Monday, June 14, 2010

New Devo CD

I arrived in Sao Paulo on Saturday morning -- early on Saturday morning -- checked into my hotel, flipped on the ol' MTV (actually VH1, I think), and wham! there was Devo singing "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" from 1978's Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!.

Since the commercial gods act with purpose -- I think -- it turns out that Devo actually has a new CD out -- their first in 20 years.

Ben Ratliff, though, is not a fan:
Devo’s new album, its first in 20 years, sounds as if were made by people who want to sound like Devo between 1981 and 1984 but can’t use the original music because they don’t have the licenses.

...

[T]he music has no spark. If “Something for Everyone” doesn’t quite achieve the level of facelessness of “Smooth Noodle Maps,” the band’s previous record, it comes close. Its hooks are wilted, and its lyrics run over with clichés and canned memes from news and television....

...

In that spirit I suggest you stay away from this record.
Well, then...

Since I'll follow Ben's advice and stay away from the record, let me observe that the video for "Satisfaction" is a pretty good one -- I'm sure that I've seen it at some point in my life, but I enjoyed its playful interpretation of the Stones' lyrics. It's also interesting to think about Q: Are We Not Men? having come out in 1978 and then the breakthrough video for "Whip It!" not having come out until 1980 -- such a two-year delay soon became unimaginable (although some late-breaking hit stories do exist).

And finally, I can't help but think fondly of a day back in 2002 where I was sitting in a line outside of Madison Square Garden all day in advance of a U2 show -- hoping to be relatively close to Edge's feet (and indeed eventually having that dream fulfilled). As people walked by, they would say, "Why are you all sitting here?" And often we would say, "To see U2," but I, to amuse myself, would sometimes lie. And I'll always remember the gleam in the eye of the dreadlocked gentleman in a business suit who took the bait that I offered and said, "Devo? Like 'Whip It!' Devo? They're having a reunion concert? Wow!" And that's how rumors are born...