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Flashback Review: Duran Duran - Rio


To relaunch my Flashback Review series, we take a look back to 1982 and Duran Duran's classic, breakthrough album titled "Rio". This was the album that cemented Duran Duran's status as one of the preeminent bands of our time with gorgeously crafted music videos to go along with their sonic masterpieces that were oozing and dripping with new wave styled music elements that were breaking through at the time, coupled with keyboards and the band's striking style that made them one of the more visually appealing bands of the 80's.

We kick things off with the album's title track, a flawless, extraordinary track that is the penultimate song of their career, introducing frontman Simon LeBon's silky smooth vocals and the indelible bass work of John Taylor and keyboardist Nick Rhodes all at the top of their craft that had an amazing music video to go along with it that was one of the early pioneers of the then new music video concept at the time. "My Only Way" is a synth laden masterpiece, once again utilizing to the fullest extent the materials that were made available at this time, making this a pioneering and state of the art track that enabled to take the genre into different directions never before conjured up in the early 80's. "Lonely In Your Nightmare" features more downtempo musical elements, while still retaining the new-wave element of their prior tracks with Simon's vocals at more varied levels of intensity and also giving the group the ability to be more diverse and creative in the process. "Hungry Like The Wolf" is the band's hallmark staple and their most instantly recognizable song with the lads at the top of the game with breathtaking sonic imagery to create a visually pleasing aesthetic that gives the feeling that you're actually out with the guys perusing the streets of Sri Lanka like they did in the memorable music video for this one.

My favorite track off the album is the exhilarating "Hold Back The Rain", a track that sees the band outdoing themselves once again with exciting instrumentation and Simon's vocals giving way to a track that instantly screams summer with its warm and inviting melodies winning you over almost immediately and making you appreciate the group that much more for their musical abilities. "Last Chance on The Stairway" is a more mid tempo track that dims the lights low somewhat, but still maintains a healthy balance between the more uptempo rhythms as to not entirely drown out the sound, and gives appeal to those looking for another variety with some nifty xylophone sounds to boot that are really the icing on the cake. "Save A Prayer" absolutely nails it with a beautiful, serene tune that features some synth guided impulses faintly in the background, while Simon's vocals take front and center and contribute to a dimly lit, cozy tune that is one of the more popular songs in their catalogue. This album has been on constant repeat in my car as I do my casual summer driving with the windows down and sunroof open, and I have gained a newfound appreciation for Duran Duran after listening to "Rio" in its entirety. In my opinion, it's the perfect summer album and the quinessential example of a group finding and honing their sound into something truly extraordinary that has inspired me and countless others into truly enjoying music in a whole different limelight.

All in all, a spectacular effort all around from Duran Duran, a band that is still active today and shows no signs of slowing down and is nowhere near wearig out their welcome, and is still as releveant today as they were over 30 years ago.

Score: 4.5/5

Track Listing:

  • Rio​

  • My Only Way

  • Lonely In Your Nightmare

  • Hungry Like The Wolf

  • Hold Back The Rain

  • New Religion

  • Last Chance On The Stairway

  • Save A Prayer

  • The Chauffeur

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