Album #418 – Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo

Album #418

Whenever anyone mentions the name, Devo, the first thing people think of is their massive early 80’s hit, Whip It. A song that is still played heavily on radio today. But, despite being labelled as one-hit wonders, Devo are so much more than the one song that defines their entire career. I first heard of this album in high school. A friend of mine used to bring his disc man (aka portable CD player) to school and one of the CDs he always carried with him was this album. His musical taste was very good, so I immediately paid more attention and respect to Devo. Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo was better than my expectations. Yes, this group is somewhat experimental and arty but, also values pop music unlike Throbbing Gristle and The Residents. The sound is new wave, funk and rock mixed together. I love the excitement that was generated on this album. Luckily, this was probably the same feeling at their live shows. Their sound is a much influenced by The Stooges as it is art rock. Having Brian Eno produce this album has alot to do with that. At times, their sound is very similar to the Talking Heads. Devo also opened up a whole alternative music community in Ohio. Record labels started adding bands from Akron and Athens over the next several years. Despite their one-hit wonder status, the members of Devo have remained together, made new usic and toured regulary, despite having done their own projects on the side. Mark and Bob Mothersbaugh have composed music for several movies and TV shows including: Happy Gilmore and Rugrats (a huge part of my childhood). Gerald Casale has directed music videos for The Foo Fighters, The Cars and most of Devo’s music videos. They are very talented individually but, as a group they collectively created a sound that has been duplicated but, can never be imitated. Highlights include: Uncontrollable Urge, (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction ( a great re-imagining of the Stones’ classic), Praying Hands, Jocko Homo, Gut Feeling/ (Slap Your Mammy), Come Back Jonee and Shrivel-up. Overall, I give Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo, 5 out of 5.

Next: Dire Straits by Dire Straits!!!

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