Known as ‘The Wedding Album’ by many fans, both due to its cover featuring the wedding photos of the band members’ parents, and to avoid confusion with their 1981 debut album of the same title, 1993’s Duran Duran was a comeback album for a band that many believed had peaked in the 1980s.
Following several line-up changes, including the leaving of the band’s original guitarist and drummer, Andy Taylor and Roger Taylor respectively, and the joining of new guitarist Warren Cuccurullo, as well as their unsuccessful and negatively received 1990 release Liberty, Duran Duran felt lost and overlooked in a new decade where the synth-based music they were famed and acclaimed for in the eighties was losing popularity rapidly.
Enter The Wedding Album, a rock-based collection of tracks focusing on love, loss, society, and criticism of the mainstream media. The album charted at number 4 in the UK, and number 7 in the US, reviving interest in a group that many had not thought about since their eighties exotic music video domination of MTV. The Wedding Album reflected changes between decades, as aforementioned, making use of both acoustic and electric guitar sounds to create a rock-focused sound. However, this was not the only genre explored. The album track ‘Breath After Breath’ incorporated both the Portuguese language and Brazilian-inspired sounds, as well as featuring Brazilian singer Milton Nascimento. Additionally, the band did not shy away from celebrating their influences, including a cover version of The Velvet Underground’s ‘Femme Fatale’ on the album’s track list.
However, the album’s standout tracks, and the very reason for the band’s brief but incredibly successful early nineties comeback, were ‘Ordinary World’ and ‘Come Undone’. It is not often that Duran Duran includes their nineties offerings on their setlist for live shows, preferring to perform their eighties and most recent releases. However, ‘Ordinary World’ and ‘Come Undone’ has endured as firm fan favourites, and defining tracks for the band. Both written about emotional topics and relationships, ‘Ordinary World’ focusing on the death of Simon Le Bon’s close friend, and ‘Come Undone’ a birthday tribute to his wife, supermodel Yasmin Le Bon, the tracks never fail to bring a shiver to the spine or a tear to the eye.
Saturated with feeling and perfectly combining softness with nineties rock, the tracks, and, indeed, the album as a whole, remain one of the best in Duran Duran’s discography. Entirely different from the eighties synth that they were most famed for for, but, nonetheless equal parts interesting and gorgeous.