Did you know Duran Duran had a new album out?
I ask only because it took seeing "Duran Duran" pop up in my FB news feed regarding a just-announced 2016 tour with Chic to remind me that I hadn't yet listened to Paper Gods. The reason I had been putting this off since September was because, as excited as I was to see Nile Rodgers' name in the credits, whatever goodwill that had fostered was immediately erased by the sight of Mark Ronson's name right next to it.
|The clip art "hot mess" that is DD's|
new cover art.
Sadly, Nick Rhodes, the ill-tempered, insecure and dictatorial leader of Duran Duran, remains convinced that the band's only chance at remaining relevant is to align themselves with the Timbalands, Timberlakes and Ronsons of the pop world.
Even more incredulous, he continues to do so after founding member Andy Taylor quits the band rather than take part in such misguided decisions. After the commercial bombs that were 2007's Red Carpet Massacre (produced by Timbaland and Justin Timberlake among others) and 2010's All You Need Is Now (produced by Ronson), the first thing Rhodes should have done is apologize to Andy Taylor and dig out the master tapes to Reportage, the moody indie rock-flavored album they'd almost finished with Andy Taylor before ditching the project to work with Timbaland.
Now, I understand why they decided to work with Nile Rodgers again. When you get a chance like that, you take it, but a talent of his caliber needs no collaborators (such as Ronson) in the control room, Even so, not everything the man touches turns to gold and one need look no further than the stiff and plodding Notorious for proof of that, even though the blame lied largely with Duran Duran for that particular misfire.
Sadly, the same can be said for Paper Gods, which sounds exactly like you think it would: a bass-y pastiche of by-the-numbers Pro Tools production exercises where the goal seems to be to quantize all human performances so that not even Nick Rhodes' own mother couldn't tell whether he played on the song or not".
Once can't help wonder who Duran Duran considers their target audience in the year 2015. Anyone with any common sense knows that their fan base is comprised of the same people who adored them thirty years ago so it would only make sense to making music that appeals to their sensibilities rather than that of their daughters or, gasp, granddaughters.
As for the band's first single, "Pressure Off", could there be a more transparent attempt to recreate "Get Lucky"? Sadly, the bass part upon which the song is built is the very definition of "meh". Never mind that John Taylor probably laid down an hour's worth of tasty bass licks while Ronson was trying to get his laptop to recognize the Autotune plug-in since updating the software and they never even made it to tape.
If Duran Duran truly want to become relevant again, all they truly need to do is give Andy a call, then give Youth a call to reschedule that recording session aboard Paul Allen's mega-yacht and cut a proper "first single" for the long-overdue Reportage album.