Monday, April 20, 2009

A detailed analysis of the song Down Under by Men At Work (with mild racism towards Australian people)

It's one of the finest songs of its generation, but one that has been sadly ignored by music historians and scholars. Until now...

Traveling in a fried-out combie
On a hippie trail, head full of zombie
I met a strange lady, she made me nervous
She took me in and gave me breakfast

The opening to this strange tale. Our narrator it seems is backpacking around Europe in a camper van whilst listening to White Zombie. I would encourage any Australian backpackers not to hang out in red light districts, let alone have breakfast with European prostitutes, particularly if feeling uneasy and unsafe. It's certainly not a good way to spend a gap year and it won't impress on your CV when applying for jobs in the future.

And she said,

Do you come from a land down under?
Where women glow and men plunder?
Cant you hear, cant you hear the thunder?
You better run, you better take cover.

Clearly this makes no sense whatsoever. I can perhaps understand why European prostitutes think Australian men plunder, but why would they think Australian women glow? I'm mystified.

The next verse requires a more detailed line by line analysis...

Buying bread from a man in Brussels

OK - Our hero is now in Belgium. He's in a bread shop. A man works there. Although it's not clear a shop is involved, he may have just offered some money to a man on the street for bread. Typical Australian behaviour. So far so good though.

He was six foot four and full of muscles

This is where this particular tale from our Antipodean songsmith hits problems for me.

How about if he was in Ghent, would he have met a man carrying a tent?

If he'd been in Liege, would there been a siege?

I really have no idea what would have occured if he'd been on a day trip twenty miles from Brussels in the town of Geraardsbergen

I said, do you speak-a my language?

I assume he means English, despite the fact that the word speak-a is not in the dictionary as far as I can see. Although presumably if he'd already placed his order he would have already spoken. Unless he did the pointing thing.

He just smiled and gave me a vegemite sandwich

Now I'm really starting to not believe this story. An Australian is in Belgium buying a snack from a tall well-toned gentleman. What are the chances of him receiving a sandwich containing some kind of bizarre Australian sandwich paste without even asking for it? Slim I'd say. Unless he was in some kind of Australian themed sandwich bar, which seems possible when the following information below is revealed.

And he said,

I come from a land down under
Where beer does flow and men chunder
Cant you hear, cant you hear the thunder?
You better run, you better take cover.

What are the chances of that. The other guy is also Australian. The fact that he chose to wait for a verse and half a chorus to reveal this information to a fellow countryman is kinda rude in my book.

Now the second line clinches it. He's essentially saying. "Yes I'm from your beloved country, Australia, the motherland, famous for men drinking beer and puking up."

Then is starts raining. Of course neither Australian is adequately protected from the weather with a raincoat or wellingtons, so they need to seek shelter.

To conclude, let me say that I don't think this open air Australian themed sandwich bar in Brussels will stay in business much longer. It's a very niche market they are aiming for. In my view, this narrow focus combined with the lack of undercover seating could spell trouble for the future of the cafe. I suggest the owners branch out into more international food, perhaps soups and desserts from around the world. They could also employ more communicative staff who don't sing about sick whilst serving customers.

Lying in a den in Bombay
With a slack jaw, and not much to say
I said to the man, are you trying to tempt me
Because I come from the land of plenty?

This trip has taken a turn for the worst. He's in India in a crack den. Again, it's not going to look good on the CV mate, why not go and see the Taj Mahal? Someone is trying to make him take more drugs, but then he brags that there are already lot of drugs in Australia.

And he said,

Oh! do you come from a land down under? (oh yeah yeah)
Where women glow and men plunder?
Cant you hear, cant you hear the thunder?
You better run, you better take cover.

This is getting ridiculous. Our humble narrator is clearly backpacking but surely he can find room in his rucksack for a small waterproof coat or perhaps foldable travel umbrella. Especially if he keeps ending up in thunderstorms. Unless he sold it to buy crack.

And what of the surprised Oh! Perhaps he offered the other guy a vegemite sandwich.


The subject matter of the song Down Under by Men At Work is a clear fabrication and this band have been misleading the public for years.

Quite frankly I'm shocked and outraged by what I have discovered.



Anonymous Ben said...


2:22 am  
Anonymous Brittany. said...

Are you frigging insane? In what way is this an appropriate and accurate analysis?! You are being extremely racist and offensive. You have only come to obvious conclusions and theories and you have not noticed any subtle visual or textual features, but that's because you're most likely an ignorant moron.


Love from Australia <3

3:09 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Strange feeling this isn't a serious analysis...

3:00 pm  
Anonymous Shaye said...

absolute filth you are.

5:45 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hahaha good one

1:29 pm  
Blogger Bob Shaw said...

The word is not plunder. The word is chunder which means to vomit. It's an interesting analysis but it would help your credibility if you knew what the lyrics were before you analyzed it.

1:12 pm  
Anonymous Cassie said...

This was great I leterally read this while listening to the song.. I don't think I ever actually listened to the lyrics and how crazy they are before this :) thanks for making me laugh on a slow work day!

5:27 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you're kinda retarded

11:53 am  

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