How is it possible that the members of Duran Duran are still making great music some 35 years after they got together? It doesn’t seem real, but it’s true.
Simon LeBon, Nick Rhodes, John Taylor and Roger Taylor are back with their 14th studio album, “Paper Gods.”
I remember when the band’s first hit MTV. The group’s sophomore album, “Rio,” caught the eyes and ears of America. Singles “Rio” and “Hungry Like The Wolf” were smash hits, spearheading a newfound British invasion. Soon the electric/techno/alternative/dance sound was monopolizing the charts.
Duran Duran’s third album, “Seven And The Ragged Tiger,” produced mainstream hits “Union Of The Snake,” “New Moon On Monday” and the No. 1 single “The Reflex.”
DD went on to become one of the most successful bands of the ’80s, having placed 18 singles into the Hot 100. Other DD hits during the best decade ever for music included “Notorious,” “I Don’t Want Your Love,” “Wild Boys” and the James Bond theme and second No. 1 hit, “A View To A Kill.”
Despite all that success, no one probably expected the band to last much past the 1990s let alone survive Seattle’s grunge craze. But Duran Duran did in a big way, with 1993’s “The Wedding Album,” which featured the No. 1’s “Come Undone” and the band’s most successful single, “Ordinary World.” “Ordinary World” topped the Hot 100 for an impressive nine weeks.
Shortly thereafter, Duran Duran’s sound got lost in the manufactured pop trend, yet still managed to release a few albums, but with little or no fanfare here in the states.
Critics were quick to write off the band, but deep down DD fans were holding out hope for at least a tour. Well, the wait is over and it seems as if the band has found its sound again. Some have said “Paper Gods”?is perhaps the group’s best to date. I might not go that far, but needless to say, I’m excited to see one of my favorite bands get their day in court, again.
“Paper Gods” is excellent by today’s standards. The electro-funk dance tracks, goth-fused R&B balladry, and modern synth-pop is due in part to killer contributing collaborators including Janelle Monae, Mr. Hudson, John Frusciante (ex-Red Hot Chili Peppers), Mark Ronson (“Uptown Funk” fame w/Bruno Mars), and the legendary Nile Rodgers. How could this album not be good?
“Danceophobia” opens with an interlude from Lindsay Lohan. Yes, I said Lindsey Lohan. It’s only an interlude. She’s not singing. The song is very much a “today sound.”
Monae and Rodgers join DD for the track “Pressure Off,” which totally nails it. The song will be a hit and reintroduce the guys to the grandchildren of Duran Duran’s ’80s fans.
“What Are The Chances?” could easily have appeared on “The Wedding album,” and that’s why it’s my favorite here.
Duran Duran is currently on tour in the UK before coming to America later this fall. Perhaps “Paper Gods” will re-educate Rock and Roll Hall of Fame voters about why Duran Duran is worthy of induction.

Contact David T. Farr at farrboy@hotmail.com.