Sep 16, 2015 Issue #54 - August/September 2015 - CHVRCHES
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 stars—Lindsay Lohan and former Red Hot Chili Pepper John Frusciante included—leave 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
Average reader rating: 6/10
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