For many music fans of the '80s, this lively and melodic mid-tempo rocker served as their introduction to Duran Duran, the new generation's British import of the moment. The quintet became iconic '80s figures for many reasons, but one of the primary ones had to be their ability to tap into the zeitgeist. The Indiana Jones-esque video clip for this song may have spotlighted the band's teen idol potential, especially that of lead singer Simon Le Bon, but the music also speaks highly for itself. Andy Taylor's guitar and Nick Rhodes' keyboards work in tandem to create a unique atmosphere that maximizes solid songwriting.
On its breakthrough 1982 album of the same name, Duran Duran sprung onto the scene as a perfect bridge between guitar-based new wave and synth pop. For this reason, the band's potential audience was huge, drawing well across genres and from both genders, though perhaps a bit skewed toward female fans. This tune, which may be the group's pinnacle, features an unbelievably tasty intro that equally displays Rhodes' keyboards, Andy Taylor's guitar and even some notably funky bass from John Taylor. Throw Le Bon's brilliant clear-voiced vocals on top of that, and all you have is pure pop music gold.
Early-'80s new wave and synth pop simply never witnessed more luxurious textures than those conceived by Duran Duran, particularly on this achingly beautiful, genuinely moving track. With or without the band's island getaway video locale of choice, the quintet's best music simply transports the listener to a place - in the manner of a vacation destination - that makes us question why we can't go there more often than just the brief reprieves we're afforded. Ultimately, this leaves a taste of melancholy when we must return to ordinary life, but that sadness somehow feels welcome and revitalizing.
When considering guitar riffs from the '80s, it certainly makes sense to focus on Van Halen or even outright heavy metal acts such as Judas Priest, but Andy Taylor should not be overlooked as a guitar wizard, I kid you not. But as usual, Duran Duran's best songs are multi-layered pleasures that you really don't need to feel guilty about. The drum-and-vocals intro may serve as a very memorable centerpiece for this particular tune, but there's just so much more going on. As a five-man unit, Duran Duran may never be afforded the respect it deserves for individual and collective instrumental prowess.
Although the primary reason previously for my affinity for this tune is its unforgettable Sparkle Motion accompaniment in the wonderful 2001 cult film Donnie Darko, I was delighted to find more reasons to admire it once I revisited the song. I don't know if any band in rock history has played keyboards and guitar off of each other more effectively than Duran Duran, as the funky, eminently danceable groove featured here proves so well. But I also find myself amazed that I've failed to realize all these years how fine a singer Le Bon was and still is. Dismissals of this band have simply always been unjust.