Thursday, April 27, 2006

“Is There Something I Should Know?” by Duran Duran included on the rerelease of their début album Duran Duran
Fourth Week of March, 1983

wargamesduranduranshreek.jpgNew Wave was the pop synthesis of post-punk and the new romantics. Johnny Rotten was now John Lydon, Adam had shed his Ants for horns, Boy George brought gender-bending to Middle America, and by 1983 Duran Duran was fucking everywhere.

Duran Duran had arrived on U.S. shores via MTV and the dance-club popularity of 1982’s “Rio” when the band and its label decided to rerelease its self-titled first album with the new single, “Is There Something I Should Know?”

This song was huge. HUGE. But to this day all anyone remembers is the line, “You’re about as easy as a nuclear war.” Not exactly the kind of stuff which endeared Duran Duran to critics; but people have a way of conveniently overlooking the fact that during the early years of the Reagan administration nuclear war was looking very easy thanks to readily deployed long-range ICBMs. Anyone who saw War Games knew that if you wanted to start a global thermonuclear war pretty much all you had to do was hook up your Atari to a modem then enter some launch codes. But singer Simon Le Bon was being ironic which made him way ahead of his time. He didn’t mean to suggest that the person he was referring to was “easy”; quite the opposite. This statement helped convey the fact that nuclear war is a complicated issue. Like a woman. Which was his whole point. Not everybody got that of course. People called Duran Duran a fad, but they are timeless. And so is this song. Is nuclear war easy or what? Maybe you should ask Jack Bauer.

Best part? Right at the start, with the drums where Simon Le Bon implored listeners, “Please, please tell me now!”

— Mick Stingley

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