Given the opportunity to listen to the new Duran Duran album comes with a hearty mix of dread and anticipation. For any person who had any part of their childhood in the 80’s, this band was part of the soundtrack of their lives. They rode the wave of MTV into everybody’s living room with some of the biggest hits of the decade.
The other side of this is that they have been fighting for relevance for over two decades now. With the exception of “Ordinary World” and “Come Undone” on 1993’s self-titled album also known as The Wedding Album, there has been very little to get excited for with this band. You must give them credit for never giving up. At this point, most bands from that era only show up on nostalgia tours or a “Where Are They Now?” episode.
Their perseverance has paid off with All You Need is Now. With the help of Grammy-award winning producer Mark Ronson, the boys from Birmingham, England have found a way re-capture some of their youth with their 13th studio album. It reaches back to those days of the early 80’s while spinning them in a new way. Keyboard player has been quoted as saying this is the best album they have put out in over 20 years. It is a bold statement, but also true. Remember though, that Rio was 1982, Seven and the Ragged Tiger was 1983 and Notorious 1986.
Some things about this band have not changed at all. Simon Le Bon’s signature voice is as strong as ever. Nick Rhodes still carries the melodies with strong keyboard work. John (bass) and Roger (drums) Taylor carry the back line as well as they ever have. While they are missing Andy Taylor on guitar, the quartet sounds rejuvenated and playful on this album.
You find the boys at their best on “The Man Who Stole the Leopard” and “Being Followed.” The first has a toned-down Kelis making a guest appearance, a stirring string arrangement and Le Bon and Rhodes at their best. The second finds all members hitting their stride and creating a true Duran Duran song.
“Girl Panic!” and “Runway Runaway” are both dance numbers that will fit in well with other hits like “Girls on Film” and “Hungry Like a Wolf” in a live show. They are both made in the same mold. The title track struggles, but has a chorus that references back to “New Moon on Monday.” “Leave A Light On” tries to carry the weight of “Save A Prayer” but it is a little thin.
This album is not going to make a new generation run out and become Duran Duran fans. Their best creations still go back decades. What this album does is make the old fans remember the good days. There is both nostalgia and freshness in All You Need Is Now. It will help an old fan shell out money for a ticket to go see the band knowing they won’t get stuck hearing abysmal new tunes while waiting to hear “The Reflex.”
By Victor AlfieriDuran Duran – Being Followed by Alirezas Duran Duran – Girl panic by Alirezas