Duran Duran / The Singles Box 1986-1995

Singles 1986-1995

Singles Box Set 1986-1995 is a box set by Duran Duran. Comprising 13 CDs, it was released by EMI 13 September, 2004 and features the singles covering the era from Notorious to Thank You.

This was the first time many of these tracks, including b-sides and alternate versions, appeared on CD.

While a few remixes were also absent from this collection, the most notable missing songs are four b-sides which appeared on various editions of the “Come Undone” single in 1993:

  • “Falling Angel”
  • “Time for Temptation”
  • “Stop Dead”
  • “To the Shore (remix)”

“To the Shore” originally appeared on the band’s first album Duran Duran (1981), but due to the playing time limitations of vinyl records, when the album was reissued in 1983 the song was dropped in favour of the new single “Is There Something I Should Know?”. The song remained unfamiliar to many who became fans only after their mainstream success in 1983 and after.

The Analysis:

CD 1:

Notorious [45 Mix]—-Picking up seamlessly from the material ending the last Box Set, the band delivers another synth driven track that is masterfully full of stuttering vocals and huge synth lines. the whole band joins in on the chorus…giving the track a large sound…I had forgotten about this song…still sounds fantastic!

Winter Marches On—-This is nice…delivered with sparse instrumentation and a very dark edge, Simon delivers a wonderful vocal to this rather sedate B-Side. This is so dramatically different from the A-Side that it threatens to throw you into a tail-spin…but it really shows the bands versatility.

Notorious [Extended Mix]—-delivered with hyper driven synth beats and a staccato guitar, this is a classic remix! Concentrating as much on the funk fueled music as it does the vocal, this is well-rounded and made for late night 80’s dance floors. I love this!

Notorious [Latin Rascals Mix]—-This is a HUGE master mix of the original…injecting the track with even more funk and jerky vocals. The breaks are all over the song…allowing you to mix in and out of the song easily…giving you the option to make this a nice 12 minute track. This was released in the glorious hey day of the remix…and it shows.

CD 2:

Skin Trade [Radio Mix]—-Perhaps one of the weakest singles ever to be released by the band, at the time they were working on numerous side projects and some were going their separate ways. This is mundane and weak…relying heavily on the bowie influence that were abundant in the earlier material from the band. This track is much more infused with horns and synths and even less guitar and energy.

We Need You—-This  B-Side, for me, is as weak as the A-Side. This is mundane, uninspired and delivered with a clear lack of conviction. The only truly familiar sound is the voice of Le Bon, other than that this sounds like a foreign band. Disappointing!

Skin Trade [Stretch Mix]—-Even injecting this single with a heavier bass line and a familiar guitar strain is not enough to rescue this song from obscurity. This was the sound of a band struggling to find artistic direction and trying to change with the times…as disappointing as the original mix.

Skin Trade [Album Version]—-The inclusion of this was not necessary…this is just a longer and more tedious version of the Radio Edit…it offers nothing new, fresh or redeeming.

CD 3:

Meet El Presidente [7″ Remix]—-And then there were three!!! Although this is injected with better synth lines, the extra horns and background singers give this a bit of a lackluster sound. Le Bon sounds pretty great on this track…he delivers his vocal with nice conviction but without Taylor, the track is a bit empty.

Vertigo [Do The Demolition]—-Listening back to some of these later singles, it becomes obvious that the band really needed a break at this point in their career. After the constant recording and touring, it is obvious that the creative juices needed some time to rejuvenate. Even for a B-Side, this is pretty weak. Unimpressive.

Meet El Presidente—-Clocking in at over 7 minutes in length, this is a nice mix…beefed up and sounding much more Dance friendly than the radio edit. this again, features huge breaks and nice synth lines…all designed for optimum mixing ease. The female back ground singers are much more present, as are the rather annoying horns. this is nice, but still not quite up to par.

Meet El Presidente [Meet El Beat]—-More of an instrumental than anything else, this is full of huge bombastic beats and breaks. This is a nice excursion into the extended extension of a song…but it is a bit overdone and goes on way too long.

CD 4:

I Don’t Want Your Love [Big Mix]—-This single was really a nice return to form for the abbreviated band. The energy seems to have returned and the classic pop hooks are well in place. This includes more of the horns that annoy me a bit, but they are more subtle…allowing ample room for the huge synth lines. this is great…the harmonies on the chorus are great and the female vocals seem right at home on this track.

I Don’t Want Your Love [Album Version]—-a bit more stripped down and lacking a bit of the energy of the above remix, this was still loaded with enough classic Duran sounds to keep long time fans happy and to probably gain a few new ones. This is nice…the boys seemed to have once again found a comfortable place.

I Don’t Want Your Love [Shep Pettibone Vocal Mix]—-Pettibone delivers a remix that is classic early 90’s house infused dance magnificence. I could never ask for more…delivering an almost Herbie Hancock staccato synth sound, this just makes me smile…delivered with a classic sound while still infused with fresh beats this is a masterpiece. One of my favorite Duran remixes.

CD 5:

All She Wants Is—-This is mis-marked….somehow this collection was loaded with two Disc #12’s …..Sorry…but unique none the less. Live and learn.

CD 6:

Do You Believe In Shame —-This is another of those songs that really was not single material…this is full of gentle acoustic guitar and a strong vocal, but lacks the energy that the band was capable of…even with just three of the original members in place. This is a disappointment, but important in the ever evolving sound of the band.

The Krush Brothers LSD Mix—-Ugh….unispired and delivered with ZERO energy…what the hell is going on?

God [London]—-This is very odd…..a spoken word fiasco by Le Bon…what the hell was this supposes to mean. This is just a bit of a wasted space on a disc…a general tirade against the US and England…this is bizarre!!!

This Is How A Road Gets Made—-Even more spoken word nonsense that makes no sense to me at all. What is the meaning of all this poppycock nonsense. This is the sound of a band out of ideas and inspiration.

Palomino [Edit]—-If you do not take care, you may very well fall asleep with this sedate and sad excuse for a song. the boys have fallen hard from their perch with this slew of releases…leaving the listener frustrated and feeling rather ripped off. This is nonsense.

Drug [Original Version]—-From the onset, as you are hit with the bevy of back-up female vocals, you realize that this may very well be some of the weakest material this band managed to put together in their long career. this is nice…full of great dance grooves, but the song features the back up singers more than Le Bon. This is officially dismissed.

Notorious [Live]—-Even this live version of the masterful single sounds empty and uninspired. The band…now down to three sounds hollow and without conviction. Simon still manages to deliver a great vocal, but all of the female singers in the back ground cheapen the image of the band…even the crowd seems unimpressed.

CD 7:

Burning The Ground—-With snips of past Duran songs, this was like a huge mix up of the glory days that had past the band by the time this was released. This is very entertaining…flying back and forth from one classic track to the other…with a nice heavy bass beat in the backdrop. This is interesting…although I remain confused as to the purpose of the whole damn thing.

Decadance—-Beginning with the camera snaps from Girls On Film, this is another track that is basically a huge mash-up of the bands early singles…put together in a huge master-mix. What is the purpose of this? That remains beyond me…I am confused.

Decadance [2 Risk E Remix 12“]—-This is the same ‘song’….only extended to the point of near annoyance. I’m just not sure what the band was attempting to accomplish with this release, except to provide self-indulgence and sell some records while they regenerated themselves and hopefully returned with a more classy sound…this is odd…no matter how you digest it.

CD 8:

Violence Of Summer [Love’s Taking Over] [Power Mix]—-The Duran Boys seemed to go to the opposite extreme and deliver a song that is so slick and shiny that it threatens to rob them of whatever credibility they had left with existing fans. This falls so flat for me…sometimes sounding to me like a throw away Joe Jackson song.

Violence Of Summer [The Dub Mix]—-This is ridiculous…delivered in the dub style that so many 90’s artists delivered on extended versions, this takes a lackluster song and only makes it worse. I really do not like this!!!

Violence Of Summer [The Rock Mix]—-This is Duran’s foray into the Acid House sound that filled many dance floors in the early to mid 90’s. I still say that Simon sounds to much like Joe Jackson…this gets no better, I don’t care how many ways you remix it!

Violence Of Summer [The Story Mix]—-Ugh….is all of this necessary…..what is the purpose of this self-indulgence?

Throb—-This is the same song…with a different title….WTF!

CD 9:

Ordinary World [Single Version]—-The band bounced back in a huge way with this ballad style track that was layered with emotion and lyrics that appealed to the large fan base of female followers. Simon delivers a vocal that is steeped in hurt and lyrics that are so relatable that it almost hurts sometimes. The chorus literally soars and brings a magic smile to my face….this is wonderful..especially after the last few singles!

My Antarctica—-Sparse and delicate at the onset, this track opens up nicely and delivers a nice sedate synth line that caught my attention the first time I heard it. For a B-Side, this is rather good…Simon sounds better than ever…his voice is so recognizable. This is a nice return to form…even as a throwaway this is rather delicious.

Ordinary World [Extended]—-Extended to the almost 6 minute mark, this offers up a bit more orchestration and a whole lot more mood than the original single version. this was and remains a masterful single…I love this…it still manages to make me a bit melancholy and inspires goosebumps. This is stellar!

Save a Prayer [Single Version]—-Loading this CD5 with past hits never seemed to serve much of a purpose to me…the single stood very well on its own…none the less, the band digs back in its catalog and reminds us of the past and how majestic it was. this still sounds wonderful.

Skin Trade—-And this still sounds as lackluster!

The Reflex [7″ Version]—-What is the point here…we know all about this stuff…..

Hungry Like The Wolf—-Ditto….????

Girls On Film—-Perhaps this helped to sell the single…..who knows……

CD 10:

Come Undone [Edit]—-Another masterful delivery in ballad form, this track has always been a favorite of mine also…never really receiving the attention that I felt it deserved. Simon sounds fantastic and paints a masterful picture with his real and emotional lyrics. The female back drop singers sound perfectly at home on this track…and the gentle synth line is just incredible!

Ordinary World [Acoustic Version]—This is incredible….I like this version even better than the original…the simple acoustic guitar allows you to catch every word and every emotion wonderfully well. This is just fantastic! I love that Le Bon whine!!!

Come Undone [Thumpin’ 12″ Mix]—-This version takes this simple track and makes it into a production…full of strings and a build-up that almost drives you crazy. The track never really turns into the thumper you would expect, but it is nice none the less.

Come Undone [La Fin De Siecile]—-There is nothing new here…what is the purpose of all of this…this is really getting on my nerves and seems a bit ridiculous at this point.

CD 11:

Too Much Information [Album Version]—-This is a bit too abrasive and obnoxious to appeal to many of the long time fans that the band had managed to hold on to at this point in their career. this almost abandons all synth lines and instead relies on a much to electric guitar sound…at times the song is fantastic…but over-all it falls a bit flat for me.

Drowning Man [D;Ream Mix]—-If any of you are familiar with D;Ream, this will sound remarkably familiar and comfortable to you as it has their signature sound all over it. This is a superb remix of a rather lackluster song…doing it far more justice than it deserves. This is a dance part all to itself. Wonderful.

Come Undone [12″ Comin’ Together Mix]—-This has a nice slow, sexy shuffling beat to it that allows strains of the original composition to enter into the realm slowly. When the vocal enters you are pretty comfortable with the mellow pace of the song..wondering why this was not put on display much earlier. This is one of the best remixes in this entire box set…immaculate!

CD 12:

Perfect Day—-Delivered via a very mellow piano sound and a lonely vocal, this seems to be the new direction of the band…delivering songs that speak more to emotion rather than synth lines and bombastic deliveries. This is nice, but it is so sedate, you wonder what happened to one of the biggest bands of the decade.

Femme Fatale [Alternate Mix]—-This track, made famous by REM, is wonderfully delivered thanks to the whine that has become Simon’s voice. The music is lush and beautiful…this is a real keeper…I had never heard this and have played it for everyone I know over and over.

Love Voodoo [Remix]—-Do I know this song? Not sure, but it is a nice excursion into the mellower synth lines that seem to adorn this box set. The melody line of the song is fantastic…allowing you time to lose yourself in the gentle strains of the music as you daydream your way through the track. Very Nice!!!

The Needle And The Damage Done—-Duran covering Neil Young seems a bit ridiculous! This has a classic and familiar acoustic intro…and the vocal that accompanies the song is rather fantastic…this is a huge surprise to me…delivered with expertise and class. This is remarkable and almost worth sitting through all the bullshit to get to it!

911 Is A Joke—-This is a guitar based, funk fueled cover of the Public Enemy classic. The vocal is full of distortion and the result is pretty ridiculous…this ranks right up there with….AWFUL!

CD 13:

White Lines [Don’t Do It]—-This is just awful…I will leave this as it is..untouched and lonely sitting in a box never to be played again. Even though there are 6 remixes of this song on this disc, I find it hard to conjure up enough negative words to describe this that many times. My only advice….don’t do it…..this is terrible!

*** out of 5


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