Friday, June 8, 2012

Duranalysis: Arcadia’s Election Day

Nick Rhodes, Duran Duran’s eternal pixie, turns fifty today.  To mark this august occasion, I’ve thrown together a special bonus Duranalysis: Arcadia’s 1985 video for “Election Day.”

Plans were originally in place to have Ridley Scott (!) direct this, but when his production schedule for Legend conflicted, Scott suggested Roger Christian, who’d been his art director on Alien, as a replacement. Christian, the Academy Award-winning set designer of Star Wars (and the future director of, ah, Battlefield Earth; I haven’t seen it, so I shan’t judge or mock, though I may quietly snicker, just a little), established a gorgeous visual style; really, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better-looking video.

Still, I have mixed feelings about this one.  There’s a passage in Rolling Stone journalist Rob Sheffield’s coming-of-age memoir, Talking To Girls About Duran Duran, in which he refers, with affection, to the band’s “bat-shit pretensions.”  I’m hesitant to give Nick and Simon too much flack here, because Duran Duran’s quest to synthesize pop music and art is one of its noblest achievements, but…  look, Nick envisioned this video as an homage to the films of the mid-century French surrealist Jean Cocteau.  Brace yourself for some bat-shit pretensions.