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Seven and the Ragged Tiger (1983) :: Duran Duran

My adolescence was overflowing with music and bands, and that highly predictable flurry of teenage crushes on boys in bands. Whether it was a common thread that all teenage girls, and several boys, experience or not, it does not diminish what those bands and albums, and heart racing desires, meant to any of us, and whether we care to admit it, or not, the albums of our first music crushes still matter to us.

Duran Duran was the band of my teenage adoration, and many a night was spent playing their albums on repeat whilst talking with my best friends about our favorite band member, and fantasizing about a  somewhere in the future life together. I wrote stories about all of us girls with our favorite band members, and gave them to each of my friends on a semi-regular basis. That was my first foray into fan fiction, I suppose, and my practice ground for writing romance, and sexual situations, which have come in handy during certain moments in current writings of mine. I may not be writing romance novels, or books about girls dating Nick Rhodes and John Taylor, but there are aspects in that passion I felt at fifteen that is tapped upon occasion.

Thinking about Duran Duran and the albums I loved back then, there were definitely more than one favorite, and there are three of their albums that I still listen to nowadays, and still love. Seven and the Ragged Tiger is one of them, and it is the album I have decided to feature as today’s “My Favorite Album” selection. Enjoy the songs, one-by-one, as they appear on the album with my three-sentence reactions to each one. I promise to try to not channel my younger self too much, and will attempt to keep the swooning at a minimum – try, I said – I promise to try.

The Reflex

My Mother hated this song, especially the repeated “Why-y-y-y-y-y” in the chorus. This did not decrease the frequency in which I played the song, turning it up to vibration inducing decibels when it came on the radio, singing-a-long. The last time I saw the band play live, back in 2005 I think, I called my Mom during this song, which I think made her smile, even if she probably still hates the song.

New Moon on Monday

This one will always have a place on my favorite songs of all-time list, as it is one of those songs that never gets old to me. I especially love the video with the French speaking performer at the start, and the French Revolution, spies and intrigue feel of the story that unfolds. I also am a sucker for songs with days of the week in them, for some reason.

(I’m Looking For) Cracks in the Pavement

One of those songs that shows both the abstract, yet poetic, lyric writing of the band, as well as the new romantic/alternative/punk sound of the early 80’s that is so distinctive to the time, for me. The guitar and bass in this is fantastic, proof that when Andy and John were in synch could be amazing (especially live). Somewhere I have a tape recording of me singing this, into a dual-cassette player microphone, in the bathroom that was right next to my childhood/adolescent bedroom.

I Take the Dice

Another lesser known song which definitely features the band’s electronic sounds, and capabilities. I love the line “catch me with your fizzy smile“, which for some reason calls to mind cartoon colored dyed hair and red lipsticked smiles. It also brings to mind the neon of Las Vegas at night, the way the light pollution clouds the skies, and the way you can always hear music wherever you go, coming from somewhere, everywhere.

Of Crime and Passion

After re-watching the film Drive last night I am listening to this song and thinking it could have slid right into the soundtrack, alongside Kavinsky, College and the Chromatics, which all shared that alternative, dark wave, 80’s sound and sensibility, to me. I could also picture this song playing somewhere amid the 80’s film, Streets of Fire or Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains.

Union of the Snake

What a sexy song! It is no wonder we were all so flustered, and it is no wonder I was inspired to write such scintillating stories. I remember wanting to see a film, or read the story, that this music video was showing us pieces of (something akin to Mad Max, Time Bandits and Doctor Who, with a little Star Wars thrown in, was what I imagined, at the time).

Shadows on Your Side

This song has all the trappings of a Duran Duran song, the trill of Simon’s voice, the electronic whir of Nick’s keyboard, the drums and lead guitar that are so distinctive to me, and of course, that bass line. The first time I heard the Killers (the Hot Fuss album), especially the song Jenny Was a Friend of Mine, I heard the Duran Duran bass line influence. There are layers to their music, and complexities that overthrow the pin-up idol reputation, and you can hear that so much in songs like this one.

Tiger Tiger

The band opened their concert with this song, when they toured with this album. This is gorgeously lush and utterly sensual sounding to me. I still love to play this one while driving at night, loudly, letting myself get lost a bit in the music.

The Seventh Stranger

An all-time favorite “last album track” of mine. This song hits on melancholic chords in my heart and at times brings with it tears. The song reminds me of a girl I once was, years after this album came out, and how I wanted to change my name, and my everything, especially on Sundays.

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