The 10 Best Men at Work Songs of All-Time
Most people are at least somewhat familiar with popular Australian band Men At Work. They were formed in 1978 and they’re still performing today. That fact alone speaks volumes about their ability to create hits as well as their staying power. Through the years, they’ve had a number of songs that worked to shape not only their careers, but also the industry as a whole. Below are 10 of the most memorable songs, ranked from number 10 to number one. There’s also a YouTube link for each song.
10. Helpless Automation (1981)
This is probably one of the saddest songs that the group ever recorded. It talks about not having a need to come out in the sunlight, but instead just staying inside your room all day in a state of depression because your job has been taken away by some automated process and the company that you used to work for no longer needs you. The fact that the song came during the early 1980s when computer automation was becoming very popular and people were afraid that job loss would be incredibly widespread only further drives home the point.
9. Down By the Sea (1981)
This song is slightly happier then the one listed above. It’s a relatively good-natured song that talks about falling in love and spending time doing things together like going to the beach and relaxing. It largely talks about being in a situation where you have the ability to simply enjoy life. For many people, the sea is a metaphor for enjoying everything and letting all your cares fall away. That’s precisely why they decided to perform the song in the first place.
8. Overkill (1982)
This is a song that can be used for a lot of different situations, depending on how the person listening to it interprets the lyrics. In some cases, it might be considered a song about love gone wrong but in other cases, it could just as easily be about working too much or obsessing too much about almost anything. The lyrics talk about getting in too deep and becoming far too involved with something for it to be healthy. The song also talks about the tendency that some people have to do this with virtually any type of situation because they have an addictive personality.
7. Be Good Johnny (1981)
This is probably one of the more enjoyable songs that the band ever recorded. It’s basically a take on another old song entitled “Johnny B Goode.” It talks about the main character in the song, Johnny, being sent to school and being told not to get in trouble.
6. Who Can It Be Now? (1981)
If you take this song literally, you might think that it’s genuinely about someone coming to a person’s door when they’re not in the mood to receive company, as it talks about someone knocking on the door while they tiptoe across the floor in an attempt not to be seen nor heard. However, if you look past the literal sense and go a little bit deeper, you could arguably say that this is a song about someone’s declining state of mental health. They’re not exactly handling things in a healthy manner, as cowering inside the house in order to avoid a knock at the door isn’t typically considered a healthy response. There are other lyrics in the song that also suggest that this particular individual may not be experiencing good mental health. For example, some of the lyrics mention having some government entity that’s coming to take him away from his home. In fact, mental health is even mentioned directly in the song itself.
5. Catch a Star (1981)
Most people would argue that this song is somewhat of a take on a love song, although the lyrics aren’t exactly clear. That’s one of the things that is so magical about music. Song lyrics are subjective, just like any other form of Art. They don’t always mean the same thing to each and every individual. This is a song that some people make a great deal of meaning out of and it’s certainly one that has remained popular throughout the years. That said, it’s not always the favorite song with fans because it is so ambiguous in nature.
4. Dr. Heckyll & Mr. Jive (1983)
This is another song that is extremely ambiguous in its song lyrics. On the surface, it talks about a person who goes to a lab every night in order to work on experiments in hopes of solving society’s problems. If you read between the lines, it could just as easily be referring to someone who takes drugs on a nightly basis in order to get rid of the baggage that is attached to the person that they don’t necessarily want to admit they are in love with. This in turn allows them to feel like an entirely different person, someone that they want to be, if only for a few hours at a time.
3. I Can See It In Your Eyes (1981)
Here’s another one of those heart-wrenching love songs. This one discusses looking at a loved one, the other half of a romantic partnership, and realizing that the individual in question no longer wants anything to do with such a relationship. Unfortunately, it is a recognizable message for anyone who’s ever had a relationship that went wrong.
2. It’s a Mistake (1983)
Here’s another song that baffles a lot of fans with the lyrics, but it has also remained one of the most popular songs over the years. It starts out talking about a party but then it quickly ends up sounding like it is a song that’s talking about going to war because that’s what the individuals in the story are being forced to do. It even talks about being forced together with their guns and following orders, often against what they would prefer to be doing themselves.
1. Down Under (1981)
This is perhaps the most popular song that the band has ever recorded. Like so many others, people still don’t understand what all the lyrics are about. However, the majority of the song is a celebration of all things Australian, something that only makes sense when it comes from a band that calls Australia home.
Perfect, but the song “Down Under” was written about the death of a national Australian identity. He goes around the world, looking at how Australia has influenced others, and it reminds him of American global corporations taking control of Australian lands and identities.