Review: “Rio” by Duran Duran (Vinyl, 1982)

Today’s POP RESCUE from an uncertain fate, is the 1982 second album Rio by 80’s British boy-band Duran Duran. Will this album be a hot and sun-filled delight, or the holiday from hell? Read on…

Duran Duran (1982) 'Rio' album cover
Duran Duran’s ‘Rio’ (1982) album.

The album opens with the fourth and final single Rio. Opening with that familiar bassline. Simon Le Bon jumps in with the verse but it’s not really until the chorus that the song really gets going. 80s Obligatory Saxophone joins them for a mid-section instrumental before the track continues to climb up with the chorus, synths, and guitars. The track reached #9 in the UK singles chart, and it’s a belter, that surprisingly didn’t get higher.

This is followed by lead single My Own Way, which swaggers in with a funky bass and some growling guitars. This gave the band a #14 hit single, and it’s definitely a more muted track in comparison to Rio. It’s perhaps a bit catchier though in beats and bass, but lyrically less so.

Lonely In Your Nightmare follows this, easing gently in with synth and twanging guitars. Le Bon’s distinct vocal style soon comes in, and he’s complimented with some lovely vocal harmonies for the chorus. The drums sit back, and we’re treated to a lighter track, allowing those vocals space to shine. This is a much more mellow track.

Hungry Like The Wolf bursts in next, and this track is a perfect gem. The bleeping synth sounds, the growling guitars, the rockier drums, and the harder vocals all combined to give them their #5 hit UK single. This is the best track here so far.

Chugging guitars lead into Hold Back The Rain. Again, it’s an upbeat track with plenty of nice harmonies and backing vocals, giving Le Bon plenty of opportunity to show off his vocal power and range. The track races off at quite a pace, pulsating to the end of Side One.

Side Two opens gently amidst a swirl of synths of New Religion. This is a gentler start to this second side, and unfortunately not particularly a strong track.

Last Chance On The Stairway is next, and this track has the same energy as Hungry Like The Wolf, along with some wonderfully swirling synth-scapes in the background. The result is a great sound, that probably could have made it as a better single than On My Way.

A delicious synth sound brings in the beautifully sounding Save A Prayer which gave them a #2 hit in the summer of 1982, and was their biggest hit so far by that point. The wandering bass, the drifting slower tempo, Simon’s vocals, the gentle percussion, and the choice of synths makes this track a sheer delight to hear. Perfect.

The album closes with The Chauffeur, a song written back in 1978. Again, synths usher this one, and it’s joined by bass and piano in quite a quirky sound. Le Bon’s vocals dominate this slightly weird sounding song, and he really shows off his vocal range here. It’s hypnotically good.

Lead single, ‘My Own Way’ by Duran Duran (1981)

Verdict

Over all, this album is somewhat of a beacon in 1980s music. It was hugely successful and it just oozes synths, 80s rock pop beats, guitars, and vocal style.

Only My Own Way and New Religion feel like they’ve let the foot off the accelerator a little, and the rest of the album is a joy to hear.

Rated 4 stars - You're missing a treat!
  • POP RESCUE 2020 RATING: 4 / 5
  • 1982 UK ALBUM CHART PEAK: #2, certified Platinum by the BPI.
  • POP RESCUE COST: £1.00 from a Marie Curie store.

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