Is it fair to call yourself a fan if you base your devotion (see what I did there?) solely on a band’s debut album? This was the painfully embarrassing question I asked myself into a rearview mirror while meandering through 405 construction last night. Since as long as I can recall, I’d always been a Devo fan, but I’d only ever owned their first album, 1978’s Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!
I was forced to ask myself, Q: Is it possible that this record is so prolific, so repeatedly nurturing of its innovative ingenuity, that any given listener (me) could throw caution to the wind (or the rest of this band’s mighty catalog), and view Devo exclusively as a 1978 widely misunderstood practical joke? A: Yes… you’re damn well right it’s possible.
Recorded in Germany and produced by none other than Brian Eno, Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! is a head-pounding collection of 11 adult themed nursery rhymes ripe with uneasy repetition and punk-like snarls. Devo unearthed that perfect blend of proficient musicianship with the overwhelming desire to annoy any suspecting dropper of eaves to the point of nausea, and makes the term “nerd” seem unforgettably horrifying.
Smarts, attitude, and the means to welcome wave after wave of social backlash is certainly enough to make me a lifelong Devo fan, and it’s the perfect combination for creating a timeless and memorable album.