07.08.2015 — “Pop Goes The World” as covered by Barcelona


If you only listen to one cover song tonight, make it “Pop Goes The World” as covered by Barcelona (2000, from the Robot Trouble EP). The song was originally done as the title track on the third album by Canadian new wave band Men Without Hats (1989).

Barcelona was an indie-pop quartet from Washington, DC. They were active in the late 1990s through the early aughts, releasing three albums, a couple of singles and the Robot Trouble EP. To reveal a little bit of personal bias, I went to college with one of the members of the band and play fantasy football with him and two of the other members.

All of the band members of Barcelona were working tech jobs, and two of their three album titles Zero One Infinity, and Simon Basic were direct references to nerdy tech stuff. Most of their songs made reference to computer science. But you wouldn’t even notice unless you were paying really close attention. They were just a great indie pop/synth pop band who happened to write songs about some nerdy stuff. And they were fun.

While I was at work today, for no reason at all, the original version of this song got stuck in my head. At least until somebody cruelly got “Mahna Mahna” stuck in my head. You know… The Muppet Show.

Anyway, the Men Without Hats version of the song was in my head. It’s a damn fine song that did well in the charts, but not nearly as well as their international smash hit “Safety Dance”. Curiously, “Pop Goes the World” did better in the Canadian charts (reaching #2) than “Safety Dance” (which peaked at #11), and in Austria, where “Pop Goes The World” reached #1 compared to “Safety Dance” at #7. Everywhere else in the world, “Pop Goes The World” was the second-highest charting song by the band.

I don’t have the original MWH version, and my iPod with the Barcelona version isn’t functioning at the moment, so while I was away from my laptop, the only way I could listen to the song was on the media player in my head.

It was worth the wait to get home and play it on my headphones.

Unfortunately, I’m short on time tonight, so I’ll have to offer the song without any commentary.

“Pop Goes The World” as covered by Barcelona

You can buy the Robot Trouble ep from Amazon here.

About dlee

North Carolina born and bred. I'm a restaurant guy who spends free time listening to music, watching hockey and playing Scrabble. I have a bachelor's degree in political science and I will most likely never put it to use. View all posts by dlee

One response to “07.08.2015 — “Pop Goes The World” as covered by Barcelona

  • jprobichaud

    I had to listen to this one for sure because the original is my favourite Men Without Hats tune. It’s a fine reinterpretation. Like twee but with synths.

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