Duran Duran

Astronaut (Epic)

Although Duran Duran holds a noteworthy place in pop history because of the way it encapsulated the appeal of early MTV, it's important to remember that, musically speaking, Simon LeBon and company were never very memorable. OK, a handful of their songs were entertainingly silly, and because the videos that accompanied the tunes mated sex and vapidity in a cleverly commercial way, the Duranies scored some substantial hits. But would global culture have been irreparably harmed had "Hungry Like the Wolf" never existed? Methinks not.

Which brings us to Astronaut, a cheerful attempt to recapture the band's version of magic. The CD includes some attempts at modernization, most of them flops: "Want You More!" sounds like 'NSync circa 2000, while "Bedroom Toys" is appropriately characterized by one of its key lines, "Oh, my God, what's this?" However, the lead single, "(Reach Up for the) Sunrise," finds the still well-tressed lads effectively doing the Time Warp again, as do the title cut and "Nice." Overall, the disc is intermittently diverting, completely insignificant, and so familiar that I've forgotten it already. -- Michael Roberts

 
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