Men at Work

Who Can It Be Now?

Composed by Colin Hay

Song Review by

Though Men at Work have been dismissed as a lightweight copy of the Police, their slick, funny 1982 smash "Who Can It Be Now?" is completely enjoyable in its own right. Admittedly, Colin Hay's Sting-like voice and the band's streamlined, jazzy style bear more than a passing resemblance to the Police. But "Who Can It Be Now?" is a perfect example of Men at Work's poppier, concise approach: its tight, catchy songwriting makes the perfect foil for Hay's nervous witticisms ("I've done no harm/I keep to myself/There's nothing wrong with my state of mental health") about a paranoid trapped in his house with his "childhood friend," and Greg Ham's distinctive saxophone lines give the song a pseudo-sophisticated flair. In keeping with current trends but just quirky enough to be instantly memorable, the song seems custom-built for repeated play; it's easy to see why it became one of 1982's biggest hits, as well as a definitive new wave single.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Business as Usual 1982 CBS Records 3:25
No Image 1984 CBS/Fox
No Image 1985
Various Artists
Media Records
Solid Gold 1989 CBS Records 3:23
No Image 1993 Sony Music Distribution 3:22
Rock of the '80s, Vol. 4 1993
Various Artists
Priority Records / Priority 3:23
#1 Hits: 1980-1984 1994
Various Artists
GNP/Crescendo 3:21
Valley Girl (Music from the Soundtrack) 1994
Original Soundtrack
Rhino 3:23
Billboard Top Hits: 1980-1984 1995
Various Artists
Rhino 3:24
Puttin' in Overtime 1995 Sony Music Distribution 3:20
Business as Usual/Cargo [Redhot] 1995 Red Hot Records 3:22
Men at Work and Friends 1995
Various Artists
Alex 3:23
Contraband: The Best of Men at Work 1996 Legacy / Columbia/Legacy 3:19
No Image 1996
Various Artists
Rhino 3:23
Cool World 1996
Various Artists
Raven 3:21
Ultimate New Wave Hits 1997
Various Artists
Flashback Records
Brazil 1998 Columbia / Columbia/Legacy 3:57
Sounds of the Eighties: Big 80's 1998
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 3:23
Totally Awesome 80's [Razor & Tie] 1998
Various Artists
Razor & Tie
The Greatest Hits of the '80s, Vol. 7 1999
Various Artists
Platinum Disc 3:20
Hits of 1982 1999
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 3:23
Sony Music 100 Years: Soundtrack for a Century 1999
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 3:22
1980's New Wave 1999
Various Artists
Compass 3:23
Monster '80s 2000
Various Artists
Razor & Tie 3:23
Definitive Collection 2000 Columbia 3:22
The Official American Bandstand Library of Rock & Roll 2000
Various Artists
Atlantic 3:22
Super Hits 2000 Sony Music Distribution / Custom / Sony Music 3:23
Best of Rock, Vol. 2: The Ultimate Collection 2000
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 3:21
Radio's #1 Hits: The Very Best of the '80s 2000
Various Artists
Trans World 3:21
No Image 2001
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 3:23
Live Concert Rock Classics 2001
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 4:00
No Image 2001
Various Artists
Platinum Entertainment 3:23
Wave Pop Revival 2002
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 3:21
1981: Where Were You? 2002
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution
Eighties [Rajon CD 2] 2002
Various Artists
Rajon Entertainment Pty Ltd. 3:22
The Essential Men at Work 2003 Columbia / Sony Music
Elite '80s 2003
Various Artists
Rajon Entertainment Pty Ltd. 3:22
Australian Made Pop 2003
Various Artists
Rajon Entertainment Pty Ltd. 3:22
Box of Rock 2003
Various Artists
Import 3:22
Australia's Ultimate Songs, Vol. 1 2004
Various Artists
Liberation 3:21
Men at Work and Friends: The Collection 2004
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 3:23
Casey Kasem Presents: America's Top Ten - The 80s #1 Pop Hits 2004
Various Artists
Top Sail Productions 3:21
No Image 2004
Various Artists
STRATEGIC / Sony Music Distribution 3:22
Rock On: Breakout Years 2005 Madacy 3:23
Australian Legends, Vol. 2 2006
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution
#1 Super 80's Hits 2006
Various Artists
Madacy 3:23
A Brief History Of Soft Rock 2006
Various Artists
Commercial Sales 3:20
80's Collection 2007
Various Artists
Flashback Records
50 Years of Australian Rock & Roll 2008
Various Artists
WEA International 3:23
Now That's What I Call the 80s 2008
Various Artists
RCA / Sony BMG / Universal Distribution / Zomba / Sony Music Distribution 3:20
Classic Rock [EMI] 2008
Various Artists
EMI 3:20
No Image 2008
Various Artists
Sony BMG 3:23
Business as Usual/Cargo [Sony] 2009 Columbia/Legacy / Legacy 3:25
Playlist: The Very Best of Men at Work 2009 Columbia / Legacy / Sony Music Distribution / Columbia/Legacy 3:24
Essential 80's, Vol. 2 2009
Various Artists
Jorge Reyes Zamorano / Sony BMG / Sony Music Distribution
I Love Papa 2011
Various Artists
Sony Music / Sony Music Distribution 3:23
100 Hits: Drivetime Anthems 2013
Various Artists
100 Hits 3:22
The Party Mix: 80s Classics 2014
Various Artists
Crimson 3:21
No Image 2014
Various Artists
Sony Music 3:21
The  80s: Men at Work 2014 BMG / Sony Music Entertainment 3:22
101 Ultimate Aussie Hits
Various Artists
EMI 3:21
Box of Rock [Disc 2]
Various Artists
Rajon Entertainment Pty Ltd. 3:22
Countdown: 40th Anniversary Continues...
Various Artists
Australian Broadcasting Corporation 3:21
Just Can't Get Enough: Video Hits of the '80s
Various Artists
Rhino 3:21
The  Glory Days of Aussie Pub Rock, Vol. 1
Various Artists
Festival Records / Warner Music 3:22
blue highlight denotes editor's pick