Duran Duran – The Reflex
On April 16, 1984, Duran Duran released “The reflex”, one of the most iconic songs of the 80s. In the 1980s, if you asked a European teenager who his favourite band or singer was, in half the cases he would answer “Duran Duran”. And if you asked what his favorite Duran Duran song was, in half the cases he would answer “The Reflex”.
That’s why “The Reflex” is so much more than a beautiful song. The previous album, “Rio”, had certainly decreed Duran Duran’s fame in the UK, but Europe lagged a little behind. In November 1983, the release of “Seven and the Ragged Tiger”, an iconic album, brought Duran Duran back to the center of the stage, both musically and in the media, since they were now frequently associated with Princess Diana, a potential queen (which sadly never happened), but first of all a 22-year-old English girl, who had no trouble declaring that Duran Duran were her favorite group. And you agree with me, it is the best endorsement possible in those days, said by the most admired and adored girl in the world, perhaps the first influencer in history.
In fact we can really say that “The Reflex” granted an immense leap to the popularity of the group, who quickly conquered Europe, and, at the top of their glamour, became the absolute icons of the 80s.
Duran Duran realised the potential of “The Reflex” and chose it as lead single to release and publicize the album. But the production did not agree, apparently due to the gurgling of Why-y-y-y don’t use it, judged too frivolous, and so two singles came out that were less successful, although they were still very nice songs, “Union of the snake” and “New Moon on Monday”.
In the meantime, however, Duran Duran set to work to further improve this song in which they had blind faith, and ahead of the launch, in April, they turned to two sacred monsters of the 80s: Nile Rodgers of Chic, who produced a thrilling remix version, still considered the quintessential remix, and Russell Mulcahy to shoot a video that remained in mind.
And we certainly remember it, although it’s quite a simple video! Much of this is the footage of a concert in Toronto, with some stylized images of models in somewhat provocative attitudes with ropes and chains, a series of fake video interferences, and other simple graphic tricks, such as the famous waterfall coming out of the stage and overwhelming the audience (actually if we look carefully, only one person gets wet!)
Nile Rodgers’ remix also made history; in fact when we think about this song, we often think about the remix, rather than the version of the album, certainly less elaborated.
Lyrics are a miracle: without a real story, without a true meaning, by admission of the authors, Simon Le Bon in the first place, but full of suggestive words and images. Some think that the song is about the gambling addiction and its consequences, a child left alone to wait, the home furniture sold to make up for losses, allusions to cards and seeds. Duran Duran not only never explained the meaning, but as I said they had a lot of fun explaining that there really is no meaning, they are just phrases and words that sound good together, the result of an evening of joy and euphoria.
Which, as the song says, leaves us answered with a question mark!!
Duran Duran on Wikipedia