Devo is a rock band formed in 1973 in Akron, Ohio. The original lineup consisted of Alan Myers, along with two sets of brothers; Mark and Bob Mothersbaugh and Gerald and Bob Casale. However, the band lineup has changed over the years. Although the group disbanded in 1991, they reunited in 1996. The themes for which Devo are known include satirical social commentary, deadpan surrealist humor, and kitsch science-fiction. They became known as pioneers of the music video, and they have influenced new wave, industrial, and alternative rock artists. Since the band was formed, they have released nine studio albums and 25 singles. Here are the 10 best Devo songs of all time.
10. The Day My Baby Gave Me a Surprise (1979)
‘The Day My Baby Gave Me a Surprise’ was the lead track from Devo’s second album, ‘Duty for the Future,’ which was released in 1979. It combines the retro feel of the 50s and 60s pop music with a futuristic sound. The lyrics are somewhat confusing and left listeners debating what the surprise was that Mark Mothersbaugh sings about on this track. The song features robotic rhythms and fits in well with the style of the other tracks on the album.
9. (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction (1978)
Devo included a cover of Rolling Stones’ ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’ on their debut album after getting approval from Mick Jagger for their version of the song. Ultimate Classic Rock says that it is a track that divides opinion, as people either love it or hate it because Devo put their own stamp on the song to make it different from the original, including opening with a drums section.
8. Jerkin’ Back N’ Forth (1981)
During the 1970s, Devo had earned a reputation for being one of the oddest bands around. However, by the time they released their fourth studio album, ‘New Traditionalists,’ in 1981, they had begun to have some mainstream appeal. ‘Jerkin’ Back n’ Forth’ was the fourth track released from the album, and it leaned more towards pop than Devo’s previous music with more of a polished sound. It had a fantastic melody, catchy riffs, and used synthesizers.
7. Girl U Want (1980)
Devo showed off their rock side when they released ‘Girl U Want’ in 1980. Although Devo is an evolutionary band, its roots lie in classic rock, and this track honors the classic rock movement. This song appears on the 1980 album ‘Freedom of Choice.’ It is one of Devo’s catchiest songs, and the lyrics have some unexpected elements.
6. Freedom of Choice (1980)
‘Freedom of Choice’ is the titular single from the 1980 album of the same name, which was Devo’s third studio album. This song was typical of Devo, as it has unexpected elements that surprised fans, and Devo is at their best when experimenting with new ideas. ‘Freedom of Choice’ combines amazing riffs with sarcastic lyrics and a touch of existentialism.
5. Mongoloid (1977)
‘Mongoloid’ was Devo’s debut single, and it caused quite a stir when it was released. The song is about equality, but it took some time for everyone to fully understand the lyrics, and the band initially faced criticism from people who mistakenly thought the song was targeting people with a disability. It caught the attention of Brian Eno, who quickened the pace of the song. The track was then added to Devo’s debut studio album in 1978.
4. Gates of Steel (1980)
‘Gates of Steel’ has an unusual theme relating to whether artificial transplants and advancements in surgical techniques are a good or bad thing. The song talks about the inevitability of death, regardless of evolution and science. ‘Gates of Steel’ was a track on Devo’s third studio album, ‘Freedom of Choice.’
3. Uncontrollable Urge (1978)
‘Uncontrollable Urge’ was arguably one of the best tracks from Devo’s debut studio album ‘Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo,’ says Return of Rock. Despite the song being a fan favorite and having some great guitar sections set against pop vocals, ‘Uncontrollable Urge’ was not released as a single. However, it is one of the songs that the band has regularly included in their set for live shows, and they perform the song with synchronized moves.
2. Whip It (1980)
‘Whip It’ is probably the most famous Devo song, and it was also their first single to chart. It reached number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number eight on the dance charts in the United States. The song was also a top 20 hit in Canada and New Zealand. The song is a strange look into the future and is about the struggles of the common man and the plight of humankind. Despite the unusual themes of the song, the public seemed to get the message which is why it became popular with a more mainstream audience. The music video for the song featured cowboys, whips, and mashed potatoes, but people loved it.
1. Jocko Homo (1977)
According to Far Out Magazine, Devo’s best song is ‘Jocko Homo.’ It has become the band’s anthem, as it spells out their values. The concept of the song was inspired by ‘Jocko-Homo Heavenbound,’ which is B.H. Shadduck’s anti-evolution work. Therefore, the song’s intriguing lyrics are about the arbitrary laws of evolution. Although it is one of the band’s best songs, it was originally released as the B-side to their debut single ‘Mongoloid’ in 1977.