New Wave U-Pick: Help Choose the Songs for Devo's Next Album

Are they not men? Well, see, they're Devo.
Are they not men? Well, see, they're Devo.

Much has been written about Devo's return to the spotlight after a relatively quiet two decades.

Following a retro tour that found the band performing its two biggest records on back-to-back nights, the strange brains behind the now L.A.-based band announced a partnership with Warner Bros.

Also announced: a bizarre marketing initiative that promised to get fans in on the process.

Specifically, it's Devo's professed mission to "appeal to everybody" that's found Mark Mothersbaugh and co. focus-grouping album titles at press conferences (at SXSW) and trying out new colors for their iconic energy dome headgear (at the Winter Olympics).

And now, finally, it's everybody's turn to get in on the fun.

Devo have launched Song Study, an interactive website designed to allow fans (or non-fans looking to throw the data) to choose from 16 song snippets, the 12 tracks they'd most like to hear on the band's pending new album.

A strange, skinny Swede plays the affable host, and you can watch him drink milk, take phone calls and waggle his head to the beat as you peruse the 30 to 40-second clips. West Coast Sound has already weighed in, and gathered a few thoughts for those considering it:

  • The majority of these new songs are hugely upbeat, high-energy takes on New Wave's inherent urgency and angularity -- tightly wound, careening tracks where guitar notes bounce left and right willy-nilly.

  • There seems to be AutoTune on the kinda Western-tinged "Human Rocket." We did not vote for this one.

  • Oddly, many of the songs -- "Human Rocket" chief among them -- seem titled in the vein of an Eagles of Death Metal record. To wit: "Knock Boots," "Let's Get To It," "Watch Us Do It," and "Please Baby Please."

  • There are -- gasp! -- some politics involved. If you're gun-, money- or power- shy, skip "March On" -- which is kinda corny anyway -- and "Sumthin."

  • The jagged rocker and Dell commercial staple "Watch Us Work It" makes a triumphant return.

  • "If you think black is black and white is white / Open up your eyes and get it right / Love is mind games."

  • Expect plenty of modified robot vocals, lots of Fischerspooner electro, and at least one insance of some maximal Justice-like pulsation.

  • No sign of Snoop Dogg.


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