Devo – Something for Everybody Devo – Something for Everybody

Devo Something for Everybody Cover

Devo - Something for Everybody Cover

It is hard for me to imagine there are people in the world who have never heard a Devo song besides the popular single “Whip It.” I can believe that there are people out there without the slightest bit of interest in New Wave or popular music from the 80’s. I refuse; however, to believe in the age of the internet, that a person, with a computer, could go through the entire life wondering if the “Whip It” band ever did anything else.

Devo has been praised for their dark satirical twist on an already dark and satirical genre of New Wave music. Their songs while sometimes melodic and simple often feature complex lyrics and absurd meta humor. The popularity of “Whip It,” a single from the album “Freedom of Choice,” has cemented their status as one hit mainstream wonder with a vast underground following.

Devo began as a Kent State art collective formed around the concept of de-evolution. The line up was constantly changing and the songs were more geared towards a zany performance art than commercial success. At the time of Devo’s inception, Post Punk and New Wave was beginning to gather strength and very much nurtured the band’s sound and thematic persona.

Something For Everybody is the first album for Devo since 1991. The album’s history is a grab bag of rumors focus groups, false announcements and a high level of secrecy. Overcoming a long hiatus gap can be difficult for any band. Recreating or reinventing spontaneity of the music can become an insurmountable obstacle often times leading to disastrous effects. Something For Everybody, however, feels oddly effortless in its ability to start where once left off.

The mere fact that Something For Everybody is downright bizarre is a testament to Devo’s ability to baffle audiences. The title itself can be viewed as a self aware banner which speaks to the listener. On this record there are songs for fans, newcomers and possibly that one person who has only heard “Whip It.” The first song, “Fresh” begins with little introduction or fanfare and acts as an overture informing the audience that the next 40 minutes will be along the same wacky caliber.

Devo has somehow managed to sound younger, stronger and made of chrome. I have a theory which involves Devo taking their inspiration from the Devo-inspired Japanese noise pop band; Polysics. The eerie similarities with song structure and melody is enough for me to write it in remote corners of the internet. The Polysics sound is enough to spin heads and get the elder members of your family on the proverbial dance floor. In all this ruckus and rumpus comes an unfortunate downside.

Devo’s first four albums still stand as classics because of their use of subtly and artsy agenda loaded in a pop package. Something For Everybody feels slightly vacant of the full Devo knockout. There was a sense of space with older Devo; that amid a giant hermetically sealed bubble was this band who was playing in no-one particular. Something For Everybody appears to leave no room to breathe nor reflect on anything that is going on. Despite this letdown the rest of the album moves along much like a locomotive which has been gathering speed since 1992. By the end of the record, one can not help but smile and welcome a fresh start from a band who never needed a second chance.

This new evolution, along with new uniforms, is going to be different than what I know and love. If one were to study the course of Devo, it would be known that the band takes radical and unexpected turns. Their body of work can be viewed as a long art project merging the worlds of art and the mainstream. Art theorist and Russian painter, Wassily Kandinsky proposed a theory that the avant-garde inhabited the tip of a triangle which was perpetually moving into tomorrow. The bottom of the triangle was filled with the non artists who would see the world of tomorrow much later than the artists. Devo’s music seems to be redefining that triangle building more gradations between the two ends. This new shape is odd and if viewed three-dimensionally slightly resembles a circular energy dome.

Devo – Something for Everybody Tracklist:

1. Fresh
2. What We Do
3. Please Baby Please
4. Don’t Shoot (I’m a Man)
5. Mind Games
6. Human Rocket
7. Sumthin’
8. Step Up
9. Cameo
10. Later Is Now
11. No Place Like Home
12. March On

Devo – Something for Everybody, reviewed by Kaptain Carbon on 2010-06-15T11:48:39-07:00 rating 3.9 out of 5

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