Of all the reissues in Capitol’s Duran Duran campaign, Seven and the Ragged Tiger offers the least incentives.
No extra tracks (you can find those on the singles boxed set), no interactive elements, no extended liner notes.
It doesn’t matter — the remastering of the album is worth the price alone.
Unlike Duran Duran’s first two albums with producer Colin Thurston, Seven and the Ragged Tiger epitomized the claustophobia of the band’s writing.
Keyboardist Nick Rhodes would later describe that period as five guys bashing it out for a piece of the spotlight — they all wanted some part of the sonic real estate.
What resulted was one of Duran Duran’s thickest recordings, a super glossy production that covered up some rushed writing. The closest Seven and the Ragged Tiger gets to a slow song is “The Seventh Stranger”, and even that song has a lot going on.
For the audiophile, Nick Webb’s remastering brings out all of the album’s nuances. If anything, a better appreciation of Seven and the Ragged Tiger derives not from the band’s songwriting but from its arrangements.
Just one listen to the album version of “The Reflex” is enough to show why Nile Rodgers’ remix of the song was necessary.
And yet, it’s great to listen to all the swirling effects of “(I’m Looking for) Cracks in the Pavement” or the layers of synthesizers on “Shadows on Your Side” or even Simon Le Bon’s reverb-drenched voice on “The Seventh Stranger” in full stereo.
The decision not to tack extras at the end of the album is something of a mixed blessing. It would have been nice to see at least the single version of “The Reflex” on the disc, but it’s also nice that nothing interferes with the poignant conclusion of “The Seventh Stranger”.
(If Duran Duran ever releases a rarities collection, how about including the demo of what should have been the album’s title track?)
Duranies may feel cheated by the fact this reissue doesn’t reveal more than what’s already public knowledge, but an A-to-B comparrison with the original CD release should quell any doubts.
Get this reissue if only to better appreciate the studio magic of the album.