Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Wang Chung - Points on the Curve

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of Points on the Curve, the second studio album from Wang Chung (their first was 1982’s self-title album when they went by the name of “Huang Chung”). The 1984 release charted at number 34 in the UK, number 30 on the US Billboard Album chart, and number 25 in New Zealand.

At the time, the band was Jack Hues (lead vocals, keyboards and guitar), Nick Feldman (bass, keyboards and vocals) Darren Costin (drums, keyboards and vocals) and Mel Collins (saxophone).

Side one begins with the hit “Dance Hall Days”. Released as the third single from the album, it scored number 25 in France, number 21 in the UK, number 16 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 9 in Canada and Sweden, number 8 on the US Mainstream Rock chart, number 7 in Australia, number 6 in New Zealand, number 5 in Germany and Switzerland, number 3 in Belgium, number 2 in Italy, and number 1 on the US Billboard Dance chart. This one was a favorite around the college campus at parties; it had a gentle beat that was very easy to dance to. I personally like the saxophone accents.

The fourth single “Wait” stalled at number 87 in the UK but made it to number 17 on the US Billboard Dance chart. The piano and synthesizer contrast throughout this one makes for a dramatic composition.

"True Love" is driven by a thundering drumbeat. The yearning verses are countered by the very affirmative, forceful chorus.

"The Waves" rolls along effortlessly on synth melodies.

"Look At Me Now" closes the side with a funky, mid-tempo groove.

Side two starts with “Don’t Let Go“. As the second single, it went to number 81 in the UK, number 38 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 26 in Canada, number 16 on the US Mainstream Rock chart, and number 1 on the US Billboard Dance chart. The accelerating tempo at the start of this one really drags you along. Hearing this one again after almost three decades, the chorus is the thing that stuck in my consciousness.

The lyrics of "Even If You Dream" show that sometimes the heart wants what belongs to another.

The first single “Don’t Be My Enemy” hit number 92 in the UK, number 86 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 29 on the US Mainstream Rock chart, and number 17 on the US Billboard Dance chart. This mid-tempo track with a good beat deals with the aftermath of a break-up. We get another sax solo too.

Things slow down with the ballad "Devoted Friends". The predominant percussion line throughout emulates a beating heart.

The album closes with "Talk It Out" which reminds me a bit of the band Mr. Mister.

While I knew of the album's opening track from back in 1984, a majority of Points on the Curve was new to me until this review. If I had picked this one by Wang Chung up back in the day, I am sure I would have played it a lot (especially the first side). This is exactly the kind of new-wave Euro-pop I was listening to then. It is on the list to join my digital library in the near future.

1 comment:

Mark said...

This one was new to me in the past year, as well. Glad I picked it up, though. In my opinion, the first six tracks are stellar, then the album begins to wane. I featured this album a few months ago over at The CD Project.