Music In Head: Safety Dance – Men Without Hats

 

The writer/performer, Ivan Doroschuk, has explained that “The Safety Dance” is a protest against bouncers stopping dancers pogoing to 1980s New Wave music in clubs when Disco was dying and New Wave was up and coming. New Wave dancing, especially pogoing, was different from Disco dancing, because it was done individually instead of with partners and involved holding the torso rigid and thrashing about.

To uninformed bystanders this could look dangerous, especially if pogoers accidentally bounced into one another (the more deliberately violent evolution of pogoing is slam dancing). The bouncers did not like pogoing so they would tell pogoers to stop or be kicked out of the club. Thus, the song is a protest and a call for freedom of expression. It has been claimed that the meaning of the song can be found in similarities between “Safety Dance” and “Safe to dance”. Other lyrics in the song include references to the way pogoing looked to bouncers, especially “And you can act real rude and totally removed/And I can act like an imbecile”.

LYRICS

S-s-s-s A-a-a-a F-f-f-f E-e-e-e T-t-t-t Y-y-y-y
Safe, dance!

[Spoken]
We can dance if we want to
We can leave your friends behind
‘Cause your friends don’t dance and if they don’t dance
Well they’re no friends of mine
I say, we can go where we want to
A place where they will never find
And we can act like we come from out of this world
Leave the real one far behind
And we can dance

[Sung]
We can dance if we want to
We can leave your friends behind
‘Cause your friends don’t dance and if they don’t dance
Well they’re no friends of mine
I say, we can go where we want to
A place where they will never find
And we can act like we come from out of this world
Leave the real one far behind
And we can dance
Danc¨¦e!

We can go when we want to
The night is young and so am I
And we can dress real neat from our hats to our feet
And surprise ’em with the victory cry
Say, we can act if want to
If we don’t nobody will
And you can act real rude and totally removed
And I can act like an imbecile

[Refrain]
I say, we can dance, we can dance
Everything out of control
We can dance, we can dance
We’re doing it from wall to wall
We can dance, we can dance
Everybody look at your hands
We can dance, we can dance
Everybody takin’ the cha-a-a-ance

Safety dance
Is it safe to dance
Is it safe to dance

S-s-s-s A-a-a-a F-f-f-f E-e-e-e T-t-t-t Y-y-y-y
Safe, dance!

We can dance if we want to
We’ve got all your life and mine
As long as we abuse it, never gonna lose it
Everything’ll work out right
I say, we can dance if we want to
We can leave your friends behind
‘Cause your friends don’t dance and if they don’t dance
Well they’re no friends of mine

[Refrain]

Is it safe to dance, oh is it safe to dance [6x]
Is it safe to dance