Beneath the avant-garde lyrics and futuristic synth textures, there was always a pulsing dance music quality that drove the classic Duran Duran sound. As they progressed into the late '80s, they allowed that dance element to move up front and dominate their style. A good example of this tactic is "Skin Trade," a hit whose silky and funky style led to it being mistaken for a Prince song. The lyrics have a surprisingly direct, soul-searching feel to them as they lay out scenarios of people shortchanging their dreams to make money. These moments are followed with the dramatic proclamation that makes up the chorus: "Will someone please explain/The reasons for this strange behavior?/In exploitation's name/We must be working for the skin trade." The music lends contrast to the angry tone of the lyrics by creating a sultry, mellow melody that juxtaposes verses with a soft, hypnotic ebb and flow with an ever-ascending chorus that revs up the song's inherent drama. Duran Duran's recording is fuelled by funky but gently layered guitar textures and subtle drum work that push its groove along, plus some atmospheric synth textures on the chorus. Interestingly, Simon LeBon uses his normal tenor voice for the choruses but sings much of the verses in a lush, soulful falsetto that led many pop fans to initially mistake "Skin Trade" for a Prince ballad. The result was a perfect blend of slow-dance textures and adult social critique. It didn't do as well as "Notorious," just barely making the Top 40 in the U.S., but it got plenty of radio airplay and is fondly remembered by the group's fans as one of Duran Duran's most mature achievements of the late '80s.
"Destination Unknown" sounds the least dated of all of Missing Persons' hits, most likely because it was their most melodically satisfying song. The fact that it's also Dale Bozzio's least mannered vocal performance, with none of her trademark hiccups, helps considerably as well. Her helium-pitched voice ? Dale Bozzio sang like a new wave Betty Boop ? keeps this song firmly in the Missing Persons tradition, but the low-key backing vocals by her male bandmates on the chorus are a nice touch. The lyrics are typically lightweight, your basic high school-level musings on alienation by someone who has just learned the word "existential" but is unclear about what it actually means, but Ken Scott's light-handed production and nice touches like the staccato programmed drum fills on the chorus make it pleasant on the ear regardless.