Saturday, December 10, 2016

"The Reflex" by Duran Duran

#1 Alert!
Gold Record Alert!
Song#:  1876
Date:  04/21/1984
Debut:  46
Peak:  1 (2 weeks)
Weeks:  21
Genre:  New Wave

Pop Bits:  Duran Duran continued their hot streak when the first two singles from their album Seven and the Ragged Tiger reached the Top 10 - the #3 "Union of the Snake" and the #10 "New Moon on Monday." At best, the band was most likely hoping for a Top 10 finish for this single, however it exceeded expectations and ended up topping the Pop chart. At the time it was a bit rare to have an album's third single hit #1, especially after the previous ones did not, but this song did that for the band. Boosted by an MTV video, the song took off and ended up topping the Pop chart while getting to #15 Dance and #35 Rock. It would be their first US #1 and their second UK #1.

ReduxReview:  This song is both terrific and terrifically annoying. I was a bit on the fence about their previous two singles and wondered if I'd ever really like Duran Duran again. Then this song came along and it hit my ears just right. The single version (see below) sounded awesome and the chorus was hard to deny. I went out and immediately got the single which was housed in this cool sleeve that turned into a poster (I still have it). However, the annoying part is the lyrics. Duran Duran were never great at conveying ideas in their lyrics but this one was just nonsensical. Sometimes when artists write songs and they don't have lyrics yet, they just make up stuff so they can sing the song and hear the melody. Usually these riffs are eventually replaced with real lyrics. This song sounds like the band just kept their scratch lyrics. The words are utterly meaningless. In fact, in an interview lead singer Simon Le Bon said he had no idea what the song was about. Although it's annoying that the words mean nothing, what they did scribble down ended up being kind of charming and very catchy. So it seemed to all work out. I guess everyone can apply their own meaning to the song. It is easily one of their best singles.

ReduxRating:  9/10

Trivia:  This single version is a bit different from the one that appeared on the album. In order to boost the single potential of the tune, producer Nile Rodgers was brought in to do a remix. The new glossy sheen applied to the song by Rodgers turned the album track into something a bit more appealing to radio listeners. The remix worked very well and it got the band their first #1 hit.



  1. While I agree with you now about the inane lyrics, back when the song came out, I really couldn't care less about the words to songs - I was all about the music, and I loved (and still love) this song. That's why I loved "Blinded By The Light" when I first heard it - now I also ponder the ridiculousness of its lyrics.

    1. Oh, there were (still are) a lot of songs with indecipherable lyrics. If the music is good and the words used are at least memorable and fit the tune, I'm usually fine with it (like this song). But there is a limit to the amount of ridiculousness that I'll tolerate. I know it's pop music, but at least say something coherent!