Astronaut (Duran Duran album)

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Duran Duran - Astronaut.png
Studio album by
Released28 September 2004 (2004-09-28)
StudioSphere, London
Duran Duran chronology
The Singles 1986–1995
Red Carpet Massacre
Singles from Astronaut
  1. "(Reach Up for The) Sunrise"
    Released: 4 October 2004
  2. "What Happens Tomorrow"
    Released: 31 January 2005
  3. "Nice"
    Released: 25 April 2005

Astronaut is the eleventh studio album by English new wave band Duran Duran. It was released on 28 September 2004 by Epic Records. It was Duran Duran's first studio album since Pop Trash (2000), and the first (and to date, last) full album since Seven and the Ragged Tiger (1983) to be recorded by the most famous five-member lineup of the band (the stand-alone 1985 single "A View to a Kill" was their last studio recording together).

Astronaut received mixed reviews from critics but was nevertheless a commercial success, peaking at number 3 on the UK Albums Chart to become the band's highest-charting album in the UK since Seven and the Ragged Tiger in 1983. The album also peaked at 17 on the U.S. Billboard 200 and reached the top ten in six other countries.

Background and recording[edit]

Duran Duran originally announced a reunion of the most famous five members in 2001, and began writing new music together in the south of France. They continued to write and record intermittently, working hard for a few months at a time, throughout 2002 and 2003. The band's friend Nile Rodgers did preliminary production work on several tracks.

Meanwhile, the search for a record label went on, complicated by the band's desire for independence, control, strong promotional support and a commitment for more than one album at the same time that the reportedly cash-strapped and risk-averse recording industry was unwilling to gamble on the "leftover fame" of a band best known for a series of 20-year-old hits.

The band, frustrated and with nearly thirty new songs approaching completion, set out on a world tour in 2003 to show that the band still had drawing power. The sold-out dates in Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia and New Zealand—and the nearly delirious news coverage that followed the reunited band—warmed the record labels to the possibilities. The new songs "Sunrise", "Still Breathing", "Virus", "Beautiful Colours" and "What Happens Tomorrow" were played during these concerts; John Taylor also played a demo recording of "What Happens Tomorrow" on the air at Los Angeles radio station STAR 98.7 in May 2003.

During this period, a "teaser CD" with short demo versions of a few of the unfinished songs (used to demonstrate the new work to potential labels and producers) was leaked to the Internet and quickly copied throughout the band's fan base. The songs were "Virus", "Sunrise", "TV vs. Radio", "Taste the Summer", "Salt in the Rainbow", and "Pretty Ones". The band was very unhappy about the leak, and with the exception of "Sunrise" (which became the first single) and "Taste the Summer", the leaked songs were not included in the final track listing for the album. Jason Nevins also remixed "Virus", which was not released as a single. (The Jason Nevins version of "Virus" later appeared as a bonus track on a Japanese release of Astronaut).

A remix of "Sunrise" by Jason Nevins was included on the Queer Eye for the Straight Guy soundtrack in February; it received a warm reception by DJs anticipating new work from Duran Duran, but the song was not released as a single from the soundtrack. The band has generally performed the Jason Nevins version live in concert. The main version of the CD incorporates tracks from Jason Nevins' production, to which he is credited on the album's liner notes.

In March, the band donated "Beautiful Colours" to FIFA, the international governing body for football, to use as its Centennial song. At the awards ceremony for the FIFA 100, honouring the top living footballers, a video of top moments in the sport was accompanied by the song. However, the song would not be one of those that made the final version of the album.

Release and promotion[edit]

Following lengthy negotiations, the band signed a four-album deal with Epic Records in June 2004. The songs were given a final polishing with producer Don Gilmore at Sphere Studios in London, and then mixed by Jeremy Wheatley throughout June and July 2004. R&B producer Dallas Austin produced three tracks on the album, and Nile Rodgers' early production work remains on another three.

Sony BMG reissued Astronaut on the DualDisc format on 29 March 2005. This double-sided disc included the CD version on one side and a remixed 5.1 DVD-Audio surround mix of the album on the other side. The DVD side also included a 25-minute program with new, behind-the-scenes footage. On 20 December 2005, Astronaut was released on the SACD format. Similarly to DualDisc, this release featured the album in three formats—multichannel SACD, stereo SACD and stereo CD.

Limited copies of the new album were released with a bonus DVD which included 45 minutes of live and behind-the-scenes footage from Wembley Arena, recorded in April 2004. The CD/DVD set came in DVD-sized packaging and European copies bore copy protection, a holdover from the BMG days.

A worldwide media tour accompanied the September 2004 release of the first single, "(Reach Up for The) Sunrise", with more surrounding the release of Astronaut in October. The pace became too hectic for guitarist Andy Taylor, and in November Duran Duran announced he was suffering from exhaustion and flu, and would not be participating in band promotion until January 2005. The remaining four members continued with television appearances, and a stand-in guitarist, Dominic Brown, was hired for the scheduled radio station Christmas concerts in December. Subsequently, January concert dates in Japan had to be postponed until the summer, after drummer Roger Taylor broke a bone in his right foot in December.

In 2021, the band signed a deal for the album with BMG (along with Medazzaland, Pop Trash and Red Carpet Massacre) which saw it being re-issued in the UK on various digital platforms.[1]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic2.5/5 stars[3]
The Austin Chronicle2/5 stars[4]
Billboard3.5/5 stars[5]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music3/5 stars[6]
Entertainment WeeklyB[7]
The Guardian2/5 stars[8]
Los Angeles Times2.5/4 stars[9]
NME5/10 stars[10]
Rolling Stone3/5 stars[11]
Uncut3/5 stars[12]

Astronaut was met with "mixed or average" reviews from critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, this release received an average score of 52 based on 17 reviews.[2]

In a review for AllMusic, Andy Kellman wrote: "Even with a handful of forgettable songs beyond that, the album is easily the best one credited to the Duran Duran name since 1993's Wedding Album.[3] Matt Dentler of The Austin Chronicle called the album an "overproduced synth shuffle", going on to say "With too many songs trying too hard, Duranies will still go hungry for quality."[4]

Commercial performance[edit]

Astronaut debuted at number three on the UK Albums Chart and at number 17 on the US Billboard 200, with similar top-20 debuts elsewhere in the world. Meanwhile, the CD/DVD set debuted at number one on the Billboard Top Music Video chart. The album peaked at number 29 in Japan.

The first single, "(Reach Up for The) Sunrise", debuted at number five on the UK Singles Chart. In late November, it topped the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart.

The second single, "What Happens Tomorrow", was released on 31 January 2005 and entered the UK chart at number 11 (where it peaked). It slowly gained radio play in the US, supported by a nearly sold-out tour of North American arenas and stadiums, touted as the band's "largest tour ever". Later in 2005, "What Happens Tomorrow" was used in a promotional spot for the US digital cable network Fox Soccer Channel; Simon Le Bon and John Taylor had also appeared in a separate spot for the network. Andy Taylor missed several American dates in February and March to visit his ill father and the subsequent funeral.

Live favourite "Nice" was announced to be the next single in Europe to coincide with the band's tour there. It was believed that the single would not have a commercial release or music video, but would be downloadable. However, "Nice" was only released to radio in Europe, was promoted poorly, and disappeared quickly from the airwaves.

Astronaut has been certified "Gold" in the UK for sales of over 100,000 copies. It was certified Gold in Italy. As of 2008, it had sold around 260,000 copies in the US.[13]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Duran Duran.

1."(Reach Up for The) Sunrise"
2."Want You More!"
3."What Happens Tomorrow"
  • Gilmore
  • Duran Duran
  • Austin
  • Duran Duran
5."Bedroom Toys"
  • Duran Duran
  • Gilmore[b]
  • Rodgers[b]
  • Gilmore
  • Duran Duran
7."Taste the Summer"
  • Duran Duran
  • Gilmore
8."Finest Hour"
  • Gilmore
  • Duran Duran
  • Gilmore
  • Duran Duran
10."One of Those Days"
  • Austin
  • Duran Duran
11."Point of No Return"
  • Duran Duran
  • Rodgers
12."Still Breathing"
Japanese edition bonus track


  • ^[a] signifies a vocal producer
  • ^[b] signifies an additional producer
  • ^[c] signifies a pre-production


Credits for adapted from the liner notes of Astronaut.[14]

Duran Duran[edit]

Additional musicians[edit]

  • Mark Tinley – programming (track 12)
  • Lily Gonzalez – additional percussion (tracks 3, 8, 12)
  • Guy Farley – string arrangement (tracks 3, 8, 12)
  • Sally Boyden – background vocals (track 1)
  • Tessa Niles – background vocals (tracks 4, 5, 7)
  • Jason Nevins – additional programming (track 1)


  • Duran Duran – executive production, production
  • Don Gilmore – production (tracks 1–3, 6–9); additional production (tracks 5, 12); engineering (tracks 1–3, 5–9, 12)
  • Nile Rodgers – vocal production (track 1); additional production (track 5); production (track 11)
  • Dallas Austin – production (tracks 2, 4, 10), engineering (tracks 4, 10)
  • Mark Tinley – pre-production, engineering (track 12)
  • Jeremy Wheatley – mixing at Townhouse Studios, London
  • Leon Zervos – mastering at Sterling Sound, New York City
  • Rich Hilton – Pro Tools, engineering (track 11)
  • Daniel Mendez – Pro Tools, additional engineering (tracks 1–3, 5–9, 12)
  • Rick Sheppard – Pro Tools, additional engineering (tracks 4, 10)
  • Francesco Cameli – engineering assistance (tracks 1–3, 5–9, 12)
  • Richard Edgeler – engineering assistance (tracks 4, 10)
  • Dean Barratt – engineering assistance (track 11)
  • Jason Nevins – additional recording (track 1)


  • Kristian Schuller – cover photography
  • Richard Haughton – guitar photography
  • FAILE – art
  • Clarissa Tossin – art
  • Sean Hogan – art
  • Bernie Beca – art
  • Patty Palazzo – art
  • John Warwicker – creative direction, graphics remix
  • Sara Syms – graphic art


Chart (2004) Peak
Australian Albums (ARIA)[15] 22
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[16] 27
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[17] 40
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[18] 35
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[19] 9
Czech Albums (ČNS IFPI)[20] 53
Danish Albums (Hitlisten)[21] 8
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[22] 17
European Albums (Billboard)[23] 4
French Albums (SNEP)[24] 87
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[25] 23
Greek International Albums (IFPI)[26] 6
Irish Albums (IRMA)[27] 38
Italian Albums (FIMI)[28] 2
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[29] 29
Scottish Albums (OCC)[30] 5
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[31] 41
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[32] 21
UK Albums (OCC)[33] 3
US Billboard 200[34] 17


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[35] Gold 100,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label Catalog
United States 28 September 2004 LP Epic E2 92900
United Kingdom 11 October 2004 CD 517920 8
CD+DVD EPC 517920 3
United States 12 October 2004 CD EK 92900
CD+DVD EK 93463
South Korea 15 October 2004 CD Sony CPK 3348 (517920.6)
Cassette CPT-3348 (517920.4)
Japan 20 October 2004 CD EICP 426
United States 29 March 2005 DualDisc Epic EN 93512
20 December 2005 SACD 82876761752


  1. ^ "Duran Duran's Medazzaland is officially available in the UK for the very first time | superdeluxeedition".
  2. ^ a b "Astronaut Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More at Metacritic". Metacritic. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
  3. ^ a b Kellman, Andy. "Astronaut – Duran Duran". AllMusic. Retrieved 10 April 2021.
  4. ^ a b Dentler, Matt (26 November 2004). "The Austin Chronicle Review". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 10 April 2021.
  5. ^ "Duran Duran: Astronaut". Billboard. 23 October 2004. Archived from the original on 13 November 2004. Retrieved 10 April 2021.
  6. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-0-85712-595-8.
  7. ^ Brod, Doug (15 October 2004). "Astronaut Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
  8. ^ Lynskey, Dorian (1 October 2004). "Duran Duran: Astronaut". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 August 2017.
  9. ^ "Duran Duran: Astronaut". Los Angeles Times. 31 October 2004.
  10. ^ Fitzpatrick, Rob. "Duran Duran: Astronaut". NME. Archived from the original on 3 March 2012. Retrieved 31 August 2017.
  11. ^ Pratt, Sarah (28 October 2004). "CD Review – Duran Duran – Astronaut". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 4 November 2004. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
  12. ^ "Duran Duran: Astronaut". Uncut. November 2004. p. 120.
  13. ^ Caulfied, Keith."Ask Billboard". Billboard. 4 January 2008.
  14. ^ Astronaut (liner notes). Duran Duran. Epic Records. 2004. 517920 8.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  15. ^ " – Duran Duran – Astronaut". Hung Medien. Retrieved 15 January 2019.
  16. ^ " – Duran Duran – Astronaut" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 15 January 2019.
  17. ^ " – Duran Duran – Astronaut" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 15 January 2019.
  18. ^ " – Duran Duran – Astronaut" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved 15 January 2019.
  19. ^ "Duran Duran Chart History (Canadian Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved 15 January 2019.
  20. ^ "Oficiální česká hitparáda IFPI ČR – 43. týden 2004". Marketing & Media (in Czech). 22 October 2004. Archived from the original on 15 January 2019. Retrieved 15 January 2019.
  21. ^ " – Duran Duran – Astronaut". Hung Medien. Retrieved 15 January 2019.
  22. ^ " – Duran Duran – Astronaut" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 15 January 2019.
  23. ^ "Hits of the World". Billboard. Vol. 116 no. 44. 30 October 2004. p. 41. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 15 January 2019 – via Google Books.
  24. ^ " – Duran Duran – Astronaut". Hung Medien. Retrieved 15 January 2019.
  25. ^ " – Duran Duran – Astronaut" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 15 January 2019.
  26. ^ "Top 50 Ξένων Άλμπουμ" [Top 50 Foreign Albums] (in Greek). IFPI Greece. 21–27 November 2004. Archived from the original on 27 November 2004. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  27. ^ " – Discography Duran Duran". Hung Medien. Retrieved 30 December 2019.
  28. ^ " – Duran Duran – Astronaut". Hung Medien. Retrieved 15 January 2019.
  29. ^ " – Duran Duran – Astronaut". Hung Medien. Retrieved 15 January 2019.
  30. ^ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 15 January 2019.
  31. ^ " – Duran Duran – Astronaut". Hung Medien. Retrieved 15 January 2019.
  32. ^ " – Duran Duran – Astronaut". Hung Medien. Retrieved 15 January 2019.
  33. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 15 January 2019.
  34. ^ "Duran Duran Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 15 January 2019.
  35. ^ "British album certifications – Duran Duran – Astronaut". British Phonographic Industry. 15 October 2004. Retrieved 15 January 2019.Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type Astronaut in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.

External links[edit]