Duran Duran: There’s Something You Should Know (Showtime, Friday, December 27 at 9/8 Central) | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
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Duran Duran: There’s Something You Should Know

Showtime, Friday, December 27 at 9/8 Central

Dec 27, 2019 Web Exclusive
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Duran Duran: five fellows who looked like they were in a boy band and wrote effortless pop songs, yet were formidable musicians, eventually earning high-level credibility. The BBC has produced a snappy hour-long documentary, Duran Duran: There's Something You Should Know, which aired in the UK last year and is available on Showtime at the close of this year.

The film has much in common with VH1's 1999 Duran Duran episode of Behind the Music, including a large percentage of identical footage. Despite the two-decade gap, there's not much more to say about this beloved bunch other than they were hysterically super successful for about five years and they've been trying to prove and re-prove themselves ever since.

What is better told in There's Something You Should Know is the charming story of the formation of the band coupled with priceless images from the very early days. Four of the members, barring Andy Taylor, sit cramped into a Citroën, the same car they drove to their first gigs and listen to lo-fidelity cassette tapes of their rough demos. Reminiscing with very good recall, the camaraderie and mutual respect of the members is natural and quite tangible in their friendly and funny exchanges.

There is commentary from Russell Mulcahy, the director of their iconic videos and from Boy George, who speaks with insider- and, at the same time, fan-knowledge. There is also input from visual design artist Nick Egan, who goes through racks of signature Duran Duran outfits with keyboardist Nick Rhodes, deconstructing the ideas behind the styles with a sharp eye. Fun fact: By Rhodes' account, there have been 10,000 items of clothing in the collective Duran Duran closet.

There's Something You Should Know is, of course, peppered with Duran Duran's music, but not just the hits with the exotic and sexy videos. There are many a fantastic album cut that soundtracks the film, underscoring that just because you're pretty doesn't mean you can't also be talented. Case in point, singer Simon Le Bon sitting on stage with Andy Taylor on guitar, most likely at soundcheck, captured casually by what must be a bystander. The two perform a stripped back and absolutely stirring version of "Save a Prayer" that is possibly the best ever rendition of the song.

What is not focused on for more than a few seconds is the substance abuse habits of the band members, specifically John Taylor and Andy Taylor. In fact, the names of the drugs aren't even uttered. This particular characteristic of the group is better addressed in Behind the Music. On the one hand, that series liked to focus specifically on the dark side of music. But on the other hand, glaringly glossing over that aspect of the band in There's Something You Should Know is egregious and obvious.

On the opposite side, Le Bon's honest dissecting of the stark reality of being so in demand and then not having anyone interested in you over and over again generates sympathy in its very rawness. Still, while Duran Duran's most high-profile years were in the first half of the '80s, the group's longest running tour was for the Astronaut album in the mid-2000s, plus they went Top 10 in 1993 with Duran Duran and again in 2015 with Paper Gods.

There's Something You Should Know is not too deep, not too heavy and it's not an exposé. It's fun to watch and makes you feel glamorous by proxy. It will be an absolute delight for Duranies, whose devotion to the group will never have an expiration date. (www.sho.com)  

Author rating: 6/10

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Average reader rating: 9/10



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