Tuesday, August 23, 2022

"Praying to a New God" by Wang Chung

Song#:  3909
Date:  05/27/1989
Debut:  93
Peak:  63
Weeks:  7
Genre:  Pop, Rock

Pop Bits:  The British duo's third album, 1986's Mosaic, would peak at #40 and eventually (nearly a decade later) would be certified gold. It got there mainly thanks to their enduring #2 Pop hit "Everybody Have Fun Tonight." As the spring of '89 came along, the duo had their fourth album set to go. The Warmer Side of Cool would get issued out along with this first single. The song couldn't quite find an audience and it stalled in the bottom half of the Pop chart while getting to #22 Modern Rock and #31 Rock. With that result, it seems that their label, Geffen, lost interest in promoting the album and a second single was not released. The album would then only scratch the chart at a low #123. It was a significant disappointment for Wang Chung and in the aftermath they decided to go their own ways.

ReduxReview:  After the fun ear candy of "Everybody Have Fun Tonight" and its #9 follow-up "Let's Go," I think folks were expecting something in that vein when this song came out. Instead, they got this urgent, darker rock tune and it didn't click. I liked the song and its expertly layered production, but it just wasn't a good choice for a single. The duo were not ones to follow a formula, so they opted for a more rock-oriented sound for the album and while it had a couple of good tracks, it sort of alienated the fans who came on board with the pop-laced Mosaic. Still, Wang Chunk put their stamp on the 80s with their three Top 20 hits, two of which have had long legs after their initial runs - "Everybody Have Fun Tonight" and the #16 "Dance Hall Days."

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  After the demise of Wang Chung, each member went off to do their own projects. Nick Feldman would team up with Culture Club drummer Jon Moss to form the duo Promised Land. They would get signed to Epic Records and release a self-titled debut album in 1992. Co-produced by the duo and Tony Swain, the LP failed to do anything and quickly disappeared. Wang Chung's lead singer Jack Hues would try for a solo career. He would get signed to Sony Records and prep a debut LP titled The Anatomy Lesson. However, it seems the label didn't care for the results and they ended up shelving it. Hues would then form a band with Genesis keyboardist Tony Banks initially named Strictly Incognito, but later shortened to Strictly Inc. due to a similarly named band already existing. They would sign on with Virgin Records and push out a self-titled debut album in 1995. Like the Promised Land album, Strictly Inc.'s effort came and went to little notice. Feldman and Hues would reform Wang Chung in 1997. A greatest hits package would quickly follow that included a new single "Space Junk" (it did not chart). The duo would continue to perform on various tours and would issue out new albums in 2012 and 2019.


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