We can dance if we want to
We can leave your friends behind
Because your friends don’t dance
And if they don’t dance, then they’re no friends of mine . . .

We can dance if we want to
If we don’t nobody will
You can act real rude and totally removed
And I can act like an imbecille.

Don’t act like you don’t know every word to every verse of Ivan Doroschuk’s masterpiece. I bet you even noticed that I skipped a verse above, because I was picking my two favorite ones . . .

The 1980s New Wave/Synth movement had some moments of high art, to be sure (“Just Can’t Get Enough”, The Boomtown Rats, e.g.), but this wasn’t one of them. The Safety Dance is pure nonsense, right down to the video, starring a dwarf (Mike Edmonds) who appeared in Return of the Jedi, Time Bandits, Flash Gordon, Dark Crystal and Who Framed Roger Rabbit. His career, then, is far more starred than the Men Without Hats (who didn’t even appear in the video, other than lead singer/songwriter Doroschuk).

The Gorillaz video is cooler but, of course, not as retro . . .

As if to acknowledge the silliness of his song, Doroschuk attempted to present The Safety Dance as a protest song. And lots of people apparently bought it as protesting anything from bouncers who hated slam dancers to the Cold War.

I still think it’s about a dwarf running through the countryside with an ugly man and a dizzy blonde.

Safety Dance-Trans X. This is a fairly straight-up cover of the song, but the “harmonies” on the chorus get progressively sillier towards the end, when it sounds like someone is yipping like a dog.

Safety Dance-The Awakening. Another fairly faithful cover, only somewhat slower. Doesn’t work as well at this speed, does it.

Safety Dance-The Donnas. The 1950s punk grrrrl version.

Safety Dance-Super Happy American Fun Good Time Jam Band.  Best cover of this song I’ve heard besides George Takei’s “Sulu Dance,” which you can hear on Howard Stern.

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