Hey, so, new Devo album coming out later this year! First new studio album since Smooth Noodle Maps, which I remember buying during my last term of college (that is, in 1990, ye gods).
No idea how good it's going to be (Devo, though one of my favorite bands, very rarely made a fully great start-to-finish album, though their great tracks would fill up several), but we now have a first track (single? are they even called that anymore?).
And here it is, "Don't Shoot, I'm a Man!":
Devo fanatics may remember that the orange-safety "Don't Shoot, I Am a Man" vest (as worn by Devo/Toni Basil/David Bowie backing dancer Spazz Attack) was first featured in a film shown to audiences at Devo live shows in the late '70s, where General Boy would guide the potentially devolved on proper attire for the modern urban mutant and spudboy or spudette. These are indeed REAL vests worn by hunters in hopes of not getting plugged by other drunk hunters in the woods on a weekend shootfest.
I looked for one of these vests to wear around NYC (or at least to punk shows) for years, but they seemed to have stopped making them with the words on them by the mid-'80s (I once went into the hunting gear room at L.L. Bean's in Freeport, Maine looking for one and was nearly blinded by a big room full of glowing orange vests and parkas). I just looked them up online however, and found that a Dick Cheney appearance was once greeted by protesters wearing "Don't Shoot, I'm Human" vests (I guess in the intervening years female hunters pushed for a gender-neutral version).
In any case, good to have the spudboys back, with a song and video that is definitely classic-style Devo, if not an instant classic in either case. I'd have loved to include some of the wonderfully disturbing original Devo videos here, but it looks like Warner Bros. has made sure that none of them are on YouTube, so here's something a little more rare, Toni Basil, backed by Devo (on the track, not in the video), performing their song "Be Stiff," from her album Word of Mouth (Devo backed her on two other songs of theirs on the album as well):
Really -- you don't think any of the first five/six are great stem-to-stern? Dang! Like, I love Duty Now and Oh No, especially. Of those first ones, maybe Nutra's the worst, but that's still a pretty damn good album to have as your worst, heh.
I'm still having to have the new track grow on me a bit; the first time I heard it, I was sorta "eh" but then it didn't leave my head for a while, so....
 I have become accustomed to the fact that I'm the only one who really likes Shout.
Stem-to-stern? Duty Now for the Future, absolutely. None of the others. Some are close, but there's always one of two tracks that . . . well, don't spoil it for me, but just aren't up to the standard of the rest.
And New Traditionalists isn't the problem one for me, it's Freedom of Choice -- good songs, but I find the production and performances muffled and claustrophobic (in a not-good way - those COULD be compliments from me in another setting).
And I am the OTHER one out there who really likes Shout. Didn't do it for me until I saw them do the title track on the '88 tour, but then the whole thing grabbed me (or, as I say, the ALMOST whole thing).
And the new track grows on me too with each listen - also thought "eh" at first but am liking it more and more . . .
Hm -- what are the tracks that kill it for you on the other albums? I'm kinda curious. Espeically Oh No, just because, yeah -- I can't think of a bad one on there. Or even one that's kinda eh.
Q, I guess has Come Back Jonee, which I do like, but it's probably the weakest for me. FoC is good, but I wish they'd remaster that album -- I think that's a lot of the problem with the production on that -- it sounds like they duped it from a beat up cassette. Nutra -- I don't know, I'm not a huge fan of "Thru Being Cool" or "Super Thing" (I kinda like it, but it's a little long? I think I like "Psychology Of Desire" a bit more, though).
Definitely looking forward to the new record, though. With Don't Shoot's growing, and Watch Us Work It being awesome straight-out-of-the-gate (Kittysneezes is covering that one for the upcoming Not Necessarily Beautiful But Mutated 8 comp!)... not to mention most of the soundtrack-only stuff they've been putting out since Smoothnoodlemaps...
Well, you asked, so . . .
On the first album, same as you say, "Come Back Jonee," but also "Sloppy."
On FOC, I'm not so fond of "Snowball," "That's Pep," and "Planet Earth" - but I now have the earlier Recombo DNA demo versions in my iTunes playlist in their place.
On NT, "Race of Doom," "Super Thing," and maybe "Enough Said."
On ONID, um . . . hmmmn. Looks like you're right. I can't find any sub-par ones there. At the same time, I like these songs better as random tracks than as a complete album to listen to from start to finish, so maybe that's my problem.
On Shout, "C'mon," and "Don't Rescue Me."
On Total Devo, "Don't Be Cruel" (UGH!), "Man Turned Inside Out," and "Blow Up."
On SNM, oh, my, "When We Do It," "Morning Dew," "The Big Picture," and "Dawghaus."
At the same time, I still DO enjoy listening to MUCH of the above -- the tracks from the first three albums I list are still there on my iTunes and iPod. They're just not prime Devo, and they always stick out for me when listening to any of these albums from start to finish.
Hm -- I actually like "Sloppy" -- I guess I can see why someone wouldn't like it, though, but I like the billions of fake endings. I can see not liking "Shrivel-Up", too, but while it's not my favorite, I do like it, and it's a good ending to the record.
It's funny too, with FoC, I'm with you on "That's Pep", but I LOVE "Snowball" and "Planet Earth" -- like, both of those would be in my top track list from that album.
"Race of Doom" is kind of a weird one -- I know it's not a really very good song, but I kind of like the "RACE!!!! OF!!!! DOOOOOMM!!!!!!" parts, and the "Let me be your time bomb/let me be your timebomb baby" bits -- though "Time Bomb" was a much better song. I like "Enough Said" too, though I wonder if that's partly just because it was co-written with General Boy, which is kinda neat.
Oh No was my first DEVO record (I came to 'em as a big Barnes and Barnes fan, and "Before You Leave" on the Soak It Up EP was "I Desire" with new lyrics), so perhaps that's part of the reason I love it so much all the way through -- but honestly, that and Duty Now are the ones I listen to the most all the way through (as well as tracks coming up on shuffle).
Shout -- I like both of those, too -- although part of it might be that it fits in with (at least my interpretation of) the story. I'm trying to figure out -- I know there's one or two songs on Shout that don't really do it for me, but I'm spacing on 'em. "Satisfied Mind" isn't _great_, but I dig it, likewise "Please Please". Because, after all, love DOES come in spurts.
Total: Oh, Christ. Of those, "Man Turned Inside Out" is the only one of those I REALLY like. "Don't Be Cruel" is interesting only in that I didn't think Mark could do such a convincing Elvis impersonation. However, that is not something I particularly needed to know. "Blow Up" is braindead stupid, but I kinda like "BLOW UP!!!! HOT CHIHUAHUA!!!" just because it IS so goddamn dumb. I'm not a fan of "Agitated" at all, and um... god, what's the other one right before Blow Up that's just sorta there? I've actually only got about half of Total ripped -- I should probably put the rest of the album on here, but every time I think about it, I'm like "Man, do I really NEED Don't Be Cruel on here?"
SNM: Uh, pretty much yeah. I kinda like Morning Dew, but... yeah, not enough to really argue too much? Although, I am surprised you didn't mention "Pink Jazz Trancers". Urrgh. (My ex-girlfriend I think either kinda liked that song, or enjoyed that I hated it, so she'd kinda make reference to it and such in a joking way. Jazz trance for YOUR MOM.)
My theory with the last two records is that Kent State finally caught up with DEVO -- both of those albums are much more emotionally connected; where the previous records are more dispassionate observers of humanity, commenting on all the stupid shit we do, Total and (to a bit of a lesser extent) SNM, are from the point of view of someone actually HURT and wanting to understand said stupid shit and failing. Those records, DEVO stopped being Young Alien Types and started being human. Which, sadly, didn't quite work as well for them...8)
Did you pick up the Jihad Jerry record yet? It's not bad -- though I wish he hadn't put on the female backing vocalists -- it's a little cheezy.