Duran Duran - Red Carpet Massacre
Matt Clutton 13/11/2007
Over the past few decades Duran Duran have been ploughing out studio albums faster than Chinese factory workers and their cheap, lead ridden toys. There is however nothing cheap about this album though and it has been reported by many as a return to the bands new wave origins. The bands thirteenth album (unlucky for some) entitled 'Red Carpet Massacre' is an epic album touched upon by some of the most influential faces in music with Timbaland, Justin Timberlake and Nate Hills all having imprinted their own indeliable touch on the album. With more truth in the title than might first be realised, the road to the album's release has certainly been a massacre or sorts. Late into 2006 when the album was to be originally released under the title 'Reportage' it was announced Andy Taylor was to leave the band. Close collaborations with Timbaland and Timberlake in the remainder of the albums creation and production put a new spin on an album that was nine tenths of the way to it's completion.
On review the albums initial spark 'The Valley' trips into action with the usual coolly executed drum and bass combo typical of Timbaland full of grit and attitude but with the kind of beat that would leave Nelly Furtado looking like she had two left feet. 'Red Carpet Massacre' the albums title track is of anthemic proportions with it's possessed military beat and leaning towards a Miss Elliot stomp-fest in demeanour. 'Nite Runner' the first clear collaboration between the Timbers begins with the usual asthmatic beat box routine and guest angelic vocals as a precursor to the cavalier charms of Le Bon. 'Falling Down' a track themed with mental and physical breakdown in the shadow of an unhelpful society is accompanied by Timberlake on vocals. Believed by many to be one of the best tracks on the album it's fusion of the old and new make it appealing to both die hard fans and newcomers attracted by the Timbers. A marketing ploy...hmm ? Both tracks 'Skin Divers' and 'Zoom In' offer a sub standard contribution from Timbaland in comparison to earlier tracks and the mediocre efforts of the remaining tracks on the album are only made interesting by the inclusion of a near three minute instrumental filled with a glorious harpsichord melody, synth sampling and untamed guitar solos.
As Duran Duran albums go this is a fair stab at trying to mix the classic blend of new romantic, new wave sounds with the current commercially successful R&B, hip-hop, dance mix that is proving a winning combination for the Timbaland/ Justin Timberlake combo.