it had to happen

2 Jan

I have been a Duran Duran fan since I was sixteen and heard the camera at the beginning of ‘Girls On Film’. Seen them twice live (20 years apart) and collected (and lost) more merchandise than the GDP of small nations. I have listened to every single piece of music they’ve ever released, and passionately defended their rightful place in the pantheon of dance music history. However, in the thirteen albums worth of Duran Duran’s heart and soul on record, there has to be a few clunkers, right?

They’ve just released “All You Need is Now” and frankly, it joins the ranks of “Pop Trash” and “Liberty” at the back of the cd queue. There, I said it. Sorry.

I adore the new single – so up and full of energy – but also So. Very. Nostalgic. And so goes the rest of the album. I have tried to do what I normally do with a new Duran collection: sit down with it in its entirety, listen to it objectively, poring over every bass line, keyboard riff and obscure phrasing that Simon works in. So far I’ve managed it with ‘Girl Panic!’ and ‘All You Need is Now’. Um, and that’s it. I can’t get past more than 30 seconds of anything else.

According to Billboard however, the people are loving it and I am jubilant. Give the people what they want, even if what they want is what you were doing 20 years ago. Admittedly, it’s so wonderful to see them back on the scene – lots of promos, lots of television, lots of interviews – and enjoying some success with it. They still rule, completely (no matter how bad Pop Trash sucked).

And hey, I’m no critic. My favorite D2 album of the last 10 years is ‘Red Carpet Massacre’, one of their worst selling collections ever, so what do I know? I do know good quality recording, talent, skill, writing, all that – and Duran Duran have always had that, individually and separately. This new collection is no exception: well-packaged, shiny, full of all the right noises and beats, but…it’s not new and it’s not moving me. I thought “Astronaut” was the Great Comeback Album. It was all about what the band are finest at (funky weirdness that you can dance to – paging Nile Rogers anyone?) and ‘Reach Up For The Sunrise’ is their finest true pop song to date. But they’ve done that – why did they feel the need to do that again with this?

I’m probably alone on this one among ‘Duranies’. AYNIN is great for the fans and great for Nick Rhodes and Stephen Duffy’s indie label TapeModern but for the fan who’s favorite modern Duran Duran track is ‘Cry Baby Cry’, not so much.

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