Yes, another 80s music-related post. But this is only barely related to the 1980s. Everyone knows that Duran Duran got popular from their 80s music. And most people know that Duran Duran is still making music – at least few would be surprised. And a lot of people probably know that Duran Duran has had its share of personnel changes. But not enough of the people who were fans of Duran Duran in the 80s are aware that their latest record is a perfect blend of their 1980s sensibilities with 2010s sound.
“All You Need Is Now” is being talked about as the follow-up record to “Rio” that Duran Duran should have released instead of “Seven And the Ragged Tiger”. (Thanks for that tip, Eogan.) To a large extent this is true and quite evident in many of songs on “All You Need Is Now” – the title track, “Blame The Machines”, “Being Followed”, “The Man Whole Stole A Leopard”, “Too Bad You’re So Beautiful”, and “Before The Rain”. There are a lot of songs that I listen to and make me think, “yeah this sounds like…” but then I can’t find the specific song or the similarity isn’t as obvious as I thought. Like “Runway Runaway” has a certain breeziness to it that reminds me of the song “Rio” but it is definitely not the same song. And parts of “The Man Whole Stole A Leopard” and parts of “Before the Rain” both remind me of “The Chauffeur”. But even though the songs share the same heritage, you can tell they are contemporary songs and not just Duran Duran wishing they were releasing AYNIN in 1983. The sounds do fit in with current Top40 yielding a nice melding of classic Duran Duran heritage with a spiffy current sound. Probably the most dance-y song on the disc is “Networker Nation” which sounds a little more like songs from “Astronaut” or “Red Carpet Massacre” but still has more Duran Duran-ness about it than those previous records had.
All the songs aren’t winners, though I’m having a hard time calling out any as true losers. Just an overall impression after listening to the record a number of times that there are songs that are forgettable. There’s also some classic Duran Duran weirdness such as a leopard metaphor that escapes me. Also, I’m a little disappointed that there isn’t more guitar. Yeah, it’s New Wave music, but the Duran Duran of Rio had some rocking guitars that are in short supply on AYNIN. Great keyboards and great bass, though. And Simon LeBon’s voice hasn’t changed much in all the years – 30 friggin years since the debut record! – and that’s either a good thing or a not so good thing depending on your viewpoint. I think it’s good that it hasn’t changed; it can seem a little strained if you listen to too much of it (as I have for writing this blog post) but a record’s worth a time is just about right and it definitely suits the music.
Rating: 8 (of of 10)