Note: Though this album warrants that I do so, I will not make a reference to the title of the album being the music on the album. It is tempting but it is also tacky.
A whole new century began and with the new date to put on calenders, perhaps it is time for many things to change. Indeed this was the dawning of the millennium, and a new age for the band Duran Duran. After sputtering to close out the 90's while scraping by with a depleted band, a declining discography, and just having the view of a band going downhill; Duran Duran were down, but unfortunately they chose not to throw in the towel just yet. Perhaps getting the opportunity to be able to open the new age with dragging the band's name through proverbial dirt yet again was reason enough for figureheads Simon LeBon and Nick Rhodes to continue on with the band. For this release there wasn't a member named Taylor present, leaving the two boys without any guitar, bass, or drums. This was corrected by guitarist Warren Cuccurullo who at this point had been somewhat of a permanent stand in.
At this point what could be expected from the band really? They had just come off the heels of the disappointing Medazzaland
and this was after launching the ultimate cry for help, the all cover Thank You
album. Everyone knows 3/5ths of the band have departed and moved on so what are Simon and Nick doing (hopefully not rapping)? Well for this release one aspect of the Duran Duran arsenal is focused on, while casting out all the others that have made them so popular. This work is basically 45+ minutes of slow roaming ballads, complete with acoustic guitar work, synthetic drums, and an all time low in good songwriting. People who said it couldn't get worse got proven wrong, they were also treated to an album of bland sound alike modern day rock/pop (which is even worse).
OK enough trashing the piece, there has to be a redeeming quality to this work, and indeed there is. Though the songs featured here are painful to listen to, and not worth it, there are some good moments presented in these tunes. For instance, the best song on the album, Hallucinating Elvis
is definitely the most out there track here. Rhodes does his best Richard D. James impersonation in introducing this song until the very crunchy tone of Cuccurullo's axe brings us to the first verse. Though already seemingly done in by the obtuse content of the song, this one actually picks up after itself. Lackluster verses aside, the overall mood, and the chorus are definitely the reasons to give this one a spin. "I was hallucinating/I was hallucinating/I was hallucinating" mutters Le Bon before he ends the chorus with his creepy old Ween sounding line of "Eeeeeelvis". The best part about this is that it repeats, which means you don't have to go back to keep listening to it, Overall the mood sounds like a generic 90's electronica dance band, oh look! there's the smog machine, DJ, mirrors, and there's Simon in a white jumpsuit, lovely.
Alright, the good parts over (unless you count Someone Else Not Me
being sung in Spanish an additional highlight) time to get down to the nitty gritty. Beginning with that very song (but in English), Someone Else Not Me
could pass as maybe a 3rd rate Duran Duran ballad, it really fits the mould for ballads, slow, acoustic, and passionate singing. This is great and all but the lyrics are garbage, ("I guess you've known it for a while/Did I mean trouble?/I only want to see you smile/And I burst this bubble") its too drawn out, and while the contributions of Nick can be heard skimming across the chorus, its simply too little too late. Even a decent warm lick from Cuccurullo and the padding from Rhodes are not enough to make this a decent cut. Songs that do not seem like bad ideas from the beginning are also made unlistenable in this work. Pop Trash Movie
is either the title of the album in effect, or is a bad attempt to mock the title. Either way it doesn't work as the only leg this piece is given to stand on is Simon's voice over the chorus and accompanying words ("I'm living in a pop trash movie/We star together in every scene/We'll all be famous for fifteen minutes/Part of a celluloid dream."). When even the seemingly good songs fail to come out right, you know there's a problem.
So there you have it. The band from this point it looked couldn't get even lower, but then after the tour to support this album, something big happened in the form of bassist John Taylor asking for back into the original lineup. After being accepted and doing away with Cuccurullo, it was the beginning of the rebuilding process. Unfortunately this process occurred outside the existence of this album, which could use a big rebuilding itself.