Red Carpet Massacre
Sorry, '80s nostalgists, but Duran Duran was never a great band or even a particularly good one. The Duranies gained fame as sleek, sleazy showmen with a strong visual sense and the ability to transform other people's ideas into garish pop ready-mades. “Girls on Film,” “Hungry Like the Wolf” and “Notorious”? Stupid as hell, but hilariously so. Pretty much everything else? Ditto the stupid part, nix on the hilarity.
This last formula applies to most of Massacre, a glittery attempt at a stylistic reboot. Timbaland and protegé Nate “Danja” Hills impose their sound on the likes of “Nite-Runner” and “Falling Down,” which overtly recall recent Justin Timberlake recordings—appropriate, since Timberlake turns up too. “Skin Divers” represents the approach's nadir thanks to an incongruous Timbaland rap, Casiotone and Space Invader sound effects and allegedly racy lyrics about “sugar walls.” (Sheena Easton is gonna be pissed.) “Zoom In” and “She's Too Much” are less objectionable but also less memorable, since the main group they rip off is Duran Duran.
These guys usually have better taste. — Michael Roberts