Dear Duran Duran,
Please put down the crack pipe.
Your judgment is being seriously impaired, if the songs on the promo CD, Beautiful Colours, are any indication.
Since acquiring this disc a few weeks ago, I have played it with the familiar regularity I extend the best of your repertoire. I enjoy listening to the songs that didn’t make the cut on Astronaut, and I find the alternate takes on the album tracks illuminating.
(I will give you credit for the versions that do appear on the album — they are indeed the superior performances of those songs. “Bedroom Toys” still sucks, though. Amazing to think you guys could write something worse than “Palomino” or the majority of Pop Trash.)
But the more I listen, the more apparent the weaknesses of Astronaut are, and the more obvious they become, the more I feel cheated.
You have a long, storied history of mishandling your career, and if the two boxed sets of singles are any indication, you have a terrible habit of relegating incredible songs to obscurity. “I Believe/All I Need to Know” should have started side two of Big Thing, not that cover of “Suzy Q”.
In the case of Beautiful Colours, the volume of unused material could have meant the difference between a brilliant comeback and an antisceptic one.
“Beautiful Colours”, the song, lives up the adjective contained within the title. “Salt in the Rainbow” harkens to the poignancy of your most recent work, such as “Come Undone”.
Even a party track such as “The Pretty Ones” has more heft to it than that wimpy “Taste the Summer”. And “Virus”? And “TV vs. Radio”? You have guitar muscle in Andy Taylor — show him off, dammit!
Who is that backing singer on “Lonely Business”, by the way? She makes me glad Lamya isn’t hanging out with you guys anymore.
Beautiful Colours has the songs that would have convinced me this reunion was worth the effort. In fact, it’s disappointing you could actually validate my low opinion of Astronaut.
And it’s frustrating to think you had the material to make a better album all along.
As such, I had to piece together my own version of what this latest Duran Duran album should have been. I was an ardently loyal fan up until 2000, and now I consider myself proudly lapsed.
I will still pay attention to what you guys do creatively, and I will support you with my disposable income when it seems right to do so.
But there are other artists out there with a clearer vision of how they want to work, and they have cut into the devotion I once reserved exclusively for you. (Man, I can’t wait to hear Cocco again!)
I know you have it in you to whittle away my skepticism. It’s there in Beautiful Colours. Now if only you could get your act together to do so.
Your fan of 20 years,