Perhaps the greatest thrill in music listening is hearing an exciting new band for the first time. Not far behind is the joy felt when a veteran band regains its form.
It's been a long time since Duran Duran was relevant in the music industry. Was it 1993?
The "Fab Five" who ushered in the Second British Invasion and the MTV era in the 1980s hasn't stopped making music. In fact, Duran Duran has released five records in the 21st century. But only the most die-hard of the band's fans, known as Duranies, have been listening.
If there is justice in today's music industry, that will change with the band's 14th studio album, "Paper Gods," which was released Friday. It marks the first time in a long time that frontman Simon Le Bon and the boys sound like they're having fun. And the record is a fun listen.
Four of the band's original five members remain. And on "Paper Gods" they have a lot of help. Mark Ronson, and Nile Rodgers take their turns at producing. Janelle Monae provides funky vocals on the album's best track, the bouncy single "Pressure Off." Kiesza pumps up the second track, "Last Night in the City." Former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante plays on three tracks. Heck, even Lindsay Lohan makes an appearance, on the goofy but insanely catchy "Danceophobia."
The result is a record that deftly mixes the trademark Duran Duran sound of the 1980s with the flavor of today's pop music. It should have Duranies in their 40s and 50s tapping their feet and moving their hips, and if you can get the kids to listen, even they might find it fun.
Is this classic Duran Duran? No. But it's about as close as you could expect the band to get to it 30 years after their heyday.