From its Nagel cover to the haircuts and overall design – and first and foremost the music – Rio is as representative of the '80s at its best as it gets. The original Duran Duran's high point, and just as likely the band's as a whole, its fusion of style and substance ensures that even two decades after its release it remains as listenable and danceable as ever. The quintet integrates its sound near-perfectly throughout, the John and Roger Taylor rhythm section providing both driving propulsion and subtle pacing.
Twenty years since their pop music debut, Duran Duran issued another greatest-hits collection. As if 1989's Decade weren't stellar enough, this select package was much more solid. Greatest showcased the band's early days of glam rock décor and new romanticism to the alluring sophistication Duran Duran exuded throughout the '90s. The typical synth-powered pop hits are included – "Girls on Film," "Rio," "A View to a Kill" – as well as the signature ballads – "Save a Prayer" – but it might also receive criticism due to its chronological disarray. Still, that gives no reason to fret, for other goodies can be found throughout. The much-neglected "New Moon on Monday" is featured, as well as the band's mature eclecticism of such songs from the self-titled Wedding Album – "Ordinary World" and "Come Undone." The band's experimentation with new millennium electronica found on "Electric Barbarella" again refocuses on Simon LeBon as the center of the band.
With the cover art for Paper Gods, Duran Duran cheekily revisit icons of their past: the smile of Rio, the cap of the "Chauffeur," girls on film, and a prowling tiger. Thirty years in, Duran Duran are comfortable enough to play with their past, comfortable enough to draw an explicit connection to their back pages by hiring Nile Rodgers – who helmed Notorious back in the day – to do a bit of production alongside Mark Ronson, the hitmaker who gave the group a refurbishment on 2010's All You Need Is Now. Most of the record, however, bears credits either by Mr. Hudson or Josh Blair, two younger musicians who help give Paper Gods a bit of a contemporary glint.
This is a very FUN tribute album. If you are a serious, die hard Duran Duranie, you probably won't like this (or any other tribute album dedicated to Duran Duran). However, for the rest of us, this has a bunch of creative interpretations of these great songs. I bought the CD for Goldfinger's version of Rio (which includes a hilarious 30 second break into Dio's `Rainbow in the Dark'). Other very good renditions come from Jimmy Eat World (New Religon), the Deftones (the Chauffeur), and Less than Jake (The Reflex).