This week saw the physical release of the extended album ‘All You Need is Now’ by the Birmingham quartet, Duran Duran. The original nine track album reached number 1 in 15 countries when released on iTunes so how this does will be interesting to watch.
When we think of Duran Duran, most will think of the heydays, Rio, The Reflex, boats, supermodels and sunshine. While moving on, later tracks like ‘Sunshine’ from the album ‘Astronaut’, still has a toe dipped in 1982. Would DD ever relive the heady glory days?
Enter uberfan Mark Ronson, who got the ‘job’ of producing the album. Let’s be honest, it was probably more like a holiday.. Anyway, the end product has somehow fashioned itself into a time machine and taken us back to what probably could be classed as a follow up to Rio. Yes, it’s bloody brilliant!
Ronson has taken an ageing Duran and somehow this comes close to being some of their best work. Yes, it is a little bit of a throwback to the eighties with its classic, immediately recognizable Duran sound but it’s also what fans have been looking for since they starting playing music together again.
Starting off with the title track, ‘All You Need is Now’, it stomps its foot and sets the tone for the rest of the album, Nick Rhodes’ key sounds, John Taylor’s bass lines and a memorable chorus. Echoes of Blondie’s ‘Atomic’ and Duran’s ‘Planet Earth’ can be heard on ‘Being Followed’ but it has a classic original Duran sound.
Collabrations include Scissor Sisters’ Ana Mantronic making a guest appearance on ‘Safe’, with some vocals and a little eighties style rap. Kelis guests on ‘The Man Who Stole A Leopard’.
The tracks not on the original nine track version include ‘A Diamond in The Mind’, a 1 minute 18 second string break, bringing Owen Pallet’s (Arcade Fire) string arrangements to the fore. The instrumental ‘Return to Now’ also use the ‘All you Need is Now’ melody. Going on this I’d listen to full length string arrangements album.
There could easily be five or six singles on this album including the current ‘Girl Panic’. Other People’s Lives’ is already a fan favourite with its complete slighted 21st centurized Duran style.
This is the best Duran have sounded in years. Simon Le Bon’s vocals are stronger than we have heard over the past few albums. John Taylor’s bass lines are once again mesmerizing, Roger Taylor’s drumming is back on form, Nick Rhodes, well, he’s still a synth legend.
I’m loving this album, a lot. I feel like I’m ten again with a Duran posters on my wall. This time round though I’m appreciating the arrangements, the song structures, the production. It also feels like this is what Duran have wanted to sound like since their hiatus, it feels like they are enjoying it as much as I am.
Mark Ronson? The boy done good!