Montreal’s Men Without Hats have an unfair reputation as one hit wonders (“Men Without HITS! Har!”), but people tend to forget they had another fair-sized hit in 1987 with “Pop Goes The World”, a fantastic candy concoction just as catchy as “The Safety Dance”. Brothers Ivan (he of the booming voice), Stefan and (occasionally) Colin Doroschuk teamed with an ever-revolving lineup for four albums and two EPs in the ’80s, and their catalog is surprisingly strong on hooks.
After “Safety Dance” conquered the charts, the band went with “I Like” as the follow-up single, a move I never quite got. While it’s a fun song, it’s much more an album track to my ears. I would have gone with “I Got The Message” instead, but hey…
The band tried their best to ride the “Safety Dance” momentum by bringing back the little jester and medieval wench who were so memorable in that video to co-star in the clip for “I Like”:
…but it didn’t help. Not a lot of people liked “I Like”.
The Men pressed on and scored another minor club hit a year later with “Where Do The Boys Go?”, then it was some dry times until “Pop Goes the World” hit in 1987. Two years later, the band released “Hey Men”, a suprisingly guitar-based, T-Rex-ish glam rocker with some very enlightened lyrics. It was a more mature sound, and while it got some radio play on the more progressive radio stations like San Francisco’s KITS, “Hey Men” ultimately failed to spark a return to the charts for the group. I dig the tune, but it’s a little disconcerting to see them all with bandanas, mullets and guitars:
The band struggled on for one more import-only album, Sideways, which was even more guitar-oriented than its predecessor, before calling it a day. The Men returned in 2003, however, with a another new album, No Hats Beyond This Point, which marked the band’s 20th anniversary.
Not bad for a “one-hit wonder”.
“I Like” peaked at #84 on the Billboard Pop Singles Chart in 1983.
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