A couple of weeks ago, Liberty beat Thank You and Medazzaland to win the coveted Cherry Lipstick Best 90s Album Title Track.
When the new album comes out, I’ve always been keen to hear the title track. It has suggested to me that there is something special about it. The band, it seems, have elevated this one above the rest. It’s as if the track hold some unifying clue to this body of work. Let’s take a look at closer all of them:
Red Carpet Massacre
All You Need Is Now
So, since Arena, only the Wedding Album has not had a title track. Of these 11 songs, 6 have been the first track on its album, with 2 more as the second (Liberty and RCM). It would seem, therefore, that they have been designed to showcase the album, though only three (Rio, Notorious and All You Need Is Now) have been a single as well (with only two of them as the lead single).
This does seem to be a Duran Duran trait. Not many other bands (says he thinking a bit about it) have such a high percentage of album-titles-as-songs.
Yet not many of these 11 tracks feature on fan-made Best Ofs. It's quite easy to pick out Notorious and Rio as the Big 2 from the list above. Familiarity has not blunted their dynamism and call-to-action. They exemplify their albums and deserve their place in the Duran pantheon of Greats.
Of the rest, it's a mixed bag. These title tracks have often been asked to carry too much weight. Big Thing remains obtuse. Medazzaland stretches a 2-minute intro too far. Without its strong chorus, All You Need Is Now is an off-putting screechy mess. Sometimes I have wondered whether these album titles came first and then the song fitted around it. This would make some sense with Astronaut and Red Carpet Massacre. Both tracks are in themselves pretty mundane. Sunrise would seemingly have been a better album title for the reunion album. Nick seems to have been allowed to let a fairly slight concept get way out of control for the photo shoot with RCM.
For what it’s worth, Liberty is one of the better examples of the title track. 1990 was a new decade and Duran were showcasing a new band. The title reflects this and the sound is suitably light, melodic and, rather like Planet Earth, ‘let's everyone have a go’. It is a shame that the rest of the album, barring Serious and My Antarctica, doesn’t live up to the promise shown here.
It's been voted the best of the 90s and should, I contend, be the 'best of rest' in third place of Duran's 11 title tracks.