First of all, there’s nothing wrong with Duran Duran. Back in the 80s they were massive, their sound and style defined an era of pop music, and there’s a reason why Heart plays ‘Rio’ on a regular basis. The thing is, their fourteenth album Paper Gods is a bit crap. There’s no other way of putting it really, the songs are feel hollow and meaningless and the whole thing is so over-produced that it brings a tank to a production gun fight.
Some bands can carry on and have that everlasting appeal, these are bands that can adapt to age and change. Duran Duran haven’t really changed, they’ve attempted to remain in that glamorous and glitzy neon-drenched bubble that shot them to fame a few decades ago. You can admire them in a way for sticking with what they were good at, but in this day and age it just seems dated.
“Paper Gods is an album which is as bad as its horrendous artwork.”
The band have attempted to engage with a contemporary audience by featuring stars such as Kiesza and Jannelle Monae but it doesn’t help, the songs themselves are just awful. One is called ‘Dancephobia’, which sounds like an STI. It’s just cheesy and Simon Le Bon, who still has a great voice, is singing about “living like it’s the last night” and dancing girls like he’s in his twenties again. These guys are old enough to be those aforementioned girls’ Dads, it just adds to the cringeworthy feeling that pervades Paper Gods, a band that is past its prime desperately struggling to remain relevant.
There are a couple decent songs, ‘Sunset Garage’ and ‘Buttefly Girl’ sound like vintage Duran but they’re hard to get enthusiastic about, because the rest are so dull, generic and cheesy. Die-hard fans have probably snapped this up already, but other than them it’s a struggle to see who exactly the album is aimed at; possibly Mums who’ll put it on in the car as they pick the kids up from school at three o’clock? Unfortunately for Duran Duran, this is an album which is as bad as its horrendous artwork.