Wednesday, April 22, 2020

"Meet El Presidente" by Duran Duran

Song#:  3111
Date:  05/02/1987
Debut:  86
Peak:  70
Weeks:  5
Genre:  Pop, Rock

Pop Bits:  The band's fourth studio album, Notorious, started off well with the #2 title track. Unfortunately, its follow-up, "Skin Trade," failed to make an impression and stalled just inside the Top 40. They decided to give it another shot with this third single, but the results were even worse. The tune floated around the bottom of the Pop chart for just over a month before disappearing. The lack of a better supporting single following "Notorious" had an effect on the album's performance. It would be their first album to not reach the Top 10 (#12) and after four straight double-platinum LPs, it could only manage a platinum showing. Definitely not a bad showing, but it signaled a decline in the band's popularity.

ReduxReview:  This song was different for Duran Duran. It took some of their new wave funkiness and colored it with some Motown flare. It even had a horn section and a background vocal group. Frankly, the chorus sounds quite Wham!-ish to me. It was an interesting experiment and I think the chorus is the strongest section. Other portions are a bit flat and nearly bring the song to a halt. They certainly could have used a better title - something catchier and more memorable would have helped. I read somewhere that the band though this was a surefire hit and was really disappointed by its chart performance not only in the US, but even in the UK where it halted at #24. It's not a bad song and it should have probably done better in the US even though it wasn't in the same league as their other big hits.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Apparently, the band later dubbed Notorious as their Hitchcock album. This was because three of the songs had titles in common with Alfred Hitchcock movies. The title track was the same as Hitchcock's 1946 spy-noir film Notorious that starred Carey Grant and Ingrid Bergman. It was a critical and box office success. Also sharing a title was the song "Vertigo (Do the Demolition)." Hitchcock's 1958 psychological thriller Vertigo starring James Stewart and Kim Novak did fine at the box office, but received a mixed critical reaction at the time. However, the film grew in stature over time and would later be hailed by some as the director's best effort. Another Duran Duran track was initially titled "Rope." This was in reference to the 1948 experimental Hitchcock film of the same name that starred James Stewart. Based on a stage play, Hitchcock filmed long, extended scenes and edited them together in clever ways so that it appeared like the film was shot in real time in one long take. The experiment wasn't a hit with critics or with audiences when first released, but it later became a bit of a cult favorite within Hitchcock's catalog. Duran Duran's "Rope" would end up getting a title change to "Hold Me" prior to being included on the album.


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