Red Carpet Massacre
On their 12th studio effort, Duran Duran have “updated their sound just enough to feel relevant, without embarrassing themselves in the process,” said Simon Vozick-Levinson in Entertainment Weekly. After the shoddy sales of 2004’s Astronaut, the four remaining members found themselves in the “throes of a midlife crisis.” They decided to call on a “new generation of wild boys”—Justin Timberlake and the sonic masterminds behind his FutureSex/LoveSounds, Timbaland and Nate “Danja” Hills. Duran Duran, having built a career around synthesizers and airbrushed pop ballads, appropriately deliver “alluring synth textures” and embellish them with “skittish, syncopated hip-hop beats.” The songs are “often not at all bad,” said Pete Paphides in the London Times. “Falling Down” summons the despair of “Ordinary World,” while the club-worthy “Nite Runner” overuses the voice-altering Auto-Tune to the point that Simon Le Bon sounds like “a stranger at his own party.” Red Carpet Massacre tries to reimagine Duran Duran for the 21st century, but “loses the band’s signature sound for more generic-sounding fare,” said Alex Veiga in the San Francisco Chronicle. The electronic effects only serve to give the material a “remix feel.” In an attempt to reinvent themselves, Duran Duran fail to measure up to their two decades’ worth of hits, and instead end up sounding disposable.