Devo Song of the Day: Beautiful World

When I began this informal series of journal entries about Devo songs, I didn't expect to go to their later era so quickly. But today I think it's more than appropriate today to highlight this track from the 1981 album New Traditionalists

Within the last little while, I dated this woman for over a year but we broke up and got back together a few times. It happens. When we broke up for the final time, I ended up using the emotions to create personal music that got out the emotions I had to express at the time. I still was interested in her, though, but now she's less than two months away from getting married to Jennings, an absolutely awesome person who fits her much better than I ever could. 

Before they got engaged and when they were still two months into their courting period, I went to her sister's engagement party. This was right about the time my Devo infatuation was about a month old, and I was anxious to spread the word but I thought it best to just find out what others thought, so I asked Jennings what he thought about Devo.

"Beautiful World," he said. "That's what I think about when I think about Devo."

At the time, I was still deep into the earlier years, and hadn't really listened to anything past Freedom of Choice. So, I took his thoughts and put them aside for a bit. 

More than a year later, I believe this song embraces what I hear in the work of this band of people who grew up in the American midwest. I don't know them, and I'll never know them, but I can hear in all of their work this almost didactic approach to making music that encourages people to think outside of themselves. 

Devo. De-evolution. My theory is that Devo's main conceit is that despite evolving into a highly evolved species, our culture ends up restricting our growth, and there's always the risk of back-sliding into societal chaos.

Somehow, though, eight years or so after Devo creeped up from the primordial ooze of rock and roll they had matured and were nurtured by a healthy contract from their record label. This track, I suspect, has a lot to do with the band taking stock on a basic fact that's evident to anyone who isn't currently facing violence or starvation. We live in a beautiful world, and Devo knows this, but yet, this track is also about it being a beautiful world even though the visuals begin to depict some of the strange juxtaposition that happen when all of us choose to impose our view of what that means on everyone else. 

Not their best song, but still important to me. And Boogie Boy is in the video. Perhaps his last appearance? 

And, I am as I post this listening to Harvey Danger's cover for the very first time.

I apologize to Harvey Danger that I know them best for Flagpole Sitta, which I know best as being the theme to Peep Show. I'm not sick, but I'm not well, and maybe I never want to be. It may be a beautiful world for you, but it's not for me.

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