Friday, November 6, 2009

Duran Duran -- "Hungry Like the Wolf"

So if, like me, you are a connoisseur of 1960s French erotic science fiction, you probably already know this. But, for the unwashed masses who have missed the boat, the band Duran Duran is named after a character from the 1968 classic "Barbarella," starring Jane Fonda as the title character.

Here's the plot summary from Wikipedia:

"Set in the 40th century, Barbarella follows the adventures of its title character played by Jane Fonda. In the film, Barbarella is assigned by the President of Earth to retrieve Doctor Durand-Durand from the planet SoGo in order to save the earth. Beyond this premise, the plot is very loose, serving mostly as an excuse for Barbarella to end up in erotic situations. On her quest to find Durand Durand, Barbarella is seduced by a human resident of SoGo, who introduces her to penetrative intercourse (civilized people of Barbarella's society find sexual release through pharmaceuticals), seduces an angel named Pygar, and overloads a torture device (called the Excessive Machine) which kills through sexual pleasure."

Coincidentally, the members of Duran Duran went on to introduce all of America to penetrative intercourse with their hit song "Hungry Like the Wolf." Take a look at the music video. Oops, wait, that was the wrong video. Here you go.

Just as an aside, this video was shot in Sri Lanka, where to the best of my knowledge, there are no wolves. Why not shoot in Canada or Siberia or something? It would've been cheaper and more relevant to the whole wolf thing. Oh well.

Dark in the city, night is a wire / Steam in the subway, earth is afire

This is actually some pretty good imagery. "Night is a wire." I like that. Good work, Simon Le Bon.

Woman, you want me, give me a sign / And catch my breathing even closer behind

Starting to get a little creepy.

By the way, I'm not including any of the "do do do do, etc." parts here because they're not really "lyrics" per se, but I would like to point out that the Wikipedia page for this song states that "the repeating of the word 'do' at the end of each verse, is an inspiration from Gordon Lightfoot's song 'If You Could Read My Mind'." [sic] Being naturally curious about bands' musical influences, and being a fan of Mr. Lightfoot myself, I cued up the song, in which he does no "do do do"-ing whatsoever, unless I'm listening to some sort of abbreviated version or something. Is this just completely wrong or am I missing something here?

In touch with the ground / I'm on the hunt, I'm after you


Smell like I sound, I'm lost in a crowd / And I'm hungry like the wolf

"Smell like I sound"? I don't get that line. It could be "smell like a sound," but that doesn't really make much sense either. How can a thing or a person smell like he/she/it sounds? I don't think it's possible for a sound to smell like anything. Um. And the following line, "I'm lost in a crowd," doesn't help much either.

Straddle the line in discord and rhyme / I'm on the hunt I'm after you

I think maybe Simon Le Bon is so hungry that he's become delirious.

Mouth is alive with juices like wine / And I'm hungry like the wolf

Simon Le Bon is drooling. Or, I don't know, maybe eating somebody?

Stalk through the forest, too close to hide / I'll be upon you by the moonlight side

"The moonlight side"? What does that mean? And when did we get into this forest? In the first line we were in a city. Unless we were in the forest the whole time and he just happened to mention that it was dark in the city, as a kind of non sequitur. Is anyone else getting hungry? I'm kind of hungry.

Hey, why didn't Duran Duran turn this song into a whole series? They could've done "Angry Like the Goat," "Sleepy Like the Bear (In Winter)," "Sticky Like the Anteater," "Endangered Like the Panda," "Amphibious Like the Frog" ... the possibilities are endless. Each one could also be adapted as a children's book and an erotic science fiction movie. Synergy!

High blood drumming on your skin it's so tight / You feel my heat I'm just a moment behind

If someone was following you, what would happen first? Would you "catch (his) breathing" or "feel (his) heat"? And would those two things happen like two verses apart?

And, "high blood drumming on your skin it's so tight"? Huh? I think maybe it's actually "High blood / drumming on your skin, it's so tight." In which case, whaaa??? Actually, maybe Mr. Le Bon should be congratulated here, because even though I have no concept of what this line means, I can definitively say that it is creepy. Kind of like if a child gave you a peanut butter and jelly sandwich but instead of peanut butter and jelly, he used gravel and mucus. You don't really know exactly what he's trying to tell you, but it's quite clear that he is mentally ill and you should sleep with one eye open.

In touch with the ground / I'm on the hunt, I'm after you / Scent and a sound, I'm lost and I'm found / And I'm hungry like the wolf

OK, we get it.

Straddle the line it's discord and rhyme / I howl and I whine, I'm after you

The unofficial lyrics I found online said this lyric was "strut on a line." I think that makes less sense than "straddle the line," but it does sound more like he says "strut." So I listened hard to the song (he sings this line three times) and each time it sounded like something different. Then I thought, "Does it really matter which it is? This is like two detectives sitting around arguing about how many times the serial killer stabbed his latest victim, while the killer hops in his car and drives away." Then I realized it wasn't like that at all, but it got me thinking about detectives, so I watched 22 consecutive episodes of "Murder, She Wrote." Then I Googled "Angela Lansbury" and "1960s French erotic science fiction" and got no results.

This song is making me type nonsense.

Mouth is alive all running inside / And I'm hungry like the wolf

This song makes me want to eat a big juicy steak and have penetrative intercouse, not necessarily in that order. The intercourse should be the easy part, but where am I going to find a steak at this hour?


  1. Yea! I was hoping you'd do Duran Duran. They have so many incomprehensible songs - this is a nice sample

  2. Interesting side-note: "Amphibien Comme Une Grenouille" was an 80's French children song, by a Jane Fonda look-alike. --C.S.

  3. I think Andy Taylor in his new biography said something along the lines of many of LeBon's lyrics make no sense AT ALL, so if his band mates don't know what he's on about, what hope do we have?

  4. Excellent analysis. Sometimes all you can say about a song is What the fuck? I must admit that back when this first came out, I sure wanted to have penetrative intercourse with Simon Le Bon, particularly after watching the video.

  5. It's been 2 1/2 years since the last comment, so this is hardly timely; but I'll note that I suspect the line you have as "Smell like a sound" might actually be "Smell and I sound". "Sound", as a verb, can mean the barking or baying that hunting dogs make when they catch their quarry's scent. So that makes sense (or as much sense as anything in the lyrics) in the context of the song. The same could go for the line "Scent and a sound", though there "a sound" (made by the quarry) and "I sound" (made by the speaker) work about as well.

    Not that it matters much, of course. The whole thing's typical rock-lyric goofiness.

  6. Well if I smell like I sound, and I sound bad? Then I stink! Lol but if I sound awesome, I must smell awesome.

  7. Duran Duran are great (they write catchy songs) and some of their lyrics have an inexplicable appeal, but they often truly do make no sense. This one and Rio are two very good examples.

  8. It's about fellatio
    "Mouth is alive with juices like wine
    Stalked in the forest too close to hide
    I'll be upon you by the moonlight side"
    Its not a literal forest.

  9. I saw a lion, he was standing alone, with a tadpole in a jar