One of my favorite parts of being on the cutting edge of the music industry is watching the innovators cut through the effluent in life’s tides and rise above the noise. That is precisely what Duran Duran has done with their newest release, “All You Need is Now.” The release date ironically falls on the thirtieth anniversary of the band’s first release, “Planet Earth,” released to enormous fandemonium in 1981. “All You Need is Now” was produced by Grammy Award winner Mark Ronson, who has worked with Amy Winehouse, The Kaiser Chiefs, Lily Allen and others. Ronson himself called this album, “The follow up to Rio that never was.” (A big relief for all of us who rocked our way through Rio and simply waited for the next move.)
This is the band’s 13th album and all four original members of Duran Duran – John Taylor, Roger Taylor, Nick Rhodes and Simon Le Bon – have joined to recreate the original upbeat sound that made them famous and sold over 80 million records during their three-decade career, With the collaboration with Ronson strongly in place, the band went on to bring in longtime friend, Ana Matronic of the Scissor Sisters and R&B/neo-soul superstar Kelis, with Owen Pallett of Grammy Award winning “Arcade Fire” to do the album’s string arrangements.
Never one to overlook the visuals, the band engaged up-and-coming British visual artist, Clunie Reid, for the artwork and packaging. Clunie’s work is very well known and has been shown at the Saatchi Gallery and the New Museum in New York.
Highly collaborative and innovative, Duran Duran has spent thirty years fusing pop music with art, fashion and technology, bringing music videos from a marketing tool in the 80’s to one of the music industry’s most valued creative assets.
From a distribution perspective, Duran Duran seems to be one band that really understands how important it is to have an engaged fan base. Their website is as much fan homage to their fans as it is a platform and a staging area for their work. For a mere $35 a year, fans are treated to VIP ticket packages, presale events, and meet & greets, as well as direct communication with band members and exclusive video, photo and written content. Each fan also gets to build their own personal fan site – including fan blogs, journals, photos, etc. They’re also able to participate in fan-to-fan forums and private messaging. Basically, Duran Duran has brilliantly built an army of brand advocates to support their every move. Something all bands should emulate in today’s online world.
The group looks as great as ever, and while they’ve evolved their sound to a more contemporary state, hints of their roots are evident and laced throughout several of the tracks on this new CD. “Blame the Machines” is a fun, uptempo, electro-pop track. “The Man Who Stole a Leopard” is a stunning track that diehard fans will relish. “Leave a Light On” recalls the power of their earlier ballad “Save a Prayer.” And “Girl Panic1” will get fans out on the dance floor celebrating like it’s new year’s eve. Hey, why not?
Kelli Richards, CEO, The All Access Group, LLC