The Wombats – “Let’s Dance To Joy Division”
Twice a year, I pick a song to represent my semester. Then, every time I hear that song, I’m transported back to taste the bittersweet moments of the past for a couple of minutes.
This semester, I’ve settled on “Let’s Dance to Joy Division” by The Wombats. Mostly because of the line, “Everything is going wrong, but we’re so happy,” and partly because the lead singer Matthew Murphy, sings about being 22 and I just passed my 22nd birthday. (Taylor Swift’s “22” seemed too obvious).
The Wombats are an indie-brit-rock band from Liverpool. Many of their songs are characterized by high tempos, clashing guitars, bashing baselines, and eccentric lyrics; “Let’s Dance to Joy Division” is no exception.
The song itself is full of subtle irony, from the reference of Joy Division who, despite the joyous name of the band, often sang about gloomier subjects. The lyrics, “up to the DJ booth,” highlight Murphy’s request for a song that fuels a sense of escapism from the very commercialism the night club participates in, to the ending echo-ings of sarcastic laughter that send the listener off.
A month ago, if anyone told me I wouldn’t walk for graduation due to a global pandemic, or I’d have to wear a mask just to buy groceries, I would have laughed – and yet here we are. Now, I’m thankful for the health of my family and friends, but I can’t help feel the irony (and maybe a tad guilty) anytime I laugh at the antics of my roommates and feel genuinely happy, despite the state of the current world. Let’s dance to Joy Division not to escape, but to relax and enjoy a deserved moment to ourselves before facing the obstacles life presents.
“Let’s Dance to Joy Division” is the eighth track off the Wombats’ platinum-selling 2007 debut album, A Guide to Love, Loss & Desperation (2007).