A reimagination of Duran Duran’s reimaginations - at time of writing (23rd October 2023) before we’ve even had this new 16th studio album. Here is the newest of the Cherry Lipstick reimagined Duraniverse for your pipe-smoking / tea drinking / wine sampling enjoyment.
“The only song that is truly a Halloween song is the title track… We just adopted for this wonderful time of the year.” Nick Rhodes - American Songwriter interview 06.10.23
Both singles released so far for Danse Macabre, the title track and Black Moonlight, have generally been referred to as ‘fun’ songs, looking at the album track list suggests a fun approach to Halloween, and quite rightly. “A crazy Halloween party… it’s supposed to be fun!” – Simon Le Bon has spoken!
But let’s reimagine here a slightly different approach, for the discerning Duran fan of course, a dark side of Duran album – a vibe we know that they have always done so well on many tracks over their entire discography.
This reimagined Danse Macabre album consists of one track per album pre-reunion (1981-2000, sans Thank You), this brings nine tracks from nine studio albums in to play. A subjective reimagining of DM for Dark Duran could go as follows:
1/ Nightboat - Nightboat is a great gothic Duran track. Appropriately, The Smashing Pumpkins performed Nightboat with Simon at one of their gigs in the late 90s. There are a number of tracks from the debut that fit in Dark Duran. Careless Memories features a Simon Le Bon who sounds like a maniac welding a gun and firing off random shots. But Nightboat has to open Danse Macabre, reimagined albums be damned!
2/ New Religion – From Rio they went with Lonely in Your Nightmare mixed with Super Freak but Dark Duran would go with New Religion in all its glory. Simon’s favourite track off the Rio album, from the opening, this track is moody, clever, and gorgeous, a deadly combination.
3/ Secret Oktober (Live version from Wembley, 1998) – One of the band’s greatest live moments. Not only was I there at my first DD gig but I was also incredibly lucky enough to go to the EMI aftershow party & discuss this track with SLB – briefly as his voice was still recovering from the performance! The audacity to sign off from their EMI contract on their ‘Greatest’ tour with this track & in this arrangement, I miss those bold set list choices! Dark and melancholic, a truly great moment for #duranlive.
4/ Black Moonlight – Andy Taylor. Nile Rogers. Boom!
5/ Vertigo – Listening to Maneskin it seems, with tracks of theirs like ‘Supermodel’, that guest bassist Victoria De Angelis would also sound at home on a funky dark track from the Notorious album.
6/ All She Wants Is - Mr Hudson is a musical genius and with him onboard again for this album, both he & Nick could rework the obsessive tone of All She Wants Is for the 2020s.
7/ I would say take your pick from Liberty for something horrific (joke, it plays as a great 5-track EP) but with Duran revisiting old songs with Andy Taylor for this album, perhaps a chance then with Warren also onboard to finally lay down the bands ultimate lost track Only For Me / Worth Waiting For. A beautiful & passionate Duran track forever trapped in limbo is a dark enough notion to qualify here. Every time I hear the sinister synths from the last minute or so on Only For Me, I picture the POV of some psychotic serial killer stalking in low sunlight orange bathed hues inside the Palmer house hold from Twin Peaks. I’d also expect in this alt Duraniverse that Only For Me would play out over a murder scene in Melrose Place from the early nineties. Either that or give Yo Bad Azizi a 2023 update….
8/ Danse Macabre – Welcome back Warren Cuccurullo. You have indeed been missed very much.
9/ Love [Voodoo] Voudou – a great choice by the band, obviously dark Duran. A rework of a high moment for 90s Duran. Voudou has no translation although vodou is a form of Haitian spirituality in the Caribbean.
10/ Be My Icon (honourable mention to the excellent OOMM B-side, Sinner or Saint) - Along with Out of My Mind, Icon is one of the best and darkest 90s Duran tracks & it would be great to see it given new life from the Danse Macabre sessions & live tour TBC. Warren’s guitar alongside those synths can rock anyone’s clothes off!
11/ Playing With Uranium – Going out with a bang and a damning parting shot towards Hollywood Records at the time, plenty of dark mania in this excellent track from Pop Trash.
12/ OK one cover track then. Billie Eilish – I really like the idea of this. DD create some great music with paired back production (their cover version of Needle & The Damage Done, or This Lost Weekend & Box Full O’Honey as highlights) so the Bury A Friend cover could be another gem…
13/ Confessions In The Afterlife – organs and that title. Nuff said! But Dark Duran’s Danse Macabre doesn’t end there…
14/ The Chauffeur with The Man Who Stole A Leopard – A bonus finale, The Chauffeur with its Lynchian appeal, paired with Leopard’s sinister vibe. Let’s hope that the excellent Joanne Joanne fulfils the notion of something they might have hinted at and play these two tracks together one day!
All in all, a reimagined Danse Macabre album full of the tricks and treats of Duran darkness from some of their best music alongside the new Danse Macabre tracks. Happy Halloween!