Duran Duran – All You Need Is Now

Duran Duran - All You Need Is NowDuran DuranAll You Need Is Now (Tapemodern)

The first record review I ever wrote was for Duran Duran’s Rio. It was for an English class in high school where the assignment was to write a phony article that offered our opinion on something.

Our town didn’t have MTV at that point, so Duran Duran was not a household name. I felt it was my duty to inform my English teacher of the upcoming onslaught of “The Fab Five.” We had a brief acknowledgement of my critical worth after delivering a dubbed copy of Lou Reed’s Transformer, so occasionally the teacher would actually listen to a recommendation.

Rio had such an impact on me that I praised them as the second coming of Roxy Music and the fully realized package of the Thin White Duke with better teeth and no Ziggy baggage.

In short, I came off as a real double-D nutswinger.

As my teacher reviewed Rio, the video for “Hungry Like The Wolf” premiered on the syndicated Solid Gold music show. I referenced Duran’s “animalistic sexuality” in this song, hinting that the subject matter was too graphic to receive any realistic airplay in our conservative, Midwestern area.

Amused by my youthful rant on our “puritanical” society, he mentioned the Solid Gold performance in his notes on my paper and awarded me a solid “B.”

Aside from a few moments to wipe the jizz off the pages, I’d still award Rio a solid “A” and will scrap anyone who wants to dispute the merits of this pop gem.

It has been diminishing returns for everything since then. The band’s ego inflated with their video budget to the point where they became intolerable. It wasn’t until their mid-career comeback album that I even wondered what Duran Duran was up to, which means the notion of a late career comeback album is even more improbable.

So gone is the modern-infused attempt that was Red Carpet Massacre, and in comes producer Mark Ronson to announce that his work for D’s thirteenth album will be the true follow-up to Rio.

I know that comments like this are nothing more than hyperbole—Andy Taylor isn’t even in the band anymore, so how could it possibly sound like Rio at all?

But luck is on my side, or something, and Andy Taylor is a douchey Sunset Strip has-been, so I kick over a few bucks for an iTunes advance digital copy and wait for Nick Rhodes’ lip-gloss to raise the nostalgic hairs on the back of my neck.

And do you know what? All You Need Is Now comes remarkably close to tricking my brain into thinking that maybe that piece of shit Seven And The Ragged Tiger and everything beyond it didn’t really happened at all.

To be fair, the band’s first comeback, 1993’s The Wedding Album, isn’t bad. There were moments where the teaming with Missing Persons guitarist Warren Cuccurullo sounded promising, but they managed to fuck up a perfectly legitimate second wind immediately after with an awful covers record.

Duran Duran may secretly pine for another run for the charts with a few tracks on All You Need Is Now, but I’d like to think that their advancing age has brought them the smarts to stop pissing away exorbitant sums of money to try and sound relevant again.

What the new album sounds like instead is an intentionally crafted record that enables them to bank on a plethora of chicks from the class of ’85 who will come out in droves for their upcoming tour to hear the old hits.

You can hear the stage transitions between “Blame The Machines” into “Last Chance On The Stairway” or “Girl Panic!” into “Wild Boys,” and it’s at that point when you realize that they’ve done an impressive job of replicating the feel of their highpoints without pandering to them. This record will sound great live and those freshly lipo’ed ladies will not use the new material as an excuse to head for the bathroom.

At the same time, “The Man Who Stole A Leopard” sounds so suspiciously like a more notable moment from their past that I half expected a belt of “Sing blue silver!” instead of some nonsense about a dude that, you got it, stole a leopard.

I also felt the same way during the album closer “Before The Rain,” but whatever, at least it wasn’t “911 Is A Joke.”

Much of the credit obviously belongs to producer Mark Ronson, who seems to respect the band enough to know that their highpoint is and will always be Rio. He understands that his main goal is to merely make an album that, at the very least, doesn’t tarnish that revered record.

Mission accomplished: All You Need Is Now is a perfect nod towards the best of Duran Duran’s past while humbly avoiding the Botox-aided tools that are available today, packaging these middle aged men into facsimile pin-ups.

The band acknowledges their age, their limitations, and seems comfortable with the confines of pop, making their thirteenth album sound like a pretty good third album effort that only took a quarter-century to release.

Video: Duran Duran – “All You Need Is Now”

Duran Duran: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, eMusic, MOG, wiki

11 thoughts on “Duran Duran – All You Need Is Now”

  1. although much maligned, i thought that “electric barbarella” was going to bring duran back to form. i thought it more of a true duran sound than most of the other cuccurullo-era stuff, even though “ordinary world” & “come undone” survive very well on their own. “barbarella” is a definite favorite of mine!

  2. I dunno…the first minute of “All You Need Is Now”, and the subsequent verses, don’t sound like they’re “avoiding the Botox-aided tools that are available today“. But, I’d have to listen to the rest of the album…

    Also, what’s with the dis of Seven and the Ragged Tiger? While the Durannies may have had plenty of lows afterwards–I do not include Notorious, which I own and occasionally listen to, in that bunch of latter-day mis-steps–S&TRT is not wretched, dude. The first three tracks (“The Reflex”, which has aged as well as we could ever expect from a tune of its time and place, IMO; “New Moon on Monday, and “Cracks in the Pavement”) plus “Union of the Snake” are solid mainstream ’80s pop. And “Tiger Tiger” is one of those cool synth-y, sax-led instrumentals that occasionally popped up on albums by contemporaries of theirs like The Fixx or INXS.

    And that crack at John Taylor? Whoa, did he hit on your chick? Maybe it’s because Niles and Bernard held him in such high esteem, but I don’t know where that came from, Todd.

  3. This video sucks. They were one of the original “video” bands. MTV made their careers in the States. I know those big video budgets are gone. But creativity isn’t always expensive. You can make a great video for very little money these days.

    With all the “retro” sounding electronic indie pop groups out there these days it’s easy to forget what a real one sounds like. Just like all the posers this past decade or so that wanted to sound like Gang of Four.

    I’m digging this go round. Not a bad effort after years of crap.

    I still like “Duran Duran” best, ahead of “Rio” and “Seven..”

  4. OK Kiko, so the lead-off track may not be the best example of the band adhering to the same tools that made them great, but trust me, the rest of the album is an enjoyable reprise.

    As far as SATRT is concerned, I’ve always dismissed that record-even when it was released. They just sounded like they were trying too hard to be “artists”. I revisited it recently and will concede that the singles were good, but I still have reservations about the rest. It’s weird that you brought up “Tiger Tiger,” as that was the track where I would make fun of the band for what sounds like a rejected track from Avalon. And that video for “The Reflex?” The one where the band rocks so hard that a wave of water splashes on the fake audience members? Awful.

    My issue with John Taylor is hardly personal-just mean spirited. I mean, he actually believed he could reinvent himself as a hair metal dude from LA. Cocaine is a helluva drug, ain’t it. I have no idea why he wouldn’t be involved with a current project-seriously, he’ll always have “guitarist for Duran Duran” immediately following his name, so why not? But if it meant that All You Need Is Now would not be as enjoyable, then good riddance. You can probably guess that I’m not a fan of Power Station either, but would welcome any opinion on Arcadia-a spin off that I never have examined.

    My problem now is that the new album actually has me considering seeing them on their 2011 tour-but only my wife has expressed mild interest in going with me. A note to my single men out there-I think the female/male ratio is going to be off the hook with this one, so why don’t you use it and Try not to bruse it.

    Who’s with me, fellas!?

    If you squint your eyes just right, Nick Rhodes is pretty foxy.

  5. Todd, I trust your opinion so I’ll check out the rest of the new album. Also, I think S&TRT may have just rubbed you the wrong way. Try listening to it on its own merits, which is way easier these days than back then.

    Btw, I think you are confusing John and Andy. As you well know John is a bass player and while he did play with L.A.’s Neurotic Outsiders, alongside Steve Jones, Duff McKagan, and the king of plodding drummers, Matt Sorum, it was Andy who “actually believed he could reinvent himself as a hair metal dude“. And why are you raging on Andy and giving Jonesy a free pass? He too, went down the same road as Andy. Hell, he produced the Thunder album! I don’t think it was a bad move–not in hindsight, tho–and there is way more wretched hair band crap than Taylor’s out there. But the guy wanted to show off his chops–which of course he does on The Power Station–and play some heavy gtr material which DD wasn’t about. Although, he could’ve just had a solo career concurrent with DD, but…

    I dig The Power Station’s first album. Actually listened to it a few weeks ago. “Some Like It Hot” still rocks, “Go to Zero” with its blistering gtr solo in the outro, is my fave track; the rest is mostly OK. (Never liked their cover of “Bang A Gong”, but I’m not a a fan of the original, anyway.) Haven’t heard Arcadia in a while but I used to own it and enjoyed it. A moodier, less dance-oriented DD record, is how I’d describe it.

    As for the tour, I’m always up for shows with a high female quotient–I saw Audioslave on their first tour and, believe it or not, the show NYC had the largest contingent of hot, late 20s/early 30s chicks I’d ever seen at a rock show–but if it’s going to be mostly 40-somethings on a girls night out, I’ll pass.

    PS: Growing up the only straight guys that liked the Durannies were us musicians. 2 of the 3 Taylors (John and Andy) were especially lauded for their chops.

  6. C’mon Jake, I didn’t mean it that way. What I failed to clarify was that, generally speaking, 40-somethings on a girls night out are already spoken for. But I’m no ageist. In my book, women are hot at any age: from 18 to 60, I’m in. heh heh

  7. Good eye-critical typo. The hyperlink points to the Andy Taylor album from where my dislike stems. I probably put John’s name because I was mad at how cute he is.

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