WORTH A LISTEN?: ****1/2
TRACKLIST: Paper Gods; Last Night In The City; You Kill Me With Silence; Pressure Off; Face For Today; Danceophobia; What Are The Chances?; Sunset Garage; Change The Skyline; Butterfly Girls; Only In Dreams; The Universe Alone.
What happens to pop pin-ups 30 years after their heyday? The fate of the iconic Duran cover art in the video for best track What Are The Chances? (YouTube clip above) gives some clues about the ideas behind the album’s title track.
But does this 14th studio album contain enough material of sufficient quality to sit comfortably within the band’s impressive back catalogue? We pick out three key album tracks below and explain why they mean this album is up there with the band’s best.
What Are The Chances? is the new Ordinary World
The Chauffeur and Save A Prayer are two fine examples of Duran’s way with a ballad but it is perhaps with the reflective Ordinary World (YouTube clip above) that they really came into their own. What Are The Chances?, which features former Red Hot Chilli Peppers’ guitarist John Frusciante, is an autumnal walk down a similar path. String arrangement? Check. Sample lyric: ‘Any other day and you might’ve gone walking by without a 2nd look … So What Are The Chances? We’ll never know if we take it for granted.’
2. Where’s the Uptown Funk?
We last saw Duran Duran headline Lovebox with Mark Ronson in 2009. (In fact, the only other time we’ve seen them was in the sadly now-no-more London Arena in, gulp, 1989) Ronson and Nile Rodgers worked on two tracks here including lead single Pressure Off (above), which also features Janelle Monae. Great double chorus. Duran have done their best work with Ronson in recent years and Rodgers’ inclusion is a great nod to the funk of their past (see immediately below).
3. Do they still boast outstanding pop tunes?
We’ve knocked off half a mark for this because we can’t quite find anything as punch-the-moon glorious as Is There Something I Should Know? (immediately above). However, Last Night In The City (featuring Kiesza) (below), Face For Today and Sunset Garage are certainly up there with the band’s most stellar moments. Dancing on the Valentine? Most certainly. And undoubtedly for many, many months afterwards.
Duran headline Bestival 11/9 and tour the UK from 27/11 to 12/12, including a night at The 02. Tickets here.