That Duran Duran is one of the most influential bands of all time is something that people have known for quite a while. Those who dismissed Duran Duran as a bunch of good-looking semi-talented guys have had to eat their words again and again over the years. Generations of musicians both male and especially female have unabashedly admitted that they were in love with Duran Duran and their music from the time they were kids and that they have been deeply influenced by them. That Duran Duran drove the women wild with their urban and stylish good looks is such a cliché. They did do that. But they also gave the world dozens and dozens of meticulously crafted pop and rock classics, brilliant innovative music videos that set the standards for countless acts to come, they wrote the textbook on building a media-friendly and suave image and showed everyone how a long and productive career is built and nurtured.
A Slow Climb Back to the Top
In 1993 Duran Duran was struggling and critics and naysayers believed that their 1980s heydays were over. They had infighting among the group members and a new generation of bands were ruling the roost. Then they released their self-titled album, Duran Duran, on February 11, 1993. It entered the market slowly and then there was a buzz about it among the die-hard Duranites and people on the constant lookout for good music. Then the lead-off single “Ordinary World” entered the Billboard Top 100 charts and everybody watched with anticipation as the single made its way up. It peaked at No. 5 and blew everyone away. The song talked about letting go of the past no matter how painful it was and looking at the present and future with new hope and determination. The lyrics fill you up with inspiration “But I won’t cry for yesterday/ There’s an ordinary world somehow I have to find/ And as I try to make my way to the ordinary world/ I will learn to survive.” Lead singer Simon Le Bon begins tentatively, then is assertive and soon his vocals soar while Warren Cuccurullo’s guitar is penetrative and expansive. “Ordinary World” has given solace and wisdom to millions of listeners over the decades and is arguably the most influential song in the entire huge Duran Duran catalogue.
A Bunch of Exciting Intelligent Songs
“Come Undone” is the unravelling of a person and an important relationship even as it happens and has a sadness to it that is painful. To see a person you have cared for self-destruct for reasons beyond anybody’s control is horrific and it haunts you for the rest of your life. “Too Much Information” is prescient considering it came out in 1993 before the Internet, social media, numerous TV channels, 24-hour web culture, and media overload have made people wistful for a simpler time. The lyrics make it amply clear that we are drowning in noise which we don’t need “Destroyed by MTV I hate to bite the hand that feeds me/ So much information the pressure’s on the screen/ To sell you things that you don’t need/ It’s too much information for me.”
“Breath After Breath” is a catchy melody reminiscent of their 1980s music and collaboration with Brazilian singer-songwriter Milton Nascimento. It is sung in both English and Brazilian and talks about how we struggle to make a meaningful life for ourselves even as time keeps moving forward relentlessly. Later Duran Duran released an entire album of covers titled Thank You but the concept was on their mind even before which is why they included a cover of “Femme Fatale” on this album. It is their version of the Velvet Underground classic and many will agree that it is far more melodious and likable than the original. Le Bon’s vocals and the lush instrumentation make their version of “Femme Fatale” a more rewarding experience than the original.
Duran Duran was more serious and socially conscious on this album than their predecessors. The boys had indeed grown up. “Sin of the City” is about the horrific fire that engulfed an unlicensed social club in New York City on March 25 1990 and killed 87 people who were fatally trapped. Other songs like “Drowning Man,” “None of the Above,” and “To Whom It May Concern” show a new maturity in Duran Duran that is both welcome and commendable considering how they were worshipped by obsessed females in the 1980s.
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Earning the World’s Respect
Duran Duran was their seventh studio album and is also commonly called The Wedding Album by their fans. It is also considered their comeback album because the short-sighted critics and the band’s haters had written them off and that was borne of jealousy and bigotry. Duran Duran has always been unfairly targeted for their catchy, positive, and feel-good music which made fans and music lovers enthusiastic. Time has proved that the band has stood the test of time and is one of the greatest pop-rock bands of all time. The respect that Duran Duran has earned began with the success of their 1993 eponymous album and several of its songs still get played regularly on the radio and music TV channels. It’s a testimony to a brave band that never stopped working hard.