Duran Duran – All You Need Is Now

January 01, 1970

(S-Curve)

 

www.s-curverecords.com

 

Most fans by now have heard Duran Duran’s digital download
version of All You Need Is Now since
it became available back in December. The 9-track return to form masterpiece
was a Durannie’s wet dream. It was the follow up to Rio that never was. It was an
album that brought back the glitz and magic of their glory days. Fans loved it
and critics were shockingly receptive.

 

Now, as the band promised, the full 14-track CD release is
here. The download version was so near perfect, it’s very hard to imagine how
it can be topped. There was a lingering fear that these new tracks might come
in and fuck it all up. But you know what? They don’t. In fact, they improve the
album.

 

All 9 from the download of course make their way back along
with 5 additional tracks (2 of them interludes). “All You Need Is Now” opens
thing up with its odd, unsettling, and dizzying intro, but you’re teleported back
to 1983 by the time the chorus kicks in. People have compared this one to “New
Moon on Monday,” and that’s a fair comparison, not to mention, a very good
thing. The upbeat “Blame The Machines” and “Being Followed” are simply badass,
old school Duran Duran (and John Taylor’s bass line in the latter is
particularly awesome). They’re sure contenders for the next single. Someone,
get these on the radio, please.

 

Other highlights include the funky disco-80s “Safe”
(featuring Ana Matronic from Scissor Sisters), “Runway Runaway,” and “Girl
Panic!” which the latter two are the most retro-sounding tracks on the entire
album. It’s like Simon and the gang jumped in a time machine, went back to
1983, recorded these songs, and brought them back to the present.

 

The insanely catchy “Too Bad You’re So Beautiful,” is the
best of the new additions to the CD version of the album. It’s sort of like a
slightly slower, sunshine and rainbows version of “Hold Back The Rain.” Nice
percussion work by Roger Taylor here. The two interludes, “Diamond in the Mind”
and “Return to Now” are short and sweet orchestrated versions of “All You Need
Is Now.” One could argue that they are unnecessary, but they are quite pretty,
yet harmless segues between tracks.

 

No Duran Duran album would be complete without a haunting,
cold, dark ballad and there are a few to savor here. “The Man Who Stole A Leopard” is surely “The Chauffeur” of
its time. It’s easily the strongest song on the album and probably the best
song the guys have composed in years. Its lush production value and the
shockingly delicious backing vocals provided by Kelis (yes, the “Milk Shake”
woman) are stunning. This one has classic written all over it. Easily just as
gorgeous as well as a top contender for “best track” on the entire album is
“Mediterranea.” It’s a beautiful, dreamy ballad that’s like some sort of hybrid
between something off of Rio and Big
Thing
, a blissful clash of 1982 and 1988. It certainly has the DNA “Save A
Prayer” and more obscure Duran gems like “Land” and “Palomino” and Simon’s
vocals are spot on. If you want a trip to the clouds, pop this baby on.

 

The chilling “Before The Rain” (another “Chauffeur” sibling)
closes things in the most perfect way. It’s one of those atmospheric, turn off
the lights and listen in the dark type of tracks that kicks into a
spine-tingling crescendo at the 2-minute mark, only to calm down and sooth you
again during the final verse. It’s like the calm before the storm, but in this
case, the calm after the amazing thunderstorm the whole album pretty much is.

 

After a decade of some hits and misses, including the
underwhelming and short-lived original band member reunion with Astronaut (2004), and some baffling
creative decisions (work with Timbaland? Really?), Duran Duran are indeed back in top form. First reaction to the download version
of All You Need Is Now was that this
is clearly the best work they’ve done since Medazzaland (1997). But after letting things digest and getting around to the final
finished product, it’s now safe to say that it’s probably their best album
since Rio,
period. Some major applause should go to producer Mark Ronson for getting The
Wild Boys back and track and reigniting that magic spark that’s been missing
for some time. Ronson is surely the best producer to come along since Colin
Thurston and we hope he sticks around. We wouldn’t be surprised if there was a
Hot Tub Time Machine somewhere in the recording studio.

 

DOWNLOAD: “The
Man Who Stole A Leopard,” “Being Followed,” “Blame The Machines,” “Mediterranea,”
“Runway Runaway” GIL MACIAS

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