemed pornographic at the time, but now would pass as a racier episode of Jersey Shore. Wanna see it? Of course you do!
This one can still be found all over radio, television, movies, and especially thrift stores in the used tape and vinyl racks. It remains their best-selling album, and clocking in with only nine tracks over 40 minutes, it's possibly the best distillation of the Duran sound. The synths, the detached vocals, the New Romantic vibe, even the Nagel print cover. Many people would follow and try to recreate the Rio aesthetic but it was hard to touch.
For most younger fans, this was the first piece of Duran Duran they owned. As far as greatest hits collections go of DD, you can't go wrong, even if you lose out on the '90s singles. Download 'em.
This is DD at their most perverse, even by modern standards. Bring lube and a change of clothes for this Depeche Mode-biting outing.
For the band's young fans, this 1984 live disc was the closest they could get to recreating the band's concert heyday. Imagine all the imaginary shows set to this album in dollhouses and bathroom mirrors all over the world.
Red Carpet Massacre
Partially produced by Justin Timberlake and Timbaland, this 2007 album had stuttered production, stellar vocal takes from Simon Le Bon, and a sex-crazed silver fox message to counteract the cougars on the prowl. Opening track "The Valley" is an ace dance-rock cut, and "Dirty Great Monster" is the spiritual sibling of "Come Undone".
Pick this one up for curiosity sake, and stick around for the utter weirdness of the Durans covering Public Enemy, The Doors, and Grandmaster Melle Mel's "White Lines". A perennial on most worst-of recording history lists, it's not as bad as people let on. Most indie bands get away with this crap now with barely a whimper from the hipster constabulary.
Courtesy Houston Press