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Devo - Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! (Cover Artwork)

Devo

Devo: Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! (1978)
Warner Music Group

Reviewer Rating: 4.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: greenertongreenerton
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Devo. If you went up to a random person on the street, and told them to name a Devo song, everyone knows they'd say "Whip It," the smash 1980 hit that put Devo in the forefront of popular new wave music. The band was not always a 90% dance / 10% rock band, however. As with all new wave at the time, .
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Devo. If you went up to a random person on the street, and told them to name a Devo song, everyone knows they'd say "Whip It," the smash 1980 hit that put Devo in the forefront of popular new wave music. The band was not always a 90% dance / 10% rock band, however. As with all new wave at the time, their roots were firmly centered in punk -- and though that influence might not be as obvious as it is in other new wave bands of that era (Blondie or the Clash, for example), it's definitely there, and this release shows it.

Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!, released in 1978, was the band's first full-length album. You can tell mainly by the lack of the electronic sound that made the band famous. It's a strange but catchy, fun but intense album to listen to. A lot of the dissonant harmonies will make you uncomfortable, and to great effect. Brian Eno's excellent production keeps it clean but raw, which suits the music just right.

As the album blasts off with the fantastic "Uncontrollable Urge," you realize that this Devo is still the lovable, quirky weirdoes who recorded their more well-known later releases, but you can also feel a more down-to-earth quality to their sound right away. The almost-standard punk-sounding guitar lines in many songs provide perfect backing to Mark Mothersbaugh's strange and chaotic voice. You'll be singing "Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, YEAH!" within seconds for sure. The infamous "Satisfaction" cover sounds like it was recorded with factory equipment. Rather robotic in nature, it removes all sensuality and, well, musicality from the original song. Somehow though, it's good. This is the nature of Devo in a nutshell. They strip down these songs to their basic, mechanical core, but manage to keep it catchy.

"Praying Hands" and "Space Junk" are both catchy, medium tempo songs that can be stuck in your head all day. "Space Junk" has pretty funny lyrics as well, as with most of the songs on the album. "Mongoloid" is an even worse perpetrator of this, however! The chanting chorus of "Mongoloid he was a mongoloid / Happier than you and me" and all its variations will get burrowed in your mind, and refuse to leave. "Jocko Homo," the album's main single, is seminal Devo. Fun to listen to and sing along with, it's just a great song all around, showcasing Devo's amusing lyrics, with verses like "They tell us that / We lost our tails / Evolving up / From little snails / I say it's all / Just wind in sails." "Too Much Paranoias" shows more of the intense, dissonant side of the band's nature. With an echoing, uncomfortable chorus, it's a strange song to listen to. It leads perfectly into the brilliant "Gut Feeling."

"Gut Feeling" demonstrates a more mature, well-executed two-minute instrumental buildup that doesn't feel like it's going to stop. Giving you another uncomfortable, but more satisfying feeling than the previous track, the song feels like a train that's speeding up faster and faster, heading towards a crash at the end of a track. But just when this train nears the end of the tracks, complete with intensely distorted guitar noise and an extreme feeling of claustrophobia, the song cuts into the speedy "Slap Your Mammy." Probably the only song on this album that could truly be classified as punk in any way, "Slap Your Mammy" is very short, with classic distorted power chords pushing the track to its end. "Come Back Jonee" is a great track with some nice guitar work and fitting drumming, with more catchy vocals. "Sloppy (I Saw My Baby Gettin')" is probably the funniest song on the album, in my opinion. It's also very catchy! But honestly, how can you go wrong with lyrics like "I saw my baby yesterday / She spent her money on a car / I didn't get her very far / So my baby said to me / You know my baby she / Said sloppy / I think I missed the hole?" After that humorous endeavor, the album finishes up with the fantastic "Shrivel Up." Another tense, strange song, it's mostly very subdued in nature, poignantly ending the album on a quiet note after the madness that took place beforehand.

All in all, Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! is an excellent introduction to a band often labeled as a one-hit pop wonder. Between this and "Freedom of Choice," Devo put forth some very intelligent, catchy, new wave music. In an era filled with so much awful crap on the airwaves, Devo was a breath of fresh air, with their subtle satirical messages well hidden within their songs. Oh, and as always, all you retards intending to post "LOLZ OLD ALBUM Y U REVIEW!?!?" -- keep it to yourselves, please. I know a lot of people who know nothing about Devo except for "Whip It," and this review is mainly intended for those people.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (October 29, 2005)

God made man - but the monkey supplied the glue.

Anonymous (October 28, 2005)

you kids can stop faking that you're into this now. You don't have to lie to kick it.

Anonymous (October 27, 2005)

stiff was indie, but who cares, devo released great albums

Anonymous (October 27, 2005)

none of you are in succesful bands who support DIY or anything

You go to a university, you spend thousands of dollars on school, your band that plays local shows, and your band plays "80s hardcore REAL SHIT". Your band isnt as respected as these LOL SELLOUTS for a reason.

lushj (October 26, 2005)

By the way, Devo were on Stiff Records for a bunch of their early singles and a stellar 12" EP. I'm pretty sure Stiff was an indie at that point (did it ever get bought by a major or was it always an indie?).

Anonymous (October 25, 2005)

Ugh, let's not get on the discussion of majors vs indies.

I'll just say that selling music within the commercial media does more for the system than against it. And that writing thousands of protest songs won't do nearly as much good as being an aware activist.

That's all.

-Will

Anonymous (October 24, 2005)

Man, I listened to Oh No It's Devo when I was on acid, and my head literally exploded. Best band to take drugs to ever.

BrandonSideleau (October 24, 2005)

Superdude- don't push your luck lol.

superdude (October 24, 2005)

This review was pretty good, but here's how I would make it better:

1. Soooo....does it have Whip It on it?

2. Does this mean I would like this album when I'm playing Tiger Woods 2005?

3. Why did they bother asking a question and then saying the answer right away? Why ask it at all? Way to make me feel stupid.

lushj (October 24, 2005)

I don't know about "Duty Now"- it's starting to grow on me (swelling itching brain!)- but this record has all the 'classic' Devo songs "Uncontrollable Urge" "Mongoloid" etc.

The "Live 1980" extended cd that's through Rhino is stellar also. There's a LP bootleg called "Devonia" that's also great- full of early weird performances and demos? snippets?

There's just so much good stuff from this band floating around, though I never got beyond "New Traditionalists". Has anyone here actually heard anything past that?

Anonymous (October 24, 2005)

If you came up to me on the street and asked me to name a Devo song I'd say "Turnaround".

And then when you turned around I'd steal your wallet.

Anonymous (October 24, 2005)

I agree with the dude below even if D.IY and independence and alternatives are or should be a breath of fresh air in the musicbusiness.

I´m not afan of R.a.t.m but Tom Morello sez:
??We never saw a conflict as long as we maintained creative control. When you live in a capitalistic society, the currency of the dissemination of information goes through capitalistic channels. Would Noam Chomsky object to his works being sold at Barnes & Noble? No, because that??s where people buy their books. We??re not interested in preaching to just the converted. It??s great to play abandoned squats run by anarchists, but it??s also great to be able to reach people with a revolutionary message, people from Granada Hills to Stuttgart.?
(on the topic of RATM signing a deal with Epic)

BrandonSideleau (October 24, 2005)

who gives a shit if it's on a major....if warner was releasing quality albums like this nowadays i'd surely be content.

Anonymous (October 24, 2005)

fuckin good, but next 3 Albums (New Traditionalists, duty now for the future,freedom of choice) are much greater

Anonymous (October 24, 2005)

One of my favorite albums of all time. Fuck everyone...Devo rocks.

Ramo

Anonymous (October 23, 2005)

"wrong. you just dont know any of the underground punk bands from that era."

Okay, so Dangerhouse and Pere Ubu.

Crass and Black Flag released their first records in '78...

Really, you're a moron, it's okay.

-Will

Anonymous (October 23, 2005)

"they were on Warner? now this band is PUNX"

clash...sex pistols...

lushj (October 23, 2005)

One of the best bands ever. "Oh No It's Devo" "New Traditionalists" "Freedom Of Choice" and "Are We Not Men" are 4 of the best albums any band ever put out.

I think the politics here are broader and less specific than "Beautiful World" or "Freedom Of Choice"- that whole de-evolution thing, ya know?

Anonymous (October 23, 2005)

That guy on the cover looks like me. Weird.

-Chinatown

greg0rb (October 23, 2005)

I love this album. Loooooove it. I think I may have been introduced to this album through the Big Brother video with Uncontrollable Urge in it... anyone remember that? I think it was the same video that started getting Johnny Knoxville some attention.
-Greg

Anonymous (October 23, 2005)

"a good amount punk bands of that era were on majors. it was different back then"

wrong. you just dont know any of the underground punk bands from that era.

Anonymous (October 23, 2005)

DUDE, the entire first wave of punk was all poserz!

-Will

Anonymous (October 23, 2005)

"they were on Warner? now this band is PUNX"

a good amount punk bands of that era were on majors. it was different back then

Anonymous (October 23, 2005)

Beautiful World is a much better song than Whip It

Godfather (October 23, 2005)

generic "i like that 'whip it' song" comment

BrandonSideleau (October 23, 2005)

they're playing at the Canyon Club in Agoura pretty soon....like a few blocks from my house...right the fuck on.

Anonymous (October 23, 2005)

they were on Warner? now this band is PUNX

Anonymous (October 23, 2005)

If you guys get the chance, see them live. Even though they've gotten older, but live show has above par enegry and heart

BrandonSideleau (October 23, 2005)

Great fuckin' band

Testiclese (October 23, 2005)

i go up to people and ask them to name a devo song all the time. 60% of the time they answer "whip it" 100% of the time.

Anonymous (October 23, 2005)

good review for a great record. i like this one only slightly less than "freedom of choice"

greenerton (October 23, 2005)

"How come you make this ties to punk on a musical level but not on the fact that the to used music as a force to share there progressive/regressive points of views with the world and also was able to use the music as commentary on the socio political situation don't forget that there is intelligent thought behind the humour."

Because - while it's true that Devo has always had something of a political message to send, it's not as evident until their later albums. Compared to "Duty Now" or "Freedom of Choice", this album has virtually no subliminal political message within the music.

LevitateMe (October 23, 2005)

This album is a 10

Anonymous (October 23, 2005)

How come you make this ties to punk on a musical level but not on the fact that the to used music as a force to share there progressive/regressive points of views with the world and also was able to use the music as commentary on the socio political situation don't forget that there is intelligent thought behind the humour.

Anonymous (October 23, 2005)

One of the best things I've ever found at a garage sale.

hubitcherkokov (October 23, 2005)

Akron, Ohio represent! ...or something. Personally, I like that Lebaron guy. I've heard you can see him at Summit Mall sometimes.

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