Reviewed by Matt Dentler, Fri., Dec. 10, 2004
Duran DuranThe Singles: 1986-1995 (Capitol)
Who needs classic Duran Duran singles like "Rio" when there's "Meet El Presidente" waiting to be rediscovered? That must have been the logic behind The Singles: 1986-1995, 14 CD singles of a history better left forgotten. Most people, including Duran Duran fans, likely didn't know there were 14 singles in those 10 years. There's good reason: This decade spans the worst creative era in the group's history. Beginning with Notorious ('86), the band lost two members and most of its steam. The single choices from Notorious, Big Thing (1988), and Liberty (1990) exemplify the undeniable mediocrity of all three. Once the band broke through again in 1993, with their self-titled "Wedding Album," they began making stronger singles. How? By padding the B-sides with older hits like "Save a Prayer" and "The Reflex." On this package, these bona fide hits dominate their much weaker successors. No single is better proof than "Ordinary World," which features the aforementioned vintage hits as well as "Hungry Like the Wolf," "Girls on Film," and more. In other words, the only thing buoying this box set are the contents of the band's previous CD singles box set (austinchronicle.com/issues/dispatch/2003-12-12/music_string_all.html ). Here, volume two ends with the era when the band slipped back where it began (i.e., mediocrity) in the ill-advised covers album, Thank You. The Singles: 1986-1995 proves you can't erase the past, but sometimes you should try much harder to keep it hidden.