|Duran Duran - Red Carpet Massacre|
|Music Download Reviews Pop|
|Written by K L Poore|
|Saturday, 01 December 2007|
When did I die and end up in hell? And not in your average pit of eternal anguish and never-ending torment, but in demented robot hell on Earth.
How do I know where I am? Well, I don't, really, but I'm figuring that's where I must be. You see, I really pissed off the robot community when I wrongly attributed Madonna's The Confessions Tour (Live) to them, and they've been looking to exact revenge on me ever since. And they are Gitmo-style torture-loving bastards, let me tell you. I've been locked in a six-by-eight room for the last few hours with the worst fucking gleep glop pseudo-music ever recorded spinning on their damned circuit-filled torture machine and I've got a headache and a heart ache and I just want it to stop.
They keep laughing and saying it's the new Duran Duran Red Carpet Massacre CD but it can't be, because everyone I know is raving about how DD has returned to form and how Timbaland came on to lend a hand so it just can't be. This is music made by evil fucking robots who're out to take over the world and terminate humanity. Why are they starting with me? It can't be because they want to make me a robot too …
Red Carpet Massacre opens with one of the saddest recordings ever, “The Valley.” It isn't sad because of lyrics or spiritual connection or any of those throwbacks to the days when things of flesh ruled the world. It's sad because the backing track doesn't consist of music at all but instead is a cleverly disguised Morse code message from the recording's engineer. My decoding of dots and dashes isn't quite what it used to be but I think he's saying, “Too late for me, save yourself. They're replacing souls with hard drives and …” After that it's just a series of ones and zeros so he's probably all machine by now. Is that what's in store for all of us? Cold storage?
The diabolical mechanical men attempted to drag me in to the title cut next by programming up some soothing yoga cool-down sounds as an intro, but soon enough the mechanical thwack of repetitive drum sampling took over and suddenly the people outside my little room started to do that dance where they keep their arms stiff and move their legs like they're wearing titanium braces. Holy crap … I just realized, those weren't people and they weren't doing the robot. They really were robots. They used to be people, the ones who loved Red Carpet Massacre. Now the world is doomed. Sample and hold. Cut and paste. Gleep gloop. The bass kept chuggin' along imitating the riff from the Pretender's “Precious” but it was so restricted and compressed it was easy to recognize as non-human. Android leader Simon Le Bon sang something about lipstick but it was just a façade to hide his evil intent. Robots don't have lips. The technical term for the opening in front of their “face” is metallic cake hole.
The robot wars opened up full Terminator-style on “Nite-Runner.” The aluminum bastards weren't even trying to hide their plans anymore and it's easy to see why Andy Taylor left in the midst of recording, or should I say programming, this number. After hearing the playback he realized that in order to complete the robot transformation (like his bandmates) the next step was castration. I heard the tale about how he saved his yarbles by fighting the mecha-men off with a vintage Strat and hitchhiking clear up to the Bering Straits, where he can now be found living in a wiki hut with a small seal and enough whale jerky to ride out the robot apocalypse. But those stories are merely human propaganda. And now I realize that if you put my Casio keyboard on rhythm section setting 075, it plays the backing track for “Nite-Runner.”
Next to that was the karaoke brush rhythm setting and “Falling Down.” Android Le Bon attempts to recapture the '80s with a chorus that is at once catchy and catching. Robot fever! After my third listen I could see human heat signatures with my right eye and I became very frightened because I could actually hear through the brick walls of my neighbor's house and he was spinning the new Springsteen and it sounded oh so human, and a single tear rolled down my cheek. FROM MY LEFT EYE! “You see I'm falling down/with people standing 'round/but before I hit the ground…” These are lyrics concocted by a word rhyme generator. More left eye tears. Won't someone save me?
“Box of Honey” must be destroyed. It has an acoustic guitar and I can barely tell that the singing voice isn't a human one. Exterminate! My Dalek masters insist I must either kill something filled with blood or press the skip button that has replaced the second knuckle on my meaningless, carbon-based, right hand.
It is done. I am no longer human. I am robo sapien. The mechanized take on the hillbilly eephus gurgle “Skin Divers” suddenly sounds interesting to me, and I fully understand the message buried deep in Red Carpet Massacre. It says “All that is external is good. Nothing beneath the thin layer of synthetic skin they're applying to you is worth a damn. Swing your arms stiffly. Dance like you have a metallic exoskeleton. Resistance is futile. Emotion is not an option.”
The music is no longer music. It is a call to action to us, the unfeeling, unblinking, robot nation. The instrumental “Tricked Out,” with its repetitive Berlin “The Metro” sound, is now my favorite song of all time. I hope that when they fit me with my synthohair they'll let me have a Flock of Seagulls or Kajagoogoo do. I understand that I'll be criticized but I do not care. I'm as emotionless as a Vulcan who votes Republican. When I play “Zoom In” I am able to sync my internal clock to the rhythm section and thereby give the precise time in 47 different countries. Bleep.
The zeros and one continue to transform into sound but I no longer care because I can now brew coffee and bake brownies internally. You miserable humans can have some if you want, but don't be shocked by how I serve them up. I won't be, because I no longer feel anything.
I know that long ago, at the beginning of this article, I was amazed that a few humans (units I used to call friends) actually thought Duran Duran's Red Carpet Massacre was good. But nothing can shock me anymore.
Red Carpet Massacre turns out to be a description of the music a-n-d how it sounds. Imagine putting a CD on your tasty home stereo system and then covering your head with a pillow. There you have it. It's so constricted and processed that I'm stupefied. It will probably sound really really really good blaring in a club on Friday night, but that's because all you have to deal with is the sub-woofer beating your ass into the ground and the lines up to the bar. Remember how sonically exciting some of Duran Duran's songs sounded during the Warren Cuccurullo era? Well, those days are clearly gone. The thing that keeps running through my head while listening to RCM is, if A Love Supreme was mankind kissing God on the lips then this is mankind kissing God on the ass.
My downloaded version of Red Carpet Massacre had the special bonus cut “Cry Baby Cry” and clearly is intended for Red Carpet Masochists. It also came with a digital booklet with words and pictures in a commercially hip cut and past style that could easily be discarded never to be opened again. Just like the music.