It's no secret that most big-time rock musicians are also
big-time rock fans, but that rarely shows in public. Perhaps that's
why it's so much fun to hear Duran Duran gee-whizzing its way
through "White Lines" along with Grandmaster Flash and the Furious
Five. Although it's not a terribly inventive interpretation, mixing
straight-off-the-record imitation with laughably overblown special
effects (the snort and giggle at the beginning of the track), it's
hard to argue with the spirit of the performance. Let's be honest:
Didn't fans of the original single rap along with Melle Mel as
earnestly as Simon LeBon does?
Of course, most of those fans were content to rap in the privacy
of their homes, while LeBon and the rest of the Durannies are
hanging out their enthusiasm for all to see. Still, as tempting as
it may be to snicker at their shamelessness, think about the daring
that goes with it. How many other bands would have had the guts to
try to update Sly's "I Wanna Take You Higher," much less work in an
allusion to Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust"?
Admittedly, some of the ideas at play here are stunningly
wrongheaded, like the easy-listening arrangement given Elvis
Costello's "Watching the Detectives" or the version of Zeppelin's
"Thank You" that sounds like the band is covering Chris DeBurgh.
But it takes a certain demented genius to recognize Iggy Pop's
"Success" as the Gary Glitter tune it was meant to be or to redo
"911 Is a Joke" so it sounds more like Beck than like Public Enemy.
Had the band indulged in more such remakes, Thank You
would have been even more welcome. (RS 709)