Review: Evelyn O’Connell
IN 2003, Duran Duran celebrated their 25th anniversary and the
reunion of the five founding band members with a run of tremendously
successful sold-out shows.
The original members of Duran Duran – Simon LeBon (vocals),
Andy Taylor (guitar), John Taylor (bass), Roger Taylor (drums)
and Nick Rhodes (keyboards) – have released their first
new album together since 1983’s multi-platinum Seven
& The Ragged Tiger.
Astronaut is very adventurous and showcases the diverse
influences of each band member, blending guitar, synths, lyrics
and melodies beautifully.
Each of the 12 tracks on this album has a different quality and
approach, and although it does feel like eighties pop, it also
contains an updated twist for the noughties.
The recent release (Reach Up For The) Sunrise is the
first song on the album and is undoubtedly the most catchy song
from Astronaut, then followed up by possibly the most
‘80’s inspired track, Want You More!
What Happens Tomorrow is poignant yet somehow manages
to comes across as a slightly cheesy message of hope for the world.
The Astronaut track itself is not really up to much and
I had to wonder what made LeBon et al choose this as the title
track, when there are far better tracks on the album.
It then gets worse before it gets better, with the 'mischevious'
Bedroom Toys transporting you to a smoky, seedy lounge
bar, without ever really sounding like Duran Duran - I hope that
LeBon isn’t attempting to rap.
With the duff moments over, however, the rest of the album is
pretty darn good, and highlights for me were the tracks towards
the end, starting with Finest Hour and followed up by
Duranies are no doubt grateful that the boys are back together
writing, recording and performing. The quality of material is
good, the chemistry is definitely there, but none of the tracks
on Astronaut has the potential to live up to classics
like Rio and The Reflex.
And later Duran Duran releases Ordinary World and Come
Undone far surpass (Reach Up For The) Sunrise and
What Happens Tomorrow, in terms of meaning and musicability.
I think the hype and interest surrounding the album is much
more to do with the original members being together again than
it is about the music.
Maybe it’s because I can sing along with the classics,
but this album took some getting into, but it is worth persevering
with because after a couple of turns you appreciate the different
tone and intention of each song and you’ll soon be playing
This is a top pop album, regardless of the attention it has been
given, and deserves to be looked at with fresh eyes and ears,
whether you were a Duranie or were born way after they split in
Let’s see what the future holds for Duran Duran, as Astronaut
sees the boys firmly back in their stride.