on 15 October 2004
As anyone who lived in the eighties knows, Duran Duran were the ultimate pop group, their music accessible and subversive at the same time. When the band fragmented after 1985's 'A View To A Kill' eighties music and pop music in general was never quite as exciting.
Although Duran Duran have been around since then in one form or another, they've never quite managed to reach the dizzy heights that they achieved with their first three albums.
Until now that is. 'Astronaut' is the first album since 'Seven & The Ragged Tiger' to feature the original line-up and it's fantastic. Managing to sound very eighties and yet totally contemporary at the same time, the twelve songs that feature on this album sound incredibly fresh and each one sounds different from the last.
All the tracks here are great but highlights include the single 'Sunrise', 'What Happens Tomorrow', 'Still Breathing', 'Astronaut', and the sublime 'Finest Hour'.
In short, if you're a fan of Duran Duran, or pop music in general, you cannot afford to be without this album.
Welcome back lads!
on 21 October 2004
Always was a bit of fan in their heyday and afterwards for a while. Favourite albums by them are Big Thing, and the debut Duran Duran (I also quite liked Madazzaland). However I never, never, never expected them to pull off something like this. This is a class pop album - great tunes, nicely produced, performed with verve. No real duff moments, if you tell yourself that Simon isn't rapping on Bedroom Toys, no duff moments at all. Top tracks Chains, Taste the Summer, Finest Hour, Astronaut, Nice, Sunrise, Want You More - with the rest not far behind.
There isn't anything else being released at the moment that is remotely like this and it is all the better for it. If you liked Duran Duran in the 80s but want to hear that sound updated for the 21st century and something that shows a real streak of class, then go for this. Uplifting, bright and shiny.
Great, great, great - in an year that has seen great albums released by Zero 7, Bebel Gilberto, Ash, Keane, Franz Ferdinand, kd Lang, The Bees, this is probably the best one so far - How strange is that?
on 16 October 2004
A brand new album from 80's supergroup Duran Duran is sure to be a hit with both young and old Duranies.
This is a welcome return to form for the original members, who haven't produced anything together since the James Bond theme "A view to a kill" in 1985.
This new offering takes all the best elements of the Duran Duran we've all come to know and love, and brings it sharply up-to-date, rivaling anything that the likes of Coldplay and Keen have to offer.
Superbly thought out and crafted pop songs, particularly highlighted by their first single release "Reach up for the sunrise". this is a track I found instanly catchy and still can't stop singing it.
There isn't a duff track on this CD. True not all will be as instantly hummable as the first single, but all are well written, produced and executed.
So if you're ever tempted to sneer at this current 80's revival, take a moment to compare this album with anything the current league of manufactured, boring garbage has to offer, and I'm sure that you'll understand why we raise these 80's heros to such lofty heights and regard them with such fond affection.
on 23 June 2013
Duran Duran's 'Astronaut' from 2004 was not a come back album, because Duran Duran never went away. But they did have a hard time finding their sound on albums like 'Liberty' (1990), Medazzaland (1997) and last and probably least 'Pop Trash' (2001). As such, the announcement that there was to be a new album with the original line-up (Roger and Andy Taylor left in 1985; founding member John Taylor in 1997) was both astonishing and yet expected. Now this was the line-up that arguably became the biggest band on earth in the early Eighties, so I had high expectations.
The pros: '(Reach Up for the) Sunrise' rests easily with the rest of Duran Duran's great singles. Second single 'What Happens Tomorrow' is a rockier, punchier and still catchy track. Album closer 'Still Breathing' is a welcome reminder of Duran's affinity for writing slow, beautiful songs.
The cons: 'Bedroom Toys' and 'Want You More' are some of the worst tracks Duran Duran have ever recorded (and yes, even as a fan I have to admit that there are quite a few to choose from). My main gripes with the album as a whole are that it sounds to me as if Duran Duran were TRYING to sound like themselves instead of just BEING themselves, and that the songs really are not that strong.
I would rank it above 'Pop Trash' and 'Red Carpet Massacre' (even if the latter has a sense of adventure that this one doesn't), but well below both 'Medazzaland' and their latest album 'All You Need Is Now' and appropriately enough light years away from 'Duran Duran' and 'Rio'.
on 11 August 2006
I was a Duran Duran fan back in the eighties, and loved everything they released then. Then the band when through various changes, so did their music and I kind of lost interest.
I wasn't sure quite what to expect when I bought this album, having only heard "(Wake up to the) Sunrise" and "What Happens Tomorrow", but it is fantastic. In my opinion easily the best album they've released since 1983. I've only had it a week or so, but it's hardly been out of my cd player.
There's not a bad track on the album, and some of them are amazing. Aside from "Sunrise" and "What Happens Tomorrow", highlights for me are the title track, "Nice" and "Bedroom Toys". The latter is very funky, a 00's interpretation of their brilliant sound in the 80's, and gets me dancing whenever I hear it.
This is the band at their very best, and has reminded me why I loved them so much more than 20 years ago. My husband is fed up with hearing this album already, but it's going to be a long, long time before it stops being a favourite with me. One of the best albums I've bought for years.
If you were ever a Duran fan, buy this. You won't be disappointed. I really can't say how much I love this album!! I would give it 10 stars if I could.
Thanks go to the boys (who still look great as well as sounding fantastic) for keeping me entertained for 25 years now. Keep at it - you're amazing!
on 28 August 2008
Duran Duran achieved massive commercial success in the 1980's, in fact when people think of 80's music Duran Duran probably spring to mind pretty quickly.
That all disbanded rather suddenly when the five piece band became three, and although momentum was regained with the brilliant single "Ordinary World" in 1993, they lost it again in 1995 with the dreadful covers album "Thank you."
Now it should also be said that this review is being written after the release of 2007's "Red Carpet Massacre," which anyone will tell you is not a patch on this album - and here is why.
"Astronaut" was released after a hugely sucessful UK tour featuring all five original members, "Reach Up For The Sunrise" was a very good choice for first single, promotion was good, and fans were prepered to buy Duran Duran - for the first time in almost a decade - Duran Duran were cool again.
Musically, "Astronaut" crosses few new boundaries, but it's what Duran do best, it was commercially fresh, Andy's guitar work was back and Nick's sync's fitted beautifully, it all sounded to good to be true.
And in a way, so it proved.
After a hugely sucessful world tour in 2005 and 2006, Andy again departed the band and "Red Carpet Massacre" was released in 2007 which proved to be a commercial failure.
Duran Duran's third climb and third fall - enough said.
on 13 October 2004
Waited ages for this album since seeing them on their great Reunion tour during the summer at Wembley Arena. They played some of their new tracks then, and while sounding like the true Duran Duran sounds it felt more rockier and edgier.
And true enough, the tunes are, but they blend the 80's electronic pop and guitar rock sounds together brilliantly. The first 4 songs hit you straight away as classic Duran songs, the later songs on the album, while very good, take a few listens to get the tunes into your head, and you'll be singing along to "One Of Those Days" in no time.
(Reach up for the) Sunrise, their first single from this album, starts the album off as an anthem song, sure to do well in their tours. "What Happens Tomorrow" has to be the stand out track, itis brilliant. So to is "Astronaut", and the great "Taste The Summer" which sounds like something they recorded in their previous heyday. And finally "Bedroom Toys" has the sound of Wild Boys/Girls on Film, so that'll get you reminiscing.
Top album, can't wait for them to tour again. If your a Duran Duran fan you'll already have this, if you like 80's style pop then give this a listen. I'm glad they haven't tried to reinvent themselves as a different type of music band.
Duran Duran epitomised the eighties - that's not a criticism, it was a fun decade. I bought a number of their singles and played them to distraction but I never loved Duran Duran - not like I loved Talking Heads - and I never contemplated buying an album of theirs.
Fast forward to 2005. Having pestered a London nite-club DJ to reveal the artist that had performed a song that had so transfixed me imagine my surprise when he informed me that it was 'Nice' by Duran Duran. DURAN DURAN! I'd thought it was Kraftwerk!
Anyway, I bought the album on the strength of this one song and was astonished to find that it was packed with tunes at least the equal of 'Nice'. There really is not one track less than excellent on this album and four or five of the songs are absolutely breathtaking - most especially 'Point Of No Return'. Remarkable songs, peerless contemporary production, wonderful instrumentation, intriguing lyrics, a surprisingly powerful vocal performance (I never thought le Bon would be capable of this). It is an essential album.
If you like contemporary electronic pop, buy it.
on 29 March 2005
An absolutely fantastic album! There just aren't words to describe how amazing this album is. There isn't one single track that I need to skip past (there's usually at least one on some albums!), and, like another reviewer above, it stays in my car CD changer ALL the time. I've had the cd for months, and it still sounds as fantastic as the day I first heard it. Definitely a Desert Island Disc for me! This is 'new-old' Duran. I'm a big fan of their 80's stuff, and this, in my view, is easily just as brilliant. It really takes me away into the 'fantasy world' of Rio - the sun, the sea, the speedboats....!!! This might sound a bit naff, I know, but I really find it hard to describe my love of this album! Thanks to the boys for creating some great music!
on 16 November 2004
Duran Duran are possibly one of the most under-rated bands ever. But anyone who has ever actually listened to their albums is usually pleasantly surprised and 'Astronaut' is no exception. It is strange for a die-hard Durannie like me to listen without hearing the musical journey the boys have taken (both together and separately) but as it stands this is a collection of classy and well-crafted songs incorporating a diversity of style rarely pulled off so well. There is homage to their 80's roots and to their musical influences throughout this album but on top of that we have pretty credible modern dance music, funk a la 'Notorious' and a folksy/Indie-type feel that would sound just as comfortable on an Oasis or Crowded House album (which is definitely no bad thing).
I don't think there are any real fillers on this album - I would hate to have to choose the singles. But my personal favourites are: Want You More (thumping good guitar and bass), Nice (I can see this filling dancefloors in Ibiza next summer), Astronaut (retro 80's/Bowie-esque), Point Of No Return (just damned catchy and a true Duran classic), Still Breathing (another classic Duran album track, reminiscent of 'Land' or 'Palomino' on 'Big Thing' which I think is a very under-rated album). All in all I would love to see this album get the recognition it deserves and Duran Duran to get the recognition they deserve. This album blows away a lot of current chart music and I would put 'Astronaut' up there with anything that has been produced over the last 5 years.
p.s. A tip - get the CD/DVD Limited Edition copy - it includes a DVD of Reunion tour footage including behind the scenes, anyone who has seen them in concert will know it can never capture the real excitement of a Duran gig but a great bonus nonetheless especially as it includes 'New Religion' one of the best ever Duran tracks.