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Ghost Canyon

Title - 'Seven & the Ragged Tiger (2 CD/DVD)'
Artist - Duran Duran

The members of Duran Duran were likely feeling their oates by 1983. Chorus heavy with Simon LeBon's voice double-tracked during the most urgent moments, these perky tracks are the summit of prolific creativity within a three-year period by Duran Duran. "Seven and the Ragged Tiger" could be viewed as the third record in a trilogy of Duran Duran's first three nine-song albums.

Although "Ragged" might not match "Rio's" classic tunes, it boasts some premium pop songs with real earnestness in the vocals and lyrics. Even the non-hits on this album come off as completely radio-ready. As for the songs that did make it to the masses via radio, "The Reflex," "New Moon on Monday" and "Union of the Snake" are all well-known and were some of the last string of mega-hits by Duran Duran during this great era for the band.

Perhaps the biggest surprise about Duran Duran is how their lively songs often contain morose lyrics despite the band's outwardly gregarious image; within the songs are weighty personal issues. Take, for instance, "Shadows on Your Side," where LeBon sings, "Scandal in white on a tangled vine/With everybody to say you're having the/Time of your life, when your life is on the slide." LeBon shows his vocal range, too, on such great tunes as "New Moon on Monday" and "Of Crime and Passion," from a classy-sounding baritone to high-pitched but nicely controlled levels.

The last two tracks on this record break up the lively vibe of the previous seven ones. "Tiger Tiger" is a leisurely, exotic-sounding instrumental, while "The Seventh Stranger," with its morose, longing lyrics and beautiful sound, comes of as a genuine tearjerker. Overall, there's just lots of tangents and bridges within these songs that make them very memorable, even after the first listen.

If "Seven and the Ragged Tiger" has any faults, it might be that the songs come off as too tightly formulated and aiming to please. Still, this was a great release by Duran Duran before the classic five-member lineup disintegrated and everyone went their own way.

And so to this 2010 remaster. CD1 is the original 1983 album. CD2 includes non album singles, b-sides & mixes. The PAL DVD contains As The Lights Go Down: A film Conceived by Duran Durand and Russell Mulcahy, the Videos from Seven and The Ragged Tiger and two Top of the Pops performances.

Specially packaged in a clamshell box with lift off lid & includes an 8 page booklet, 5 postcards of individual band shots plus a collectors folded poster that was used in Japanese original LP. [SN]