Duran Duran: Duran Duran (Special Edition)

Here’s how far I’ve fallen as a Duranie: I didn’t know there was a controversy surrounding the expanded reissue of Duran Duran’s self-titled album.

Yes, I thought it was odd the camera clicks at the start of "Girls on Film" cut out, and I thought I just made a faulty rip to my computer, until I discovered it was actually on the recording itself. I shrugged it off as a bad pressing but didn’t think too much of it.

I still have the remastered version of this album from 2004, and my aim in purchasing this reissue were for the extras — demos and videos.

Then I read EMI’s statement admitting to the glitch and standing by it. Andy Taylor, who left the band twice, gave his indignant reaction, and given what I know about Duranies, I didn’t bother to comb any Internet fan communities to gauge the consumer outrage.

Me? I’ve bought this damn album multiple times, and I have no shortage of versions to which I can listen. I’m not lacking in "Girls on Film" or "Planet Earth".

Is the glitch at the start of disc one any reason to throw the proverbial baby out with the bath water? I don’t think so.

The demos that accompanied the Rio reissue were revelatory, and so too are the ones included on this expanded edition of Duran Duran.

I didn’t even know a recording of the vocal version of "Tel Aviv" existed. The final version inherited only the title. The original sounds uncharacteristic of Duran Duran, particularly the noodling guitar solo by Andy Taylor at the end.

The Air Studios demo of "Girls on Film" is dominated by guitar, something I would have loved to hear live.

The remaining demos — "Anyone Out There", "Late Bar", "Planet Earth" — hew close to the final studio versions, but their stripped-down live feel make them far more organic. "Planet Earth" includes an extra verse, and elements of the demo would be expounded on the 12-inch version.

My own personal wish is still to see the original Duran Duran video album get reissued on DVD (although I guess Blu-Ray is where these things are heading now.) EMI’s reissue campaign has done this by proxy.

"Night Boat" and "Careless Memories" had so far been excluded from previous Duran Duran video compilations, perhaps not without reason.

The remastering itself is another point of contention among fans, and a quick A-B comparison clearly shows that if you own the 2004 reissues of the album, hold onto them. The special edition really quashes the sound in an unkind way..

I would have thought EMI would just use the 2004 reissues as a springboard for the special editions. I can see why they would refuse to "correct" their mistakes after having invested the effort. It wasn’t a very good effort, and they could have cut corners and still lured fans with the extras.

So yes, there is some degree of caveat emptor for Duranies — the glitch and the shoddy remastering undercut the purpose of a "special" edition, but if you’re willing to spend the cash on a reissue this expansive, you probably have the kind of collection to compensate for its shortcomings. I say, go for the extras but ignore the album proper.