With All You Need is Now, Duran Duran has finally reached a happy medium between the band that made it big in 1981 with “Planet Earth” and the maturing group that tried to slide into trashier glam pop with Medazzaland and, in my opinion, continued to work that angle through Red Carpet Massacre.
A lot of the album’s reviewers have said that D&D returned to their roots on this one, but I think that’s a bit of lazy journalism. Many of Duran Duran’s loving fans have disowned portions of the group’s discography, but there’s as much Medazzaland in here as there is Seven and the Ragged Tiger.
Now, I’m not saying that their work in the late 90′s and early 2000′s was on par, persay, with the 80′s hits we know and love – not in most senses.
It’s not that they couldn’t hack it. Nick Rhodes and Simon Le Bon, the only two members who stuck the whole thing out, are incredibly adept pop songwriters. Sometimes it just felt like they were trying to play in areas better left to other talents, even though they had done a lot to create those niches in the first place.
The first two songs on All You Need is Now hit with those shimmering guitar cuts and galloping synthesizers from the best of Duran Duran’s early material, without sacrificing the maturity they’ve gained. In the meantime, “Safe (In the Heat of the Moment)” is the sexiest the group has been since “Union of the Snake” – at least in my opinion.
However, my favorite song so far, “Girl Panic” is the best of all worlds. It’s got that optimistic pomp I’ve always loved about Duran Duran’s brightest tracks, with a chorus that I would love to buy property in. For me, this song is the ultimate cross between “Rio” and “Electric Barbarella.”
Full disclosure: I flipping loved Medazzaland. In fact, after the self-titled (wedding) album and Decade (sue me), Medazzaland was my third favorite album. Call me a part-time fan, an impurist – I care not for designation.
I do agree that Duran Duran was at it’s Duraniest best in the early-mid 1980′s, but eh … the heart wants what it wants. At any rate, can we all agree that Simon sounds a-maz-ing?! Hell, all the boys look and sound amazing – well done, Big D.