“The Safety Dance” by Men Without Hats, from the album “Rhythm of Youth”
First Week of March, 1983
As their name implies, I can’t imagine Men Without Hats ever really beating around the bush. Rather, I picture them leaning towards blunt assessments without all the hootenanny. “Who am I you ask? Why I am a man without a hat.” Pretty straightforward. Much like their song, “The Safety Dance”. You can dance if you want to … but your friends don’t dance so they’re no friends of mine.
There you have it. Men Without Hats, laying down the law. You either dance or you’re out.
It’s a similar approach to dance that the Violent Femmes’ adopted with their tune, “Dance Motherfucker, Dance”. Men Without Hats are just telling people how it is. Listen buddy, I like to dance and you can dance with me if you want to but your friends, they pretty much suck because they don’t dance. Are they wrong, though?
Defiant as they may be, “The Safety Dance” is not a song about ultimatums but rather about living life without compromise. The demonic and lightly robotic singers of Men Without Hats were open arms to all if you think about, with few conditions. Dance if you want to, don’t wear hats, it’s all good. Perhaps though, their crowning moment in illustrating their desire to just seize the moment and enjoy life was fully displayed in their video for this song. I mean a guy dressed up like Jack (pre-beanstalk) and a midget dressed in a court jester’s outfit walking through a cornfield. Then they attack a peaceful village and lead a dancing riot in the streets of said village. Huh? Yeah, it’s kind of like Footloose but a midget stars as Kevin Bacon and it’s not Footloose, it’s “The Safety Dance,” dude. Yeah, I know, just roll with it.
Best Moment: “The Safety Dance” midget’s cameo appearance in Bio-Dome when he, Pauly Shore, and Stephen Baldwin all happily prance through the Dome.