Thursday, November 21, 2013

Duran Duran - Seven and the Ragged Tiger

Today (November 21st) marks the thirtieth anniversary of Seven and the Ragged Tiger, the third studio album from Duran Duran. It achieved Platinum sales status in the UK within a week of its release, and Platinum in the US by the start of 1984. Chart-wise, it reached number 20 in France, number 17 in Germany, number 16 in Switzerland, number 8 on the US Billboard Album chart, number 7 in Canada, number 3 in Finland, number 2 in Australia, and number 1 in the Netherlands, New Zealand and the UK.

It would also be the last album with the original line-up (Nick Rhodes on keyboards, Simon Le Bon on vocals, Andy Taylor on guitar, John Taylor on bass and Roger Taylor on drums) until 2004's Astronaut.

Side one opens with "The Reflex", the third single. It hit number 15 in France, number 14 in Spain, number 11 in Austria and Italy, number 10 in Switzerland, number 7 in Poland, number 6 in New Zealand, number 4 in Australia, and number 3 in Canada. It went all the way to number 1 in Belgium, Ireland, the Netherlands, and the UK and on the US Billboard Hot 100. With a solid beat and catchy hooks, this one was a popular party song during 1984. I really like the various percussion elements and the vocal volleying.

"New Moon on Monday" was released as the second single in January of 1984. It went to number 48 in Australia, number 26 in the Netherlands, number 10 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 9 in the UK, number 5 in Ireland, and number 4 in Canada and New Zealand. To me, the lyrics of this one are about making a change to something new, different and hopefully better.

"(I'm Looking For) Cracks in the Pavement" is about that nagging feeling that haunts your thoughts and prevents you from living in the moment, as good as it might be.

"I Take the Dice" is about breaking with the normal way of doing things and taking a chance on something new.

"Of Crime and Passion" closes out the side on an up-tempo note.

Side two starts with "Union of the Snake". Preceding the album by a month, this first single went to number 16 in Spain and Sweden, number 8 in Norway, number 5 in Ireland, number 4 in Australia, number 3 in the UK and on the US Billboard Hot 100, and number 1 in Canada. This one too is charged with a lot of energy, which made it a big crowd favorite on the dance floors back in the day. The screaming saxophone solos by Andy Hamilton are my favorite parts of this one.

The smoky, sexy "Shadows on Your Side" was released as a promotional single in Malaysia.

The instrumental "Tiger Tiger" was released as the B-side to the second single and an A-side single in Japan only. Unlike the earlier tracks, this one opens with a very experimental sound to it.

The record ends with the mid-tempo of "The Seventh Stranger". This one is full of heartbreak, loneliness and the need to find solace in the arms of anyone else.

I owned a copy of Seven and the Ragged Tiger on vinyl back during my freshman year of college; I am almost certain I got a copy as a Christmas gift in December of 1983. Thanks to the music videos from Rio and then this album, I became a quick fan of Duran Duran. Over the years, I replaced that long-gone vinyl with a digital copy of the record. I still enjoy listening to this one, with its slick synths and polished production. There are a lot of solid dance tunes here, even among the non-hit deeper cuts.

For 1982's Rio, click here.

For 2010's All You Need Is Now, click here


HERC said...

This album is one of my favorites as well though Rio remains my favorite double Duran album.

Can't beleive you didn't mention the Nile Rodgers remix of "The Reflex" which was the hit single version. But you focus on the original album so I get it.

Speaking of getting it, I highly recommend the 2010 double disc reissue. So much good stuff on there.

[And, if you watch The Mentalist at all, "Tiger Tiger" has a whole different meaning.]

Martin Maenza said...

Herc, thanks for mentioning the remix. :) Oh, and I don't watch The Mentalist so I will have to look into that.