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
Billboard Top Hits: 1982 1982
Various Artists
Rhino 3:24
No Image 1985
Various Artists
Media Records
No Image 1992
Various Artists
Oldgold/Im 3:21
Rock of the '80s, Vol. 4 1993
Various Artists
Priority Records 3:23
#1 Hits: 1980-1984 1994
Various Artists
GNP/Crescendo 3:21
Sounds of the Eighties: 1982 1994
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 3:25
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
Cool World 1996
Various Artists
Raven 3:21
No Image 1997
Various Artists
Rhino Flashback
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
80's Monster Rock 1999
Various Artists
Platinum Disc 3:22
Hits of 1982 1999
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 3:23
Pop Music: The Modern Era 1976-1999 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 Sony Music Distribution 3:23
Millennium of Pop 2000
Various Artists
Import 3:21
Super Hits 2000 Legacy / Sony Music Distribution 3:23
Best of Rock, Vol. 2: The Ultimate Collection 2000
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 3:21
Real Aussies 2000 Columbia 3:21
No Image 2001
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 3:23
No Image 2001
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 3:21
No Image 2001
Various Artists
Platinum Entertainment 3:23
Wave Pop Revival 2002
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 3:21
Eighties [Rajon CD 2] 2002
Various Artists
Rajon Entertainment Pty Ltd. 3:22
The Essential Men at Work 2003 Legacy / Columbia 3:23
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
Columbia / Sony Music Distribution 3:22
No Image 2004
Various Artists
STRATEGIC / Sony Music Distribution 3:22
Hits of the 80's [Madacy] 2005 Madacy 3:21
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
Lo Esencial de Mix 106.5 FM 2009
Various Artists
Sony Music Entertainment 3:24
I Love Papa 2011
Various Artists
Sony Music / Sony Music Distribution 3:23
Haynes Ultimate Guide to the 80s 2011
Various Artists
Sony Music 3:22
The 80s: Men at Work 2014 BMG / Sony Music Entertainment 3:22
Box of Rock [Disc 2]
Various Artists
Rajon Entertainment Pty Ltd. 3:22
Just Can't Get Enough: Video Hits of the '80s
Various Artists
Rhino