Duran Duran

Paper Gods

Warner Bros.

Sep 16, 2015 Issue #54 - August/September 2015 - CHVRCHES Bookmark and Share


It's easier than it should be to make fun of Duran Duran. Their 1980s heyday saw them churn out some of the greatest pop melodies of the era"Hungry Like the Wolf" is an all-time great, no matter what anyone says. Then it all went wrong as they continued into the 1990s: releasing unmitigated crap on a remarkably consistent basis (apart from "Ordinary World;" "Ordinary World" is brilliant) and continuing to do so for a decade and a half.

Remarkably, they have never gone more than four years between albums. The sense is that they're just churning them out without any idea of what else to do, like an unemployed man with a Twitter account and a shitload of memes.

At this stage, 34 years since the band's eponymous debut album, they have become a photocopy of a photocopy and the truth is there is little on Paper Gods that sounds like Duran Duran. I'll give them the lead single, "Pressure Off," which features and is produced by Nile Rodgers, who was also responsible for 1986's Notorious (their last good album?). Aided by Janelle Monáe's vocals, it's a lone successful endeavour in recapturing the "classic" Duran Duran sound.

The rest of the album, however, is utterly characterless: generic radio pop, such as "Face for Today," or the kind of four-to-the-floor bangers any chancer could fart out, such as "Last Night in the City." The plethora of guest starsLindsay Lohan and former Red Hot Chili Pepper John Frusciante includedleave no imprint. Even Simon Le Bon doesn't sound like Simon Le Bon but instead some session vocalist hired by a rubbish DJ.

Paper Gods isn't an especially terrible album. It's an album that already got made a hundred thousand times and is now on sale for $6 in your local supermarket. (www.duranduran.com)

Author rating: 4/10

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Average reader rating: 6/10



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Steve Dewar
September 16th 2015
7:33am

Makes me laugh when album reviewers like this clearly haven’t bothered to listen to the music they’re supposed to be reviewing. Clearly Sad Lucan (or whatever his name is) was too busy trying to get his head up his own tone deaf backside!

rhythmstyx
September 17th 2015
1:30pm

I wish I could disagree with this review. I’ve given it a few listens already and it’s so personality-free, so empty, that I can’t see needing to play it again. Too bad because their last album was end to end excellent. The reviewer clearly doesn’t know DD’s discography though if he thinks “Notorious” is their last good album. The Wedding Album, Astronaut and All You Need Is Now are all strong.

RC
September 18th 2015
10:09am

I think this and other reviews are written with too much assumption. I saw one review here about Simple Mind’s latest release citing them as a “one-hit-wonder”. That reviewer had not done their research to see they had more than one top 10 hit. This review of Duran Duran’s latest also appears to have no real research into the band’s releases since 1991. The band didn’t lack direction. As with ANY recording artist that has had more than a 20 year career, inspirations change and they are not going to hit the mark with the same audience year after year. There are some wonderful moments on each release. Some songs that are gems that today’s music machine refused to push. Why, because until the mid 1990’s Duran Duran were still signed to the dying EMI records. The label that broke them was broke and being mis-managed. The last thing EMI were going to do was promote them as Warner has done with 2015s Paper Gods. (This is the first Duran release under their new contract with Warner) The fact that they never went away and released albums every couple of years is a testament to the band’s creativity and commitment. If the reviewer is not a fan, then it’s hard to dive into 2 decades of releases that weren’t on the radio. But the fans bought up the music and recognized the strengths of the singles or potential singles. To dismiss the material as crap is short sighted and poor journalism in my opinion. This is a band that has sold over 100,000 records. I can think of a few low talent chart toppers that don’t write, play instruments and get good reviews they don’t deserve.

As for the new release. The reviewer assumes “like most of the public” that music is created at the push of a button on a computer. 98% of music on the charts was NOT created organically. Despite their use of synths and computer sequenced sounds, Duran has never been one to rely on technology to make music. This is a real band. The fact that they have recorded a new album that is dance able music shouldn’t be frowned upon. That’s what they do! That’s what they’ve always done. So why is the reviewer slamming them for doing so? Do people slam the Rolling Stones for releasing new music that has guitar based music with the same grooves and tempos that they did 50 years ago? I guess I’m just looking for reviews that are written by qualified music enthusiasts and not hacks!
Oh and I went to pick up a copy of the exclusive CD at Target yesterday and all of the Target stores in a 40 mile radius of me were sold out!

Leonora
September 22nd 2015
1:14am

I love this album, love every track! I’m listening to it on repeat in my car, and while I cook, it always puts a smile on my face! :) Love Duran Duran!