Duran Duran

Ultra Rare Trax

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For all the teenybait allure of the first flush of fame, Duran Duran was always a far more musical concern than many people gave the band credit for. Bassist John Taylor once claimed that Duran's dream date would have been a marriage of Chic and the Sex Pistols -- the funk of one, the swagger of the other -- and listening to this, their ambition is apparent. The "Duran Megamix," which segues a string of early hits into one 12-minute monster, touches upon a string of unforeseen archetypes and, while you're listening to the remixer as much as the music, even the most anodyne of composite snippets boasts the occasional nuance that could, and would, eventually blossom into something far more demanding. The bulk of this remix collection draws from Duran's late-'80s career, by which time the teen spotlight had moved onto other pastures (remember a-ha?), and a slowly shrinking lineup was knocking out a more serious dance groove, one that these exclusive DJ-only club remixes positively revel in. "Notorious," "Skin Trade," and the delightfully insistent "All She Wants Is" all surpass their familiar hit versions, while Art of Noise's assault on "View to a Kill" not only rewrites Duran's critical history, it exculpates the remixers' manifold other crimes as well. Ultra Rare Trax is not going to make new Duran-ies from past disbelievers, of course; neither are any of the remixes radical enough to construct silk purses from the occasional sow's ear. But anyone with fond memories of dancing to Duran needs to hunt this album out now. And it'll still sound good the morning after.

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