Song of the Day: Before the Rain, by Duran Duran

Song of the Day: Before the Rain, by Duran Duran

Before the Rain - All You Need Is NowYeah, I know. I’ve been prattling on about the new Duran Duran album for a couple weeks now.  I’m admittedly a little bit of a fanboy. I’ve found something to like in each of their records and I remained true and engaged through the Warren Cucurullo years.  But, up ’til now, the so-called reunion had left me a little underwhelmed.  Astronaut featured a couple good songs, but Andy Taylor’s role was diminished (possibly by choice) and the record as a whole lacked any characteristic Duran personality.  Red Carpet Massacre was a sonic step in the right direction (aside from the rather abysmal collaborations with Timbaland), but lacked focus.

Enter Mark Ronson.  Another admitted fanboy, Ronson seems to have asked Nick Rhodes to take all his old synths out of storage, got the rest of the band to revisit their Chic record collections, and helped them actually make a Duran Duran album.  New guitarist Dom Brown steps forward with some excellent work and the overall effect is a very strong – if perhaps overly-reminiscent – nine songs.  There are brief snatches of melody that seem to have been borrowed from the back catalog: a little “I Take the Dice” here, a little “Drug (It’s a State of Mind)” there.  But All You Need Is Now is a startlingly confident step forward for a band that, just a couple years ago, seemed to be on the edge of spoiling a reunion-hype opportunity.

If they can take this vim and really run with it, I’ll be very interested to see where they go next.  Until then, however, I’m gonna prattle on about the current record’s closing track.  Calling to mind one of my favorites from Rio, “The Chauffeur,” “Before the Rain” is a lush ballad with a gorgeous bridge section.  To hear one of my favorite details, buy the song. Crank it up loud. As the very end of the song tails out with a looping guitar phrase, just before the the track stops, what is that?  What’s that sound? Oh, yes. Hiss. Faint, analog, beautiful hiss.  If this thing isn’t released on vinyl, I will be very disappointed.