Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Duran Duran

  • Rio [Capitol, 1982] C-
  • Seven and the Ragged Tiger [Capitol, 1984] C+
  • Decade [Capitol, 1989] B-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Rio [Capitol, 1982]
With music drily electronic enough to pass for new wave and pop moistly textural enough to go over as pop, lyrics that rearrange received language from several levels of discourse into a noncommital private doggerel, and a limitless supply of Bowie clones to handle the vocal chores, this is Anglodisco at its most solemnly expedient. It lacks even the forced cheerfulness of (whatever happened to?) Haircut 100 (wait, I don't really want to know), as if it had as many hooks as A Flock of Seagulls (not bloody likely) it still wouldn't be silly enough to be any fun. C-

Seven and the Ragged Tiger [Capitol, 1984]
As public figures and maybe as people, these imperialist wimps are the most deplorable pop stars of the postpunk if not post-Presley era. Their lyrics are obtuse at best, and if you'd sooner listen to a machine sing than Simon Le Bon, what are you going to do with both? Yet the hit singles which lead off each side are twice as pleasurable as anything Thomas Dolby is synthesizing these days. Which had better teach you something about imperialism. C+

Decade [Capitol, 1989]
Liars till the end, they pretend their decade didn't end around 1984-'85, when U.K. new pop conquered the world and went phfft. But the best-of proves it. First side's all anyone needs of the brightly tuneful meaninglessness that made them video stars, and after side two cut one, "The Reflex," they sink into an anonymity relieved only by the greatest record they never made, Nile Rodgers's "Notorious," and the softcore closer "All She Wants." Sometimes I think the little girls don't understand a damn thing. B-

Further Notes:

Everything Rocks and Nothing Ever Dies [1990s]