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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Music > Pop > New Wave > Rock > British > Music Videos > Classic Albums – Duran Duran: Rio (Eagle DVD)

Classic Albums – Duran Duran: Rio (Eagle DVD)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: B-     Main Program: B-



Duran Duran is still a touchstone of controversy over their value to the music business, as artists, as to whether they had any talent and were just another pop band with no substance.  Though their Music Videos (directed by Russell Mulcahy) were more innovative then they were, they actually were a good New Wave band in their time, with a certain energy and spontaneousness that separated them from so many other bands.  They were not the best of the New Wavers, nor did they have much to say, but they had enough of the Rock idea (especially where sex was concerned) to become a huge success.  Their peak album came early with Rio, their 1983 breakthrough album that is the latest subject in the great Classic Albums series.


The band was formed in 1980, so the climb to success happened the way it used to when the record industry had their act together not that long ago.  Of course, appearing on MTV in their famous videos gave them key exposure at a key time when the channel and such clips were catching on; they were already showing up on the channel in its explosive year of 1982.  They emerged the following year on the coattails of that success, keeping the channel exciting and would continue their success until they ran out of energy and any point in 1986 partly by sticking with side projects too long.


But the focus of this program is how good the music was on Rio and in reality, it is a very good album, always was, is iconic of its period and is music people still play and enjoy to this day.  Even without their Videos, songs like Save A Prayer, Hungry Like The Wolf, Rio and fan favorites New Religion and The Chauffeur sound as fresh as they did when they first arrived and when you look at the horrific “tween” cycle, they seem like innovators by comparison.  What this show reveals is that they all had goo music taste and enough of it was coming through on this album that they really did earn their success.  As compared to the overproduced garbage we get now, they seem like music scholars at the mixing board.


Interviews with all the band members, producers, engineers, executives and others show just how smart everyone was being and shows how MTV changed everything, but unlike most of the more airheaded one-hit wonders today, the band actually knows something about music that dates back before Jackson’s Thriller.  When you are done watching, you realize what a success this album was, how bad music has become and that for a brief moment, Duran Duran proved their style was backed by just enough substance to work.


Today, they are still being references, licensed for films and other media, still reuniting for tours, turned out to be Princess Diana’s favorite band and still have one of the best later James Bond theme songs in the title track for A View To A Kill.  No, they were not innovators, but they were fun in a smart way and music business has rarely found talent to pull that off since.  Classic Albums – Duran Duran: Rio is a fun installment that everyone should see at least once.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 is a little soft, but the one fun thing is having those famous Videos looking as good as they do here.  New footage is shot in HD, while older footage is sourced from analog video and film sources.  This is well edited and is up to the high standards the series offers.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo is also nice throughout, but audiophiles will wish it was DTS, reminding us that no Duran material made the multi-channel higher-fidelity audio formats (Super Audio CD or DVD-Audio) but this will do until then.  Extras include new performances by the classic Duran line-up (usually sounding good) of the five big hits live, more interview footage and more on the classic Music Videos.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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