Devo: Freedom of Choice (Warner Bros.) | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Freedom of Choice

Warner Bros.

Jan 12, 2010 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Despite Devo’s ubiquitous name-recognition, even most rock nerds would be hard-pressed to conjure up more than the chorus to the band’s lone hit, 1980’s “Whip It.” This infectiously catchy cut from Freedom of Choice, Devo’s third album, secured the band’s status as a novelty act. Or, rather, the memorably silly video for “Whip It” accomplished that. The “Whip It” video is Devo’s lasting contribution to American pop culture. The red plastic “energy dome” hats Devo’s members wore in it three decades ago are still well-known enough to be Halloween costumes and fodder for Family Guy gags.

Unsurprisingly, “Whip It” has come to overshadow not only the rest of Freedom of Choice, but Devo’s first two albums, too. Sure, “Whip It” is a hard song to dislike, even after hearing it hundreds of times over the ubiquitous FM stations that play “favorites from the ‘80s, ‘90s, and today!” And, maybe, just maybe, it’s possible to take the song as a sort-of social commentary, with self-help and business-success-cult catchphrases piled up one on top of the other. But it’s still somehow unsatisfying that “Whip It” is Devo’s legacy. It’s not even the best song on Freedom of Choice (a notoriety that the title track easily claims), and Freedom of Choice is not the best Devo album.

Despite a few standout tracks, Freedom of Choice wears thin compared to Devo’s debut, Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!, and the band’s quirky second album, Duty Now for the Future, which Warner Bros. has sadly skipped over in the reissue process. That’s too bad, because Duty is the better album. But Freedom of Choice does have “Whip It,” and, for better or worse, that’s one more hit than any other Devo album. (

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January 15th 2010

4?  Girl U Want?  Snowball?  Gates of Steel?  4?

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