Seven And The Ragged Tiger

Duran Duran

Capitol, 1983

REVIEW BY: Michael R. Smith


Duran Duran was always a solid band that were geniuses when it came to marketing themselves. Being handsome may have counted for some of it, but their album packaging and stunning music videos also helped to put them over the top in the image sweepstakes.  In the world of the Duranies, it was as important to look good as it was to sound good. And in the 80s, the decade of decadence, they would more than prove themselves as serious artists.

Their third album, Seven And The Ragged Tiger, would prove to be their last studio album as a quintet until their short-lived 2004 reunion album, Astronaut. In retrospect, it makes sense why some members abandoned ship. Success does funny things to some people and not everyone is equipped to handle it. With each album Duran Duran put out, their fan base would seem to grow bigger and bigger. In a way, the ragged tiger they refer to is fame itself -- a beast that needed to be tamed. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Though most people tend to remember and favor 1982’s Rio, Seven And The Ragged Tiger is where the Duran Duran magic began for me. Leaning more toward obscure material, it had three hit singles that were so good they buoyed the entire album. As the lead-off single, “Union Of The Snake” is one song that seems to get better with repeated listens. It is the ultimate Duran Duran statement that seems to have it all. Everything the group has become known for can be found in that particular cut.

Then there is “The Reflex,” which presented an all-new sound to the masses. It’s got horns, percussion, synthesizer, a great bass line, everything but the kitchen sink. Another favorite of mine is a song that’s fun to sing along to, “New Moon On Monday.” Singer Simon LeBon is at his sexiest on that one, at times even sounding like Elvis Presley (which prompts the question, would Elvis embrace this kind of music had he still been alive in 1983?). The sole ballad in this collection of tunes is “The Seventh Stranger,” which is pleasant enough, though not quite as strong as “Save A Prayer.”

With sterling production by Alex Sadkin and Ian Little, Seven And The Ragged Tiger is as close to a concept album as Duran Duran will probably ever come. The lyrics are as complex and intriguing as ever and the melodies are surprisingly loose. As a matter of fact, “Take The Dice” struggles to find a melody line to stick to. Two songs that are virtually identical are “Of Crime And Passion” and “Shadows On Your Side,” which leads me to believe that the boys were starting to get lazy with their song craft.

Had there been a little more variation, this would have been their masterpiece. Instead, Duran Duran had to settle for less-than-stellar reviews when this album was first released…not that their legions of fans cared what the critics had to say. I certainly didn’t.

Rating: A-

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© 2007 Michael R. Smith and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Capitol, and is used for informational purposes only.