I thought the world would end, cause I was afraid I would like the new Duran Duran album. But I didn’t, so…
Now, let me explain you here. Not being a fan of Duran Duran I… yes, it’s going to be embarrasing… I… I have to admit I love some of their records. Such hits as Ordinary World or Hungry Like a Wolf are absolute classics. I may feel ashamed that I love these hits but, on the other hand, should I feel guilty? Most amazing and groundbreaking artists admitted that Duran Duran was important in their musical upbringing. Artists as different as Beck, Courtney Love, Jonathan Davis of Korn, Goldfrapp, Franz Ferdinand or Gwen Stefani. Yeah, you heard me. That means not only those who are active in the broadly understood genre of electronic music but also hardcore rockers.
I was wondering, if I’d like the newest Duran Duran album issued digitally at the end of December 2010 (which will be released physically in March 2011) – All You Need Is Now. Why I didn’t? There are a few answers to that and, of course, you don’t need to agree.
First of all, it’s a very diverse album in terms of quality (yes!) There are songs which are great and remind you of the greatest days of Duran Duran. Such as the eponymous track that opens the album. Such as Blame the Machines which clearly shows that Duran Duran didn’t only influence generations but that new achievements in electro also influenced Duran Duran. The highlights also include the somehow dramatic but still touching Before the Rain and – definitely – the disco track Safe (In the Heat of the Moment) which features Ana Matronic of Scissor Sisters. This one is a perfect dancefloor track.
But there are also songs which lack something. Either they’re a bit boring or just don’t have any kind of a strong feature that would have made them outstanding. The corny supposed-to-be a kind of a ballad Leave a Light On is just boring and tiring. Runaway Runaway doesn’t differ in any way at all from hundreds of new wave songs whether they were created in the 1980s or today. The Man Who Stole a Leopard is just a very bad disco song which is extremely cheezy. Girl Panic! includes the most horrible synthesizer solo I’ve ever heard in my whole life and it is truly shocking that Duran Duran didn’t (somehow) realize that much has changed since the last 20 years and that creative possibilities of electronic music are much wider now but also (huh-huh!) chose Girl Panic! as the second single of the album. I mean… really, guys, whose idea was that???
The second thing is… right. The test of time. I’m not saying that Duran Duran shouldn’t stay true to its music and that it should record something completely new. I’m not even saying they should go in the direction of Warp Records (although I am a Warp fan, definitely). I just think that it’s a shame that such acknowledged and, after all, talented artists didn’t use the new possibilities, didn’t even try to add a fresh spice to their music, didn’t feel a need to experiment at all.
The third thing is… uhm, ok, that’s the last one. I don’t want it to become a list of mistakes. I’m not sure if it’s engineered correctly. Mark Ronson is considered one of the best living producers. He’s the one responsible for the rise to fame of many new artists such as Amy Winehouse, Lily Allen or Adele (whose newest album I also need to listen to). Maybe I was wrong but I expected that All You Need Is Now would have been a bit more funky. And it’s not. I’m sorry to say this but the music sounds just flat. And when, in cases of some though experimental electro-shit, it’s an advantage, here – I’m not so sure about it. The sound doesn’t have the depth it should have. One step further and it would’ve become a bunch of midi-generated melodies (sic!)
Luckily, Simon LeBon still has the voice of his youth. He’s over 50 now and this boyish, metallic voice still amazes me.
Btw, I just had the most silly thought. Maybe it’s the British accent but… in All You Need Is Now (not in the chorus, though) doesn’t LeBon sound like Liam Gallagher’s brother?