Duran Duran
All You Need Is Now


3.5
great

Review

by Irving Tan STAFF
April 14th, 2011 | 56 replies | 7,702 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An efficient mechanical construct put together with some genuine heart.

Trying to find the exact location of the interface between Simon Le Bon's voice and the technological razzmatazz that Duran Duran call their music has always been a bit like attempting to draw a definitive line between the two apparent sides of a Möbius strip. To the well-trained ear, the trick has always been to hone in on the emotion located within the trenches of Le Bon's voice, and then twist them away from the mechanical processes droning away in the background. It is in many respects the musical equivalent of neurosurgery (steady hands only).

However, on All You Need Is Now - the band's first outing since 2007's ill-advised Red Carpet Massacre - that once-porous border has been plugged completely. Gone are the readily-disassociable tonal palettes and their reducible audio segments; in their place we find instead a set of ruthless and efficient vocal performances welded firmly to a studio soundboard. The rest of the ingredients however, remain untouched: Duran Duran remain a band of huge choruses, dirty grooves, and - of course - innuendo-charged lyrics about the fairer sex. What human appeal that remains is strictly introspective and, in many ways, symptomatic of a band entering the first phases of its twilight years.

Nowhere is this better seen than in the album's first single, the titular "All You Need Is Now", which presents itself as a bizarre, self-embellishing commentary delivered in the third person but to no one in particular. Indeed, it is rather difficult to pin down exactly whom Le Bon is really speaking to as he muses, "You sway in the moon/The way you did when you were younger/And we told everybody - all you need is now." Semantical confusion aside, it is a lyric that is both bittersweet and ironic at the same time. Yet, it largely remains of secondary importance thanks to the synthesizer blurting away in the background - an electric horn on steroids that ultimately ends up winning the day for all involved.

Elsewhere, considerably lusher and warmer sounds are employed; the simmering atmosphere of "Mediterranea", for instance, is the leading candidate for the official soundtrack of the world's first electro-beach. Alongside it, the more tuneful "Leave The Light On" sings of a decidedly synthetic-sounding love - despite Le Bon's best attempts to make it sound as carbon-based as possible by using meandering, very human pleas like, "you breathe the will into the weak" and "you ease the lost cause out of me."

On this record, Duran Duran is at their most effective when it elects to play at higher velocities. The energetic "Other People's Lives" borrows some of the drugs left-over from the album's lead single and builds itself into an effective - if awkwardly-placed - mid-album suite of propulsive, bass-driven nuggets. "Too Bad You're So Beautiful" is part of the same compilation, with its pounding hook asserting the song's credentials as the next big dance floor hit; the song's comfortable segue into the elegant "Runway Runaway" also does no harm to its chances of making a good impression.

But it is the record's sixth track - the unsubtly-titled "Girl Panic!" that pledges the best return to the sentiments of early Duran Duran. This number is, as it turns out, about girls - but in a twisted, neutron-like way. Its rip-roaring mid-section delivers the song's saccharine payload via the biggest chorus available on an album built solely on the damn things. Elsewhere, John Taylor's bold bass licks and Nick Rhodes' more danceable contributions add a bit of a party vibe into the number. As is wont, Le Bon can be heard in the foreground, reliably belting out the massive, soaring refrains of, "it's a crush panic/She's got me atomized". The song is mechanical to the core, yet it is probably the best piece cut to tape on the entire album.

Air-tight it may be, yet All You Need Is Now is a record that is best enjoyed with the brain checked at the door. It has a blunt, unblinking tone that is focused solely on delivering the goods and not an inch more. That being said, the record is full of poignant moments that are effective enough to make one remember why it's a good thing that the Duran Duran classic line-up decided to get back to recording music together again. This is the four-piece's best effort in a while - even if they are a bit too efficient in dispensing with their humanity at times.



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user ratings (37)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Irving
Staff Reviewer
April 14th 2011



7177 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Album art here and on the front page is different. Strange.

Digging: Ty Segall - Manipulator

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
April 14th 2011



6993 Comments


well written = pos from me.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
April 14th 2011



7177 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks mate =) It's no Disney though!

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
April 14th 2011



6993 Comments


not metal either, you have seen my pie chart lol.

Tyrael
April 14th 2011



20828 Comments


As usual...
Sup Irving? Pos.

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
April 14th 2011



6993 Comments


so what's your next Diney effort?

Zettel
April 14th 2011



590 Comments


So, you really like this overcharged writing style. I guess you do it well, but there is no chance I am re-reading this.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
April 14th 2011



7177 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@ Tyrael: Thanks!

@ Ipod: LOL. I just did one the other day! My Disney reviews come by on ten-album cycles; so the next one will be my fiftieth review on this site. I have a movie in mind already, but I'm not betraying my hand just yet ;)

@ Zettel: Define "overcharged". Is it good or bad? =S

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
April 14th 2011



8328 Comments


Well put together review Irving, but I personally think you embellish too much throughout. Example:

To the well-trained ear, the trick has always been to hone in on the glimmering embers of emotion located within the trenches of Le Bon's voice, and then twist them away from the lush mechanical processes droning away in the background.
Yeaaaah...

The point is, when you embellish too much, it's all fancy and sugary, but the idea gets lost within. Also, you still have a tendency to use (slightly) overblown descriptions/adjectives. For example: "groovejets" (what?), "saccharine payload", "barnstorming bass-licks". There's a difference between sounding smart and just sounding weird, and at times, you fall victim to the latter. Just my two cents (I'll pos anyway because like I said, the review was conceptually well put-together, if a little awkward at times).

iFghtffyrdmns
April 14th 2011



7047 Comments


hahaha you used the word "titular", what an awesome word.
another fantastic review Irv, nicely done.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
April 14th 2011



7177 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

That was amazing criticism metalstyles. It really reminded me of the following quote by Mark Twain:

I notice that you use plain, simple language, short words and brief sentences. That is the way to write English - it is the modern way and the best way. Stick to it; don't let fluff and flowers and verbosity creep in. When you catch an adjective, kill it. No, I don't mean utterly, but kill most of them - then the rest will be valuable. They weaken when they are close together. They give strength when they are wide apart. An adjective habit, or a wordy, diffuse, flowery habit, once fastened upon a person, is as hard to get rid of as any other vice.

It, and your comments, are something I will definitely keep in mind for next time. Thanks a lot - I mean it =)

Irving
Staff Reviewer
April 14th 2011



7177 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks iFghtffyrdmns. I've still got heaps to do though.

An aside: I've done some significant changes to the write-up. It should read a little less-pretentiously now =)

pizzamachine
April 14th 2011



12571 Comments


their perennially-elusive humanity

Hahahaha, I thought you learned your lesson after the Linkin Park review. Oh well, this is still a great review even though it's a tad ridiculous. Pizza pos.



Irving
Staff Reviewer
April 14th 2011



7177 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Hahahaha, I thought you learned your lesson after the Linkin Park review.

Apparently not =( Still looking for my reviewing voice - I appear to have lost it! Help! =(

Irving
Staff Reviewer
April 14th 2011



7177 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

^ Sure thing buddy.

pizzamachine
April 14th 2011



12571 Comments


Lol, that's a new one.

MO
April 14th 2011



18522 Comments


it's all good Irving, he'll be banned in no time

pizzamachine
April 14th 2011



12571 Comments


And as you said that, his post was deleted.

MO
April 14th 2011



18522 Comments


heh, reported mofo

Irving
Staff Reviewer
April 14th 2011



7177 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Reading this review just makes me want to write another one. I am capable of so much better (or so I like to think).



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