When Duran Duran’s Rio was first released on CD back in the early 90s, U.S. fans introduced to the band after 1983 were in for a shock.
The album on CD sounded nothing like the album on vinyl or cassette. The songs were shorter, and the arrangements weren’t fleshed out.
As it turns out, fans late to the game bought a remixed version of the album that contained many dance mixes of the songs. When it came time to release Rio on CD, the band opted to use its original masters, with shorter songs.
What does this have to do with a remastering of the band’s first self-titled CD? There’s a similar track change on this reissue as well.
Don’t panic — it’s not as drastic as finding out the album you knew and loved didn’t really start out that way.
To capitalize on Duran Duran’s breakthrough in the U.S. during the early ’80s, Capitol reissued the band’s first album, replacing “To the Shore” with a then-new single, “Is There Something I Should Know?”
Guess what? “Is There Something I Should Know?” is nowhere on this remastered issue of Duran Duran, and that’s something of a blessing and a curse.
In terms of mood and temperament, “To the Shore” definitely matched the rest of Duran Duran far better than the highly-glossy “Is There Something I Should Know?” ever did.
At the same time, it isn’t one of the band’s best songs, and Duran Duran was justified in removing it on later pressings. (In fact, the very first issue of the album didn’t contain it.)
As such, it takes some adjustment to consider “Careless Memories” as the conclusion of “side one” after years of conditioning by “Is There Something I Should Know?”
In terms of sound, the difference is magnificent. The remastered version makes full use of stereo, and the overall volume of the album has been greatly boosted. Headphones listening reveals subtle flourishes on “Friends of Mine” and “Night Boat” buried on the original pressing.
Unlike Capitol’s reissue of Rio back in 2001, the remastered Duran Duran has no extras — no photos, no videos. The limited edition gatefold is just fancy packaging, and it doesn’t even contain an inner sleeve to protect the disc from scratches by the cardboard cover.
With the release of The Singles 81-85, Capitol probably hopes the lack of new material on these reissues would force Duranies to get the boxed set. (And damn it — it’s fucking working.)
Still, it’s safe to say this remastered version of Duran Duran is worth the redundancy. Go ahead and sell that old version to a used CD shop.