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Classic album: Duran Duran Album: Duran Duran

Capitol Records/4.5 stars out of 5

Duran Duran plopped seemingly out of nowhere onto American shores in 1981 and was embraced as part of the second British Invasion. While it's a bit daft to compare Duran Duran to The Kinks, The Who or The Beatles, this band has created some fine work that has stood the test of time.

Initially, Duran Duran was marketed as something the girls could scream at, but beneath the hairspray and makeup was a band that cared about its music. Blessed with the ability to write a hook and faces that kept them on the cover of Tiger Beat, Duran Duran members created some of the most memorable pop songs of the 1980s.

Their self-titled debut contained several songs that were hits on Top 40 and rock radio, and their videos were played an average of 20 times a day on a brand new cable channel called MTV. At the time, MTV (the 'M' stood for music) played music videos, and Duran Duran's label smartly financed several video clips that played like mini-James Bond adventures. The songs ("'Planet Earth," "Girls on Film," "Careless Memories," "Night Boat") were good enough on their own, but the added visual elements pushed the band into superstardom.

The band's new wave sensibilities mixed with a love for disco and punk resulted in a sound that was attractive to fans of pop, rock and dance music. The newly released two-CD/DVD version of their debut album features live tracks, radio sessions and television appearances, and the mere existence of this box should go a long way to silence those critics who wrongly dismissed the band as fluff without substance.

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