Spaceship Days

Spaceship Days

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

"Hey, all you need is now!"

I love Duran Duran.

I do not hide my love for Duran Duran.
Anyone who knows me can tell you this.
Many ex-girlfriends have looked at me with curious and suspicious eyes.
Many of my college buddies lobbed grenades of disapproval at me as they "claimed" to listen to more serious, masculine, and timeless music... you know like Hootie & the Blowfish.

To them I say, "pfff"

Ever since that fateful 3rd grade afternoon on the Harrison Township playground, when I first came upon that cassette tape abandoned on the balance beam, I have been a Durannie.
It was just sitting there coccooned in beam of heavenly light (que angels singing). No one to claim it. I examined the purplish cover with the exotic looking woman. One simple word... "Rio".
What the hell's a Rio???

I remember running home, feeling like I had just committed some high crime of covert thievery. My heart was racing as I placed the cassette in my "boom-box". I hit the rewind button until I reached the beginning of side A (remember those things).

What is that sound???

It was like a distant, growing thunderstorm yielding to a burst of sunlight... the title track. I sat there in amazement for 20 glorious minutes (flipped the cassette) and disappeared to even greater heights... I mean, "The Chauffer"... come on. The sounds were lush and alien, instant and dense. The more I listened, the more I discovered. Even my 9 year old brain could tell that there was something darker happening below the surface, even if my long-haired, denim wearing classmates refused to take notice. And thirty years later, those guys probably still wouldn't get it but Duran Duran wasn't for them. This was life altering stuff.

This was not Huey Lewis & the News or the Footloose soundtrack (the only other albums I owned at the time). This was something new and escapist. Sitting in my suburban home in New Jersey, the music took me from barren snowfields to sipping sunshine off the backs of exotic tiger-women. Even in my coduroy OP shorts I felt like James Bond. I am quite aware that my devotion to Duran Duran has as much to do with their ability to take me back to a less complicated time of my life as it does with the music itself. 

Through decades of highs and lows (both mine and Duran's) we have soldiered on together. 

But for me their first three albums and Arcadia's So Red The Rose were the cornerstones which all else was to be judged. They stood as monoliths of my childhood. And even though I have stayed on this ride with them for over 30 years, I will confess that I was doubtful they would ever return to their past musical glory. As far as I was concerned those albums could not be rivaled by any other band including Duran Duran. Sure there were other great bands that came along (Mew, Radiohead, and Catherine Wheel) but that's "apples & volvos".
It's been over two decades since the dinosaurs of all things 80s were extinguished by the meteoric impact of grunge and hip-hop... A welcomed apocolypse... but for Duran Duran a new dawn has crested the horizon. "All You Need is Now" is Duran's thirteenth (and yeah I'll say it) their best album since I found that cassette on the balance beam.

(oh yeah, the tiger-women have been replaced with a leopard).



  1. Like all of you when I heard the original lineup had reunited for "Astronaut" I was thrilled.
    Not quite so thrilled when I heard the disc.
    Granted "Astronaut" had some great moments but that was not the comeback I was hoping for.
    I skipped "Red Carpet" all together due to the reviews from fans and critics.
    Then without even realizing DD was coming out with something new, this caught my attention on our local newspaper.
    Not quite the hippest place to find out about a new DD album but that's it.

  2. As always I found out about it from Matt. I probably haven't listened to it as many times as he has, but I still love it.

    Sounds to me like an album they would have released in their heyday, without sounding like an 80s album..if that makes any sense.