Wednesday, June 16, 2010 at 4:17 p.m.
Title: Something for Everybody
Release date: June 15
Label: Warner Bros.
You may be asking yourself, "Why does Devo have a new record out?" Is it for the money? Doubtful, because how much money could they possibly make by releasing a major-label record in 2010? And, anyway, aren't these guys still living off "Whip It" residuals?
In short, does anybody still care about new music from Devo? I mean, it's been 10 years since their last studio release and 28 years since their last good record, Oh, No! It's Devo, and 32 years since their debut, Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!, which is on the short list of the greatest pop-rock records ever made.
People may care again about Devo once again with the release of Something for Everybody. Probably to the surprise of just about everyone (except maybe the guys in the band), the new record is really good -- it's loud, aggressive, fast, and catchy. It's as if the brothers Mothersbaugh and Casale heard the most recent The Hives record, The Black and White Album, and said, "Um, we can do that just as well as those goofy Swedish boys."
Mark and Bob Mothersbaugh and Gerald and Bob Casale, the core of the classic Devo lineup, are all back for this record, along with drummer Josh Freese, one of the top hired guns in the business. And its Freese's propulsive drumming that sends these songs to another level of greatness. Driving and relentlessly energetic, Something for Everybody may be the most purely danceable Devo record yet.
Touching on familiar Devo themes of paranoia and a crumbling world amid great technological advances, the band has never made a fucked-up future seem like such a good time.
For a band that has influenced so many acts over the past 30 years, Devo must've felt they could still best the acolytes at their own game. They must have felt that they didn't have to try to be relevant because they know they are still relevant. And Devo wisely doesn't try to imitate the quirky art-punk that made them such an essential band three decades ago. Instead, they've made a modern-sounding dance-party record that is still unmistakably Devo.
Best song: "Step Up" and "Human Rocket"
Deja Vu: An end-of-the-world bash.
I'd rather listen to: As solid as Something for Everybody is, you can't beat classic Devo.
"Nothing Not New" is a yearlong project in which New Times editorial operations manager Jay Bennett, a 41-year-old music fan and musician, will listen only to music released in 2010. Each Monday through Friday, he will listen to one new record (no best ofs, reissues, or concert recordings) and write about it. Why? Because in the words of his editor, Martin Cizmar, he suffers from "aesthetic atrophy," a wasting away of one's ability to embrace new and different music as one ages. Read more about this all-too-common ailment here.
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