But New to No One
DEVO, despite having a dedicated cult following, are known by most people as one of the many one-hit wonders of the 80s. Something for Everybody, their newest record, has been two decades in the making. The first track is entitled “Fresh,” and that is an adequate description. It’s about as fresh as that day old salad in the fridge.
The album has a speedy synthpop sound with supercharged synths, saw sound effects, trance fades and effects. DEVO are known for a solid, catchy pop beat that makes you dance. “What We Do” sounds like a light-hearted Trent Reznor with its noisy guitar and industrial beat. “Later is Now” is a standout track with a solid, catchy beat reminiscent of Flock of Seagulls. The band incorporation of sound effects adds a characteristic quirkiness to the album. Mark Mothersbaugh’s vocals add more pop quirkiness with funny repeated vocalizations and voice modulation. There are even techno influences such as fast sixteenth note snare builds, dance beats (120-140 bpm), and synths you would hear at an all-night rave.
Something for Everybody does have a few modern references (within the past 20 years), such as “don’t tase me bro” (when the student got tased by police at a John Kerry speech) and “new world order” (George Bush Sr’s reference to a world government). However ,with the song ”Mind Games”, DEVO keep up their 80s Nintendo disco with a “Saturday Night Fever” dance beat with an 8-bit DJ Mario Brothers sound.
“Sumthin” even sounds like “Whip It” and has a “pow” sound bite instead of a “whip.” They can’t be blamed for sticking with a formula that works but after 20 years, DEVO? This is the freshest material you have? Maybe instead of fresh, it should be stale and resold in different packaging.
DEVO are doing what they do best and have upgraded their sound to a degree but there are no ground breaking new wave hits on this album. That said, Something for Everybody is still semi-fresh enough to be served along side mama’s leftover lasagna, aural sustenance for your earhole.