1986's Notorious has Andy Taylor contributing on only four songs before leaving to start his solo career, but on the strength of the title track's number two placing and "Skin Trade"'s number 39 mark, the album itself peaked at number 12 in the U.S. and number 16 in the U.K. On the whole, only "Notorious" showed any real livelihood, thanks to its modern gleam and the catchy stutter of its chorus. "Skin Trade" is almost as worthy, thanks to its sultry, seductive air and enchanting but complex rhythmic allure. While the writing is somewhat stable on Notorious, Duran Duran's efforts at sounding enigmatic and covert end up being hot and cold. Tracks like "American Science" and "Vertigo" try too hard, while only "Meet el Presidente," a number 24 hit in Britain, sports a rather appealing flow. Beneath Duran Duran's attempts at trying to sound musically devious, mysterious, and slightly seductive, the tracks fail to bear enough weight in order to be effective all the way through. It's easy to see why the band would choose such a route at this point in their career, but moderate doses of pop enthusiasm would have made Notorious a fuller and more enjoyable package. The provocative, nightclub brand of martini-sipping pop that does surface is meritorious to a certain extent, felt mostly in the album's two biggest tracks.
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AllMusic Review by Mike DeGagne