|album by Duran Duran|
|Released||14 October 1997|
|Genre||New wave, electronica, electronic rock|
|Label||Capitol, EMI, Virgin|
|Associate Producer||Simon Le Bon|
About the album[edit | edit source]
This was the follow-up to the poorly received covers album Thank You. John Taylor left the band in January of 1997 before recording of Medazzaland was complete. With only three members remaining - Nick Rhodes, Simon Le Bon and Warren Cuccurullo - Duran Duran wrote and recorded several new tracks for the album, and re-recorded songs previously done with Taylor. His work remains on only three songs.
The album was released on 14 October 1997, in North America and Japan. Due to poor sales, plans for a UK release were pushed back, and, later, shelved indefinitely. As of 2007, the album has not been released anywhere else, although in July 2008, the album was made available to buy digitally through iTunes Store in Europe and the US.
The music varies widely, from the sleazy bounce of "Electric Barbarella" and the dissonant "Big Bang Generation", to the bitter austerity of "Silva Halo" and the simple acoustic sweetness of "Michael You've Got A Lot To Answer For", concluding with the self-deprecating swagger of "Undergoing Treatment". Overall, the album has a heavily-layered, processed feel, with clear influences from the electronica genre of the late 1990s. The back of the album cover features a defaced version of the iconic Rio cover painting.
The album's title was inspired by Le Bon's treatment with the mind-altering drug midazolam during dental surgery, leaving him in a disconnected state for some time afterwards.
Other notable songs on the album include "Medazzaland", the first Duran Duran song to feature Nick Rhodes, not Simon Le Bon, on vocals, and "So Long Suicide", a reaction to the death of Kurt Cobain, among other things. Two songs were written about John Taylor's departure from the group: "Who Do You Think You Are?", with lyrics by Le Bon, and "Buried in the Sand", with lyrics by Rhodes. Le Bon has said that the song "Michael You've Got A Lot To Answer For", was written for his good friend Michael Hutchence, former lead singer of the band INXS. Hutchence died just a month after the album's release.
The dismal performance of the album led in part to the dissolution of the band's contract with EMI after almost two decades. As a parting gift, EMI gave the band ownership rights and the master tapes to the Medazzaland album, as well as several unreleased audio and videotapes of their 1995 and 1997 concerts. It was rumoured that the band would independently release the album in the UK, but they went on to sign with Hollywood Records and released Pop Trash instead. Medazzaland was only available in the Europe as an import or download.
Chart position[edit | edit source]
The album reached #58 on the US Billboard album chart. It was never released in Europe.
Singles[edit | edit source]
"Out of My Mind"[edit | edit source]
Prior to the album's release, the band shopped some of the tracks around Hollywood movie studios in an attempt to get some songs onto popular movie soundtrack albums. Paramount Pictures eventually put "Out of My Mind" on the soundtrack for the Val Kilmer film The Saint. The single featured future Medazzaland track "Silva Halo" as a B-side, along with "Sinner or Saint", written for the movie.
In March 1997, the soundtrack and single for "Out of My Mind" were released internationally on Virgin Records, marking the first time a Duran Duran release (single or album) had been released on an imprint other than EMI/Parlophone (or Capitol/EMI for North America, though the same owner). The single peaked at #21 on the UK charts in May.
"Electric Barbarella"[edit | edit source]
The lead single, "Electric Barbarella", (a nod to the film Barbarella, from which the band took their name) was released on 16 September in the United States, and peaked at #52 on the Billboard Hot 100 on 1 November. It has been touted as the first song available for digital purchase/download on the Internet, and a handful of different mixes were created for the song. An 'exclusive' Dom T remix was made available for download in the US for 99 cents by the company Liquid Audio. This pioneering move annoyed many American retailers as they saw it as infringing on their retail territory and they either refused to stock the album or provided little to no promotion of the disc. That 'exclusive' remix of "Electric Barbarella" was actually just an edit of the full Dom T remix which was available on the commercially released single.
The video, directed by Ellen von Unwerth, involved a robot sex doll and had to be mildly censored before receiving airplay on MTV or VH-1; by the time the modified video was delivered, the song had already fallen off the charts.
Track listing[edit | edit source]
- "Medazzaland" - 3:53
- "Big Bang Generation" - 4:44
- "Electric Barbarella" - 5:19
- "Out of My Mind" - 4:20
- "Who Do You Think You Are?" - 3:27
- "Silva Halo" - 2:28
- "Be My Icon" - 5:15
- "Buried in the Sand" - 4:19
- "Michael You've Got A Lot To Answer For" - 4:09
- "Midnight Sun" - 3:41
- "So Long Suicide" - 4:39
- "Undergoing Treatment" - 3:05
Bonus track on the Japanese edition:
- "Ball and Chain" - 3:58
Personnel[edit | edit source]
Duran Duran are:
- Simon Le Bon - vocals
- Warren Cuccurullo - guitar, bass guitar (tracks: 3 to 6, 8 to 10)
- Nick Rhodes - keyboards, vocals on "Medazzaland" (track 1)
- John Taylor - bass guitar (tracks: 1, 2, 7, 11)
- Wes Wehmiller - bass guitar (tracks: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12)
- Steve Alexander - drums (tracks: 1, 2, 5, 7, 10, 11)
- Anthony J. Resta - drums (tracks: 2, 3, 5, 8 to 12)
- Dave DiCenso - drums (track: 4)
- Tim Garland - treated soprano sax solo
- Talvin Singh - tabla and santoor
- Jake Shapiro - cello
- Sally Stapleton - backing vocals
- Madeleine Farley - backing vocals
- Produced by TV Mania
- Associate producer - Simon Le Bon for Syn Pro Tokyo
- Anthony J. Resta - programming, mixing, additional production
- Engineering and programming: Mark Tinley
- Engineer (mix assistant) - Gareth Ashton
- Mastered by Dave Collins
- Mixes by TV Mania, Mark Tinley, Anthony J. Resta and Bob St. John
- Art direction - Duran Duran, Andrew Day
- Photography - Andrew Day
- Photography (booklet page 2) - Ellen von Unwerth
- Photography (booklet page 3) - Katrin Geilhausen
|<< Thank You||Pop Trash >>|
See also[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- Malins, Steve. (2005) Notorious: The Unauthorized Biography, André Deutsch/Carlton Publishing, UK (ISBN 0-233-00137-9)
- DuranDuran.com - official site
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