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“The List” is a series I’m starting where I will review and rate a list of items, usually musical in nature. I can’t think of much more to say than that, so I won’t waste your time with pointless verbiage, cause this list is a long one!

Planet Earth: Where it all began. This song is probably the most representative of the debut album’s sound yet still not one of the album’s stronger tracks. Andy Taylor’s main guitar riff is the main saving grace here. B-

Careless Memories: One of the best rock tracks of the Fab Five era. Certainly not as heavy as some Cuccurullo era songs, but it really shined live. It kind of suffers from a deemphasized guitar, possibly because a true heavy rock song would have been out of place on a new wave album such as Duran Duran. A-

Girls on Film: There’s really not much to say here that hasn’t already been said. This would go on to become the template for the band’s sound, a precursor to Rio if you will. It shines best, though, when compared to the  original version, where John Taylor’s hyperactive guitar and Andy Wickett’s borderline misogynistic lyrics really make you appreciate what Andy Taylor and Simon LeBon brought to the band. A

Anyone Out There: A promo single, never given a physical release, this is almost but not quite a ballad, anchored by an interesting guitar riff. B

Sound of Thunder: Another promo single, this song comes across as a slightly better version of Planet Earth. B+

My Own Way: Here we have a pure disco track which, apart from the lyrics, bears almost no resemblance to the version which would later appear on Rio. Indeed, it doesn’t sound very much like Duran Duran at all. The tempo is faster, what guitar there is is deemphasized and funkier, and the track is built around disco style strings. B

Hungry like the Wolf: This song needs no introduction. A+

Save a Prayer: The first true ballad to make it to radio, and one of the more synth heavy tracks on the list. On a personal note it occurs to me that Duran Duran may be the ones most responsible for my preference for synthesizers over acoustic/clean guitars when writing ballads. A-

Rio: Quite possibly John Taylor’s crowning moment of awesome, “Rio” is built almost entirely around a bass riff and a chord progression that dates back to the pre-Simon/Andy era. A+

Is There Something I Should Know: Probably my choice for the most overrated song in Duran Duran’s catalog, though it’s still better than “Planet Earth.” Andy’s arpeggios are pretty good, but overall I never really cared for this song, despite it being one of the most popular tracks they’ve recorded. B-

Union of the Snake: Here we have a somewhat more equal pairing of guitar and synth than Duran was known for before. Andy’s funky riff is the song’s signature, but Nick still has a much more prominent role than before. A

New Moon on Monday: This song is my childhood. It was the first song I ever heard that enthralled me so much that I immediately said, “I have to have this!” If not for this song, I might never have known who Duran Duran were, and possibly never become as obsessed with music as I am. A+

The Reflex: A strong album track makes for a mediocre single. While the album version is a near perfect blend of rock and funk, the single version introduces some pointless glitches (the “Why-wa-wa-whyyyy” bit), and turns it into a generic dance track. Overall a very disappointing remix. C+ (But an A for the album version!)

Tiger Tiger: An instrumental released as a single in Japan. The song is a moody, atmospheric piece which shows great interplay between Andy (funky single note riff and epic arpeggios), Nick (eerie synth squeals), and John (a main bass riff which holds the whole thing together. A

Shadows on Your Side: Another exclusive, this time released in Malaysia of all places. Still this is a good choice for a fourth single, one of the stronger album tracks. B+

Wild Boys: Pretty much the only reason to pay attention to the Arena album. This is Duran Duran at their most vicious, with pounding drums, gang vocals, some of Andy’s heaviest guitar work, and that ear-wormy synth-percussion. Wild Boys is one of those songs such as Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk, or Pantera’s Psycho Holiday which is instantly identifiable by its rhythm alone. A

A View to a Kill: The only James Bond theme to hit #1. Like “Is There Something I Should Know” this is one I consider to be a grossly overrated track, coming across as a lesser rewrite of Arcadia’s “The Flame.” C+


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