“Hungry Like the Wolf” is one of those tunes who’s sights I simply cannot separate from its sounds. The visuals of Simon Lebon and the other men of Duran Duran cavorting around Sri Lanka have instilled in me an unflagging longing to “grow up and be like that”.
“That” would be the character Mr. Lebon plays in the video. Like James Bond or Indiana Jones he plays a worldly, well balanced masculine ideal that’s equally at ease reclining in a stylish suit or trekking thru jungles in torn fatigues. Add in the exotic location and exciting action sequences and this is somehow a life I’ve always wanted to have. Now I’m well aware this “life” is all projection, artifice, and fantasy, but that’s the thing about great fantasy isn’t it: rational thought has little power to extinguish its allure. :)
The music itself is equally remarkable. For all its glossy production and bubbling electronics it comes across as somehow “outdoorsy” and organic. It’s a ballsy tune with some definite bite but concurrently refined and sophisticated. The lyrics are highly evocative but also wonderfully fuzzy and imprecise (all my freshmen college friends swore it was about oral sex). What exactly does it mean? Who knows and who cares. The song, like the video, is grand impressionist painting that can whisk you away to wonderful but undefinable places for all of its three and a half minutes.
Sonically it’s the synthesizers that really make the song special. Without them it’d be solid tune, with interesting lyrics and a nice Marc Bolan-style guitar hook, but nothing really remarkable. Nick Rhodes dressed up the straight ahead rock song with a wonderful arpeggiator line from his Roland Jupiter 8 and some solid strings from a Crumar Performer (thru a phase pedal it sounds like to me). Add in a few sound effects for the bridge and it was a prefect recipe that sounded neither too electronic, nor to rock.