Wang Chung “Points on the Curve”

For some reason I decided to put on this Wang Chung record—maybe because there’s a boat on the cover—though most of the cover looks like the green, gridded drafting table it was designed on. I guess you could say that’s “cutting edge.” Or just ugly. The picture of the guys on back look exactly like some people I knew in Kent, Ohio, where I was living in 1983, when this came out—guys who were in new wave bands who really had the hair thing going on. I did not like those people. Wang Chung has a massive hit (you remember the one) which you could not escape, for awhile, so I despised them. But listening now, I don’t mind this record at all—well, especially this first song, “Dance Hall Days”—which must have been a hit, as well, right? I feel like I can see a movie scene when I hear it—one of those movies starring Rob Lowe. The record is on the Geffen label—does anyone else get totally creeped out by that old (I noticed it’s totally different now) Geffen logo? For some reason it just makes me think of slimy dudes snorting coke—no good reason for that—it’s just that the little ball with the ridge on it—just perfectly evokes expensive drugs. At any rate, it’s funny how a lot of music you revere from the past, if you listen to it now, sounds totally different. Like, The Clash sound just like Bob Seger. And this Wang Chung doesn’t sound nearly as bad as I remember—well, at least not this “Dance Hall Days” song, which I’m liking right now. Also, it’s nice to see the lyric sheet, because I always thought he was singing: “We were ghouls on Christ”—like, I don’t know—kind of about Christian zombies? But now I see what he actually says is: “We were cool on craze.” Which makes less sense? A guy in my high school was nicknamed “Craze,” but chances are the Wang Chung songwriters didn’t even know him. But I’ve got it—seeing how there are as many slang words for blow as Eskimos have for snow, it’s understandable that I wouldn’t have been familiar with “craze.” Big, big difference there, in meaning, then, from being kind of Christian Goth to being skeezy, coke-fueled Geffen zombies.

3 Responses to “Wang Chung “Points on the Curve””

  1. 1 JC
    February 26, 2020 at 1:10 pm

    a) I thought “Dance Hall Days” *was* their big hit. Did they have another one? For some reason I thought “Dance Hall Days” was by the same group that did “Safety Dance,” because they sound pretty much alike. But if your friends aren’t ghouls on Christ, then they’re no friends of mine.. b) YES, that is EXACTLY what the Geffen Records logo is totally 100% about, and yes, it always seemed skeezy to me as well. It always seemed like bad news for a band to be on that label, like when Sonic Youth inevitably “sold out” to them. c) as much as I feel like I ought to completely hate both “Dance Hall Days” and the totally unrelated “Safety Dance,” I actually kind of don’t mind either one; the overall melancholy/nostalgia feel of DHD is kind of nice, and the video for SD, with the ultra-serious hatless dance commandant dude forcing all his “friends” to dance for their own safety, is just hilarious.

  2. 2 JC
    February 26, 2020 at 1:12 pm

    oh wait — now I’m remembering a song with lyrics trying to get people to “wang chung tonight,” and it’s starting to make me nauseous, so I’m going to quash that memory while I still can..

  3. February 26, 2020 at 10:55 pm

    Right, they turned the name of their band into a verb that meant having sex. Just gross… sorry for un-earthing that.

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