Photo Credits: Ultimate Classic Rock
An eclectic collection of songs, Duran Duran mixes both new and old sounds on their 16th studio album, Danse Macabre. The 13-song album features reimagined tracks from Duran Duran’s existing catalog, covers from other well-known artists, and some never-heard-before compositions. Inspired by a 2022 Halloween concert in Las Vegas, the band created this spooky concept album and released it right on time for this year’s Halloween celebrations. Danse Macabre dropped on October 27th, playfully mixing dark themes and ‘80s pop to deliver the perfect treat for Halloween enthusiasts and Duran Duran fans.
2. BLACK MOONLIGHT
3. LOVE VOUDOU
4. BURY A FRIEND
6. DANSE MACABRE
7. SECRET OKTOBER 31ST
8. GHOST TOWN
9. PAINT IT BLACK
10. SUPER LONELY FREAK
12. PSYCHO KILLER (featuring Victoria De Angelis)
13. CONFESSION IN THE AFTERLIFE
A long-time favorite in the pop world, Duran Duran began their journey in 1978, being formed in Birmingham by singer/bassist Stephen Duffy, keyboardist Nick Rhodes, and guitarist/bassist John Taylor. Over the years, the band has seen many personnel changes with their most recent line-up being Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes, John Taylor, and Roger Taylor. Working on Danse Macabre, the project saw the return of former members Andy Taylor and Warren Cuccurullo. The band has been extremely successful since their formation in 1978, having sold over 100 million albums worldwide and being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2022. They’ve repeatedly hit the charts, achieving 18 American chart hits and 21 Top 20 UK smashes.
Repurposing some of their existing catalog for Danse Macabre, Duran Duran presents the reimagined songs “Nightboat,” “Secret Oktober 31st,” and “Love Voudou.” “Nightboat” comes from the band’s first and self-titled album, taking the track “The Night Boat” and giving it a spooky makeover. The song already had a darker feel to it, featuring eerie synths and haunting melodies that the band tweaked for Danse Macabre. The new version of the song is intoxicating, turning the original’s over-the-top ‘80s synth-pop sound into something more modern and cinematic. Giving a groovy makeover to the 1993 track “Love Voodoo,” Duran Duran rebrands the track as “Love Voudou” and turns it into one of the catchiest entries on Danse Macabre. The track is infectious, featuring funky bass lines and sexy melodies. “Secret Oktober 31st” is the last of Duran Duran’s reimagined tracks, coming from the B-side of the single “Union of the Snake.” The track was originally called “Secret Oktober,” renamed “Secret Oktober 31st” for the album’s Halloween theme.
Putting their own spin on some classics and hits, Duran Duran includes a series of cover songs on Danse Macabre. The group takes Billie Eilish’s “Bury A Friend” and puts an ‘80s synth-pop twist on it. It’s an unexpected choice for Duran Duran to cover, but it works quite well for the album. Giving an updated spin on a 1977 classic, Duran Duran reimagines Cerrone’s “Supernature.” The group shortens the track, emphasizing the eerie synths for the album’s Halloween theme. Keeping things spooky, the band includes a creepy cover of “Ghost Town” by The Specials, featuring some of the eeriest harmonies on the album. Following “Ghost Town,” Duran Duran takes on The Rolling Stones’ “Paint It Black.” The song is already on the spookier side, but the group makes the song extra chilling with a plethora of ghostly synths and Le Bon’s haunting vocals. “Super Lonely Freak” takes the cake for being the most innovative cover on Danse Macabre. The track blends Rick James’ “Super Freak” with Duran Duran’s “Lonely In Your Nightmare.” It’s the mash-up we never knew we needed, keeping listeners hooked from start to finish. Keeping things similar to the original, Duran Duran delivers a compelling rendition of Siouxsie and the Banshees’ “Spellbound.” The cover is strikingly close to the original version, just giving the song a more updated synth-pop/rock sound. Wrapping up the covers on the album, Duran Duran takes the Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer” and gives it their own flair. Le Bon’s vocals on this track seem almost David Bowie-esque, sounding like something that could’ve been ripped from Bowie's Let’s Dance era.
Adding some new and exciting material to their catalog, Duran Duran stuns with “Black Moonlight,” “Danse Macabre,” and “Confession In The Afterlife.” All three tracks fit right into the album’s Halloween concept, mixing characteristic ‘80s sounds with moody pop. “Black Moonlight” is a strong combination of groovy and mysterious, featuring infectious dance beats and funky guitar/bass riffs. Reminiscent of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” eerie sound effects are intertwined throughout, making the track an equal balance of chilling and playful. “Danse Macabre” keeps the creepy party vibe going, showcasing lively beats, ghostly synths, and haunting harmonies. Coming down from the album’s previously energetic tracks, “Confession In The Afterlife” ends Danse Macabre with a relaxing, otherworldly ballad. The beautiful song features rich harmonies and showcases Le Bon’s ageless voice. It’s an excellent conclusion to the album, almost mourning that Danse Macabre has come to an end.
Overall, Danse Macabre is one of the most fun albums to be released in 2023. It’s a tasteful combination of old and new ideas, creating captivating soundscapes and an unforgettable listening experience. Breathing new life into some familiar tracks, Duran Duran’s incorporation of reimagined songs and covers whisks us back to the ‘80s with a modern twist, making the album both nostalgic and timeless. Whether you’re a long-time Duran Duran fan or just hearing of the band for the first time, Danse Macabre is perfect for anyone looking for some spooky Halloween tunes or just overall darker pop.
Written By Cheyenne Johnson
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