Features

Saturday Deluxe / 20 June 2015

pressureoff

Pressure on Duran Duran

Duran Duran‘s new album Paper Gods is due in September and this week we’ve had a look at the artwork. I think it’s fair to say from reading your comments that you’re not overly impressed! Maybe it will get improved/replaced, but if not, then you have to wonder what Warner Bros. are up to. Surely they should have pointed out that it’s simple not good enough, or do major labels feel they no longer have the power to tell acts to up their game?

What is curious is that the artwork references the past so much, with visual cues back to Rio, The Chauffeur and the like. Nick Rhodes admitted recently that the last album, All You Need is Now, “definitely reflected our earlier albums, but our starting point here was Notorious“. It’s all very contradictory.

Putting artwork to one side let’s talk about the music. I don’t whether Pressure Off is officially available anywhere yet, but you can listen to it below. For me, it’s a decent Nile Rodgers-heavy effort, but not really exceptional. It has a fairly strong chorus, although I think I could do without the ‘oh oh oh oh oh’ bit, and the distorted vocals, while presumably designed to give the song an ‘edge’, don’t really bring much to the table. Nile Rodger’s  distinctive guitar brings to mind Get Lucky, his 2013 collaboration with Daft Punk and Pharrell Williams. While that track unabashedly turned the disco up to 11, it had a smoothness and effortlessness that was irresistible and a sing-a-long-ability that was off the scale. Pressure Off is not in the same ballpark, unfortunately.

 

 

The verse melody (and lyrics) are really rather dull and the song is totally reliant on the chorus for the hooks, which gives the track a rather one dimensional ‘don’t bore us, get to the chorus’ feel. The Janelle Monáe break at around the three minute mark works well, but again that ‘oh oh oh oh’ bit really should have ended up on the cutting room floor. Duran Duran are always really bullish about new material and can always talk a good game but history has taught us that the reality doesn’t always match the hype (hello Liberty and Red Carpet Massacre). Four years on from All You Need Is Now, the first ‘single’ from the new album isn’t an embarrassment by any means, it just lacks any ‘wow’ factor. It also sounds nothing like anything from Notorious. Full judgement is reserved until September when the album can be assessed in full. What do you think of Pressure Off? Leave a comment and let us know.


beckdeal

DEAL / Beck: Morning Phase vinyl

For a while it looked like Morning PhaseBecks fine album from early last year was going to go out of print on vinyl. However that hasn’t happened and not only that it is currently cheaper than it has ever been  – being available for less than £10 on Amazon UK.

GRAB THE DEAL: Morning Phase vinyl LP


Simple Minds / Sparkle in the Rain five disc super deluxe edition box

Simple Minds / Sparkle in the Rain update

Many of you who have requested replacement DVD/Blu-rays for the Simple Minds Sparkle in the Rain reissue should have now received them. If you are unaware, there were issues with the 5.1 mix and the hi-res stereo mix was in mono! Anyway for a while Universal were sorting this out directly, but the situation now has changed and all retailers including Amazon now have corrected stock. This means two things – you can order the box or blu-ray confidently and know you will get the ‘right’ version and if you have the old version you can request a replacement from the retailer from which you bought the items. The old information about going back directly to Universal Music is now out-of-date and should be ignored.

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35 responses to Saturday Deluxe / 20 June 2015

  1. Wayne says:

    After about 10 listens, bought it off GooglePlay yesterday I like it quite a bit. I get the sense it is probably more a “get back on the radar” track and not one of the “killer singles” off the upcoming record. I agree it does not sound “Notorious” but there certainly is an attempt to up the funk quotient. I like the fact that although it has Monae and Rodgers “featured” it is still very much a Duran Duran track, most established acts who enlist new talent have a tendency to let them take the spotlight in an attempt to buy some cred with young listeners but not the case here. Very anxious to hear the album – “All You Need Is Now” is a tough one to follow up.

  2. Steve Marine says:

    I agree with pretty much everything you said about “Pressure Off,” particularly the “oh oh oh oh” parts. Let’s hope the rest of the album has less of a Nile Rodgers influence and more of a Mark Ronson influence because he worked wonders on “All You Need Is Now.”

  3. Don Cooper says:

    Blimey!Love it! Even the oh oh oh oh’s.Remember,when Bernard asked the meaning of the do doo’s in Everybody Dance, Nile said that’s just what they are….

  4. Jon Howells says:

    On first listen I feel it has a bit too much going on in there, and I’d prefer Simon’s vocal to be higher in the mix. But it is a typical 1st single from a new album from late period Duran – it’s brash and funky and could do with calming down a bit, but it’s not bad and will undoubtedly be a grower, much as AYNIN and Reach Up for Sunrise were for me (I still don’t care much for Falling Down, 1st (only?) single from RCM). But they don’t seem to be good at choosing singles of late – I can think of plenty of tracks from AYNIN, RCM and Astronaut that would have made better singles than those actually released.

    And of course, the sleeve design is awful! But that’s consistent since, arguably, Notorious.

  5. Dean says:

    The horrendous cover art is part of a large malaise. We’re – sadly – moving away from physical product in digital products. One of the (many) downsides to that is, clearly, considerations about cover art. Record companies seem to have moved away from worrying about how something looks on a shelf – because basically that’s not how they sell in an increasing percentage of overall sales.

    I continue to ONLY buy physical products, and while I’d never make a decision based solely on cover art, record companies ought to know that it IS a factor. Cover art is a statement, it stays with the release FOREVER. You can’t just throw together a bunch of refrigerator magnets and voila! It’s done.

    Frankly, this cover art is an insult to the music, an insult to the fans who are expected to pay for it, and a stain upon the record label who have put so little thought – and likely money – into putting this package together.

    I noted in the original discussion topic that there were those who said they didn’t know what the fuss was about. I’m guessing they came from young folk who buy downloads. They don’t have an understanding of what a record cover is all about, what it represents. They simply see a JPG. It’s a shame, because they’re missing out on an element of a release that can be vital, exciting, inspiring, and a marker in history.

    Back to basics, I think.

    • Eric says:

      I agree with every word of this. I buy pretty much everything Duran Duran release, album-wise, and I expect the new one will be no different, but they are amassing quite the catalogue of hideous LP artwork, with this the worst so far.

      Today I got the new deluxe digipak 2CD of Rio and, obviously, it is utterly gorgeous in every way. Sure, memories of the music from 1982 are entwined with it, but it works both ways. Without the stunning art, would the music have etched itself into the public conscious quite so much?

  6. SimonP says:

    I like it. I was wincing towards the break, readying myself for an unwanted bit of rapping, but it was singing instead and all the better for it.

  7. Gareth Pugh says:

    I don’t mind it, it feels like a very typical-of-post-reunion ‘Duranthem’ to me, quite similar to Reach Up For the Sunrise or the title track of AYNIN. Not brilliant, but a foot back in the door of public consciousness, as someone above said – back on the radar. But not ‘wow’ yet.

  8. Paul H says:

    Nile Rodgers and Janelle Monae make their mark on this and personally I like it – DD have released plenty of singles worse than this. Sleeves (single and album) are not nice. Not sure it’s the wisest move to provoke as many comments about your artwork as about your music.

  9. arnaud says:

    a really great song

  10. duscoadam says:

    Love it! Hooked me right away. My feet keep dancin…

  11. André says:

    I really like it – and the ‘oh, oh, oh, oh’ is not THAT bad – if fact it adds a different/unusual dimension to the chorus. It somehow reminds me of themes from ‘Astronaut’ which I really thought was their best album. The album cover is dreadful and put me off, but after listening to this, I may actually buy it now!

  12. Dennis says:

    Don’t like the song at all… doesn’t surprise me though, as I can’t stand those funky guitars and due to the Nile Rodgers collab it was what I was kind of expecting. Fingers crossed the album offers way better songs than this mediocre effort.

  13. Orig80'saddict says:

    I consider myself a big Duran Duran’s fan and I’d give it a 6.5 out of 10. Really looking forward to the new album.

    On an unrelated note, Culture Club is doing a US tour this fall. Isn’t it funny we haven’t heard anything about the new album being released?

  14. Eric says:

    I have to be the only person who actually likes ‘Red Carpet Massacre’… Thought it was a lot more authentic than ‘Astronaut’. This track is, sadly, just “okay”. Not bad. Was expecting a bit more, especially since their last album was really a return-to-form effort. Then again, I really didn’t care for the lead single from that record to begin with either, so I leave it some room to grow on me …

  15. Kev Moore says:

    They threw away the verse. Shame, because the chorus is a belter. They haven’t managed to channel ‘Notorious’….yet….but, perhaps a step in the right direction.

  16. Daran says:

    Decent pop song – I’ve heard better, and a lot worse. I think putting out the best songs as a first single (whatever that is these days) is not wise as by the time of the second single the album is usually out and then only hardcore fans by the other singles released if they are not strong. Plus there are less hardcore fans wanting different mixes etc on singles than casual fans who are happy to just have the album. That rule usually hurts sales of 2nd / 3rd singles unless they are so strong as to pick up good radio airplay and crossover to non-fans.

  17. Jon H says:

    Um, the reason why we haven’t heard anything about the new Culture Club album is because it’s been pushed back (like the tour) because Boy George had to get nodules removed from his throat (the same thing happened with Adele) and requires time to recover. As for the new DD single, it’s much better then I expected.

  18. Paul, thank you so much for the Simple Minds update, specifically regarding Universal not dealing with the replacement discs any more – it looks like Amazon UK aren’t selling it direct from themselves just yet, the main seller appears to be a third party, so I’ll hold off ordering for a bit!

  19. Stephen K. says:

    I have no idea what the song is about. It would be great if it is about two people in some sort of relationship, and that there is a need to alleviate ‘the pressure’ by defining that relationship. For all I know, singing about ‘taking the pressure off’ is just a random phrase meant to add some energy to the song (“watch out! it’s a dance single, and it’s talking about pressure! make sure that pressure doesn’t blow!”).

    That said, the chorus is nowhere near as banal as the insipid Reach Out For the Sunrise, a single whose greatest claim is that it is inoffensive. What Happens Tomorrow also seemed bland. I can’t point to any song off Astronaut as a great song, but there are many fine funky moments on it. Bedroom Toys is particularly delicious. If all the band does is put out a decent pop/funk album, I’ll be happy. However, I miss their experimental side from their early days. I also miss much of their random imagery in their old lyrics, even if most of it made no sense whatsoever (“shake up the picture, the lizard mixture”… huh?)

    The song seems fine enough. The ‘oh oh oh oh oh oh’ bit is the one bit that is the most memorable (hence catchy), so I’m good with it.

  20. Stephen K. says:

    It’s the same song as New Order’s Jetstream, except better done, isn’t it?

  21. Kiki says:

    Talking about Duran duran : The single seems to be Ok. Not a big thing, but it’s quite Ok… On the other side, The artwork is just awful, a thing that makes you not want to buy the CD… It seems nowadays that the biggest artists want to make the worst cover ever : Madonna’s “Hard candy” and “Rebel Heart” limited edition, Lady Gaga’s “Born This way”, amongts on some others are really truly wrong. Where are the beautiful covers like Michael Jackson’s “Dangerous” or TFF’s “Seeds Of Love” ???

  22. David says:

    Oh,thought it was maroon 5.

  23. Don says:

    I was expecting the worst after reading the introduction here. But the song itself isn’t bad. It’s not great, either, and certainly owes a great deal to the last Daft Punk album.

    It’s not nearly the successful first single that “All You Need is Now” was. That song made me want to buy the album immediately. This song just sort of makes me think, “Well, Duran Duran are doing what they’ve always done.”

  24. DuranChic says:

    It’s a HUGE song, with an unbelievable, typical DD, chorus. Absolutely LOVE it.

  25. theprogster says:

    Put simply in these two comments…Crap Song, Crap Cover.

  26. Michael L says:

    ‘Morning Phase’ on vinyl in my local HMV for £9.99 at the moment.

  27. trash says:

    I think the song’s reasonably good (I’d agree with the 6.5 rating).
    Basically, for me, if all the songs were like this it would actually be a pretty decent Duran album (but then I like Nile Rogers, loved Chic and REALLY love Liberty – Serious is one of my favourite Duran songs…. so what do I know!).

  28. Thom says:

    Awful – this is weaker than anything since Medazzaland. I feel embarrassed for Janelle Monae- she is an incredible talent and has been wasted on this.

  29. Jon C says:

    Not bad, but agreed…it seems a little bland, like it’s all about the flash there’s not enough substance there. Then again, I’ve only heard it via YouTube, so I figure if I download it and heard it with better sound quality, it might sound a bit better.

    And FWIW, I think I kind of prefer their “oh oh oh oh” over their “why-yi-yi-yi-yi” but it still sounds kinda doofy. :p

  30. mike says:

    proud duranie for 33 years standing and sadly Pressure Off is rather facile for all the reasons mentioned above and though the hook is hooky, its not a great song. Hope LP lives up to expectation though!

  31. Nate says:

    The song itself is leaving me a bit cold for all the above reasons.
    A word about the cover — I also didn’t think it was all that creative. However, as the album has been showing up on various sites for preorder, the simplistic imagery actually pops a bit when on a screen full of postage stamp size album covers…..welcome to the future.

  32. Dav says:

    I actually think it is a great song – arguably a better single than AYNIN and it fits in with the run of excellent first singles for Astronaut and AYNIN. And what is really good is that it still is identifiably Duran with a slight nod to the Reflex but it also stands up as a great modern pop record without sounding like a contrived pastiche of what is current.

  33. Dav says:

    But I hate the Wild Boys teeth cover.

  34. Mark Rodriguez says:

    Loved it the moment I heard it and that’s not happened in a while with DD. A tip though; play it on a proper Hi-Fi and crank it up. It has a delicious bass.

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