Thursday, July 15, 2010

Something for Everybody

My first thought upon seeing a new album was "oh no" (pun not intended). I girded for extreme disappointment. If we extrapolate 20 years beyond the decline that started during Shout, and try to estimate how much worse it would get -- well, let's not try too hard to picture that. It isn't pretty.

My first listen gave me shock. It was a little "loud" - I got the impression Mark was screaming a little to hard at the mic. However, on repeated listening, it's quite alright. What really shocked me was how it sounded so much more true to their earlier work. Less thick layers of synths; simple and infectious melodies (Devo's trademark #1). And most surprising, extremely clever, offbeat and inspired lyrics (Devo's trademark #2).

"Don't Shoot - I'm a Man", "Human Rocket", "Sumthin'", "No Place Like Home"... all very interesting lyrically, and quite good musically.

I have been well familiarized with all of their work. And I could probably enumerate the track lists from every one of their albums from memory, most in order. To convince me that this new album warrants any parity with, say, "Oh No! It's Devo!", would be a major hurdle for me. It's just a really high bar to clear, and afterwards they never did -- UNTIL NOW.

I find, to my total amazement, that I LOVE this album like I loved the early Devo. That's an incredible, extremely improbable, and highly unexpected result. And it gives me such satisfaction to see, after two decades, the real DEVO return in powerful form.

 I never thought this would happen. It did. It's awesome.

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