Duran Duran’s 1993 single “Ordinary World” is an homage to loved ones who have died. The song serves as a remembrance of foregone times, and details the occasional yearning for those times that everyone experiences when dealing with the death of a loved one.
The lyrics start after a mystifying, almost dream-like instrumental. A soothing guitar riff leads into the opening lines:
Came in from a rainy Thursday on the avenue
Thought I heard you talking softly
I turned on the lights, the TV and the radio
Still, I can’t escape the ghost of you
The singer, Simon Le Bon, here is experiencing a common phenomenon. He thinks he has heard the voice of his loved one who has died. He does a double-take around the room and checks the TV and the radio to make sure he is alone.
It may seem crazy to think that a loved one who has died is still around us. However, this is quite a normal occurrence. To sense the presence of someone who has died is often part of the normal grieving process.
The singer tries to make sense of what has happened. He attempts to think of other things. But the death of his loved one continues to plague him.
Le Bon continues to try and normalize his reactions. He wants to make sense of the whirlwind that has engulfed him, and tries to face this world-changing event head-on. The chorus continues:
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
There is no question that learning to accept your loved one’s death is a delicate and intricate process. Everyone doesn’t grieve in the same way. There is no cut-and-dried, easily followed route to follow when it comes to handling the loss. And although most people are well-intentioned, those who offer advice to someone grieving the death of someone they love rarely know how to help. It’s a personal process, and “Ordinary World” points out that idea.
Le Bon continues mellifluously onto the next stanza:
What is happening to me?
Crazy, some’d say
Where is my friend when I need you most?
Here he describes something that many grieving people know well: the belief that they must be going crazy. The wide range of emotions experienced after loss can feel like a wild roller coaster ride. And sometimes the person who has always helped you through the rough times may be the person who has died.
“Ordinary World” intimately details the experience of loss. The song seeks to make sense of losing someone dear to you. It’s difficult to continue the ordinary way of life after profound loss, to be sure. Every person deals with it differently.
Death is a part of life, as we all know. Despite this, it’s still difficult to wrap our heads around it. Sometimes music can aid in our healing, by sharing what others have experienced in similar situations.
If you are dealing with the death of a loved one, “Ordinary World” will likely strike a chord with you. You can find the rest of the lyrics here. Below is a live version of the song performed by Duran Duran.