Get hyped for this circa: 2000 collection of Rage-infused covers of Cypress Hill, Devo, Bob Dylan and Minor Threat songs (among others, included Renegades of Funk by Afrika Bambaataa). The album for which this sticker does its dance was the last by this prolific band, and was released a full two months after their breakup. Hyped yet? Renegades… an almost two decades-old conclusion to a short-lived and necessary implement of 1990’s subculture. Keep your stickers, kids!
The 33 1/3 book series by Bloomsbury Publishing is a perfect collection of nerd-focused musical insight into the historical happenings of the development and recording of some of the most essential albums ever released (depending on whom you ask, of course… judge me not by this collection, you will). With 90 books currently published, and many more in the works (including upcoming releases that will warrant almost certain purchasing by yours truly… Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables; Freedom of Choice), my (current) collection of a measly 17 (or 5.29%) books from the series is, I feel, a decent start, and acts as a non-audio musical oasis of printed, historic pleasure.
I’ve finished The Village Green Preservation Society, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, Led Zeppelin IV, Paul’s Boutique (working on my third time through… it’s that good), Use Your Illusion I and II, and Double Nickels on the Dime, and am currently in the wee pages of Let it Be. (Check out the 90 titles here.)
If you’re in the mood for a quick, compact, in-depth analysis of some of the more quintessential albums of modern day rock (generally), look no further than 33 1/3. They’re cheap, and they look majestic all lined up on a bookshelf, or so I tell my significant other.
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.