This is not just improbable: The odds against Duran Duran making a truly great album in 2010 were positively stratospheric given the band's recent history of halfhearted comebacks and bewildering botches such as 2007's Timbaland-helmed “Red Carpet Massacre.” What makes the difference on “All You Need Is Now,” the group's 13th album, is the palpable feeling that Duran Duran suddenly rediscovered the energy of its youth after 25 years in the wilderness.
As producer Mark Ronson explained, the plan was to finally make the imaginary album that might have fit between 1982's “Rio” and 1984's “Seven and the Ragged Tiger,” but “All You Need Is Now” never sounds like a self-conscious imitation of that sound. It is impossible to fake the urgency of the insanely propulsive “Girl Panic!” or the sudden melodic rush at the chorus of “All You Need Is Now.” Clearly this is a band reacquainting itself with its best sound, but unlike so many others who have tried, Simon LeBon, Nick Rhodes, John Taylor and Roger Taylor had a workable plan to actually capture it.
Le Bon sounds great, and there are no instances where he's singing songs calculated to evoke “Rio” or “Girls on Film.” No, “All You Need Is Now” is filled with tracks that hold up next to those classics. “The Man Who Stole a Leopard” can proudly occupy the same mix as 1981's “The Chauffeur,” and “Blame the Machines” employs thoroughly modern electronics to send its old New Romanticism forward. Credit must go to Ronson for reintroducing the band to itself after years of unsuccessful reinvention, and “All You Need Is Now” shows that Duran Duran finally liked what it saw when Ronson held up the mirror.
— George Lang
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