The Song: “Everybody Have Fun Tonight.”
1986 tune performed by the band Wang Chung, and written by Jeremy Ryder, Nick Feldman and Peter Wolf; three men who were, quite literally, ahead of their time.
“I’ll drive a million miles to be with you tonight!”
We know from Mickey Thomas in the first Lyricbuster that the word “million” is bound to cause trouble, but Wang Chung seem confident, so let’s take a look.
Earth’s circumference at the equator is about 25,000 miles, so Wang Chung need to circle the globe 40 times before their date. But of course, instead of flying or sailing, they’re going to drive, and all those oceans put a literal dampener on notions of circumnavigation.
According to Google Maps Challenge, the longest drivable route (excluding ferries) is 10,000 miles, from Sagres, Portugal to the southeast tip of Malaysia. Wang Chung need to make fifty round trips before nightfall to make good on their bold assertion.
On the Road.
No journey ever goes according to plan, what with flat tires, toilet breaks, traffic jams, engine failure, or the real time-burglar: stopping for petrol. Speaking of petrol, this trip is going to seriously eat into the Spandex and Lycra Budget—the average fuel consumption of, say, a DeLorean is 25miles/gallon. At current prices ($3/g), it’s going to cost them $120,000 in fossil fuel for a chance to shake their collective Wang on a Portuguese dance floor.
Sowing Their Seeds.
On the topic of fossil fuel—how about some offsets, Chung? According to Carbonify, their trip will produce 560 tonnes of carbon emissions, requiring 2800 tree plantings. That’s eight every day—including the day they are driving those million miles, which caused this whole problem in the first place.
Planting eight trees isn’t a quick job—there’s digging, staking, refilling… you’d have to figure at least an hour, probably three when you factor in re-quaffing hair and brushing dirt off white dinner jackets. Since musicians tend to be a fairly underdeveloped lot, physically speaking, Chung are hardly likely to be in any shape to “rip it up” come nightfall, as the pre-chorus proclaims.
Did Someone Order a Taxi?
The DeLorean, a car not celebrated for its mechanical longevity, won’t be doing much ripping in any direction after a million clicks. The only vehicles that routinely clock up such Herculean mileage and stay on the road are taxis; so have Chung flagged a ride?
At the standard rate of $3/mile, that’s a $3,000,000 cab charge to get to the girl – and that doesn’t include flag-fall, dinner, or shoulder pads. If Chung have managed to scrape together this much from sales of “Dance Hall Days”, surely they’d just buy an apartment near the discotheque, maybe a solid gold cableknit sweater, and drive one mile to their date? Ah, but saying to a girl “I’ll drive one mile to be with you tonight” isn’t really going to cut it as far as declarations of love go. It seems we need to go the extra mile to bust this lyric.
Timing is Everything.
Let’s say they wake up at 7am, twelve hours before the date. To make good on their preposterous boast, they must travel at 83,000 mph. The land speed record is 763mph, set by Andy Green back in 1997. Chung must travel about 110 times faster than Andy. Not even Earth travels through space as fast as these New Wavers, clocking up a mere 67,000mph; the only things that will get Chung to their date on time are comets. Since comets aren’t fitted with steering wheels, cannot be driven with any reliability, and are notorious for crashing into things, the wheels are starting to fall off their outlandish claim.
The Need for Speed.
After spending twelve hours behind the wheel, the last thing most folks want to do is dance all night, as Chung profess is their intent. How are they going to manage anything beyond a slow waltz with occasional bouts of semi-consciousness? The only logical conclusion one can draw is that they are on amphetamines or coke. The idea of a hopped-up Wang Chung straddling a comet and hurtling through the atmosphere at warp speed is as compelling as it is disturbing.
Back to the Future.
Most disturbing of all, they’re traveling 110 times faster than the speed of sound. Like a fast-moving plane’s sound seems to be coming from behind its actual position, by the time we’re hearing them exhort “everybody Wang Chung tonight,” they are long gone. This can only mean, therefore, that they have sung this song from the future (relative to 1986, at least). For all we know, they’re singing it right now. Forget Marty McFly and his DeLorean; this is temporal defiance on an Einstein-ian scale.
How they’re able to sing and whale on keytars traveling at over three times the speed needed for escape velocity from Earth’s gravitational pull is mystery enough. What finally busts this lyric, however, is the fact that they are almost traveling fast enough to escape the Sun’s gravitational pull on Earth, which means an interstellar Wang Chung, unconstrained by physics, packed to the gills with coke, able to go anywhere, do anything, dressed as Don Johnson fresh from his days on Miami Vice. Coming back for a lousy date and a bit of dancing seems a bit anticlimactic after that.
To misquote Albert Einstein, we know that sound travels faster than people, which is why Wang Chung sound plausible until you see them; few musicians appear less likely to defy the laws of the universe than these guys, so we can safely say Lyricbusted!
A freelance writer, Benjamin is also an audio engineer with 20 years of knob-twiddling experience. He harbors a deep affection for hyperbolic lyrics and has written more than his fair share of them over the years, alongside other curious species of wordsmithery.