Sunday, January 6, 2013

Duranalysis: Electric Barbarella


People say they’ve heard about our deviation…

“Electric Barbarella” was a single off of Duran Duran’s 1997 album Medazzaland. This was a strange and bleak time in the band’s history: John Taylor had just quit, leaving only Simon Le Bon and Nick Rhodes, plus guitarist Warren Cuccurullo, to soldier on. For an assortment of reasons, neither the album nor the single nor the video, which was directed by photographer Ellen von Unwerth, made much of a splash upon release (though the song does hold the distinction of being the first single legally sold as a digital download). Too bad—the song’s fantastic, and the video is… well, it’s worth Duranalyzing. Here we go:

Simon, Nick and Warren stroll around a silver-walled emporium, which is lined with cases displaying scantily-clad mannequins. A bald, white-suited salesclerk, who straddles that fine line between attentive and creepy, assists them. The setting has a late-sixties/early-seventies kitschy sci-fi vibe to it—they’re referencing Barbarella, obviously, but there’s a touch of Logan’s Run here, too, with maybe a little 10th Victim tossed in as well. The Durans, it turns out, are looking to purchase a sexy robot. You know, for general carnal entertainment, and maybe a little light housecleaning.