Duran Duran: All You Need Is Now

Posted February 21, 2011 by J Matthew Cobb in Reviews 1.0

’80’s New Wave prettyboys get the Mark Ronson treatment

Brit pop/rock Nu Wave phenoms Duran Duran return to their roots on their thirteenth LP. Duran Duran not only ends their three-year hiatus but cleverly hires nostalgia genius Mark Ronson – the brains behind Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black – to get them back into their Eighties regimen. The nine-track All You Need Is Now parades through a maze of Rubix cube pop and synth-driven techno rock. While recalling Duran classics like “Rio,” “The Reflex” and “Hungry Like the Wolf,” Ronson’s ear is tuned perfectly. The title track could pass as “Hungry Like the Wolf’s first cousin while “Runaway Runaway” revisits the post punk of their ‘80’s catalog. It’s as if the record serves as a simplified return to tradition, but it’s much more than that. Simon Le Bon’s crooning remains youthful and vibrant, never forsaking the aural glow of past records. That, coupled with some of the group’s best compositions lyrically, gives Duran Duran the adroit capability to surpass the output of their more recent records. Songs like the paranoiac gem “Being Followed” and the epic electronica of “The Man Who Stole a Leopard,” which features Kelis on a  call-and-response chorus, are interesting stories coated with immersing melodies. On the latter, a victimized Le Bon speaks of his wounds occurring from his mate’s “inner beast”as he sings, “You were once running wild hiding in the morning mist/Game in bonds – I make you mine/I thought that I could resist/But the leopard in you silently preyed on me.”

Not everything assembled sounds like Duran’s previous work. “Blame the Machines” certainly has the ‘80’s vibes, but aside from the rapid drum-board beats it sounds more like a Devo-pop track. And “Safe (In the Heat of the Moment),” one of the album’s most delicious hot spots, rockets into infectious dance tempos using a Madonna disco-soul groove, spanking guitar riffs and Ana Matronic rendering a Debbie Harry-does-“Vogue” inspired rap.

After being shoved around by rock critics for being “too boy band-ish” during their height, Duran Duran’s relevance in today’s market feels just right. It’s almost easy to believe this would’ve been the perfect follow-up to Rio. On All You Need Is Now, the former MTV heartthrobs look back at yesterday for inspiration, and have managed to uncloak a surfeit of possibilities for their modern-age revival.




  • Release Date: 21 December 2010 (digital), 21 March 2011 (physical)
  • Label: Tapemodern/Allido
  • Producers: Mark Ronson
  • Spin This: “Safe (In the Heat of the Moment),” ”All You Need Is Now,” “The Man Who Stole a Leopard”

About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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