Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Wang Chung - Points On The Curve (1983)


"IT'S NEW TO ME" WEEK (OCTOBER 20-26, 2013)

I always enjoyed the easy pop shuffle of this album's single, Dance Hall Days, when I heard it on the radio; it was a minor hit around the time I graduated from high school.  However, I didn't like that single enough to buy the LP and I never heard anything else from the album so I didn't pick up a copy.  At the time, I figured this group was one and done so why bother?  Only recently did I buy this CD for $3 from a used bin.  I find the band's sound to be similar to that of The Fixx and the songwriting is much better than I had anticipated.  Glad I found it - better late than never, I guess.

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #30
Peak on Cash Box album chart: #31

Tracks:  Assuming the sequencing on this CD is the same as the original LP, I would guess that I'd have listened to side 1 much more than side 2 because there's not a stinker among the first 5 tracks.  Track 4, The Waves, really catches my ear and I'm left wondering why that song was never released as a single.  To be fair, track 6 (the Top 40 single Don't Let Me Go) is good, too.  It's after that that the album slowly unravels. At least they grouped the 6 good tracks together.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: None. Instead of listening to this album in the summer of 1984, I had a steady diet of Billy Idol's Rebel Yell, The Cars' Hello Again, the Footloose soundtrack, Duran Duran's The Reflex, Difford & Tilbrook, Lionel Richie's Can't Slow Down, and Prince's Purple Rain. In the spring of 1986, I would often listen to Wang Chung's excellent To Live And Die In L.A. soundtrack which also included the song Wait (track 2 from Points On The Curve). I had dubbed To Live And Die In L.A. on one side of a C-90 cassette with INXS Listen Like Thieves on the flip side.

3 comments:

  1. Unlike you, the first song I heard by Wang Chung was "Don't Let Go". To this day, I am unable to discren why but that song appeals to me. Went to my local record store (Hollywood Records and Tapes was about two miles from my house) and asked the guy if he had heard the song because I didn't know who it was. He said he hadn't but would "keep his ears open" which still amuses me. Hanging out at a different record store (Loco) about two weeks later (back then, time was measured in two week increments which coincided with the timing of my paycheck) I was surprised to hear "Don't Let Go" in extended remix form. A cursory walk by the counter and a glance at the chunk of wood with a slit on top to hold record sleeves and the words Now Playing on it revealed that it was indeed a Wang Chung 12" with a salmon colored cover. I nearly ran over to the 12" section of the store and found the record - "Don't Let Go" was the b-side and some song called "Dance Hall Days" was the A-side. Both remixes were more than seven minutes long. Bought it, played it, dubbed it to tape with other 12" mixes of the time by Thompson Twins, Berlin, Face To Face, INXS, Talk Talk, Thomas Dolby, Art Of Noise, Culture Club, Duran Duran, The Fixx and Queen. (Man, I need to find that tape. The fact that I remembered so many of the groups says something.) This was all in June 1984.

    Flash-forward to September maybe. (I just spent an hour looking through faded concert ticket stubs trying to find exact date but was unsuccessful.) My girl (my future wife) and I are on our way to see The Cars in concert on their Heartbeat City tour. As they often did back then, the radio is playing songs by them to warm us up for the show. We get there a little early - wasn't anticipating finding the venue so quickly as it was my first time driving there - so we go in, make the rounds and find our seat just as lights go down:

    "Ladies and Gentlemen! Let's give a warm welcome to Geffen recording artists, WANG CHUNG!"

    Honestly had no idea they were the opening act. Don't remember much about their set other than they did play the two songs I knew though not as I knew them from the remixes. Nothing else really stood out for me.

    The next day, my girl shows up at my house with the Points On The Curve album. She loved the show and I had mentioned I just had the remixes which she took as meaning I liked the show, too, so she bought "us" the album which meant I was to record it for her so she could listen to it in her Alpine deck.

    Never got into the album much. Briefly enjoyed their To Live And Die In L.A. soundtrack but I don't think I liked it as much as you do. My wife bought Mosaic because she loves "Everybody Have Fun Tonight" and then nothing.

    Just like you, I recently acquired the album on CD. My source was an upset fan of the band who had purchased Culture Factory's mini-LP reissue of Points On The Curve in June of this year. He felt the sound was too compressed, the bass too boomy. The numbers at DR Database seem to bear that out - the 1996 CD had a dynamic range of 13 while the reissue barely makes it to 8 when I run the Foobar DR plugin on it. The difference would noticeably audible but I don't have the original CD and I maintain a free CD is a free CD. Plus it looks like a little record.

    Remember Chu-Bops, the gum that used to come in little album covers?

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    1. Indeed I do remember Chu-Bops. By the time they came out, though, I was way too cool to buy such things.

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  2. I just listened to all of this one myself for my blog (it will actually be coming in the January posts as part of my 1984 anniversaries - this one must have come out at the end of 83/early 84 as I keep hitting a variety of "release dates" on the web - I went with the majority that put it into January).

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