Rio is a once-in-a-lifetime album. Everyone’s on the same page about that, right? Almost every song on it is a gem. I’m not just talking about the huge, timeless hits like “Hungry Like the Wolf” and that iconic title track. Even the lesser-known tracks - “Last Chance on the Stairway,” “Hold Back the Rain,” “New Religion” - are staggeringly great.
Except for “Lonely in Your Nightmare".
Great merciful Zeus, how I hate that song. “Lonely in Your Nightmare” is the clunker, the anomaly, the canker sore on Rio’s otherwise flawless visage. For starters, it’s pitched too low for Simon to sing in his most comfortable and natural range, but even setting that aside, the song is hopeless. The verses drone on and on, tuneless and meandering; the chorus is a repetitive soft whine.
Simon, of course, is a born poet, with a gift for summoning up enigmatic, dreamlike turns of phrases that could make an opium-befuddled Lewis Carroll nod in approval. Just look at the opening salvo of “The Chauffeur”: “Out on the tar planes, the glides are moving.” Doesn’t that read like a lost stanza of “Jabberwocky”? It’s marvellous. The lyrics to “Lonely in Your Nightmare,” however, consist of muddy contradictions and clichés; the song kicks off with the phrase “Even on the darkest night…” and goes nowhere good from there.
And then there’s that dreary music video, most of which is devoted to watching model Vanya Seager tossing and turning in bed, lost in wistful dreams about Simon. The remaining band members are given precious little to do; in their big moment, they stand on a beach in Sri Lanka and watch a dance by performers in native costume while looking bone-weary and grimly humorless. I know the feeling, guys.
The Rio-centric episode of the British documentary series “Classic Albums” contains a quick snippet of behind-the-scenes footage of this video, which was filmed by Russell Mulcahy simultaneously with his vastly superior videos for “Hungry Like the Wolf” and “Save a Prayer.” In the footage, spirits are high: Simon jokes around with the crew, Nick and Vanya snuggle together in a conspiratorial manner, and John and Andy seem dazed and confused, but agreeable. Everyone looks sunburned and carefree and maybe kind of drunk and/or high. They’re just hanging out on a beach in Sri Lanka, chatting up pretty ladies, enjoying their rising fame, having a whale of a good time. This is the Duran Duran I know and adore. In these few fleeting seconds of footage, I can finally find something to love about “Lonely in Your Nightmare.”
Much more from Morgan at the essential Duranalysis - quality writing since 2011