The news that 80s pop stars Duran Duran have completed three tracks with Timbaland may be as big a surprise to some as the time Ice T declared his love for Phil Collins on British television. But is it really that odd that the world’s hottest producer should want to work with the band who once sang ‘You’re about as easy as a nuclear war?’
Timbaland is in his mid 30s, so the young Timothy Mosley would have been a teen when Duran were in their prime. What 14-year-old wouldn’t have been impressed by a band that made soft porn videos (Girls On Film), sound-tracked James Bond films, swanned around on yachts in videos (later owning their own vessels) and picked models out of magazines to date or marry. Let’s face it, hip hop in 2006 is pretty much modelled on Duran Duran’s 80s lifestyle. Diddy was certainly observing their antics and he and Biggie Smalls sampled their hit Notorious (a single produced, along with The Reflex, by the Timbaland of the 80s: Nile Rodgers).
Justin Timberlake apparently brought the project to fruition after presenting the Duranies with an MTV award and gushing forth praise. So keen was he to work with his heroes that they had to knock him back from their 2004 album Astronaut as they didn’t want the reformed original line up to be overshadowed (so they worked with Jason Nevins instead).
I’ll wager a stunning pop record (with stuttering beats, mad FX, odd grunts and exclamations) will emerge from the sessions. I would have put less money on Nelly Furtado becoming a cutting edge pop sensation a year ago.
“We are in a very good space,” a beaming le Bon has said. The only fall out from the collaboration so far appears to be that Duran Duran have lost guitarist Andy Taylor as a result. Taylor was always the square peg in Duran, he always looked like he’d rather be in Billy Idol’s backing band than poncing around with the artier others. The news that Duran were to be working with a former member of the Mickey Mouse club obviously didn’t go down too well with the rocker. Apparently their website mistress also quit replacing the home page with the following message: “Duran Duran without Andy Taylor is like anal sex without lube.” Let’s hope they’re in for a smoother ride with Justin and Timothy.