Wednesday, September 23, 2015

"Overkill" by Men at Work

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  1410
Date:  04/09/1983
Debut:  28
Peak:  3
Weeks:  16
Genre:  New Wave

Pop Bits:  The Australian band's #1 debut album, "Business as Usual," supplied them with the back-to-back #1 hits "Who Can It Be Now" and "Down Under." Unfortunately, these hits came almost two years after they hit big in Australia and by this time they were ready to move on to their second album. In fact, in late 1982 they issued a new single in Australia, "Dr. Heckyll and Mr. Jive," to preview their next album. It kept Aussie fans happy (it reached #6 there) while waiting for the rest of the world to catch up. Finally, this single from their new album "Cargo" got a worldwide release. The song debuted in the Top 30 in the US and would eventually make it to #3 (#3 Mainstream Rock, #6 AC). Although not a smash hit like their two previous singles, it was a solid start for their album.

ReduxReview:  I have to admit that when this song came out I was really disappointed. Their first two singles were so distinctive and interesting that when this melancholy tune came out, it was a total letdown. It was unfair to expect so much from them at the time, but I think everyone was kind of ready for "Down Under, Pt. 2." Instead, we got this reflective little ditty that didn't really have a chorus and only mentions the title twice. Ridiculous! I proceeded to ignore it. However, that was a mistake. Years later I can appreciate this song much more. Lyrically, I think it is one of Colin Hay's best songs and making the choice of going up an octave on the last verse was brilliant as it emphasizes the exasperation of his dilemma. The song has been overshadowed for years by its two bolder siblings, but it's this quieter one that has a lot more depth. It's not a classic, but it is certainly a very good song.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Had the timing been better, there would have most likely been a third single released from "Business as Usual." The song "Be Good Johnny" was a #8 hit in Australia, but since the band's worldwide success was delayed, there wasn't enough time to issue this song as a single elsewhere because their next album was set to go. However, it did get a lot of airplay on US rock stations and the tune made it to #3 on the Mainstream Rock chart.


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