“Girls On Film” by Duran Duran (1981)

Duran Duran are not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame yet, which is a fucking travesty. Although they are still derided (by some?) as a “video band”, the fact of the matter is that they’ve lasted for nearly forty years, and beauty fades over four decades. Underneath the perfect hair, pouty expressions and pancake makeup were well-written and performed songs that transcended those videos and don’t need writhing models to maintain their classic status. Not that anyone is suggesting those writhing models weren’t valuable in their way. They had to find some way to get attention in an America that was still stuck on Foreigner and Journey, and at least they did it in a way that was interesting and amounted to much more than simple T&A.

“Girls On Film” wasn’t a huge hit on the charts in the U.S., but it’s as good as anything from Duran’s classic period. It’s rambunctious, stylish and sensual. Even the sound of camera shutters comes out sexy. Andy Taylor’s killer riff defines the song, while John Taylor’s Chic-inspired bouncing bass keeps things from getting too cock-rock. “Girls on Film” was one of the songs that defined the dance/rock fusion that permeated music on both sides of the Atlantic for a while in the middle of the decade.

Turns out, “Girls On Film” is about the exploitation of models? Now there’s something you’d never have gleaned if you just watched the video.

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