Favorite Song Right Now

This is my favorite song right now. Not of all time, or maybe even for much longer. But if you asked me today to listen to a song that I was sure to dig, this is it.

“Antarctica” by Men without Hats

Yep, those Men without Hats.

I happened across the group’s 2012 album Love in the Age of War on iTunes and actually liked the very new-wavey synthpop. What normally would do is take a closer look at the group’s back catalog, aside from their well-known hits “The Safety Dance” and “Pop Goes the World.”  But for some reason I didn’t do that last year.

As Summer 2013 approaches, it’s time for summer concert season. This year, one event at Saratoga’s Mountain Winery is “The Regeneration Tour” that features vintage 1980’s new wave bands. The headliner was supposed to be The Human League but shortly after tickets were on sale group announced they were in fact not participating in the tour. This left the promoters with a bit of a problem.  Also appearing on the bill are Erasure’s Andy Bell, Howard Jones, and The Information Society.  Lucky for the promoters, Men without Hats was available and while certainly not the draw The Human League would be, it certainly seems like a good fit for the show.

So, I thought it might be a good idea to dig into the Men without Hats back catalog. Turns out their 1982 album Rhythm of Youth was pretty good and featured some very nice 80’s synthpop, some of which resembles early Depeche Mode. In looking at Setlist.fm, it turns out this is where the majority of the group’s live songs are pulled from. The album from iTunes also features the video version of “The Safety Dance” which has a different and to my ears better version of the song than the longer album version.

The best of the “minor hits” from Men without Hats’ catalog is this fine piece of synthpop, “Antarctica.” It originally appeared on the groups no-longer-available EP Folk of the 80’s from 1980. The EP version is longer than the one that appeared on Rhythm of Youth, hence the out-of-sequence section of the end of this video, which is footage from Canadian Musi-Video show.  I wouldn’t call the lyrics any sort of meaningful material, but I like the synth riffs and the way the song is sung.

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