Saturday, 18 August 2007



At times the eighties seem like the weirdest point in history. Technology was finally (just about) happening and people began (occasionally) adopting the look of science fiction. Perhaps the drugs of the seventies mixed with the wealth of the eighties were a toxic combination too weird to explain and dismiss at the time. Or just maybe it was the impending threat and subsequent fear of nuclear destruction that installed a devil may care attitude in people and caused them to do peculiar things.

Men Without Hats were peculiar. There is no question about it. For a group of individuals to place so much stock and importance in dancing suggests either a fever mind of mixed up priorities or lots of drugs having a proactive affect.

It wasn’t until a few years ago that I finally accepted that I loved this song. The moment came in that shockingly average movie The Mexican when gay hitman James Gandolfini found himself in a scene dancing the song while some scrawny guy he and Julia Roberts just picked up. If it was safe for Tony Soprano to dance this to tune it was safe for anyone.

I still cannot quite work out the origins and meaning of this song. Are these people acting with an elevated confidence and desire to get up and boogie? Is it about pulling? Is it about assuring the target of the singer’s affection by letting her know that it is “safe to dance”? Or is it just about losing inhibitions? I guess it is a piece that just works on many many levels.

A purist should and will hate this. It’s too slick (very eighties) and seemingly devoid of humility. It is funny to listen closely and hear the keys sounding like videogame music.

Men Without Hats hailed from Montreal and were led by the brothers Doroschuk (Ivan and Stefan) and legend has it that the name of the band came about because they genuinely refused to wear hats due to style reasons. How many bands this day and age would demonstrate such dedication to their craft.

A great song for all the wrong reasons.

Thesaurus moment: cap.

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