Duran Duran looks to Timbaland and Justin Timberlake for some fresh blood.

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FAST TRACKS: '80s guys jam with next gen

Duran Duran looks to Timbaland and Justin Timberlake for some fresh blood.
By August Brown, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

September 30, 2007

DURAN DURAN's Simon LeBon knows a thing or two about penning lecherous electro-pop hits. So when his band needed fresh blood on the follow-up to 2004's "Astronaut," LeBon turned to the duo responsible for soundtracking most of 2006's impromptu dance-floor couplings: Timbaland and Justin Timberlake.

The track that resulted, "Night Runner," proves that '80s nostalgia has broken all barometers for measuring such things and may introduce a new generation to the band whose "Girls on Film" video made an MTV subscription such forbidden fruit.

"This is actually the second album we made," LeBon said of "Red Carpet Massacre." "The first one sounded like Kaiser Chiefs or Bloc Party. But the label said they wanted something more uptown."

It doesn't get more uptown than Timbaland and Timberlake, who together brought sexy back from the brink of neglect. "Night Runner" could have been a "FutureSex" B-side sleeper: clanking percussion and bubbling synthesizers dominate, while LeBon and Timberlake work their respective come-ons.

LeBon admits that the band initially had reservations about putting that much unchecked male gazing on a single track.

"When they asked us if Justin could get involved, we were worried that we might be losing our grip on the project," he said. "But we also thought it would be great to have a vision of what Duran Duran should sound like from a fan."

One thing that LeBon learned was that in the pursuit of sleek floor-fillers, there's no lollygagging allowed. "Timbaland only took two or three hours to make the track," LeBon said. "These guys all want to get done and on to the next project."

Courtesy Los Angeles Times