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The CHIRP Blog

Eddie writesTake Two: “The Safety Dance” (Men Without Hats vs. Angel Olsen)

by Eddie Sayago

There is a chance that you have come across a song (or two, or so many more) that you enjoy and did not realize that it's either been covered by someone else or is a cover itself. We hope that this series allows you to appreciate both the original and the covers they have inspired, and to seek out and enjoy new music in the process.

The Original: Men Without Hats
from the album Rhythm of Youth (Sire, 1982)

A good dance song doesn’t need much. A catchy beat and an easy to learn chorus is all one needs to create a hit song that will outlive almost everything else. inspiration hit lead singer Ivan Doroschuk to write “The Safety Dance” after getting kicked out of a club for pogo dancing. (When someone jumps up and down like a pogo stick on the dance floor.) “I was kind of mad that they wouldn’t let me dance if I wanted to, so I took matters in my own hands and wrote an anthem of it,” said Doroschuck in an interview in 2012.

“The Safety Dance” peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and has been cited as one of the most popular one-hit wonders in pop culture history. The music video, set in a very believable Renaissance Faire, features the band and their friends dancing however they wish while dressed in some of the best medieval outfits one can buy on a tight budget.

The Cover: Angel Olsen
From the EP Aisles (Jagjaguwar, 2021)

One of five covers from hit songs of the '80s, Angel Olsen’s cover sounds a lot more sinister, even terrifying, than anything the 1980s could have come up with. “I just wanted to have a little fun and be a little more spontaneous”, she writes in the liner notes. The ending, “Is it safe to dance?”, is repeated over and over in the last 30 seconds of the song, making you wonder if it really is safe to dance if you want to.

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Categorized: Take Two

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