#TBT – DURAN DURAN | 1982

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DURAN DURAN, “THE CHAUFFEUR” – IAN EMES (1982).  A coworker and I were blasting “Rio” the other day and mumbling along to the lyrics in a state of overworked exhaustion.  Something about this struck us as extremely funny – Duran Duran’s brand of high-energy New Wave seems completely ill-suited for catatonic speak-singing.  This isn’t your run-of-the-mill direct opposites irony:  Duran Duran’s music isn’t exactly passionate.  In fact, it’s more or less soulless.  But it’s a different kind of soulless than exhausted mid-afternoon half-assed-ness; it’s closer to charismatic evil.  This makes for a weird listening experience – I feel something when I listen to “Rio,” but it’s not really anything at all.  I imagine this is what being “coked out of yr mind” must be like, or how it would feel to be in love with a Patrick Nagel painting.  Ian Emes’s video for album closer “The Chauffeur” is one of the best videos of all time for one of the best songs of all time, but despite the unending praise I could heap on all of it I ultimately don’t have very much to report.  What mixtape would I put this song on?  What mood do I associate with this video?  It isn’t sad or longing or even especially sexy.  It’s just so so empty and so so good.  There’s a horrifying scene in “Less Than Zero” where the narrator finds his drugged up 13- or 15-year-old sister lying on his parents’ bed in her bathing suit listening to “Rio” on full volume.  It’s as appropriate there as it is over a leathery menage outside a Vanden Plas as it is in a post-hangover coffee shop on a Monday afternoon.  The uniting theme is that we’re all luxuriating in not having any fun.

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