Duran Album Ranking Reaction

Earlier this week, diffuser.fm posted a little article entitled:  Duran Duran Albums Ranked in Order of Awesomeness, which you can read here.  The article ranked Duran’s 14 studio albums along with Arena.  Here’s how they were ranked (obviously I would read the original article to read all of the explanations for why they placed the albums where they did).

  1. Red Carpet Massacre
  2. Liberty
  3. Thank You
  4. Arena
  5. Pop Trash
  6. Astronaut
  7. Seven and the Ragged Tiger
  8. Big Thing
  9. Notorious
  10. Paper Gods
  11. Medazzaland
  12. Self-titled
  13. The Wedding Album
  14. All You Need Is Now
  15. Rio

Before I dive into what I think about the list, I am surprised that the author included the live album of Arena.  Why list one live album but not the others?  After all, Duran has released three live albums (Arena, Live from London and A Diamond in the Mind).  Plus, those live albums do not include any new material with the one exception of Arena with the song, Wild Boys.  Still, does one new song mean that it should be included?  I would have not have included it.

What They Got Right:

I think many/most Duran fans and critics would list Rio high on the list.  I’m no exception.  Clearly, that album features a tremendous number of gems on it.  It set the stage for Duran-mania and the commercial success that went along with it.  While the album included a number of actual singles, many more could have been.  That said, if I were to rank the albums, I don’t know that I would have personally listed Rio at top but it would definitely be on the list.

Speaking of an album that was high on the list, I totally agree that All You Need Is Now deserves to be near the top.  At the time it was released, I knew that it was something special and time has not diminished that thought.  It feels like essential Duran to me and one that I still go back to often.

On the other hand, I was pleasantly surprised that Red Carpet Massacre was placed at the bottom of the list.  While I’m not sure I would personally rank it at the bottom, it definitely needs to be closer to the bottom.  The reasoning given on the article is how the collaborations with producer, Danja, didn’t gel.  I might say the opposite.  To me, the collaborations with Timbaland didn’t gel.  Nonetheless, one of the reasons that album will always leave a bad taste in my mouth is how much it divided the fan community.  Life wasn’t fun in Duranland, then.

What They Got Wrong:

Probably the most shocking pick was placing Medazzaland in the number five position.  It was ranked higher than Big Thing, Notorious and Paper Gods.  Seriously???  The reason it was ranked that high?  It featured “electro-experimentation” as well as “subtle hidden gems”.  While I don’t hate the album and agree that there are some good songs on it, I wouldn’t rank it above Big Thing or Paper Gods.  That experimentation was interesting, for sure, but did not and does not feel like essential Duran to many fans, including myself.  In fact, I would go so far as to say that many Duran fans don’t even own it and some might not have even heard all of it.

The next paragraph will probably result in hate mail but I’m going to say it anyway.  Why is the Wedding Album third???  Above the self-titled debut?  Really??  Again, there are some good songs on that album, but I feel like the album is a bit over-rated.  People always claim the brilliance of Ordinary World and Come Undone for the reason for believing this album to be so great, but what if those songs weren’t included?  Would they still think that?  Then, imagine people like me who don’t like Come Undone and is tired of Ordinary World.  The album doesn’t have as much to offer then.

Overall:

I appreciate article like this.  They make me think.  It has been awhile since I have taken the time to really look at the albums and rank them.  I haven’t done it since Paper Gods came out.  Perhaps, it is time to revisit this idea through some daily polls or other activities.  What do the rest of you think?

-A

2 thoughts on “Duran Album Ranking Reaction”

  1. Intriguing list, but not one that I would necessarily agree with. Firstly, I agree that Arena shouldn’t be on the list, and if it were, it would be very low. The songs themselves are great, but the sound quality decidely underwhelming and it just sounds too removed from the crowd, very sterile.

    Personally, Notorious and even Big Thing rank lower for me. Notorious because it represented a very dark period in my fandom and just looked and felt kind of depressing. Big Thing has some stellar tracks, but almost like two completely different albums uncomfortably melded together. Plus, the title track is one I just can’t stand.

    Regarding others, I have a real soft spot for Thank You, would listen to it a lot on long trips when it came out, and while I only really enjoy about half of the songs, I REALLY enjoy those ones. And, at first Medazzaland was a place I didn’t want to go, but after about a dozen listens I finally GOT what the album was about, it was their ANGRY album, and in that respect it did its job very well.

    In summary, the only way I can really rank the albums is in terms of how often I listen to them because there are always songs I enjoy listening that sometimes surprises me.. For example, I hardly EVERY listen to Liberty, but always like to hear Read My Lips or Serious. In fact, taking the tracks individually they have very good energy and some interesting elements, but just don’t work together well as a whole.

    So, in terms of how often I listen to them:

    the Most:
    RIO
    All You Need Is Now
    Self-titled
    The Wedding Album
    Paper Gods
    Medazzaland

    Middle:
    Thank You
    Astronaut
    Seven and the Ragged Tiger
    Big Thing
    Red Carpet Massacre

    Not very much:
    Notorious
    Liberty
    Pop Trash
    Arena

  2. Great blog, Amanda….while we disagree on Medazzaland, I get where you are coming from and I think what you are saying reflects the opinion of the majority of fans on that album. I just commented on Rhonda’s rankings so I don’t want to be too repetitive, but I feel about Astronaut the way you feel about The Wedding Album. Regarding The Wedding Album…I would probably rank it as one of the weaker Warren-era albums. I do like it and I think it does pick up some steam toward the end (“None of the Above” and “Shelter”) but overall…I get the argument
    that it gets weak past the singles…anyway, that list was certainly interesting!

We (Amanda and Rhonda) appreciate discussion and differences of opinion. We respectfully ask that you fully read the blog before bitching us out. If you're only here to take us down a notch, note that we moderate replies (meaning we're not printing rude comments). Thanks a bunch!