[John Taylor goes track by track on the band's new release "All You Need is Now"; keep checking back to the blog section for the latest installment ]
This is all of my perspective only. Nick, Simon and Roger would all have something different to say about how they saw and heard the songs come together, as would Mark. There might be some cross-over, but these opinions are most definitely mine alone.
Track one: 'All You Need is Now'.
"All You Need is Now" is an extraordinary song, if I say so myself. I hate to quote favourites, but completing this song has fulfilled a fantasy I have had for some time. A Duran Duran 'power-ballad' (Timberlake's term) that sits close to "Ordinary World" in sentiment, but alongside "Notorious" in terms of groove and cutting-edge power. It's a song we have been trying to write for some time - we failed with "What Happens Tomorrow," and to a lesser degree, "Falling Down."
How did it happen? Well, the architecture of the sound began with Nick's screeching synthesizer loop. That got everyone's attention and gave the song a tempo. By the end of the first day we had a groove, a chord progression, a melody and a working title, "Ting Ting."
I won't bore you with the entire process, but each song we write together usually begins with a rush of energy, as we run at the blank canvas together (in this case, the key of G). It's rare we ever finish a song in a day, or even get all of the song's required chords, but if we have made a good beginning, we leave the studio with a feeling of satisfaction shared, and private fantasies as to what we each hear the song evolving into.
"All You Need is Now" required a lot of finessing, as the beginning was very raw. It was in a session between Simon and Mark, where they took the section that had been earmarked 'Middle 8' and turned it into the chorus, and gave the song its title, that was the turning point. It was when the idea went from being a song-idea into being a rallying cry, an anthem.
It's a curious song, as it summons up a great feeling of nostalgia for times past (again, similar to '"Ordinary World"), but sounds to my ears very modern. Simon's words tell us to stay very much in the moment, and to remember when we had first said that. It's a faint allusion to the early band, the band that "wanted to be the band to dance to when the bomb drops." It was an uneasy idealism at the time, but seems more appropriate now. This creates a strange effect. The verses are hard work - not easy listening, Simon's vocals distorted in the Howlin' Wolf style. But the chorus.. ah!.. it's like leaping off a mountain into a pool of love.