Maybe Duran Duran and Rio spoiled me, but when it came to Seven & the Ragged Tiger, I never found a groove listening to the cassette. I would skip around to songs I liked and I would sometimes lose interest between “Monday” and “Snake”. As someone who listens to albums and not singles, the sequencing can make or break the experience even when the songs are all strong. Done right, sequencing can even turn a mediocre album into something good. If I could re-sequence any Duran Duran album, it would certainly be Seven & the Ragged Tiger and here is what I would do.
1. Tiger Tiger
Opening with an instrumental might be commercial suicide but Duran Duran could not have been any bigger than they were at the time. Why not flex their artistic side and set the mood with “Tiger Tiger”? They probably envisioned using it in the build-up to shows and knew it would become iconic in the hearts of Duranies. Plus, it would leave critics a little flummoxed on first listen and establish the band’s musical seriousness.
2. New Moon On Monday
I love how the opening whistle picks up from the end of “Tiger Tiger” right before the drums kick in. Having the first line of the album be “shake up the picture” seems perfect for a band that was working with a new producer in a new environment. Plus, it’s such an undeniable single that listeners would be craving it when they bought the cassette.
3. (I’m Looking For) Cracks In the Pavement
An essential song to the underlying theme of the album so it needs to be loaded near the front of the record. It’s a fantastic vocal performance from Simon and shows a band maturing as musicians.
4. Shadows On Your Side
Turn it up. Much like “Hold Back the Rain”, this song is best played loud. The energy is building and I like the idea of the protagonist who was looking for cracks lurking in the shadows on his quest.
5. The Reflex (Dance Mix)
Why not end side one of the record (or cassette) on the ultimate high? If this came out a few years later, the CD format would totally change the sequencing but in the “old days” the end of side one mattered. This mix of the song is the version that the band needed to find before the album was released. They didn’t. But now, we can make it a reality.
1. The Seventh Stranger
For me, the opening song of side two is a special place in the Duran Duran canon. It’s where things get a little more grey and moody. Songs like “Night Boat” and “New Religion” are timeless and “Do You Believe In Shame?” a few years down the road would continue the tradition of kicking side two off with something a bit esoteric. “The Seventh Stranger” checks all the boxes and more.
2. Union Of the Snake
The band studied what Nile Rodgers brought to David Bowie’s sound on “Let’s Dance” and went for it themselves. It’s a killer single built upon one of Roger’s most underrated drum tracks. Is there a reason this isn’t a set list staple?
3. Of Crime and Passion
A dark rocker in the spirit of “Friends of Mine”, it’s the sort of forgotten album track that carries huge significance because it shows a side of the band that rarely surfaces on the singles. This isn’t the best example of that from the band and the album starts to show a few cracks but it’s nice to feel the energy sustained after the soaring chorus of the previous song.
4. I Take the Dice
For me, sequencing this and “Shadows On Your Side” far apart really helps my listening experience. Even at the time, they felt a little too similar and neither one is very memorable to me. Once Simon spits out the “daddy’s bracelets” line, I’d probably hit fast-forward and head back to side one.
So here is my preferred sequencing of Seven and the Ragged Tiger. Would you change the sequencing on any Duran albums? Let me know! Next week, I’ll offer up my re-sequence of Rio! Joking. It’s perfect.