I told some friends of mine about the second departure of Andy Taylor from Duran Duran, and one of them pointed me to a thread on a message board (can’t find the link at the moment) with posts reacting to the news. The first few replies snarked that we can look forward to Thunder II.
Thunder was Taylor’s debut solo album after leaving Duran Duran in 1985. Despite the commercial success of the single "Take It Easy" — which he recorded for the forgettable movie American Anthem — the album tanked. Anything associated with Duran Duran around that time lost its cachet, as the teen-aged girls who catapulted the group to phenomenal success started to grow up.
Thunder itself was a product of the ’80s. It was a rock album with decent hooks, and Taylor possessed a competent voice. At the same time, the album dated itself upon its release, and a destiny with the cutout bins wasn’t unimaginable.
But the various Duran Duran solo projects of the era revealed who contributed what to the band’s distinct sound. Taylor was clearly the melodicist, and his departure could be felt on the Duran Duran albums of the day — Notorious and Big Thing. Taylor also provided the rock backbone. "Hungry Like the Wolf" can cut its mettle on a classic rock playlist, but "Skin Trade" wouldn’t even rank.
Given his second departure, it’s clear Taylor doesn’t work well with the more conceptual sides of the band. (That’s my roundabout way of positing he still can’t work with Nick Rhodes.) And that works against Duran Duran.