Friday, March 05, 2010

FAMW: “Everybody 黃鐘 Tonight!”

“Everybody Have Fun Tonight” is a 1986 hit by a British new wave duo known as Wang Chung.

It reached number two on the charts in the USA that year, although in 2004, Blender magazine and VH1 ranked it the third “most awesomely bad song ever”.

The band's name is derived from the Chinese “黃鐘” (“huáng zhōng”), which literally means "yellow bell". In this context (don't ask me how), it refers to a standard bass pitch in ancient China. The band members managed to apply principles of "dynamic equivalence" at any one time, translating it variously as "perfect pitch" or simply the noise a guitar made.

All that from a "yellow bell". Heh.

The song does not seem to have a central theme so much as a generic one, typical of the "party on" message common to most contemporary pop which cannot be classified strictly as love songs.

I'll drive a
    million miles
To be with
    you tonight
So if you're
    feeling low
Turn up your radio

The words we
    use are strong
They make reality
But now the
    music's on
Oh baby dance with me

The video, directed by Godley & Creme, makes use of a "flip book" style of animation, with scenes of the band performing in an otherwise empty space with rapid frame-to-frame movement. Eventually a second edition was released, and the original pulled, after reports of epileptic seizures while viewing.

On the edge of oblivion
All the world is Babylon
And all the love and ev'ryone
A ship of fools sailing on

But that's not going to stop us, people, especially given the deeper meaning in the climactic portion of the song (including the obligatory biblical and philosophical references). But if you're inclined to the aforementioned condition, take whatever precautions are necessary. As long as you “don’t hang me on the borderline” for this week's Friday Afternoon Moment of Whimsy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I can't trssh this song. Unlike the pop today, most songwriters back then were still using hooks, good harmonic progression, and some sense of melody however simple. The trite lyrics are important because it flies in the face the silly notion held by waaaay too many grown adults that rock is a serious art form. And I say that still retaining much sympathy for rock.