Music Review Monday – Duran Duran’s “All You Need Is Now” (the single)

We’re going to do a little something different for this, the second edition of Music Review Monday. I’m going to review a single, rather than the whole album. That single is called All You Need Is Now. Why? Several reasons. It’s off a brand-new iTunes album that’s only nine songs long, and the full fourteen song CD won’t be available until late March. I want to wait for the additional five songs to do a full album review.  Also? I’ve been dreading this review so much that I broke out into a flop sweat every time I sat down at my computer this past week.

You see, I am what is referred to as a Duranie. I’ve been one since the spring of 1985. I was ten years old. It’s fair to say that listening to Duran Duran is one of the major reasons I am who I am today, why I think the way I think. I’m freaking terrified of this review. You can imagine my excitement at the announcement of their thirteenth studio album. I’ve always been able to count on them to create something I at least like (Pop Trash), if not something I adore (Arena).

I guess, by the law of averages, it couldn’t last. Okay, enough stalling. On to the review.

It starts off with a highly annoying techno keyboard sequence from Nick Rhodes. You remember me talking about him in last Friday’s post? Where I called him God? Yeah. There’s a steady if uninspired rhythm provided by Roger Taylor, our heroic drummer. Then Simon Le Bon begins to sing, sounding more bored than I’ve ever heard him and muffled and distorted by some “nifty” effect. John Taylor (also known to Duranies as the Almighty Bass God) then fills things out a teensy bit with his bass guitar. They all sound pretty much like they’re phoning in their performances. The song drifts out of techno-land into a semi-lovely chorus that almost gives me hope. It’s soft and sweet, tasting of reminiscences and longing. Everyone’s at least bringing their B game. Rinse and repeat. I’ll admit the extended dream sequence after the second time around that segued into and out of the chorus again was beautiful and ethereal, but then it dragged back into that incessant techno-twaddle to fade out on… crowd noise?

Admittedly, I don’t like techno music as a general rule, although some people can do it brilliantly. This was not done brilliantly. It sounded hollow and dry, devoid of emotion, boring. When I played this song for my mother (whose favorite Duran song is Taste The Summer) she wrinkled up her nose and asked, “What happened to them? They used to be so full of life.” Guys, you are doing something wrong when a 67-year-old thinks your song is a big yawn.

In the interest of full disclosure, all my Duranie friends LOVE this song. Some even find it uplifting. Desperately worried that I’d lost the plot somewhere, I played it for friends outside that circle. All of them asked me to turn it off, like yesterday. I even played it for one of my sisters. She and I don’t usually agree on much of anything. After listening to the single she looked at me, eyes filled with confusion, and asked why they didn’t just do mash-ups of their old songs instead of re-hashing and re-packaging them in new and uninteresting ways.

I was so worried about this review. I didn’t want to do it. Then someone said a brilliant thing to me. “Someone needs to put the mirror up so they can see the egg on their faces,” they said. “Who better than you, someone who loves and respects them?” I stammered something about owing it to them to give them a glowing review since they had given me so much joy in the past, so that they go on selling and making music. They countered with, “Gigi, do you want them to continue making songs like this?”

No, I don’t.

 What do you think?

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6 Comments »

  1. Katie W said

    If you don’t like it, you don’t like it. You can’t love everything Duran does. It isn’t going to happen and you should’t feel bad about it. You owe them nothing.

  2. semibold said

    Personally, I love it. I think the chorus soars, Simon’s voice sounds fantastic. It hasn’t sounded this great to me in a long time. I don’t think they sound “bored” at all. And this bit that everyone keeps calling “techno” I don’t really understand. I love techno and it doesn’t bring that to my mind at all. But music labels always kind of confound me anyway.

    Most of all I just really appreciate the sentiment of it. It reminds me of what is important: NOW. That’s it.

    But that’s the wonder of music, isn’t? Everyone gets something different out of it.

    Do you plan to review the whole album when the CD comes out? There are a couple songs on the iTunes release that I could easily live without. But this isn’t one of them.

    • Gigi Salem said

      yeah, I do plan to review the whole thing when I can buy the actual CD

      I think the chorus is the best thing about this song, but it still just feels flat to me somehow. Simon’s voice always sounds fantastic to me, even when he’s not really into it. What I don’t like is the distortion of it in the non-chorus areas, like Nick got bored one day and just randomly pushed buttons.

      I call it techno because it embodies (for me) that repetitive mechanical sound that just goes on and on and on until I want to pierce my eardrums with an ice pick. I’m glad for the people who like it, I just can’t handle it.

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  5. Dear Gigi,

    I am a Duran Duran archivist, writing with hope that my new book on the band’s concert memories could be of interest – even viable for a spotlight or review. It would be an honor. “The Music Between Us: Concert Ads of Duran Duran” links rare handbills and promotional adverts with memories from shows around the world, essentially celebrating the DD live experience, and what it means to be a fan.

    I will be happy to send a pdf of the full book content if a review is possible.

    I appreciate your consideration very much and look forward to hearing from you.

    All my best,

    Andrew Golub

    Durandy Productions, LLC

    http://www.durandy.com

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