Song of the Day #4,302: ‘Overkill’ – Men at Work

I think the world is past due for a reappreciaiton of Men at Work.

The Australian New Wave band released three albums between 1981 and 1985, honing a supremely catchy and soulful sound, before breaking up. Their debut Business as Usual spent multiple weeks at #1 on the U.S. Billboard 200, while sophomore album Cargo peaked at #3. They scored four top ten singles, including two number ones.

But outside of an 80s nostalgia channel, when’s the last time you heard one of their songs?

You’d think a big-name rapper would have sampled them by now. Or that one of their tracks would become a TikTok meme.

At any rate, 1983’s Cargo is a blast. In addition to the excellent singles ‘Overkill’ and ‘It’s a Mistake,’ this album features one delectable pop tune after another, with Colin Hay’s Sting-like vocals expertly delivering every line.

I remember owning ‘Overkill’ on 45, though I don’t think I ever owned the whole album. At least I’m getting around to it 37 years later.

I can’t get to sleep
I think about the implications
Of diving in too deep
And possibly the complications
Especially at night
I worry over situations
I know will be all right
Perhaps it’s just imagination

And day after day it reappears
And night after night my heartbeat shows the fear
Ghosts appear and fade away

Alone between the sheets
Only brings exasperation
It’s time to walk the streets
Smell the desperation
At least there’s pretty lights
And though there’s little variation
It nullifies the night
From overkill

Day after day it reappears
Night after night my heartbeat shows the fear
Ghosts appear and fade away
Come back another day

I can’t get to sleep
I think about the implications
Of diving in too deep
And possibly the complications
Especially at night
I worry over situations that
I know will be all right
It’s just overkill

And day after day it reappears
And night after night my heartbeat shows the fear
Ghosts appear and fade away
Ghosts appear and fade away
Ghosts appear and fade away

3 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,302: ‘Overkill’ – Men at Work

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    I was actually a fairly big Men at Work fan, but I’m not sure that I ever bought or listened to any of their albums in their entirety. The last time I heard Colin Hay was on the coffee house station a few years ago doing a great acoustic version of “It’s a Mistake.”

    I suppose a band can only get so much musical respect when their first single references a vegemite sandwich, but they really do deserve a revival.

  2. Dana Gallup says:

    I stand corrected. It was actually an acoustic version of “Overkill.” For your listening pleasure:

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