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The reflexes of those old enough to remember when "The Reflex" and "Rio" went rocketing up the Hot 100 in the 1980s may not be what they used to, but certain reactions to the first full spin of Astronaut can't help kicking in anyway. First among equals is exhilaration: Few can sit through pop this inventive--titillating, even, on the thumping disco dazzler "Bedroom Toys," which features Chic's Nile Rodgers--without owning up to a genuine thrill. And though the original fab five, as they're being heralded on this first disc in more than 20 years, leans a little heavier on Andy Taylor's guitar work than in the past, the band stays loyal to its original electropop sound, skillfully shuttling the faithful back in time but kicking in enough keyboard wizardry to avoid leaving them feeling old. Once the inevitable buzz dissipates (give it a while--the sunniness of opening anthem and first single "(Reach Up for) The Sunrise" sticks around, as does the moodiness of "Still Breathing"), puzzlement takes its place. Simon Le Bon sounds not a day older than when he recorded "Girls on Film," something for which he owes fellow 80s-band singers who flopped on the comeback trail an explanation. More puzzling still, though, is why Duran Duran waited so long to return: Had they reunited sooner, legions of dedicated, sophisticated popsters might have been spared the indignity that was the boy-band craze. --Tammy La Gorce
Talking with Duran Duran
Amazon.com contributor Beth Massa spoke with lead singer Simon LeBon and keyboardist Nick Rhodes separately to discuss the band's original line-up reunion, the passion they felt recording Astronaut, and their appreciation for their female fan base.
Top customer reviews
3 years in the making and many fans of the band thought it might never get released, but at last "Astronaut" is here and it's a 5-star blast. From the opening drumbeats of "(Reach Up For The) Sunrise" to the last lilting synth strains of "Still Breathing", Nick, Simon, Roger, John, and Andy show us what we've been missing all of these years. "Astronaut" is an almost relentless barrage of up-tempo electro pop tunes fully brimming with potential hit singles. "Sunrise", "What Happens Tomorrow", and the title track are sure to hit the charts high, with "Astronaut" being the potential "Reflex" smash hit of the album. "Want You More!", "Nice", and "Taste The Summer" are all songs that could be hits if they didn't have so much competition on this record. True to form, the band slow things down on the backside of the CD, but that doesn't mean a drop in quality. "Finest Hour" is a 9/11 inspired tune that takes it's title from a famous WWII speech by Winston Churchill. "Chains" is one of the strongest melodic tunes on the album and "One of Those Days" features Le Bon in top vocal form. Only "Point of No Return" and the quirky "Bedroom Toys" disappoint, but they are still quite listenable. We're a long way from "Seven And The Ragged Tiger" here, but I must say the journey has been worth it. Just don't make us wait another 20 years for the next one, guys.
I loved it all, the lyrics, the catchy melodies, the music, everything! The style, the sound, and the energy that they are known for is here. This album demanded to be noticed! I'm happy to see the boys back togther (Though I am sad that Andy left last year, it's too soon!!). Out of all twelve tracks, there's not one I dislike. It's all the Duran Duran we came to know and love with a modern twist to it. If you enjoyed all their albums, this is one not to pass up! And out of all the albums I have in my collection, this my favorite! "Sunrise" "What happens tomorrow" "Finest Hour" "Nice" "Point of no Return" and "Want you More!" are my personal favorites from this album.
If you haven't listened to "Virus" (on the Japanese Edition), I highly recommend it! It's another great song that should've been a single and on the original. It's a strong rock song with some effects added in to make it quite nice. If you like this album, you'll enjoy this song, too. It truly is a masterpiece! Just don't go to Itunes to get it, that's where I found it first and it wasn't available as a download.
I also recommend the single "What happens tomorrow, Pt.2." There's a short, two minute excerpt from "What happens tomorrow" that was taken out called "Silent Icy River," truly worth listening to. It deserves to be a song all on its own. Need motivational words? "Holding on to what you believe..."
I prefer this album over "Red Carpet Massacre" because I am more into the rock and live playing and not the dance craze they decided to do. RCM also lacks much of the energy that Astronaut has. May be if we're lucky, we'll get our hands on that "Reportage" album soon. After RCM's not-so-well performance on the charts, I do hope the "suits" will give that album a second chance. I'm interested to listen to it! How about you? :)
Bottom line- Astronaut is the album that no one should pass up! Don't listen to the negative reviews! Buy this album, you won't regret it!
**Looking for Beautiful Colours, TV vs. Radio, Salt in the Rainbow, Lonely Business & Pretty Ones? Look for "Beautiful Colours" a demo CD released exclusively for the DD fan club! Rare gem, worth the search! Virus is also included**