I was talking last night with Emily about how disappointed I was when I found out years ago that Devo was created from the depths of a bunch of art school students. I mean, it’s not a bad thing, per se. And coming from Ohio says a lot. But I guess I just thought that only a crazy bunch of musicians could expertly execute something this spectacular and so ingenious and musical. I am not dissing art students. In the past I’ve always just felt that artists should stick to art and musicians should stick to music. But maybe I’ve underestimated artists that happen to be musicians, as well.
Regardless of their background and training, Devo are probably one of the most subliminally influential bands of the 80s. And whether they liked it or not. Songs like, “Through Being Cool” from New Traditionalists were stabs at fans who only recognized them for their hit, “Whip It”. Bands that turn me on are ones that never compromise. It’s been told that Brian Eno has said that Devo was one of the most difficult bands to record.
Whatever and however they created their music, it’s good. And Devo’s music will have people picking it apart for centuries to come.
- Uncontrollable Urge (Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo) – Next to Streets on U2’s Joshua Tree, this is the next best opening cut for a record.
- Smart Patrol/Mr. DNA (Duty Now For The Future) – Besides being the greatest album title, the 2nd part of this song is stellar.
- Girl U Want (Freedom of Choice)
- Beautiful World (New Traditionalists) – One of Devo’s many secret ballads.
- Working In the Coal Mine (7″ Single) – The first Devo song I ever heard consciously. I was in summer camp in 1986. And a counselor made up a dance/skit for the kids. I also secretly had a 9 year old crush on her.
- That’s Good (Oh No! It’s Devo)
- Gates of Steel (E-Z Listening Disc) – Quite possibly the most strange, yet obvious record by Devo. I really love this record. I almost feel like it’s a predecessor to all the remix albums of the 90s. But like all Devo records, it’s backwards.
- I’m A Potato (Hardcore Devo Vol. 1) – The Hardcore volumes are definitely my favorite Devo recordings, and this song is no exception. “I’m a spudman! I’ve got eyes all around!”
- Jocko Homo (Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo)
- Goo Goo Itch (Hardcore Devo Vol. 2) – This song could have easily been a commercial for jock rot cream. Easily.