Today, we continue our reviews of the songs off of the album, Notorious. This time, we look at Meet el Presidente, the 8th song off the album and the third single. This one did not do as well as hoped as it only made it to 70 in the U.S. single charts. Should it have done better? Read on to see what we think.
Rhonda on Meet El Presidente
The song begins pretty brightly with an upbeat jazz, which is pretty atypical for Duran Duran. The bass is turned up in the mix, which is good because it tones down the brass section a bit and adds a little funk. The song strikes me because of how far down in the tracks you have to go to really hear much of Nick – it’s as though they took the traditional Duran instruments and put them off to play in a corner while the brass section was brought out front to shine. While that’s an interesting change of pace, this is Duran Duran, isn’t it?? The music is pretty syncopated, which again – is very unusual for Duran Duran, making the song unique. Overall, the music doesn’t feel like it was written by the band…it feels very unnatural and out-of-place in their catalog. I commend them for being willing, but there’s something to be said for sounding like a Duran Duran song (aside from Simon’s voice of course).
The song opens with a lot of ad-lib from Simon, it reminds me of someone who is trying to find the key before jumping into vocals, and for this type of song – it is appropriate, even if it truly doesn’t hold much in common with any of his other work with Duran Duran. That said, it continues throughout the song, and it’s annoying – it fills far more like “filler” than creating a casual, laid back way of delivering jazz vocals. Additionally, once again I find that the female voices are way, way, WAY too overdone here. Too loud, too overpowering, and way too much. That said, thank goodness Simon actually sang the song, otherwise you’d never know this was Duran Duran.
The one bright spot for me with this song is the lyrics. In some ways, they remind me of being a stay-at-home (I always laugh at that “home” part…more than half my day is spent in the darn car!!) with the way Simon says “She’s on demand at dinnertime”….but when you really listen, I think it’s about being a woman in general (from an enlightened man’s point of view, of course). Simon sings about a variety of different “typical” female societal roles, and I just have to smile at some of the lines. “She blew your money on taking a cruise” (um, yes. Yes I did.) “Hell hath no fury like a young girl’s ego” (and if you think the young girls are bad, you should probably be really afraid of the adult women…) I do laugh because the real deal is that yes, we women let the men think they are in charge, let them believe they’re making the big decisions, all the while we’re running off to concerts with our friends…and Simon gets it. (Wait, maybe that’s just me??) No matter, the lyrics are smart and I love them. I do admit to playing this every once in a while when my husband is in the car, just to see if he even gets it (nope)…I do appreciate a good lyric! As an aside, this entire song reminds me of an interview with Yasmin. She explains that if a fan gets too friendly with Simon, she’ll walk up behind him and grab his crotch, proclaiming it to be hers. Good for you, Yasmin!!
So I’m not a huge fan of the music on this one, but I openly admit that the lyrics save it for me every single time…otherwise I’d probably pass this song right by every time it comes up. I really detest the back-up vocals because they definitely overshadow Simon’s vocals, and I really feel as though the Duran Duran “typical” instrumentation has been put in a virtual corner here – which is unfortunate. This one song that I wish they’d rework and bring up to date, if for no other reason so that we can all sing it loud and proud live.