Only Duran Duran could find a way to make it onto my 2010 and 2011 ‘best of’ lists in such a creative way.
For the uninformed, All You Need Is Now, the band’s 13th studio album, was released last December as a 9-track digital album with the promise of a physical deluxe edition to follow sometime in 2011. Well, that time has arrived and depending on where you go to get your copy, AYNIN has been expanded to upwards of 17 tracks in some markets and totally worth a re-buy (If you bought the digital).
The title track starts with a blast of electro courtesy of Mr. Nick Rhodes and it seriously just gets better and better from there on. I have already admitted to liking the Medazzaland-era of DD so it should be no surprise that my favorite here is “Blame The Machines”. Even though Rhodes and bassist John Taylor propel the song along instrumentally, it’s Simon Le Bon who lifts this song to new heights with his vocal melodies.
That’s the thing with Duran Duran, unlike so many of their contemporaries from the ’80’s with fading-voice vocalists, Le Bon keeps getting stronger and stronger. At 52, the man can out sing any of today’s top crooners easily and his performance on AYNIN is one of the best of his career.
“Girl Panic!” is another highlight by combining the synth heavy Notorious with the exoticism of the Rio album.
Speaking of Rio, if new track “Mediterranea” doesn’t put you on the beaches featured in the bands videos during their ’80’s heyday, I don’t know what will. Of the new tracks, “Other People’s Lives” and “Too Close To The Sun” prove without a doubt that the physical version of AYNIN isn’t a lame cash grab filled with throwaway songs. That said, “Too Bad You’re So Beautiful” has to be the standout of the new songs for me as Roger Taylor takes the wheel and lays a stellar percussive rhythm throughout. “Too Bad” encapsulates all that DD was in the ’80’s with 21st Century sheen.
With the 9-track I was left wanting more. The full version definitely satisfies. Credit producer extraordinaire Mark Ronson or Duran Duran but at the end of the day, All You Need Is Now speaks for itself and will definitely stand as one of the greatest Duran Duran albums of all time.