All-Time Albums: #75



1 Notorious 4:18 (UK single, #7)
American Science 4:43
Skin Trade 5:57 (UK single, #22)
4 A Matter Of Feeling 5:56
5 Hold Me 4:31
6 Vertigo (Do The Demolition) 4:44
7 So Misled 4:03
8 “Meet El Presidente” 4:19 (UK single, #26)
Winter Marches On 3:25
10 Proposition 4:57

The (joint) second CD that I ever bought was Duran Duran’s first album of new material in three years. The boys had spent 1985 “pursuing other projects”, as they used to say; John and Andy with The Power Station, Nick, Roger and Simon as Arcadia.

By the time they reconvened, Andy and Roger had bailed out. So, but for John Taylor’s presence, Notorious could be another Arcadia record. Which is no bad thing in itself, but sales suffered. It was the first Duran Duran album to miss the UK Top 5, as it debuted alarmingly at #16 despite the title track going top 10.

Combining the best bits of Arcadia (the arty touches, a more grown-up outlook) and the Power Station (beefy rhythms, crisp drumming), Notorious is a long way from Rio and the patchy Seven & The Ragged Tiger. Just a couple of years on from The Reflex, there’s a new sheen and a sophistication best exemplified by Skin Trade, Vertigo, American Science and Notorious. Hold Me is about the nearest to old-school Duran as it gets. The album drags very slightly in the middle of Side 2, before ending with the moody Winter Marches On (inspired by Siouxsie & The Banshees, apparently) and the funky Proposition wraps things up.

Despite being mastered and released over 30 years ago, it’s still one of the most pristine-sounding CDs that I own, a “DDD” recording which in 1986 was pretty state-of-the-art. And, while I’m usually a single mix/radio edit kind of person, Skin Trade needs to be heard in its full album-length glory.


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